How to Clean Leather Boots

Cleaning Leather Boots

Leather boots can offer years of wear, but they need to be looked after and cared for. The best way to prolong the life of your leather walking boots is to regularly clean, condition and reproof them – if possible after every walk, and certainly if they’ve become dirty or wet. Luckily, there are loads of products available to help keep your boots in tip-top condition, including those from Nikwax featured in this video. Here’s out to take a pair of well-worn and grubby Anatom leather boots and bring them back to life.

Thanks to Trail magazine for this video:

Taking Care of Your Hiking Boots

washing the hiking boots

No hiking experience ends up clean, that’s a sure thing! No matter how dirty, muddy the trail gets, this doesn’t mean your hiking boots have to remain messy or pick up all the dirt and dust that meet.
Of course, hiking boots pick up dirt in various ways and it’s actually a tip when to get your next pair of hiking boots. Check out this selection.
Giving your hiking boots a good cleaning after each wear means a longer life span for them as you don’t want to but every 6 months another pair.

The fast way

The least and fastest things you can do for your boots is to wipe off dirt whenever you take the boots off. Give the boots waterproof treatment so that your feet remain dry and comfortable for as much as you need.
If you are the pride owner of full-grain leather boots, keep in mind to moisturize the leather from time to time.
Check your hiking boots for stains and spots and use some dish soap, a damp paper towel to clean them before putting the boots away.
Most of us don’t think of this, but you also need to break in the boots before washing them just to be sure the shape is retained.
Following these simple steps means you care of your hiking boots and you help them last longer. As it was pretty difficult to find the best fit, it shouldn’t be that difficult to take really good care of them. You don’t want to do that over again any time soon, right?

How to wash the hiking boots?

A brush (it may be an old tooth brush), some water and saddle soap or mild dish detergent are the tools you need to give your hiking boots a good cleaning.

Take off the boots and wipe down any dirt or grime from the surface, using a paper towel. Take off the laces and take the brush. Give a good scrubbing on the uppers and outsole of the boots using the saddle soap or the mild dish detergent. Do this until there’s no more dirt left behind. If your hiking boots are made of suede, go gently and avoid strong force in order not to damage the soft suede.
In case the dirt is really thick, there are several methods to clean it up. You may use a high-powered hose to remove the dirt with pressure. Of course, you may always soak the boots in water for some good hours before trying again to remove the dirt with the brush.

How to dry the hiking boots?

This topic is not much about how do dry the boots, but more about what NOT to do when drying them.

The worst mistake you could do is to expose the hiking boots to intense heat.
When you’re done with the cleaning, remove the insoles, the laces and place them upside down so that any water collected inside drips out when drying. If the boots are incredibly wet on the inside, speed up the drying by inserting some newspaper.
Keep in mind to only air dry your hiking boots and never place your leather boots in the way of a direct heat source.

When moisture and heat are simply too much

Most of the hiking boots are if not all, at least part of them, made of leather. Leather is delicate, especially when it comes to moisture and heat. Too much moisture means your hiking boots are saturated and not enough leads to cracks on the boots.
When your hiking boots are saturated with water, the shape of the boots may warp when drying.
In order to be on the safe side, it’s better to get waterproof boots. Most of the hiking boots are pre-waterproofed nowadays, but this waterproofing treatments lasts only few months.
Use a leather conditioner to maintain your hiking boots moisturized and they may come as chemical sprays, oil, creams. You may never overdo it with the leather conditioner!
Never leave your leather boots under the direct sun as they dry too fast and crack.

Long story short

Always remove dirt with a damp cloth before putting away the hiking boots.
In case the water beads roll off your boots, your hiking boots are waterproof so you need not to stress about waterproofing them.
Give extra attention to your leather boots and use moisturizers and conditioners on them, at least from time to time.
Check the stains on the hiking boots and clean them with some dish soap and a damp paper towel.
You should also always air-dry your boots out of direct heat. Place the laces and insoles aside for the drying.
Last, but not least…store your hiking boots out of the direct heat. NO matter how much you like to have them under your eyesight 🙂