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How To Take Care of Work Boots

Last updated on: February 6th, 2020

Work boots can last from a few months to a couple of years depending on the attention and care they receive i.e. the better care they will receive the better service they will provide. So your first question when you get one should be “how to take care of boots?”. Built for being tough doesn’t mean that work boot doesn’t require any care. You need to spare only a few hours per month to keep your work boots in the best shape.

There are several things that you can do to ensure your best work boots stay in the best condition, ranging from regular cleaning to proper weekly/biweekly conditioning.

While working with work boots, you need to pay close attention to the type of leather from which they are crafted.

While some are made from grain leather, other are made of suede leather.

The built of work boots play a major role in how they should be properly cleaned and maintained.

This article will elaborate:

  • Tips to enhance work boots longevity
  • The step-by-step procedure of cleaning and scrubbing them
  • How to remove scratches
  • How to get the best out of them, and
  • How to keep your old boots healthy

Quick Tips for Work Boots

Keep a clean cloth to wipe off dirt and dust every time you unwear your work boots.

Here are some quick tips that will keep your work boots in the best condition:

  • Apply waterproofing cream, spray or wax once a month or twice, if they are exposed to water daily
  • Remove dust and mud daily from them
  • Properly clean/scrub them once/twice a month
  • Store them in a properly ventilated and dry area
  • Apply a conditioning oil on your old boots that start cracking

How to clean your work boots

What you need

boot cleaning brushFollowing is the list of essential things that you need before you start cleaning/scrubbing your work boots:

  • A clean shoe brush
  • Boot-cleaner/Liquid dish wash
  • A clean empty bowl
  • Clean water at room temperature
  • A drying fan (Optional)
  • Waterproofing cream/spray/wax

Step-by-step Procedure

Your trusted work boot pair needs the cleaning they deserve.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Free the shoe from insoles and shoelaces
  2. Use a clean shoe brush/your hand to remove all the dirt/mud clumps
  3. Mix water and a small amount of boot-cleaner/liquid dish wash in a bowl
  4. Use the stiff brush/clean cloth to scrub the boots
  5. Rinse off them with clean water
  6. Allow them to dry in a clean and ventilated area
  7. Use a fan to dry them faster (Optional)
  8. Apply a thin layer of waterproofing cream, spray or wax

How to Remove Scratches

No amount of conditioner makes your work boots scratch-proof whether they are made of leather, grain leather or suede leather.

Here is how to deal with scratches for three different types of work boots leather:

  • Clean as described above
  • Try to settle down the part(s) that has protruded because of scratch(es). You can use an additional conditioner for the purpose
  • Apply some white vinegar, which helps leather to naturally close up, over the scratch while trying to compress the part
  • Use show polish
  • Clean as described above
  • Use shoe polish to buff the scratch
  • Apply liquid silicone finish over the entire boot, which looks much like the lacquer that is polished over the patent leather by the manufacturer. It helps to hide away the scratch as well as shoe polish and makes the boot look intact
  • Suede leather is delicate, therefore, use a pencil eraser only
  • Use a toothbrush to raise around the scratch by buffing
  • Apply conditioner on the scratch

7 Best Care Tips for Your Work Boots

  1. Clean Regularly
    boot cleaning
    Giving your work boots a regular cleanup is necessary for keeping them for a fairly long time.A swift 5-minute scrub every weekend not only keeps your work boots in their best condition but also helps to extend their life.Water-based cleaning products are a must to be used with boots containing original leather.A nylon brush and a pencil eraser are the most effective scrubbers for leather and suede leather work boots, respectively.Any shampoo with a low pH-level can be used to clean the boots from the inside.
  2. Keep Work Boots For the Intended Use
    Work boots are ruined easily if you use them for purposes that are damaging for them.Don’t wear your work boots on weekends as the conditions will be entirely different for which you are using them during the work week and hence can cause unnecessary wear and tear.Keep them reserved for work only. If your boots are made from suede leather, then you need to protect them better from water and other things that can damage them and wear out them sooner.
  3. Mind Break In Period
    Every work boot pair has a break in period i.e. the time after which the work boots will feel comfortable to wear. While the break in period for some work boots has no real significance, others might require a few weeks before they can fit into your work schedule.Don’t push your boots into the main thing as it can cause some undesired damage to them. Over the time, you can reduce your work boots’ break in period with the use of a conditioner.Conditioner helps in softening them up in a natural way. Check here if you want to know how to break in leather boots.
  4. Only Water-based Water Proofing
    Waterproofing work boots aids in keeping the leather look real cool. You need to pay utmost care while waterproofing your shoes as they can also lose the quality of leather if waterproofed unfairly. You need to strictly limit yourself to using only those waterproofing products that are water-based. There are several reasons for this:
  • Water-based products allow the boots to evaporate sweat from the inside and repel water on the outside
  • Heat can warp leather so; water-based products doesn’t require heat
  • These products are free from any petroleum constituent that can stretch leather
  • Such products never attract dirtFor achieving the optimal results, you need to apply three coats. First coat needs to be applied as soon as you receive your boots. The second one is applied about two weeks later, and the third one is applied when they are a month old. Afterward, it’s only up to your will to apply another waterproof coat(s).
  1. Regular Conditioning is Must
    Conditioning your work boots in a week/2 week is a good practice, but you can also condition them whenever they look stiffened. Conditioner for boots is used in the same sense as they are used for the skin. Much like our skin, leather tends to loose water over time and become dehydrated. This dehydration causes cracks to open up in the boots and make them looks weary. In this condition, the leather becomes more susceptible to scratches and wrinkles. For work boots made from suede leather, use only those conditioners that mention suede leather on top of the box.
  2. Replace Worn Out/Thin Insoles
    The first thing to go down after you put your work boots on for 40 hours a week is its insoles. There is nothing in this that the sole makers can do because it’s the natural fate of anything that is stepped on repeatedly. As soon as you find out that your insoles have worn out, get them replaced. Insoles aren’t much pricey work boots accessories and hence can be bought at a fraction of the original cost of your work boots. You can also get a new pair of insoles if you believe that the stock soles are thinner.
  3. You Can Use Leather Polish
    Boot polish has no practical effect on how long the work boots last. Nonetheless, it helps to make them look healthier every time you put them on.Use boot polish this way:
  • Clean boots as mentioned above and let them completely dry
  • Slowly apply the shoe polish all over the boot(s)
  • Remove excess shoe polish leftover with a shoe brush

Using a leather conditioner to maintain older boots

how to condition leather bootsAfter a certain time, your boots will start to wear off. Don’t worry as this is an evitable phase for every work boot pair, or almost anything in the entire universe, to face.

Before you decide to let go of your shoes, there is a lot of time in between where you can still use your cracking boots. You need a leather conditioner to make the best out of the last phase of your boots’ life.

To state this simply, leather in actual is a skin, and like every other skin, it starts to dry. Hence it needs to be well conditioned and moisturized. At this time, using a leather conditioner becomes a must.

This helps you to spend more time with your trusty work boots. So, as soon as your boots start to get crack and dry start using a conditioner once every two weeks.

Apply using it the way you use a waterproofing wax. These steps will keep your work boots alive for as much as three years.


Work boots can serve you better when you keep them healthy and give them the care they deserve. Regularly clean your work boots to preserve their original look.

Keep a clean cloth to wipe off dirt and dust off them every time you unwear them. You can use small amounts of water to ward off any dust/dirt mark(s).

Just after you take your feet out of the work boots let them dry in a properly ventilated place to save them from getting incensed with the smell of the sweat and to protect them from the damaging effects of the sweat.

I’m a seasoned Interior Designer whose innovation, keen eye for detail and creativity have all earned me the reputation as a reliable go-to professional. Over the course of a decade, I’ve garnered extensive industry experience, successfully designing hundreds of bathrooms along the way. Additionally, I hold an Interior Design Certificate from College of Architecture and Design in Newark, New Jersey. Outside of my profession, I have an avid interest in all things related to fitness and cryptocurrency. If you are looking for a competent expert who can help you renovate your living space, then feel free to contact me today.

  1. Excellent information. You bought a good pair of safety toe boots safety toe boots, but ignore to clean it, care it, it won’t last long.

  2. Nice article…i like your advise on how to take good care of our shoes.

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