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Leather Work Boot Care

by Hugh Snyder

Your work boots are a major investment, so it makes sense to take care of them. Leather work boots get a lot of hard wear, but with a little bit of daily maintenance and occasional deeper cleaning, you can help them last a long time. The following tips can help.

Tip #1: Keep them clean

After a long day of work, the last thing you may want to deal with is cleaning your boots. Yet this is the single best way to prolong their lifespan. It doesn't take much – simply hose them down to remove the bulk of the dirt and grime. Consider placing a boot cleaner by the main entrance to your home. These have bristles that you scrape your feet through to clean the bottoms and sides. There are even versions that you can attach a hose to, which will then pump water through the bristles as you scrape.

Tip #2: Deep clean monthly

At least once a month, set aside some time to really clean your boots. This means soaping them up with a leather cleaner and working it into the leather with a leather brush. This will remove the grit and dirt that has worked its way into the grain of the leather. It's best to wear the boots as they dry so they maintain their fit.

Tip #3: Waterproof and condition as needed

For most boots, conditioning and waterproofing should be done after a deep cleaning and drying. First, work a leather conditioner into the boots. This will help keep the leather supple. Then, apply the leather waterproofing wax, working it in with a clean cloth. This will form a protective barrier that will help prolong the life of your work boots while also keeping your feet dry.

Tip #4: Know how to store

Hopefully you don't have to wear work boots everyday. When they aren't on, they should be stored in a dry and well-ventilated area – leather can rot in humid or moist environments. Invest in some shoe trees to place inside the boots to help them maintain their shape when they aren't being worn, as well. You may also want to consider getting a boot drying stand, especially if your boots tend to get wet in your line of work or if you live in a wet or humid climate.

For more help, talk to a work boot retailer in your area.