Basic Leather Work Boot Cleaning Guide

My dirty Georgia Boots

Today I am going to cover how to clean your leather work boots. This is not rocket science, it shouldn’t cost you hardly anything, and it has a couple major upsides.

  • Keeping your work boots clean is one of the best ways to ensure their longevity.
  • A cleaner boot makes you look more professional.
  • It can reduce that stinky feet smell that some of us are plagued by.

So as you can see here I have an old pair or Georgia G101 Low Heel Loggers. They have been put through there paces and definitely could use a good scrubbing. If your short on time the basic steps are as follows.

  1. Prepare boot for cleaning
  2. Knock dirt off with a brush
  3. wipe down with a wet rag
  4. let dry
  5. condition with Kiwi Saddle Soap
  6. Dry
  7. Recondition with Saddle Soap
  8. Dry
  9. Buff

If you’re looking for a more detailed look into the cleaning of your boots, or maybe you are confused by a step, keep reading!

1. Prepare the Boot For Cleaning

The first step is to prepare the boots for cleaning. To me, this means pulling the laces and the Kiltie off of the boot itself. Makes sure to store the laces somewhere dry, if you plan on reusing them. This may also be a good time to check your insoles and make sure they are in tip-top shape.

Boots prepped for cleaning

2. Remove excess dirt with a stiff brush

Our second step involves removing the caked on dirt and dust from the boot. This is not a step to skip or go lightly on. Excess dirt, dust, metal shaving, etc. can and will break down the seams and stitching on your boot. Take your time and work all around the boot ensuring that you clean the seams and welts, removing all excess dust and dirt.

3.Wipe the Boots Down With a Damp Cloth

After you have removed as much of the dirt as possible using a dry brush, we move onto doing the same thing with a damp rag. Just wipe them clean and make sure there is no visible mud or dirt left. One thing to note is in the pictures here you may see a black residue on the Georgia Boots, That residue is actually M1 Sealant, I’ll go over how to remove that in another article.

4. Let the Boots Dry

Set the boots somewhere out of the sun to dry for at least an hour before progressing to the next step.

Boot after drying

5.Condition the Boot with Saddle Soap

Now that you have a cleanish dry boot, the leather is probably looking a little frail. It may seem hard, rough or feel even a little brittle. Not to worry, we are going to bring it back to life with one of the cheapest products available, Kiwi Saddle Soap. This product has been around forever and it’s probably what your grandfather used to clean his boots.

Get yourself a clean damp cloth and rub the surface of the Kiwi Saddle Soap until a nice lather form.

Lather formed on Kiwi Saddle Soap

Then take your time and rub the boot down, really working the lather into the leather.

Boot with lather applied

Make sure to wipe any excess soap away as it can lead to a waxy buildup.

Boot After initial soaping

Wait two hours and repeat, this will allow the conditioner to soak into the leather and restore its strength and softness. After your second go with the Saddle soap, wait for the boots to dry and buff them with a dry cloth, until they’re as shiny as you would like them.

Clean Boots

That is all there is to it, a basic guide on how to clean and restore some luster to your leather work boots using arguably the cheapest cleaner out there. This is definitely not the end-all guide to deep cleaning or restoring your boots. It would require much more care and work to get these guys back into tip-top shape, but for a quick and cheap cleaning, they look pretty good.

If you would like a more detailed guide, have a nasty stain you can not get out, or a specific boot cleaning or conditioning product reviewed please feel free to leave a comment.