How to Clean Leather Work Boots? -Expert Tips for Cleaning and Care

By Sophie Williams
Updated: December 13, 2023
How to clean leather work boots?

Durability and comfort while wearing shoes have been completely compatible with leather since the 19th century. Because of its ability to tackle any harsh weather and even be durable in the long run. It acts as a barrier to moisture evaporation and ensures a pleasant shoe climate. 

Though leather is costly, you can take it as a long-term investment. Only proper care and maintenance are essential for extending the life of your beloved boots. According to legend, “caring for your boots symbolizes caring for your feet.”

The first issue that comes up as we go through maintaining shoes is how to clean leather boots while wearing them for work. 

Let’s dive into the thoroughness of cleaning leather boots!

What are The Most Common Stains Found on Leather Boots? 

What are the most common stains found on leather boots? 

Before diving into how to clean, we must look at the stains you found on leather boots.

Grease / Oil Stains on Leather

Oil, grease, and other oily substances can leave stubborn stains on leather boots. These stains can be tricky to remove due to their slippery nature, and regular water won’t do the job effectively. Special cleaning methods are needed to tackle these marks effectively.

Water Stains on Leather

The most common issue with leather boots is water stains. These stains manifest as dark spots or ring marks when moisture comes into contact with the leather. They temporarily darken the overall appearance of the boots. You can use air drying or rubbing the part but try to use a soft bristle that works well with this.

Ink Stain on Leather

An ink stain is a frustrating yet sudden stain on leather boot surfaces. This stain has no guarantee of removal. It causes discoloration and even damages the part while forcing it to clean. rubbing a small amount of alcohol helps in the removal process.

Salt Stains

Salt is referred to as an enemy of leather products as it is adversely dry and cracks leather. It is recommended to get rid of salt stains as early as possible. It is quite noticeable and makes your leather damaged by the mark. Simply use a soft cloth to wipe out the stains with white vinegar and air-dry them properly.quite noticeable; however, without any damage, it removes its mark so efficiently.

4 Best Ways to Clean Leather Boots

4 best ways to clean leather boots

Without proper maintenance, leather boots might wear out as fast as you think. We’ve configured some way to determine how you clean your leather work boots!

Way1: Cleaning The Leather Work Boots – The Outside

 Cleaning the leather work boots

Cleaning the outside of the leatherwork boots may become a major concern for you as it is the only visible part of the boots. You need to be careful while cleaning the outside, as it will impact the lifespan of the leather. As a consequence of improper maintenance, your leather work boots won’t last long.

Light Clean

Your solid leather work boots deserve a little care, even on the days when they haven’t battled mud and muck. In fact, giving them a light daily clean is not just a good habit; it’s a secret to last longer.

Step 1: As you kick off your boots after a long day on the job, take a moment to give them a little attention.

Step 2: Grab a trusty wet nylon brush or a moist cloth, and with a gentle touch, sweep away the dust and dirt that cling to the outside of your boots. It’s like giving them a little massage.

Step 3: After your boots are free from their daily burdens, allow them to air dry naturally. Just let go them to breathe from open air.

Step 4: If your boots need a little extra attention because of stain marks, consider usingold toothbrush in your cleaning. With its small bristles, it can tackle those nooks and crannies and remove stubborn stains. You can also rub it with white vinegar and leave it overnight, especially if it has salt stains.

boots infographic

Heavy Clean

If your work boots are exceedingly dirty and filthy, you may be wondering how to have all of them cleaned. 

Step 1: Start by getting rid of stubborn marks, so use a stiff brush or a piece of cloth to scrape off the sticky muck and grime.

Step 2: For seriously soiled boots, leather cleaning solutions are your best friend. These reliable products are widely available and can work wonders. Choose a leather cleaner that is oil-based or water-based and designed for leather. But, as a word of caution, avoid anything petroleum-based, as it may harm your valuable leather.

Step 3: Liquid leather cleaners are a handy alternative. Just spritz them on, wipe them off, and watch its lackluster

Step 4: Saddle soap is like a spa day for your boots. It cleans, nurtures, and moisturizes the leather all in one go. Simply rub it in, and your boots will soak up the care they deserve, ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.

Always allow your boots to dry naturally in the air. You should not use a blow dryer because the heat from the dryer fractures and dulls the leather.

Way 2 :  Cleaning The Leather Work Boots – The Inside

Cleaning the leather work boots

You must thoroughly clean the inside of your leather work boots if you don’t want anybody to be able to smell your feet. The inside of your boots will begin to stink as a result of the perspiration on your feet, which is embarrassing to have happen in public.

Step 1: After you’ve wrapped up a tough day, give your boots a little time to breathe. Take them off and let them air-dry overnight. 

Step 2: Insoles absorb the brunt of your foot’s hard work. To clean them, you can either toss them in the washing machine with a mild detergent or wash them by hand with low-pH shampoo. 

Step 3: Now, let’s address the leather interior. Dampen a cloth and add a little mild shampoo. Gently wipe down the inside of your boots, being careful not to harm the leather.

Step 4: Once your boots have had their shampoo treatment, rinse them with warm water to ensure there’s no soapy residue left behind. Then, take a dry towel and dab away as much moisture as you can from the interior.

Step 5: If any lingering odors persist, arm yourself with deodorant spray or powder. Give your boots a light sprinkle or spray, and let the freshness take over.

Way 3:  Cleaning The Leather Work Boots – The Sole

The sole of your boots is the most neglected part of shoes. Even a lack of maintenance can break the sole.

Step 1: Start with a hard brush, the kind that can take on solid debris, dirt, and the occasional rogue pebble. 

Step 2: For those stubborn stones or debris that play hard to get, enlist the help of a spindle or a pair of tweezers.

Step 3: Now, it’s time to give your sole a proper bath. With a brush and a mild soap detergent, lather up and scrub away any lingering residue. Imagine it’s a spa day for your boots’ foundation.

Step 4: After the scrubbing session, rinse your sole thoroughly to ensure no soap is left behind. Your sole should be free and clear, ready to face the world once more.

Make it a routine to clean this often-neglected part, and your boots will thank you with years of dependable service. After all, even the toughest souls require some tender loving care.

Way 4: Conditioning The Leather Work Boots

Conditioning the leather work boots

After cleaning the leather work boots entirely, it’s time to condition your leather work boot. Conditioning is very significant to the leather product, especially to the boots. Since it helps to nourish and moisten the leather and also prevents the leather from drying and cracking. Conditioning basically helps to increase the lifetime of the leather. It also helps to resist the water and provides a shine. 

For conditioning, you should use leather oil-based products or any natural leather conditioner. Don’t use any petroleum-based one since petroleum adversely affects the leather. Before you begin conditioning, make sure your boots are completely dry. The solution is a quick wipe with a dry cloth. Moisture and conditioner are like oil and water; they don’t mix.

Apply the conditioner generously to the outside of your boots. Use a brush to reach those tricky edges, ensuring every nook and cranny gets some love. Wipe your boots perfectly after conditioning, giving them a radiant shine. Show them a little love, and they’ll be your loyal companions for many more journeys to come.

5 Effective Tips on How to Clean Work Leather Boots

Let’s see what’s those 5 effective tips that works on cleaning leather boots, such as-

-Use a nylon brush to clean leather work boots, as it clears dirt and dust from the boots effectively.

-Wipe with a damp cloth to clean and moisturize your leather boots.

-Always air-dry your leather boots; dry them naturally. Don’t blow dry, as heat makes the leather desiccate and crack, reducing its lifetime.

-If the leather boots become very dirty and grimy, use saddle soap and a damp cloth to clean them perfectly.

-To clean the inside and insole of your boots, give them a hand wash with mild shampoo and a damp cloth.

Don’t forget to store leather boots properly. Because the carefully you store the leather boots, they be your companion longer.


For a longer-lasting appearance, leather boots need maintenance. Regular cleaning, conditioning, and proper storage can ensure your boots remain in top shape.

Hope our comprehensive step-by-step tutorial “how to clean leather work boots?” will enable you to learn about boot cleaning and make your boots endure longer than you had thought.

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Sophie Williams

Sophie Williams

Sophie Williams is popularly known as a dynamic and creative footwear specialist, and she sharpened her skills and developed a strong foundation at College for Creative Studies, especially in design principles, boot and shoe materials, and boot construction techniques.

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