cleaning cowboy boots

Cowboy boots are more than just a fashion statement – they’ve evolved into durable footwear that can last for years if properly cared for. Regular cleaning and conditioning of cowboy boots are essential to maintain their appearance, softness, and overall longevity. However, caring for your pair of cowboy boots is a bit of art and a science. Wondering how to clean cowboy boots the right way?

In this blog, we will guide you through the proper way to clean leather cowboy boots step by step, provide tips to handle different stains and share some handy household items you can use to clean your boots. 

So, let's saddle up and learn how to clean cowboy boots the way they deserve!

Understanding the Importance of Cleaning Cowboy Boots

Your cowboy boots go through a lot of wear and tear, whether you're wearing them for work, horseback riding, or as a fashion statement. Regular cleaning is crucial for several reasons:

  • Cleaning removes grime, preventing it from drying and causing cracking on the leather.
  • Regular cleaning maintains the softness of the leather, ensuring your boots remain comfortable to wear.
  • Proper care prevents moisture buildup and protects boots from water, reducing the risk of mold and mildew.
  • Keeping boots clean prevents stains, preserving the overall appearance of the footwear.
  • Regular cleaning helps maintain the welt, ensuring the entire boot remains in good condition.

The Impact of Neglecting Cowboy Boot Care

Neglecting proper cleaning and care of cowboy boots can have detrimental effects:

  • Neglecting cleaning can lead to stained, scuffed boots, diminishing their visual appeal.
  • Ignoring boot care can lead to excess moisture, resulting in leather cracking and drying out.
  • Failure to clean boots may result in the buildup of grime, affecting the boots' overall durability.
  • Neglecting care can lead to excess moisture, causing suede boots to become stained and discolored.
  • Lack of proper cleaning causes leather boots to lose their natural oils, leading to cracking and drying.

How to Clean Cowboy Boots like a Pro: Step-by-Step Guide

cowboy in dirty cowboy boots

How do you clean cowboy boots without ruining them? By following our tips! Let's dive into the step-by-step process of cleaning cowboy boots:

1. Removing the Dirt Effectively

Before cleaning, start by removing excess dirt and grime using a soft brush, ensuring a clean surface. To clean suede boots, brush them with a suede brush, effectively removing dirt and grime from the footwear. Use a dry cloth to wipe away excess particles, providing a clean canvas for the cleaning process.

2. Applying the Right Cleaning Agents

To clean leather boots, saddle soap mixed with water is an effective cleaning agent that removes stains and excess grime. For suede boots, talcum powder can be used to absorb excess moisture and stains. 

Clean your cowboy boots using a damp cloth, applying the cleaner in circular motions. You can find plenty of boot cleaning video instructions online for detailed instructions. After cleaning, apply the leather conditioner using a soft cloth, preserving natural oils and maintaining the leather's softness. 

If stubborn stains persist, a small amount of boot cleaner can be used, ensuring boots remain clean and well-maintained. Battling more serious damage, such as scuff marks? Try using a pencil eraser!

3. Drying and Conditioning Your Boots

After cleaning, place your pair of boots in a dry place away from direct sunlight, allowing them to dry naturally. Pro tip? Never expose your cowboy boots to direct heat sources – it's best to let the boots dry at their own pace! Using a boot tree inside cowboy boots while drying helps maintain their shape, ensuring proper care and long-lasting footwear. 

Conditioning leather boots with a good leather conditioner is essential, as it preserves the leather, preventing cracking and drying. Applying leather balm or boot cream with a soft cloth ensures boots remain soft, preserving natural oils and moisture. Should your boots still feel parched, consider giving them a second round of TLC by applying another light coat of conditioner. Give them the hydration they deserve!

For suede cowboy boots, conditioning with a suede brush maintains the leather's softness, keeping boots in good condition. Feel like giving your boots an added shield? Consider a suede spray sealer for that extra armor against harsh weather conditions. 

Tips to Handle Different Stains on Cowboy Boots

The best cowboy boots for men and women take on life's adventures. But do you know how to clean cowboy boots properly after those muddy trails? How do you get stains out of cowboy boots?

Let's explore some tips on how to  tackle stubborn stains that may occur on your Western sidekicks.

Water Stains

First, gently blot the excess water with a dry cloth. Stuff your boots with newspaper or paper towels to absorb moisture and allow them to air dry naturally, avoiding direct heat sources. Once dry, use a leather conditioner to restore moisture and luster. 

For suede, brush the nap gently to restore the suede's texture. Remember, prevention is key: regularly treat your boots with a waterproofing spray to minimize future water stains.

Grease or Oil Stains

Grease or oil stains on cowboy boots can be a real hassle, but fear not! Start by blotting the stain with a clean cloth to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the stain and let it sit overnight to absorb the oil. 

For suede, gently dab the stain with a clean cloth to soak up any excess oil. Then, sprinkle some baking soda or cornmeal over the stain to absorb the oil, leaving it on for a few hours before brushing it off.

Always test any cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't damage the material. With a bit of patience and these handy tricks, you'll have those grease or oil stains bidding farewell to your beloved cowboy boots in no time!

Salt Stains

Mix equal parts water and vinegar, dampen a cloth with the solution, and gently wipe away salt stains. Once the boots dry naturally, condition!

Boot Care Tips: Maintaining the Longevity of Your Cowboy Boots

To ensure your cowboy boots last for years, knowing how to clean cowboy boots properly and having a boot maintenance routine are crucial:

  • Regular cleaning and conditioning of your cowboy boots can extend their lifespan.
  • Using a leather conditioner that contains natural oils will help to keep leather cowboy boots supple.
  • Proper care of leather boots is crucial for preventing cracking and drying.
  • Avoid direct sunlight, harsh chemicals, and abrasives, as they can cause drying, cracking, and fading, especially of leather cowboy boots.

Can You Really Get Your Cowboy Boots Wet?

You're probably wondering, "Will water ruin leather cowboy boots?" While cowboy boots are durable, they should be protected from excess moisture.

  • Excess moisture, including water stains, should be blotted with a soft, dry cloth and then left to air dry.
  •  Apply a waterproofing spray to safeguard your cowboy boots from excess moisture.
  • Stuff them with newspaper or paper towels to absorb moisture and retain their shape while drying. 
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to water or heavy rain by using rubber overshoes or covers.

Ensure Your Cowboy Boots Stay Flawless

brown leather ankle cowboy boots

Taking proper care of your cowboy boots is essential to maintain their quality and longevity. Regular cleaning not only helps remove dirt and stains but also prevents the leather from cracking or drying out. By following the step-by-step guide and using the appropriate cleaning agents, now you know how to clean cowboy boots the right way and keep them looking their best.

Explore our collection of high-quality Western and cowboy boots at Overlook and complement them with our tried-and-true maintenance advice, ensuring they not only look stunning but also stand the test of time and last for years to come.

Cowboy Boot Care FAQ

Got any dilemmas? 

Can I Wash My Cowboy Boots in the Washing Machine?

Washing cowboy boots in a machine isn't recommended, as it can damage the leather or alter the shape. Hand cleaning with a gentle brush or a damp cloth and mild soap or cleaner is safer for preserving their quality.

Are You Supposed to Soak Cowboy Boots in Water?

No, soaking cowboy boots in water isn't advisable as it can damage the leather and distort their shape. Instead, lightly dampen a cloth for cleaning or use a soft-bristled brush for spot cleaning to preserve their quality.

What Household Items Can You Use to Clean Cowboy Boots?

You don't always need fancy cleaning products, as several household items can be used to clean cowboy boots effectively:

  • A soft-bristled brush can be used to remove dirt and debris from cowboy boots.
  • A mixture of water and vinegar can be used to remove stains and odors.
  • Leather conditioner or olive oil can be used to moisturize leather and prevent cracking.
  • Baking soda can be sprinkled inside the cowboy boots to deodorize them.

How Do You Clean Smelly Cowboy Boots?

To kill odor in cowboy boots, start by sprinkling baking soda inside each boot to absorb odors overnight. You can also use cedar shoe inserts or activated charcoal to neutralize lingering smells. For a natural solution, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, then lightly spritz the boot interiors and allow them to dry thoroughly.

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap on Cowboy Boots?

Yes, Dawn dish soap can be used to clean cowboy boots. Mix a small amount of Dawn dish soap with water, and use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the boots gently. Rinse the boots thoroughly with water and let them air dry. Avoid using too much soap or soaking the boots in water for an extended period, as it can damage the leather.

Cowboy boots