How to Care for Cowboy Boots in 2022: the Ultimate Guide

Are you wondering how to care for cowboy boots? You are not alone. Cowboy boots can last for years with the right care and treatment! Let’s discuss how to care for cowboy boots so you can enjoy them for decades.

Keep your leather boots in good condition by brushing them regularly, conditioning them with mink oil or saddle soap whenever they appear dry, and polishing them at least once a year. To maintain the shape of the boots, place them in a boot tree while they’re not being worn.

When you take good care of your cowboy boots, you will preserve not only their cleanliness but also the investment you made when purchasing them. These easy steps, whether you are a rookie or have lots of experience, will help you maintain your cowboy boots properly.

How to care for Cowboy Boots: Inside

Cleaning the interiors of your cowboy boots is something you don’t always consider, but it can be imperative because your feet have direct contact with those areas.

To begin with, you will need a vacuum, a soft bristle brush, a fabric cleaner, a water spray bottle and a clean rag. Once you have assembled all the necessary materials, follow the guide below.

Step 1: Dry-Clean Your Cowboy Boots

Clean the inside of the boots thoroughly with a soft bristle brush and a clean rag. Vacuum to get rid of any dust or dirt that remains.

Step 2: Damp Sponge Your Cowboy Boots

Use a cloth dampened with a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent alcohol. Avoid spraying the solution directly on the leather or soaking your fabric before wiping, as that will cause the leather to expand unduly. Afterward, use a small brush with stiff bristles sprinkled with a bit of water to scrub inside your boots.

Step 3: Clean The Inside of Your Cowboy Boots

Wipe the inside of the boots with a clean rag. Ensure the rag gets to every nook and cranny of the boots’ interiors.

Step 4: Use A Boot-tree

To prevent cracks and creases in your boots, you should dry them overnight on boot trees. You can also place the footwear on a boot dryer if you want them to lose moisture faster.

How to care for Cowboy Boots: Outside

To maintain the maximum performance of your cowboy boots and preserve their quality, you must sanitize them regularly. Below is a step-by-step guide for cleaning the exteriors of your boots.

Step 1: Gather the Materials for Cleaning

Gather all the materials needed to clean, condition, and polish your leather shoes: a clean rag, soft bristle brush, leather conditioner, and leather polish.

Lexol Conditioner Cleaner Kit, Use on Car Leather, Furniture, Shoes, Bags, and Accessories, Quick & Easy Step Regimen, 8 oz Bottles, Includes Two Application Sponges

The Lexol Conditioner Cleaner Kit includes two sponges, a leather cleaner, and a jar of leather conditioner. Get yours today!

Chemical Guys HOL303 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Care Kit

Another option is the Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioning Kit, which includes a cleaner, conditioner, leather detailer, three towels, two sponges and a horse hair brush. This kit can be used to clean any leather items you have, car seats, leather furniture—not just cowboy boots!

Step 2: Use a Dampened Rag to Clean the Cowboy Boots

To clean boots, begin by dampening a rag with warm water. Then, wipe the exterior of the boots with the rag in soft strokes. If there’s any stubborn dirt that refuses to budge, you can brush it off with an old toothbrush.

Step 3: Dry your cowboy boots

Dry your boots with a white rag—not with heat. The reason is that leather needs to breathe and will crack when placed next to a direct source of heat, like a naked fire, the sun, or a blow-dryer.

Step 4: Condition the cowboy boots

Apply a small amount of leather conditioner to a dry rag and rub it on the boots. The most effective type of leather conditioner is saddle soap. It cleans, conditions, and protects the leather from damage.

Another leather conditioner is mink oil. This product, when applied to boots, increases their resistance to water and enriches and darkens their color.

To properly moisturize leather boots, start at the bottom of the boots and work in circles upwards. Ensure that the leather absorbs the conditioner. If necessary, work more conditioner into the boots’ exteriors. They should have a hydrated, dull-glazed sheen when you’re done.

Step 5: Polish the cowboy boots

It’s time for polishing. Starting from the lower part of the boots, polish them in a circular motion, ensuring that the leather absorbs the polish.

If you’re not already the proud owner of polish for your cowboy boots, Stone and Clark offers Shoe Shine kits that contain black, brown, and neutral polish. If your boots are neither black nor brown, you can use neutral polish to protect them without altering their color. (Click here to check availability and pricing)

Stone & Clark 12PC Shoe Polish & Care Kit, Leather Shoe Shine Kit with Brown Wax, Shoe Brushes for Polishing, Compact Shoe Cleaning Kit with Horse Hair Brushes & PU

How to Clean Leather Cowboy Boots

Proper boot care is essential for your boots, just like skincare is for your skin. There are three easy steps to boot care, namely, cleaning, conditioning, and polishing.


Cleaning your boots regularly will prevent them from becoming dry and dirty, which could cause the microscopic fibers that give them their durability to dry out. When you do clean them, be patient and thorough about it to avoid stripping away the leather.

Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt, dust, or mud that may have settled on or stuck to the boots. Apply saddle soap to any stubborn dirt patches on the boots’ surfaces.


Conditioning leather boots will make the material soft and flexible. Wipe the boots dry with a clean cloth before conditioning them. To preserve the color of your boots, use lanolin oil. Oil-based conditioners, like mink oil, tend to darken the natural color of leather, so it’s best to apply them to dark-colored boots.

To feed your boot conditioner, apply it with a soft cloth, then gently rub it into the leather. Make sure to work it into all parts of the boot.


To rejuvenate a leather boot and give it a natural finish, polish it with a horsehair brush. This will cover up scratches while leaving a glossy shine. Remember that polishing is optional—but if you want your boots to look their best, do it!

Please, please, do not use colored polish on snakeskin boots; the chemicals in it will turn the leather green.

How to Clean Suede Cowboy Boots

Suede cowboy boots differ from leather ones in texture and cleaning processes. The former is more delicate than the latter, so when you clean it with water, the color will change to a darker shade, and it will appear stained.

You can keep your suede boots looking like new with this cleaning kit (available on Amazon), which includes everything you need to make them sparkle. Check its current price here.

To erase a light speck of dirt on suede cowboy boots, brush the affected area lightly. Rub a clean rag dampened with vinegar in a circular motion on heavier dirt patches. When those damp regions are dry, brush them slowly with a soft brush to loosen up the dirt.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to cleaning suede cowboy boots.

Step 1: Brush Affected Area

Gently brush stained areas with a soft-bristled brush, working in one direction.

Step 2: Stain Eraser

You can also try removing marks with a stain eraser. This step may take some time, so be patient. Rub the eraser over the stained area and watch as it disappears.

Step 3: Rub Alcohol on Heavily Stained Areas

To remove heavy dirt from your shoes, you can use vinegar or isopropyl alcohol. Pour some of the liquid into the heavily stained area of your shoes, rub it in, and leave those areas to dry. Then brush them to lift leftover dirt particles.

Step 4: Use Protectant

Most suede protectants come in spray bottles. Holding an appropriate protectant at a distance of 6 inches, spray your suede cowboy boots evenly and let them dry for at least 30 minutes before wearing them again.


There is no reason to throw away your favorite pair of boots just because they have gotten dirty and lost their luster. You can restore them to their former glory and look as if they had not been worn at all by properly cleaning them. Then they will last for years and continue being your favorite go-to footwear.

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