How to Clean Leather Work Boots: Simple And Effective Ways

Paying for a pair of leather work boots might be an investment, but worth it for someone who needs reliable footwear that can last for several years. However, to retain its good condition and prolong the time of use, you should know how to clean leather work boots.

This article today can provide you with some tips to clean leather work boots with familiar items that you can find in your kitchenware.


How to Clean the Outside

After a long time of use, the outside might be caked with dirt, and other substances from somewhere your boots worked in. So, the first thing you have to deal with is the stubborn dirt stick to your boot. Here are some household items that work great in cleaning.

1 – Baking Soda

Baking soda for a long time has been known as one of the most effective cleaning agents that can deal with several types of dirt. It is such a cheap and easy to find cleaner, but having said that, it works excellently in cleaning leather boots, especially removing stains.

You just need to sprinkle a little baking soda in the stained area. Then using a piece of wet cloth to rub the surface until the dirt has gone. Keep in mind that you should treat the surface gently not to damage the leather material.

On the other hand, baking soda can help you remove the bad smell. I will walk you through this a few minutes later in the next section of this article. Don’t miss it out!

2 – Saddle Soap

Saddle soap is a special cleaner that contains soap, softening element, and preservatives to clean, condition, and protect the leather. Hence, it is ideal to help with cleaning work boots.

Before applying saddle soap, you should rub all the soils on the surface with a brush. You can use an old toothbrush to wipe out dirt in all corners gently.

Then, you should use a damp cloth with a circular motion to create a foamy lather on the saddle soap. And apply the lather to the surface. Then wipe it out with a clean and dry piece of cloth.

Saddle soap is a convenient and affordable solution as you can find saddle soap at any grocery and even shoe stores near your place at a reasonable price.

3 – Hair Conditioner

It might sound a little bit weird when I list this kind of beauty stuff as a leather-boot cleaner. However, it really works.

As hair conditioner possesses amazing wax properties, it is great to give your leather boots a clean. You just need to apply a small amount of hair conditioner to the surface of your boot and wipe them out with a clean cloth.

Hair conditioners also act as an efficient moisturizer. And the moisturizing effect works on the leather. Hence, it will keep the leather in great condition for a considerably long time.

However, please note that you don’t have to pay for the expensive hair conditioner to clean them. It might cost you a fortune. Instead, I strongly recommend you to go for some kinds of inexpensive ones since they still can finish their jobs as a boot cleaner.

4 – Talcum Powder

Here is another incredible household item that can give you a satisfying answer to the question of how to clean leather boots. You might be skeptical about the effect of these all-natural items. But a lot of people, including me, have found talcum powder effective in removing grease.

With the high-absorbent property, talcum powder can absorb grease effectively. You only need to sprinkle a small amount of talcum powder on the surface where grease is. And let it sit for an hour. Then, you should use a soft brush to clean them.

The benefit of talcum powder is the price. You only need to pay some pennies for a long-lasting cleaner that works effectively with grease on leather boots. Also, it is all-natural and neural that does not harm the material.

Another possible alternative for talcum powder is cornstarch or baby powder. However, they cannot bring you the excellent effect of talcum powder but can be used in emergency situations when you don’t have talcum powder.

5 – Dish Soap

As you might know, dish soap is a common versatile cleaner that can deal with several types of dirt. And cleaning leather work boots is not an exception.

You should remove the lace before cleaning the boots. Then, rub the material gently with a piece of cloth and dish soap. As leather material is not susceptible to water, you can wash it with clean water to remove residual dirt. And a dry towel can finish the cleaning process.

As dish soap is a strong cleaner, you don’t need brushes to rub the material. A small cloth or towel with gentle moves is enough.

How to Clean Insoles And Insides

Well, both you and I know why cleaning the inside is necessary. I bet that you don’t want your boots to have a musty smell. It is a nightmare if someone knows how bad your boots smell. But don’t worry, I’m here today to help you with the best way to clean leather boots.

Actually, cleaning your boots is such a breeze. But you need a little care to do it right.

First, you need to put the insoles in the washing machine with mild detergent. Or if you are afraid that the washing machine might damage your insoles, hand wash it with a low-pH shampoo also works. And it’s advisable to let it dry under the sun or air.

You can treat the interior of the boot with a damp cloth and mild, low-pH detergents. When you take away the bad smell, damp a piece of cloth with water and remove the residual shampoo. Then use a dry towel to wipe out the moisture left inside the boots.

If shampoo cannot help you solve the odor problem, you should try with vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar can kill germs and other bacteria; thus, it is effective to remove odors. Spray a little vinegar inside your boots and let them dry. Then, add an adequate amount of baking soda inside the boots and leave it overnight. Take out the excess baking soda from your boots and clean it as I have told you above.

Finally, you should leave the boots upside down and let it air dry. Use any heater to dry your boots is not recommended as it might cause the leather to crack and stitches might be damaged.

Helpful Video Tutorials

It might be confusing for you to know how to clean leather work boots with household items only by reading my article. So, I have a video here to help you with that. Watch this video and follow their steps to clean them.

Here’s your video:

How to clean office leather shoes in some specific cases

1 – Salt stains

Winter is the best time for boots, however, the worst time for salt stains. You might experience a lot of white and pesky salt stains on the surface. Here is a useful lowdown on how to clean work boots of salt stains.

You will need:

  • Two pieces of cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Water

And here are some simple steps to eliminate salt stains:

  1. Made a mixture of vinegar and water at the 1:1 ratio
  2. Damp a cloth and wipe out the salt stains
  3. Dry with a clean cloth
  4. Let the boot dry under natural condition (not using any heat)
  5. Rub the outside again with a dry and soft cloth.

To make it easier for you to practice, here is a video of how to remove salt stains from shoes with water and vinegar:

I hope this simple solution can help you get rid of salt stains.

2 – Ink stains


  • 2 cloth rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dry towel

Instructions to remove ink stains from your boots:

  1. Dip a rag into rubbing alcohol
  2. Use the rag to rub ink stains in circular motions until they lift out.
  3. Wet other cloth with dish soap and wipe out the residual alcohol.
  4. Dry the outside with a dry towel

This simple but efficient method can help you get rid of ink stains now and for all.

3 – How to Clean Smelly Leather Boots

You will need:

  • 3 piece of clean cloth
  • Saddle soap
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • An unused sock

Now we will learn how to deal with smelly leather boots:

  • Rub the inside of the boot with a damp cloth and saddle soap
  • Wet another cloth and wipe out the foam inside the boot
  • Dry the boot in a well-ventilated space without any heat
  • Wipe down the inside of the boot with a mixture of one vinegar and one water
  • Pour a small amount of baking soda into a sock. Knot the sock and put it in the boot overnight.

And now, your clean and non-odor boots are ready to be your favorite footwear again.

4 – How to Clean Suede Boots


  • A soft brush
  • A bath towel
  • A few pieces of cloth
  • Suede erasers
  • White vinegar
  • Water


  1. Use the brush to rub out all the dirt and grime gently
  2. Rub the outside of the boot with a soft bath towel
  3. Remove stains with the special suede erasers (a pencil eraser might work perfectly in some cases)
  4. For stubborn stains, dilute the vinegar with water. And apply the solution on the surface with a small cloth. Rub the stain carefully until it fades away.

How to Take Care of Leather Boots


Not only do you need to know how to wash leather boots, but taking care of them also matters. Many people might think that the maintenance of a pair of leather boots requires a lot of effort and time. But with my simple tips here, you can do it with ease.

Boots storage

Keeping your boots in a dry and well-ventilated space is the key to maintain your footwear. Avoid putting them near heat sources such as heater and stove as it might cause the leather to crack.

Condition the leather

Many people might think leather conditioning is unnecessary. However, leather conditioners will moisturize the leather material. Thus, it will prevent your leather boots from cracking and drying. Remember to go for natural conditioners to protect the leather.

Use water-repellent wax

Although leather is not prone to water, prolonged exposure to moisture might shorten the lifespan. I strongly recommend repelling water and humidity by apply water-repellent wax to the surface.

Regular odor removal

To prevent dead skins and sweats accumulate inside your boots and create bad smells, changing the insole regularly is needed. Also, you should sprinkle a little baking soda inside the boots and let it sit overnight to remove the musty odor.


So, in this article today, you have learned how to clean leather work boots. Why don’t you try one of my methods and tell us about your result? Leave your comments below and share your experience with me. Other readers and I would love to hear from you.

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