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What to use to clean leather boots?

Have you ever wondered what cleans leather boots the best? With all the different types of products and tricks out there it can be a bit overwhelming on what really works. So, I took the time to use these different methods and see what works and what is simply a waste of time and in some cases money.


First let me say that leather is porous, and that means that using products that have a high PH (such as soaps and cleaning agents) can do some serious damage. I tested this out on a pair of old leather boots and in time I saw visible cracks.


The reason for this is because leather tends to flex, and if you want to keep the integrity of the leather safe and want it to last its important that you use what works. So, soap is a no-no, sure it may clean the boot, but it really isn’t a viable solution; even when its diluted.


Leather Cleaning Products Work but Be Careful


Its important when you are using any cleaning agent on your boots that you follow the “as directed” on the bottle.


I know who really reads any of that stuff, just show me a video or let me see the pictures; however, if you have a $200 pair of leather chukkas trust me you are going to want to slow down and read the bottle.


There are different kinds of leather, so this means that not all products are created equal. Its important that you look for a cleaning solution that is for boots. Here is an example, the leather used on a horse saddle has a higher PH and contains more oils.


Using this on your boots would seep into the pours resulting in the dirt getting trapped in the pores of the boot, since high-oil cleaners are slightly alkaline, you also run the risk of long-term damage to the surface. Say bye to those $150 Oxfords!


When I set out to see what really worked for cleaning leather, I had to learn the difference between cleaners and conditioners. Conditioners are just what the name implies they help with maintaining the age of the shoes and prevent cracking.


I tried Leather Milk™ conditioner and found that although it works well for tougher leather products like car seats and horse saddles, it really didn’t do well on my shoes.

What really worked was Obenauf’s™ leather oil. This product did wonders for my wellingtons. The change was amazing, the leather is a lot more pliable, it was drinking in the oil as quick as I was applying it.


However, you should not apply a conditioning treatment to dirty leather or use a conditioning agent to clean leather. Conditioning agents are higher in oil, and you’ll have a similar outcome as the “saddle soap” mistake. Use a dedicated leather cleaner first, then condition it.


For this reason, its important that you do not put off cleaning the boots. Its easy to throw those muddy boots in the closet but if you want to make sure that the leather stands the test of time cleaning is essential.


If you get dirt, mud, grease, etc. on your leather boots, remove it immediately. If you wait to long and let the dirt set into the pores it will prove to be more costly and the damages could be irreversible.


What Worked the Best?


I used several different brands and for the most part, they did the job; however, some just worked better then others. The first one was Huberd’s Shoe Grease™. Let me tell you this product did wonders.


Worked like a charm. The major benefits of Huberd’s Shoe Grease™ is its waterproofing agent and how it restored old leather. Putting this on my boots just made them look almost like new. Keep in mind im not trying to oversell it.


You still must put in the work and make sure the leather is clean, and of course you should be in the habit of taking care of you boots. But seriously this stuff worked like a charm.


This brand is really known for its waterproofing so if you are in a rainy climate this is the brand for you.


If you are interested in a purchasing some you can buy some on Amazon.


I mentioned Obenauf™ earlier, this company makes a good scuff protection conditioner. I recommend getting the heavy-duty preservative. Keeping your leather items free of marks is not an easy task for most. I find that using a protective agent like Obenauf’s Leather Preservative may help diminish the obvious nick or scratch boots, and shoes.


Now here is what you should keep in mind when using Obenauf™ its great for mold and mildew resistant and protects the leather from heat and chemicals, but some cons are it takes two coats to really be completely protective.


You may find that this wax soaks into the leather better when using a hair dryer to warm up the boots before applying. You may also use a PEET dryer to prepare the boots for conditioning. Obenauf’s protects against manure, cracking, and dry rotting for individuals wearing leather boots to work on farms, logging crews, and fishing vessels.


Best Softening Boot Oil


Okay so I was a bit skeptical when I saw this softening oil, the reason why is because of the bottles design. You might giggle when you see the bottle for this leather oil because it closely resembles a motor oil container. The black bottle with white lettering and the Bickmore™ Logo with a horse is not easy to mix up with other products on the shelf. The large container size is one thing we find appealing about this oil because we can cover a lot of leather with it.


But WOW this stuff is awesome! This oil repels water when a full coat is applied for best results use the oil to clean the boot first and then add a second coat for protection.


Overall, when cleaning leather boots, its important to make sure the boot is cleaned first. Use products that are made for boots, remember not all leather is the same.

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