How to Condition Leather Boots and Keep Them Looking New

Did you know that your hair conditioner can make leather boots all soft and shiny? Yes, boots. Read on and learn how to condition leather boots with household items.

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Which feeling do you like better, the refreshing moment when you slip on a new pair of shoes, or that comforting sensation when you put on a pair, especially those made of leather, that your feet have become accustomed to? How about combining both of them? If you take good care of your boots, they will look brand new while also feeling familiar.

As with any other natural material, lather can also become dry, crack, and look damaged as you use it over time. However, the process of cleaning your leather boots is so easy that you can do it yourself at home. Read on and learn how to clean leather boots with household items so they can look as good as new once again.

Why Does Leather Crack?

Real leather is an expensive fabric because it is hard to manufacture, soft, strong, and comfortable. Amidst the pros that come with leather-made footwear, there are also some things to be cautious of, such as their susceptibility to cracking. “Prevention is better than cure”, that’s why before you learn how to condition leather boots with household items, it is beneficial to understand the conditions that lead to leather cracking so you can try to avoid it.

To put it simply, leather cracks when it becomes too dry. Depending on the environment where you put your leather boots, the many small pores on their surface will absorb or release moisture. So, it is best that you avoid placing them in dry environments. Otherwise, they will desorb moisture, dry up, and form cracks.

What Does Shoe Conditioner Do?

Leather is animal skin, much like our own, and as such, it needs protection, care, and nourishment. The shoe conditioner can help your leather boots last longer. By using conditioner, you help add moisture to the pores on the surface and ensure that the leather stays soft, flexible, and crack-free.

What do you put on leather boots to condition them?

The best leather conditioners are ones that provide enough moisture for your boots so they can remain supple and damage-free. Various companies manufacture conditioners specifically for leather. However, you can achieve the same effect those products do, but with homemade mixtures or other conditioner replacements that you might already have around the house.

DIY leather conditioner replacements and recipes

A suitable replacement for a leather conditioner includes hair conditioner, which many of us already have at home. If you are wondering how to clean leather boots with hair conditioner, it is quite simple. All you need is a clean rag and some water. Mix the conditioner and water, then use the rag to spread it onto the leather boots. After five minutes, take off the hair conditioner and let the boots dry. Simple as that.

Some other replacements include various oils such as coconut, lemon, baby oil, and vaseline. In addition to these ready-made replacements, there are many recipes you can follow to make leather conditioners at home.

Wax, Butter, & Oil

Begin by melting equal parts coconut or shea butter with solid beeswax in medium-low heat. While stirring, add two parts of almond or grapeseed oil. Once that is blended, add two more parts of castor oil and continue to heat everything for five more minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture come to a boiling point. After those five minutes, let the mixture cool down, and it is ready to be used.

Vinegar and Linseed Oil

Another DIY recipe that seems to do the trick is a mixture of one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil. Once you apply the mixture to the leather, let it sit there for approximately 15 minutes. After that, use a soft cloth to spread it around and remove the excess.

How often should you condition leather boots?

The exact time when you should condition your leather boots depends on how often you use them and the environment where you keep them. Pay close attention to the leather’s color and texture. If the color begins to look more light and gray-ish, or the texture begins to shrink or crack, it might be time to condition your boots.

In general, if you wear your leather boots frequently, we would advise you to condition them once a month. However, if you don’t use them much, you can get away with conditioning the leather every three to six months.

How Do You Polish And Shine Boots?


Giving your shoes a good polish and shine will make them look great as well as help extend their lifespan. The first step is to remove the laces of your boots and fill them with paper or anything else that will provide a firm surface for you to work on. Then, you can use a dry brush and rag to remove any visible dust or dirt from the leather. Once you have finished this preparatory stage, you can apply the leather polish to another rag and spread it all over the boot. Once you are sure you have polished every bit of leather, remove the excess and re-attach the laces.

What can you use for polishing?

You can safely polish and shine your leather boots with leather cleaner or polisher. However, you can also use a simple cleaning and polishing solution of equal parts vinegar and water. As long as you are careful not to scratch the leather and don’t use dish soap with any heavy chemicals, a good ol’ mixture of lukewarm water with dish soap works as well.

Do You First Condition or Polish Boots?

The correct order of applying the concoctions we mentioned is first cleaning the boots and making sure they are dry. Then, you should apply the conditioner to lock in the moisture in the leather pores, and finally, polish everything to achieve a shiny look.

Now that you know what to put on leather boots to make them look shiny and new again, you can return the favor you owe them for protecting your feet, providing comfort and style all this time. Remember, if you take care of them, they will continue to take care of you. Happy conditioning!


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