Lengthen the life of your boots and improve their appearance by following these easy steps:
1. Wipe Off Dust
Remember that leather is skin and will react the way skin does, so the most important thing you can do in caring for any piece of leather footwear is to KEEP IT FREE OF DUST. Dust will settle in the creases of boots and shoes. It acts like sandpaper; cutting at the finish with every step you take. Sooner or later, it will cut through not only the finish but the fiber itself and the leather will split. WIPE YOUR BOOTS OFTEN, not just before you shine them, but also every time you take them off. You don't need a special cloth or brush. Make it a habit to wipe them off with anything you have handy. You can't wipe boots too often.
2. Wash Off Loose Dirt
After you wipe them, clean your boots. You can use leather cleaner that cleans boots just as well as saddle soap. What's more, this cleaner has an oil base and is good for the leather.
3. Condition Your Boots
Leather conditioning is a lot like skin conditioning. You put in oils and conditioners to replace those that have dried up since the leather was originally tanned. Some leathers will need more than others. It needs to be done more often in dry climates or when leather is subjected to repeated dryings. If you shine your boots regularly, you don't have to use conditioner EVERY time you shine them. Try every other time. Apply the conditioner right after you clean them while the boots are still damp because moist leather absorbs more conditioner. Keep in mind, though, that the leather can only absorb so much. If you put too much on it, it just gets sticky and dull, a case of too much of a good thing.
4. Apply A Coat of Shoe Cream (Polish)
This is different from wash or liquid polish. It should match the color of the boot and should be rubbed into boots. Give the cream a few moments to dry and then brush or buff the boots to a shine.
Additional General Hints On The Care & Feeding of Boots
(Be sure & check a small area with each treatment before you proceed to clean & condition your boots)
- Many spots and marks on leather can be cleaned off with an ordinary pencil eraser. This is true especially on white leather.
- Many spots can be cleaned with a solution of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water. This treatment is particularly effective on "sugar" or "alcohol" spots.
- Oil and grease can be cleaned off leather with a spray-on spot remover.
- Rubber cement is another good "oil spot" remover. Put it over the spot and let it dry. Rub it off and the spot is gone. (DO NOT USE THIS TREATMENT ON SUEDE BOOTS).
- Never put wet boots near heat to dry.
- Unless you sit at a desk in an air-conditioned office, never wear the same pair of boots every day. They need to rest and air out.
Care of Special Leathers
Distressed Leather (Apache Leather)
Distressed leathers have extra oils added just like oil-tanned leathers. Brush the boots off to get them clean, then apply a Distressed Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.
A good wire brush and nubuck cleaner is all you need to care for nubuck leather. Not all stains and dirt will come out of nubuck leather.
Oiled Tanned Leathers
These boots have a lot of extra oils put into them at the start, but because of where and when they're usually worn, it gets pulled out. These boots will work hard for you but you have to care for them. Unlike the other leathers, you can use a HEAVY coat of oil on work boots. These leathers are prepared to soak it up. Pecard's oil is probably the best but there are many others. If work boots really get soaked in snow or water, clean them and oil them immediately. It slows the drying process, but helps get the oils down deep into the leather where they belong. Be sure to allow them to dry at room temperature -- speeding up the process will cause cracking. Oil tanned leather work boots are not purchased for their looks. The tanner has prepared them for rough wear and very little care. Boots made of this leather can withstand almost anything short of outright abuse.