Wipe off dust
Remember that leather is skin and will react the way skin does, so the most important thing you can do in caring for any piece of leather footwear is to KEEP IT FREE OF DUST. Dust will settle in the creases of boots and shoes. It acts like sandpaper; cutting at the finish with every step you take. Sooner or later, it will cut through not only the finish but the fiber itself and the leather will split. WIPE YOUR BOOTS OFTEN, not just before you shine them, but also every time you take them off. You don't need a special cloth or brush. Make it a habit to wipe them off with anything you have handy. You can't wipe boots too often.
Wash off loose dirt
After you wipe them, clean your boots. You can use leather cleaner that cleans boots just as well as saddle soap or better and other time worn methods. What's more, this cleaner has an oil base and is good for the leather. Skip's Boots has an All Purpose cleaner and conditioner to combine this step and the next. Our item number is D:125.
Condition your boots
Leather conditioning is a lot like skin conditioning. You put in oils and conditioners to replace those that have dried up since the leather was originally tanned. Some leathers will need more than others. It needs to be done more often in dry climates or when leather is subjected to repeated dryings. If you shine your boots regularly, you don't have to use conditioner EVERY time you shine them. Try every other time. Apply the conditioner right after you clean them while the boots are still damp because moist leather absorbs more conditioner. Keep in mind, though, that the leather can only absorb so much. If you put too much on it, it just gets sticky and dull, a case of too much of a good thing. Skip's Boots has an All Purpose cleaner and conditioner to combine this step and the next. The item number is D:125.
Apply a coat of boot cream (polish)
This is different from wash or liquid polish. It should match the color of the boot and should be rubbed into boots. Give the cream a few moments to dry and then brush or buff the boots to a shine. Skip's Boots offers creams in a variety of colors.
Additional General Hints On The Care & Feeding of Boots]
Be sure and check a small area with each treatment suggested before you proceed to clean and condition your boots.
Care of Special LeathersDISTRESSED LEATHER (APACHE LEATHER)
Distressed Leather (Apache Leather)
Distressed leathers have extra oils added just like oil-tanned leathers. Brush the boots off to get them clean, then apply our Distressed Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Lizard, Alligator, Turtle, Hornback, Anteater, Elephant, Snakeskin & Antelope
These leathers are usually dryer than cowhides and they all have an irregular surface. They need more conditioners, more often, to prevent splitting. They are also more vulnerable to dust settling in creases and doing damage sooner. The very fact that they have a hard surface and look so pretty makes it hard to get much conditioner down into the skin. So, use thinner coats, more often. These boots can dry out just sitting in the closet. Boot Trees are also a good investment to help care for these exotics and keep the skins the correct size when they're not being worn. Skip’s Boots has them available for both women and men.
Goat, Eel, & Calf
These leathers can be treated the same as regular cowhide. However, they are lighter weight, thinner and softer. They cannot take rough wear. They crease more easily and sharply and dirt here causes greater damage. They must be cared for more often.
Rub corn meal in a circular motion, let stand overnight, and then brush. Most dirt, and oil will be lifted out. This should be used on split cow or "on hair" boots only.
Mild soapy water (use Lexol, Woolite), gently wash, then rinse out all soap. Brush when dry.
Oiled, Tanned & Work Leathers
These boots have a lot of extra oils put into them at the start, but because of where and when they're usually worn, it gets pulled out. These boots will work hard for you but you have to care for them. Unlike the other leathers, you can use a HEAVY coat of oil on work boots. These leathers are prepared to soak it up. Mink oil is probably the best but there are many others. If work boots really get soaked in snow or water, clean them and oil them immediately. It slows the drying process, but helps get the oils down deep into the leather where they belong. Be sure to allow them to dry at room temperature -- speeding up the process will cause cracking. Oil tanned leather work boots are not purchased for their looks. The tanner has prepared them for rough wear and very little care. Boots made of this leather can withstand almost anything short of outright abuse.