What is the best way for how to clean leather work boots at home? My brown boots are scratched and stained. I want them to look like new.
Leticia Garcia, Rochester, NY
I can give you some tips for how to clean brown leather work boots at home. These steps will work on smooth finished leather, but you’ll have to try a different strategy if your boots are suede. That material is more delicate and requires a different cleaning strategy.
First, gather up a clean towel, mild soap, and olive oil. Dampen the towel with water, then put a little soap on it. Use that to clean the leather. Wipe gently against the grain to remove stains. Then rinse the towel and wring it out well. Afterward, wipe the leather again to remove any soap residue. Finally, use a dry towel to remove any excess moisture on the leather.
Once the leather has completely dried, you can use olive oil as a homemade leather conditioner. This will soften the leather and keep it from drying out. It will help hide scratches, too. Just massage a little bit of the oil into the leather.
An alternative to olive oil is to purchase leather conditioner. But if you want to try a homemade recipe for a leather conditioner that smells great and is non-toxic, try this one. You’ll need beeswax, almond oil, and cocoa butter. The complete instructions on how to best clean leather work boots are here.
If the mild soap doesn’t remove all the stains from your leather, you can make a stronger solution. You’ll need one part lemon juice and one part cream of tartar. Mix that together into a paste. Then use a microfiber cloth to rub that into the stains, whether you are cleaning tar off boots or have a different type of unwanted mess like removing spray paint from boots. If the stain doesn’t immediately dissolve, you can let the paste sit on the leather for a few hours.
If you have old grease stains on your boots, you can try rubbing them with cornstarch and let that sit for a while so the powder absorbs the oil. Afterward, carefully brush off the powder. You may have to repeat this a few times until the stains disappear completely. Sprinkle cornstarch, baking soda, or baby powder in your shoes to clean stinky work boots and get rid of unpleasant smells. Shake out the excess after several hours or overnight to leave your shoes smelling fresh and clean and to remove bacteria.
The best way to get gum off your boots and shoes is by freezing the gum. You can either apply ice to the spot or set the footwear in the freezer in a bag. Gently scrape off the frozen gum with a butter knife or the edge of a credit card.
Here’s to hoping your boots look like new again in no time.