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Man shining calfskin boots

To keep your boots looking and performing their best, we’re sharing our best tips for how to clean leather boots of all types. Let’s start with how often you should clean leather boots.

How Often Should You Clean Leather Boots?

Leather boots can (and should) be lightly cleaned after every wear with a quick brush. For boots in need of a deeper clean, condition, or polish, the method of care changes based on the leather type.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of cleaning leather boots, let’s talk about the ground rules of when and how to clean leather boots by leather type. If you’re considering purchasing a pair of Tecovas Cowboy Boots or Tecovas Cowgirl Boots, this can also help you make an easier decision of which type of leather (and care regimen) best suits you.

Calfskin, Bovine, and Oiled Bovine

Calfskin, bovine, and oiled-bovine boots can be cleaned and polished based on your preference but should only be conditioned every one or two months.

The Earl calfskin boot

Goat & Bison

Goat and bison leathers contain natural protective oils, so they do not require extra conditioning. In fact, over-conditioning goat or bison leather could ruin the overall finish.

The Cartwright in Scotch Goat

To keep goat and bison leather looking fresh without compromising their natural color, condition goat and bison leather boots three to four times each year or as necessary. Any residue on the leather can be wiped away with a damp cloth or brushed and buffed out with a horsehair brush.

The Prescott boot being put on foot

Ostrich

Like goat and bison leather, ostrich can be easily wiped with a damp, clean cloth or brushed and buffed with a horsehair brush to remove residue as needed. Conditioning ostrich boots every one to two months is recommended.

The Wyatt Ostrich boot

Alligator, Crocodile, Caiman & Lizard

Exotic alligator, crocodile, Caiman and lizard can be conditioned monthly using the Tecovas Leather Boot Care or Bickmore Exotic Conditioner.

The William Caiman Boot

Python

Extra care is required for python skins, which can crack if they become too wet or dry. Condition python boots once a month, taking extra care to condition with the grain of the scales. While it’s recommended to avoid polish altogether, if you find it necessary, we recommend using a cream-based polish.

The Savannah Python Boot Midnight

Shark

Regular cleaning of shark hide boots requires only a damp cloth and a horsehair brush. Shark hide boots should never be polished!

The Quintin Shark Boot in Chocolate

Suede

Suede is a unique type of leather that requires a different method of care compared to most leather boots. Suede boots should never be conditioned.

The Daisy Boot in Sienna Suede

4 Steps to Cleaning Leather Boots

Before cleaning, we recommend inserting a pair of socks or a boot insert into your boots to make cleaning, conditioning, and polishing even easier. For a leather cleaning job well done, complete the following steps using Tecovas Leather Boot Care Kit or other Leather Boot Care Kit.

1. Clean Off Debris

Step one is to remove any caked-on mud or debris on the surface of your boots, the edge of the sole, and the heel. This can be accomplished with a damp cloth. Allow the boots to dry before moving on to step two.

2. Apply Leather Cleaner

With dry boots, spray your leather cleaner onto the leather care cloth and gently rub it sparingly onto the entire boot surface. Add a little bit of extra cleaner for noticeable blemishes and work it into the leather with your horsehair brush. Once complete, gently wipe off any excess leather cleaner and allow the leather to dry.

3. Condition

Except for goat, bison, shark, and suede, conditioning boots every one to two months is recommended to ensure the leather does not dry out.

To condition your leather boots, spread the leather conditioner out in small, slightly overlapping sections all over the boot. Work the conditioner into the leather well by giving boots a thorough scrub with your horsehair brush.

Aside from the leather conditioner included in Tecovas Leather Care Kit, we also recommend Bickmore’s Bick 4 conditioner or, for ostrich and reptilian hides, Bickmore Exotic conditioner.

4. Shine

If you prefer boots to have a polished finish, complete your leather boot care protocol with a colorless, wax-based polish, like the Tecovas Neutral Shine included in our Leather Care Kit.

Apply a small amount of Neutral Polish to the areas of the boot you’d like to add shine. Allow the polish to dry before brushing the boot with a soft cloth. Further, enhance shine by buffing the leather with a horsehair brush.

Other recommended wax polishes include the Lincoln wax polish and Allen Edmonds spray shine.

If you believe your boots require more TLC than our leather boot care kit can muster, the boot restoration program is worth your consideration. Our boot restoration partner NuShoe will breathe new life into your boots with detailed cleaning, conditioning, polishing, and full resole.

Don’t Go Gently in Tecovas

No matter which type of leather suits you best, rest assured that Tecovas quality craftsmanship and care products make it simple to keep your boots looking and performing like new for years to come. Shop Tecovas today to find the tried-and-true leather boots and care products ideal for every way you like to work, play, and explore new frontiers.