“How to clean cowboy boots?” Every great cowboy should know that cowboy boots hate heat. Even when they’re muddy, disgusting, and soaking wet, there’s nothing worse than cleaning them with heaps of water and drying them outside or next to the fireplace.
To make things even worse, you might not see the damage right away because heat damage takes a couple of days to show up (someone wants to be dramatic, right?!) But, heat damage does dry-out leather, and forces your cowboy boots to harden and eventually crack.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t notice your cowboy boots roasting on an open fire and you probably won’t remove them before they’re completely, irreversibly destroyed.
That’s exactly why we’re bringing you a step-by-step guide on how to clean cowboy boots and how to take care of cowboy boots on your own!
How to clean cowboy boots?
1. Prepare your supplies
Here’s the tea, these things aren’t nearly as complicated as you might think. On one hand, you shouldn’t hose your cowboy boots clean, you shouldn’t scrape them with a knife, and you shouldn’t dry them anywhere near an open flame.
On the other hand, you should get a couple of supplies and start cleaning them very, very carefully. Hence, get a damp cloth, a soft brush, a dry cloth, and a dry sponge. Worry not, you won’t need all of these things at the same time. But, you’re better off having them on hand while you’re working.
2. Clean the mud with a damp cloth
Now that you have your supplies ready, you can assess the damage. Check whether your cowboy boots are wet, muddy, stained, or something worse. Depending on what you’re dealing with, stop wondering how to clean cowboy boots and start actually cleaning them.
Use a damp cloth to remove the mud from the lower part of your cowboy boots. Use a soft brush to remove the scuffs – don’t shy away from using a toothbrush or a rough, dry sponge for the same purpose.
Don’t pour water on your cowboy boots, but you can use a spray bottle to add a little bit of water to loosen the mud before you start wiping.
3. Clean the stains with saddle soap and a soft brush
When you remove the visible dirt, continue wiping your boots with a damp cloth. Rinse the cloth each time you wipe, and continue wiping as long as there’s residue on the cloth.
Now, there’s always a chance you might not be able to remove everything with a damp cloth. So, proceed to use saddle soap and a soft brush to remove whatever’s left on your boots.
Start off by wetting your brush and applying saddle soap. Continue by gently brushing your boots without getting them too wet or scratching them. Fiebing’s saddle soap is great and should undo the damage, but there are alternatives to try, too.
4. Consider cleaning alternatives for stubborn stains
Saddle soap should be able to get the stubborn stains out, but some alternatives might work even better.
Whether you ran out of saddle soap or you’re looking for something stronger, there’s a chance you might have cowboy boot cleaning supplies lying around the kitchen or the bathroom.
Some of the things that might be a great alternative to saddle soap include conditioners, baking soda, dish soap, toothpaste, talcum powder, vinegar, and beauty serums.
Whichever alternative you go for, you can rub them on your boots with a dry or damp cloth (depending on the product) and wipe them off when you’re done.
5. Dry your boots
Never rinse your cowboy boots with water! Whenever you’re wondering how to clean cowboy boots, remember that you shouldn’t clean them with water (even when they’re waterproof).
We could go as far as to argue that your cowboy boots are guaranteed to last longer when you keep them dry at all times. But, when they do get wet, make sure you don’t dry them off by the fireplace or other sources of heat.
Wipe them off with a cloth. Make sure you wipe every crevice, nook, and cranny with a dry cloth, a paper towel, or a regular towel. And, you’re done! Of course, you can also proceed to condition and polish them (more on that later on).
How not to clean cowboy boots?
We already touched upon a thing or two you shouldn’t do when you’re cleaning your cowboy boots. Hence, when you’re wondering how to clean cowboy boots, there aren’t that many steps you should take. But, there are a couple of steps you should avoid.
First, don’t rinse your boots off under running water because that’s a great way to get them moldy, smelly, and damaged. Second, don’t dry them too close to a source of heat because that’s guaranteed to cause cracks.
And third, don’t treat them with oils because oils cause the leather to turn darker. Other than that, try to prevent damage by taking care of them, storing them the right way (always upright), and using stain protectors before you get them dirty.
How to take care of cowboy boots?
1. Clean and waterproof them
Taking care of your cowboy boots doesn’t take that much time when you know what you’re doing and you manage to keep them dry and clean for the most part.
To take care of your cowboy boots the right way, make sure you clean them ASAP. Don’t wait for them to dry before you try to remove the mud (or whatever else might be stuck on them).
Other than that, don’t shy away from waterproofing them or applying stain protectants before you stain them. Better safe than sorry, right?
2. Condition and polish them
Proceed to do these steps after you’ve cleaned your boots thoroughly. To condition them, take a little bit of lanolin-based boot conditioner (or your conditioner) on a dry cloth. Massage the conditioner on the boots gently, and repeat the process when necessary.
To polish them, use a cream leather polish that matches your boots. Apply a little bit on a dry cloth and do the same thing you did beforehand. Only polish your boots when they have scratches, scuffs, and other marks, or when you want to make them shinier.
3. Store them the right way and repair them on time
Leather cowboy boots crease easily. To make sure you store them the right way, always store them upright with the help of a boot tree.
Boot trees ensure that the boots stay upright, but they also help the absorption of moisture and stop the curling of the boot toes.
Other than that, you should always store your boots away from light, heat, and moisture, as well as repair them as soon as you notice any damage. Follow our step-by-step guide, and you’re guaranteed to keep your boots happy and healthy for a really, really long time!