How to Waterproof Boots at Home?


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You invested in a good pair of leather work boots, and you want to make the most out of them, by wearing them even when it’s raining or snowing. Unfortunately, leather is a porous material, and the chances of the water getting inside the boots, are high.

We got you covered. 

There is an easy way to make your boots waterproof in the comfort of your own home. We will show you how.

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Why Is it Important to Waterproof Your Leather Work Boots? 

While you should not waterproof every pair of shoes you own, it is very important to waterproof your leather work boots. They are that pair of shoes with a higher chance of coming into contact with water. Leather has some water resistance, but it cannot hold too much. Due to its porous nature, leather is one of the materials that quickly absorbs liquids, meaning that the shoes will become wet, and the water will reach your feet in no time.

No one wants wet feet while working, right? Not only does it feels very uncomfortable, but it also causes your feet to feel cold and numb. You will also be exposed to other potential risks for the health of your feet, like blisters, bunions, infections, deformations, etc.

Waterproofing your leather work boots is also very important for durability and lifespan. Water will make the leather lose elasticity, while constant friction on the shoe permanently damages them. Leather will eventually discolor and crack in several places.

Steps to Waterproof Your Leather Work Boots at Home

Fortunately, you do not have to spend a lot of time and money to make your leather boots waterproof. With just a little effort, you can do it yourself, in the comfort of your own home. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to waterproof your leather work boots at home.

Step 1: Clean your bootS well 

It is crucial to clean your boots after every time you wear them. It suits your hygiene, prevents infections, and expends the lifespan of boots.

Cleaning your boots well is the first step in the process of waterproofing your leather boots. Start by soaking a sponge or cloth in lukewarm water, and rub your boots to get most of the dirt away. Rinse the cloth, and repeat the process, if needed. For more stubborn gunk, you can use a brush or even an old toothbrush you do not use for narrow and minor parts that you cannot reach with a sponge or a bigger brush.

If needed, you can use a little soap or detergent, but be attentive to rinse them thoroughly afterward. There are specific types of cleaners for boots in the market, but clothes detergent, all-purpose surface cleaning cream, or even baking soda, will do the job.

By cleaning your boots well, you are setting a good base for the next steps of the process. Let’s be honest – we want to waterproof our boots, not the layer of dirt in them, right?

Step 2: Let your boots dry 

You can start with a dry cloth to take as much water as possible from the boots. You will collect most of the water away from your leather boots, leaving them with a dry surface. Do not continue with the process while your shoes are still wet.

It is safer to wait for about 20 minutes to know that your boots are completely dry before you proceed. If you have also washed the inside of your boots, it is best to leave them to dry for 24 hours, or at least overnight if you don’t have time to wait for a whole day.

It is best to leave them air dry at room temperature. Do not use a blow dryer to fasten the process, and do not put your boots on top of the room heater because it will forcibly dry your boots, damaging the top layer of them and it will cause crack and peeling of the leather. Leaving them out in the sun is also not a good idea.

Leaving your boots to dry will also remove foul odors that may have been created inside the boots.


Step 3: Apply the right amount of wax 

Waxing is the old-school method to waterproof leather boots. It’s easy, durable, and the best seal for outdoors boots.

You can use just your own hands or a lint-free, soft, and clean cloth to apply the wax. Wear protective gloves if possible. You want to apply a thick layer of wax and spread it evenly across the entire surface of your boots. Make sure you don’t miss any spots.

Heat the boots slightly, remove any excess wax and smooth out uneven areas, if there are any.

Step 4: Let your boots dry naturally 

Leave your boots to dry in a safe, dark, and dry environment for at least a few hours. If possible, leave them overnight before wearing them.

After they dry for a little while, buff them to become nice and shiny.

Using a hairdryer might sound like a good idea if you are in a rush, but it risks the failure of the whole process since it can potentially make the wax crack before it even has the opportunity to seal in the boots.

Best Products for Waterproofing Leather Boots

There are waxes made especially for boots, that you can find in the market. But it is not necessary to buy them. You can use beeswax, bayberry wax, carnauba wax, candelilla wax, soy wax, or any type of wax you have close to your hand. Vegetable and animal oils are also used to condition leather boots and prevent them from any damage and make them more durable.

Natural waxes do the job of waterproofing your boots and are cheaper and easier to find.

How Often Should You Waterproof Your Boots? 

You may need to re-wax your boots occasionally, especially if you wear them. One application should last for around six months to a year, but it depends on how much you use your work boots.

You will know it’s time to re-wax your boots when you notice the wax starts cracking or they begin to leak.

Again, do the same process to make your work leather boots leakproof and water-resistant.

Final Thoughts

Waterproofing your work leather boots is easy and very beneficial. You will enjoy wearing your boots and working in them for as long as you need to, in whatever weather it’s needed, without worrying that your feet will be wet and cold or your boots will get old and worn out quickly.


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