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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 Cowgirl Boots, this can also help you make an easier decision of which type of leather (and care regimen) best suits you.

A close-up view of a person wearing dark blue jeans and shiny black leather boots. the feet are slightly angled on a dark floor.

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.

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.

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.

A person pulling on a brown cowboy boot while standing on a wooden floor, with another boot nearby.
A pair of brown ostrich leather cowboy boots in an open shoebox on a patterned rug.

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.

Exotic alligator, crocodile, caiman, and lizard material can be conditioned monthly.

A person wearing textured brown leather cowboy boots, crossed at the ankles, sits relaxed on a leather sofa.
Close-up of a person standing on a brick curb, wearing textured black cowboy boots and a green trench coat with a black bag.

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 them 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.

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

Close-up of a person's lower legs and feet, wearing jeans and textured brown cowboy boots on a wooden floor.
A close-up of a person wearing brown suede ankle boots with zippers, captured as they stand on a woven rug, complementing a floral dress.

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.

5 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 the Tecovas Basics Care Kit. Our Basics Care Kit comes with:

  • Foam Cleaner (12 oz.) – for use on dirty or stained leather. Ingredients: Water, Propane, ethanol, Sorbitan monooleate, ethoxylated, D-Glucopyranose, oligomers, decyl octyl glycosides, propan-2-ol;isopropyl alcohol; isopropanol, D-Glucopyranose, oligomeric, C10-16-alkyl glycosides.
  • Protector (8 oz.) – clean and extend the life of the leather. Ingredients: Water, propan-2-ol;isopropyl alcohol;isopropanol, Siloxanes and Silicones, 2-[2-aminoethyl)amino]propyl Me, di-Me, methoxy-terminated, 2-(2-butoxyethoxy)ethanol, 2-hexyloxyethanol.
  • Renovator (4 oz.) – all-natural conditioner for softness and shine. Ingredients: Water, Carnauba wax, Mink Oil, Castor Oil, Sorbitan monolaurate, ethoxylated, Rapithix A-100.
  • Clear Wax Polish (2 oz.) – give ‘em the finishing touch. Ingredients: Coconut Oil, hydrogenated, Carnauba wax, Candelilla wax.
  • Edge Dressing – hide scuffs and scratches along the heel and sole. Ingredients: Water, 1,2-benzisothiazol-3(2H)-one;1,2-benziosothiazolin-3-one.
  • Brick Brush
  • Leather Care Cloth
  • Drawstring dust bag with original Tecovas artwork for on the go

Below we highlight how to clean our popular Scotch Goat Cartwrights:

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. After you wipe them down you can then use your brush to wipe any excess dirt or dust off. Allow the boots to dry before moving on to step two.

2. Apply Foaming 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. Renovator Conditioner

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.

4. Work on Edges

As the conditioner dries you can then use our Edge Dressing product to paint the sides of your boot edges. Make sure to get slightly underneath the edge as well (especially on the toe section).

5. 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 Leather Wax 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.

Our Exotic Polish is sold separately, but we highly recommend taking care of any exotic boots you may have. The same steps are needed to clean your exotic boots, but the Exotic Polish doubles as both a conditioner and polish. Apply a small amount to your finger and start applying on the toe and work your way back. To work the polish into the scales we recommend using the brush side to side to really get in there.

6. Protector & Refresher (Optional)

Our water-based protector can protect against, water, stains, dirt, etc. When applying to some boots keep in mind that it may darken some leathers so we recommend starting on the pull strap or the counter first to see how it looks. If you're happy with the looks you can then apply the spray to all areas of the boot. Once applied, you can take your rag and wipe off any excess.

We recommend applying once and then letting it set for 1-2 hours. Then apply again and let it dry overnight.

You can also take your boot care to the next level by using our Refresher product sold separately. This is an odorless deodorizer that you will spray a few times inside the boot to neutralize any smells.

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.