How To Clean Leather Boots
How Can I Tell if My Blundstone Boots Need to Be Cleaned?Keep an eye out for fading, tiny cracks, salt stains, and caked-on debris — all are sure signs your leather needs a little TLC.
How often you need to clean your leather shoes depends on a lot of things, though: how frequently you wear your Blundstones, where you live, the time of year, and what you tend to get up to outside. Are they work boots? Your main winter shoes? Your hiking boots that track home lots of loose dirt? The dress boots you wear to the office? It all affects how you need to take care of them.
How Do I Avoid Damaging the Leather?Before we move on to what you should do to care for your Blundstone leather boots, let’s cover a few of the things you should avoid:
Don’t store your leather shoes anywhere too humid or let them get soaked…but if they do, just gently blot them dry and stuff them with newspaper to absorb the moisture.
Following up on that — don’t keep your boots in the sun and don’t dry them off near a fire or radiator. Heat can degrade leather, and high temps can even melt your soles.
Don’t use chemical solvents, which (like sun and heat) can do irreparable damage.
What’s the Best Way to Clean Leather Boots?Now you know how to not actively damage your leather shoes. But how to keep them clean? You can’t just chuck them in the washer, but thankfully, taking care of Blundstones is pretty straightforward. First, you’ll need a few supplies:
- Clean cloths
- Soft-bristled cleaning brush
- Leather cleaner or soap, or white vinegar (optional)
- Leather Cream (or Polishing Pad)
Depending on how you want your boots to be, you may also want to keep a leather conditioner and shine brush on hand. Once you’ve assembled your tools, start by taking out your laces (if you’ve got ‘em) and then just follow these four simple steps.
Step 1: Brush Off the Grime
Give your Blundstone shoes a once-over — see any clods of dirt or grass? Get rid of them. A soft bristle brush is great for this, but you can use a soft cloth, too. Use a damp cloth if you need to, but make sure you let your boots air dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Pro tip: if your boots are really dirty, try using a leather cleaner, or mixing a simple 3:1 solution of water and vinegar. Spray it on, wipe it off, let your boots dry, and repeat as needed.
Step 2: Make ‘Em Shine
Take your polish, cream, or spray and apply it in gentle, circular motions to the entire boot exterior using a brush or soft polishing cloth. Keep going until you’ve covered the entire surface area.
Pro tip: if it’s your first time using a product, try it out on an inconspicuous area of your Blundstones first, to make sure it doesn’t drastically alter the leather’s appearance (though a little darkening is expected).
Step 3: Wax On, Wax Off
The leather will absorb most — but not all — of the shoe polish. Wait a little bit, and then take another clean, dry cloth to buff off any lingering residue.
Step 4: Wait
Remember the no direct sunlight or heat rule? Just leave your Blundstone boots somewhere cool and out of the way to air-dry at room temperature overnight, and you’ll be good to go.
How Do I Clean Suede Boots or Nubuck Boots?The process is fairly similar to leather. First, brush off any surface stains or dirt. Then, use a gum eraser to gently wipe away marks and — instead of polish — use a combination of leather cleaner and suede cleaner in warm water to clean the shoe.
Pat dry with a clean cloth and leave your boots out to air dry. Not sure whether your boots are leather, suede, nubuck, or something else? Ask us! We’ll be happy to help (and check out this other post on Boot Care while you’re at it).
How Do I Clean Leather That’s Stained?You’re keeping your Blundstone boots clean and coasting in maintenance mode…but suddenly you spill some oil on them or scuff them on a walk. Not to worry — we’ve got you covered.
Oil Stains: gently rub a little baking soda or cornstarch into the stain, and let it sit for a few hours (or overnight) to absorb the oil before wiping it off.
Scuff Marks: gently dab some non-gel toothpaste into the scuff and wipe off with a soft cloth.
Ink Stains: nail polish remover can do the trick, but be very gentle and blot, don’t rub, or you might make the stain spread. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and leave to dry.
How Often Should I Clean My Leather Boots?In general, you want to clean leather boots often and well…but not too often. Ideally, you’d be wiping your Blundstone boots down (not fully cleaning them) with a damp cloth after every major outing. Barring that, though, just try to give them the complete treatment every month or so.
Something else to note: leather tends to lose its natural oils over time and dry out. Conditioning it enriches the natural color, gives the leather a soft, supple texture, and restores its resiliency and water-repellency. It also actively strengthens the fibers, which means the leather will last longer, too.
You can condition your leather goods 2-4 times a year or as often as they need it — whenever it starts to feel rough or dry. Conditioning may darken your leather a bit, but it should lighten back up after a few days.
Keep Your Blundstone Boots Looking (Almost) New
At the end of the day, we’re less concerned with how to keep your shoes looking brand new than we are with keeping them in good condition over years of use — after all, a little wear adds character.
That being said, leather is handsome and durable…but it’s not magic. Even the best-made boots require a little care and maintenance to keep performing the way you want them to. This is definitely a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to restore your Blundstones to peak condition.