Ignore the so-called experts; here's all you need to keep your leather cowboy boots in top-notch condition. Some Chisos Leather Balm, a horsehair brush, and an old rag. Watch for the proven method to restore and protect your investment!
Step-by-step boot cleaning video instructions:
- 0:38 — Brushing off dirt technique
- 2:20 — No water or silicon-based products
- 3:53 — Applying leather balm/conditioner
- 5:58 — Let the boots dry + additional tips
- 7:27 — Second brushing and buff to a shine
- 9:02 — Finished effect and closing thoughts
What supplies do you need to clean cowboy boots?
You only need three things to ensure your boots last for decades:
- Leather balm or conditioner
- Horsehair brush
- Lint-free rag or old t-shirt
For dried mud or stubborn areas like the welt, you might add a tightly-wound brush or toothbrush to your kit. I also use a lighter to nip stray threads. You might consider some edge dressing to darken up the sole/welt edges on black boots.
Can I use water to clean leather boots?
No, I strictly advise against using water to clean your comfortable cowboy boots. Water will lift out the oils in the leather and dry out your boots. This will reduce their ability to flex and eventually can lead to cracks and other damage. Instead, use the leather conditioner if you need to get of dried mud or other tough dirt.
How often should I condition my boots?
A good rule of thumb is to condition your cowboy boots once every three months. I set a simple calendar reminder. If you really beat 'em up or get them really dirty/muddy, you can clean more frequently. But over-conditioning is as big a risk as under-conditioning.
How do you clean & condition leather cowboy boots?
- Grab your horsehair brush. Brush off all the dust and dirt that you can. You can brush as much as you want. And direction doesn't matter; you aren't going to hurt the boots.
- Apply leather conditioner or balm. You only need a small amount, about a half-dollar size, and you can apply directly with your hands. If you've got dried mud or dirt in the seams, you can use your rag to simultaneously apply conditioner and scrub loose the grime.
- Let the boots dry. Should take about an hour.
- Grab that brush again. Brush the boots thoroughly, spreading out the leather balm, and bringing the natural oils to the surface. Once you're done brushing, if you like the look, you can just stop here.
- Buff with the rag. For a shinier look, use the rag to buff to a shine. Much like you would experience when sitting in a shoe-shine chair. I don't use any polish on my boots, but if you want to, now's the time to start that process.
And that's it! A little bit of maintenance goes a long way. Chisos cowboy boots are tough and built from leather tanned with the intention of lasting for decades. Now go make some memories in your boots!