How to Clean Leather Hiking Boots Perfectly

Do you want to clean your leather hiking boots? If yes, read on. It is actually very easy and simple task. You will need: soap, sponge/brushes with stiff bristles or an old toothbrush (to scrub the dirt and grime), and a cloth.

Steps to clean leather hiking boots:

1) Choosing a Cleaner

2) Applying the Conditioner

3) Drying Your Boots

Choosing cleaner

Leather hiking boots need constant care and attention to stay clean and stain free. You can clean your leather boots with a mixture of vinegar and water. Vinegar is a natural cleanser that will remove any surface dirt, oils, or stains on the boots without harming them in the process. A gel-like substance is often left behind from this mixture so you can use another cleaner to remove that residue after it has dried naturally. Use soap if you prefer but make sure you rinse well afterward as soap will leave behind excess residue on your boots. The other ingredients in vinegar are necessary for this technique to work.

Boots care cream, sponge and brushes
Boots care cream, sponge and brushes

Applying the Conditioner

Start with water and sponge/brush your boots in lukewarm water. Thoroughly clean all the dirt, grime, bloodstains etc. Avoid wetting the leather. It may look clean but actually it is not.

Wipe it dry with another clean dry cloth. Apply a cream-based conditioner to your leather boots while they are still wet or damp so that it soaks in through the pores of the leather to nourish your boots. Do not use a spray-on or man-made conditioner, as it will just soak right in and create an oily film.

You may need to wait around 15 minutes before putting your boots on while the conditioner soaks in. Wait for the water to evaporate completely before wearing your boots again. While it is evaporating, you can brush off any leftover residue or dirt with an old toothbrush, comb, or other stiff bristles if you prefer. Just remember to be gentle so as not to damage the leather.

Once the water evaporates completely, apply a liquid hand soap to your boots and rinse well to remove any soap residue. Water alone will not get rid of soap residue. The liquid hand soap will help lift the remaining residue off. It’s important to rinse well, especially if you’re using a liquid hand soap like Dawn or Palmolive, because they can leave behind an oily film that will attract dirt and stain easily.

Drying Your Boots

If you have used a conditioner on the leather boots, the water will both add to the softness of your boots and help it dry faster. It is important to hang them from a line or rack while it dries, so that the leather does not get wet again. If there is a possibility of rain, you may want to use a drying rack outside in a well-ventilated area.

Final words

All of these methods are effective in keeping your boots clean and in good condition. As with anything else, it is up to you to maintain them periodically. The more care you give your hiking boots, the longer they will last. Just remember that leather boots need to be cleaned regularly so they stay clean and stain-free. If any dirt or oil is left on the leather for too long, stains will eventually form and it will be difficult to get them out once they start to develop.

Matthew Koch

Hi, I'm Matthew, a passionate blogger and traveler. I'm also a hard-core hiker. Hiking with friends and visiting new places is what I live for. Currently, I'm working at Gear Odds as CEO & Columnist. I would like to provide my best outdoor experience possible.