How To Clean Cowboy Boots with Household Items? (Easy Steps)

Howdy partner! We’ve all been there: after a long day riding, roping, or just rocking that cowboy swagger, your trusted pair of cowboy boots look more like they’ve been through a desert storm than a stroll down Main Street.

Dust, mud, grime—they all seem to have an unshakeable fondness for those sturdy leathers. And the truth is, your boots aren’t just part of your outfit; they are a statement of your character, a testament to your grit and gusto.

So, what do you do when your favorite pair starts to lose their sparkle? Head to a professional cleaner and shell out the big bucks? Nope. Today, we will take a detour down the DIY lane, where elbow grease meets household items, and restore those boots to their former glory.

Welcome to our handy-dandy guide on ‘How to Clean Cowboy Boots with Household Items.’ Let’s mosey on and learn the secrets to keeping your boots looking like they just stepped off the ranch, all with things you’ve got lying around the house! Saddle up, and let’s get started, you all.

Why Cleaning Your Cowboy Boots Matter:

Look down at your feet, and what do you see? If you’re sporting a pair of cowboy boots, you’re not just wearing footwear; you’re carrying a legacy.

Those boots speak volumes about your taste, lifestyle, and maybe even your spirit of adventure. Now, imagine how it’d feel if that legacy started to crumble due to neglect. Not such a pretty picture.

Here’s the plain truth, folks: just like any piece of fine craftsmanship, your cowboy boots need regular love and attention to keep their luster shining bright.

But let’s put fancy words aside for a moment. Cleaning your boots regularly is as essential as refueling your truck. If you don’t, those boots will break down sooner than you’d like.

Dirt, grime, and moisture are enemies number one, two, and three for your boots. They can sneak into the smallest crevices, breaking down the material over time, causing cracks, discoloration, and even unpleasant odors. Now, no cowboy—or cowgirl—wants to sport boots that look like they’ve been chewed up and spit out by a coyote.

Also read: Are cowboy boots waterproof?

And here’s where household items come to the rescue! Let’s face it; not all of us have fancy boot-cleaning kits or want to use harsh chemicals on our prized possessions.

Household items can be as effective, gentler on your boots, and lighter on your pocket too! Whether using a dab of dish soap for a deep clean or a touch of olive oil to keep them conditioned, your kitchen cupboard holds a host of boot-saving options.

So, to keep your boots looking sharp and ready for whatever the day throws at you, it’s important to kick off the dust, buff out the dirt, and give them the TLC they deserve.

After all, your cowboy boots aren’t just shoes; they’re an extension of you, your roots, and your cowboy spirit!

How To Clean Cowboy Boots with Household Items

Know Your Boots: Identify Your Cowboy Boots Material

It’s not just the shape, the fit, or even the style that makes your cowboy boots uniquely yours—it’s also the material they’re made of.

Knowing what fabric hugs your feet day in and day out is key to understanding how to clean and care for them properly. And with cowboy boots, we’re talking about a whole rodeo of materials!

The most common type, and the cowboy classic, is leather. It’s tough, resilient, and with proper care, can withstand just about anything you can throw at it.

But not all leather is created equal; there’s full-grain, top-grain, and split leather, each with its own unique characteristics and cleaning needs.

Then we’ve got suede, the softer, more delicate cousin of leather. It’s got a rich, velvety texture that adds a touch of luxury to any boot but needs a gentle hand when it comes to cleaning.

But hold onto your hat because we’re not done yet! Exotic skins like snake, ostrich, or even alligator might be gracing your boots, making them a real conversation starter. These materials are a bit finicky and require special attention to keep them in tip-top shape.

Now, why is it so important to identify your boot material?

Well, just like you wouldn’t wash a silk shirt the same way as a cotton tee, different boot materials need different cleaning strategies. Using the wrong method could damage your boots, turning your stylish stompers into sad, worn-out has-beens.

So before we start swinging those cleaning supplies, let’s take a moment to understand what our boots are made of.

Identifying your boot material is the first step in our boot-cleaning journey—a journey that will keep your boots lookin’ good, feeling comfortable, and ready for whatever trail you’re blazing next.

Also read: Are cowboy boots business casual?

Start with Basic Cleaning: Dust and Dirt Removal

So, you’ve identified your boot material and are ready to dive into the world of boot care. Fantastic! Let’s begin with the simplest step—sweeping away dust and dirt. It might not sound like much, but it can make a difference to your boots. Like a good old country song, the magic is in the basics.

  • First off, gather your tools. You need nothing fancy—just a soft, dry cloth and a soft-bristled brush. You might be asking, “Why soft?” Well, we don’t want to scratch or damage the boot surface. Just like your favorite horse, your boots need gentle care.
  • Now, let’s kick up some dust! Start by removing any loose dirt from your boots using the brush. Remember, you’re not scrubbing off grime here, just brushing away the dust. Use gentle, sweeping motions, like the wind blowing over a wheat field. Make sure you get into all those nooks and crannies where dust loves to hide.
  • Next, take your soft cloth and wipe down the entire boot, from top to bottom. This step helps remove any leftover dust the brush didn’t catch. Again, think gentle breezes, not thunderstorms.

In just a couple of minutes, you’ll see a difference. Your boots will be dust-free and ready for the next step in your cleaning journey. But remember, this isn’t a one-time rodeo. Regular dusting can prevent buildup and keep your boots looking their best daily.

So there you have it, folks—a simple, effective way to keep your boots clean with items you probably already have at home.

Deep Cleaning Your Cowboy Boots with Household Items:

Now that we’ve dusted off the surface grime, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get some dirt under our nails. We’re venturing into the territory of deep cleaning, where we bid goodbye to stubborn dirt and say howdy to sparkling clean boots.

So, what do you need?

Nothing that isn’t already within arm’s reach! Grab a bowl of lukewarm water, mild soap or dishwashing liquid, and a sponge or soft cloth. That’s it! And yes, it needs to be mild soap because harsh detergents can strip away the natural oils in your boot material, causing them to dry out and crack.

Alright, partner, let’s get down to business. Start by dampening your sponge or cloth in the lukewarm water. You want it to be wet enough to clean but not soak, as excess water can damage some boot materials.

Next, add a little soap to your damp cloth and gently work it into the boot, starting from the top and moving down. Remember, we’re cleaning, not scrubbing off a layer. Use small, circular motions to help work the soap into the material and lift out the dirt. Pay special attention to the seams and stitches, as these areas often harbor hidden grime.

Once you’ve soaped up one boot, rinse your cloth in clean water and wipe off the soap. Removing all the soap is important as any residue can attract more dirt in the future. Repeat the process with your other boot.

And voila! You’re now the proud owner of deep-cleaned cowboy boots. But hang on there, cowboy, we’re still going! Stick around for the next part of our boot-cleaning saga—tackling those pesky stains that don’t want to hit the trail.

Identifying and Removing Stains from Cowboy Boots:

Even the most diligent boot care can’t always prevent those dreaded stains. Maybe it’s a drop of oil from fixing up the old pick-up, a sprinkle of road salt from a winter’s walk, or even an innocent water splash that left a mark. Regardless of the culprit, it’s time to face these boot blemishes head-on.

  • First things first, identify your enemy. Different stains call for different tactics, and we have a few handy home remedies up our sleeve.
  • Oil stains can be cranky, but cornstarch’s a simple solution. The same stuff you use to thicken up your gravy can suck that oil out of your boots. Just sprinkle it on the stain, let it sit overnight, and brush it off in the morning.
  • For salt stains, which can appear as white marks on your boots, a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water is your secret weapon. Dampen a cloth with the solution and gently dab at the stain until it fades away.
  • Water stains can often be remedied by moistening the entire boot so it dries uniformly. But remember, never use hot water or a hot air source to speed up the drying process, as this can damage your boots.
  • Once you’ve identified your stain and chosen your remedy, apply it carefully, testing on an inconspicuous spot first to ensure it doesn’t discolor the material. Always let your boots dry naturally, away from direct heat and sunlight.

And just like that, you’ve shown those stains on the door. It’s amazing what a little know-how and some household items can do.

How To Clean Cowboy Boots with Household Items

How to Properly Dry Your Cowboy Boots?

We’ve dusted, cleaned, and even de-stained our boots. It’s time to dive into the next chapter of our boot care journey: drying. It may seem like a no-brainer.

Your boots are wet while cleaning, so they need to dry. But there’s more to it than just leaving them out and hoping for the best.

Why all this fuss about drying? Well, improper drying can warp your boots, change their shape, or even lead to the growth of mold and mildew. That sounds like something other than a pair of boots anyone would want to wear!

The golden rule of boot drying is patience. Your boots took their sweet time coming into this world; it’s only fair they take their time drying out too. Start by patting them down with a clean, dry towel to remove excess water. Then, stuff them with newspaper or a dry towel to help them maintain their shape as they dry.

Now, resist the temptation to speed up the process. Radiators, heaters, and even direct sunlight may seem like good ideas, but they can cause your boots to dry too quickly and crack. Instead, find a cool, dry place with plenty of air circulation and let nature take its course.

Avoiding another common mistake: not drying your boots thoroughly before storing them away is crucial. Any lingering moisture can lead to bad odors or damage the material over time.

With patience and a little know-how, you can ensure your boots dry properly and are ready for many more adventures.

How to condition your cowboy boots with household items:

We’ve scrubbed, cleaned, and dried our boots, but our boot care journey is ongoing. Next on the list is Conditioning—a crucial step that’s often overlooked. You may be thinking, “Conditioning?

Are we talking about boots or hair?” But stay with me, folks! Conditioning is to boots what a refreshing drink of water is to a cowboy after a long day’s ride.

Conditioning your boots keeps them soft and supple and prevents cracks from forming. Think of it as a spa day for your boots, replenishing lost moisture and oils.

But do you need to break the bank by buying specialist products? Not necessarily. You’d be surprised what you can find in your kitchen cupboard.

Take olive oil, for example. This kitchen staple isn’t just good for cooking; it can work wonders on your boots. Just remember, a little goes a long way!

Here’s how you do it. Start with clean, dry boots. Then, dip a soft cloth into a small amount of oil and rub it onto your boots using gentle, circular motions.

Remember to treat the whole boot, from the shaft to the heel. Once you’ve given your boots a good rub, wipe away any excess oil and let them sit overnight to absorb the goodness.

Now, a word of caution here. Test any new conditioner, even olive oil, on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t darken the material more than you’d like.

Some Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Your Cowboy Boots:

We’ve arrived at our final destination on this boot care journey, folks, but we’re ending on an important note. Yes, cleaning, drying, and conditioning are all vital, but regular maintenance and proper storage give your boots that long-lasting sparkle.

  • First off, let’s talk about upkeep. Your boots are more than just footwear—they’re your trusty sidekicks. And just like any good sidekick, they need a little TLC to stay in top shape.
  • Regular dusting and occasional deep cleaning go a long way. But don’t forget about preventative care. Apply waterproofing to your boots to protect them from the elements and keep moisture-induced problems at bay.
  • Now, on to storage. You may not realize it, but how you store your boots can significantly impact their lifespan. Start by investing in boot trees or shapers. These handy tools keep your boots in shape and prevent ugly creases from forming. If you don’t have boot trees, stuffing your boots with newspaper works in a pinch.
  • Keep your boots upright in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Sun can fade the color, and heat can dry out the material. Avoid plastic bags or boxes, as these can trap moisture, leading to mold or mildew. Instead, go for a breathable fabric bag or let your boots breathe easy on a shelf.
  • Preventing common problems is often as simple as addressing them early. Notice a small stain? Deal with it before it sets in. Spot a loose stitch? Get it repaired before it becomes a tear.

So there you have it, the complete guide to keeping your cowboy boots looking fresh from the store, even if they’ve been with you on countless adventures.

Armed with these tips and tricks, you’re all set to give your boots the care they deserve. Happy trails and shining boots, my friends! Until the next journey!


Congratulations, fellow boot enthusiasts! We’ve reached the end of our wild ride through the world of boot care. We’ve covered everything from dusting off the dirt to banishing stubborn stains. And the best part?

We did it all with simple household items, proving that you don’t need a fancy kit to keep your boots looking mighty fine.

Remember, maintaining your cowboy boots isn’t just about aesthetics—it’s about honoring their legacy, preserving their quality, and embodying the true spirit of the cowboy way.

By giving your boots the attention they deserve, you’re extending their lifespan and ensuring they’re ready for whatever frontier lies ahead.

So, next time you saddle up, take pride in your boots, knowing they’re clean, conditioned, and ready to go. Whether you’re two-stepping at the local honky-tonk or wrangling cattle on the range, your boots will be your faithful companions every step of the way.

Now, go forth, fellow cowboys and cowgirls, with your boots gleaming and your spirits high. Embrace the adventure, and let your boots be a testament to your passion, resilience, and unwavering cowboy spirit.

Remember, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a well-maintained pair of boots hugging your feet as you conquer the world, one step at a time. Happy boot-cleaning, you all!


1. Can I use vinegar to clean my cowboy boots?

Absolutely! Vinegar is a versatile household item that can help clean your cowboy boots. It works particularly well for removing salt stains. Dilute white vinegar with equal parts water, dampen a cloth with the solution, and gently dab at the salt stains. Remember to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t affect the color or material of your boots.

2. Is it safe to use baking soda on my cowboy boots?

Yes, baking soda can be a handy cleaning agent for your boots, especially when dealing with odors. Sprinkle some baking soda inside your boots and let it sit overnight. The baking soda will help absorb any unwanted odors. Shake out the excess baking soda the next day; your boots will smell fresher.

3. Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process?

It’s best to avoid using a hairdryer or any direct heat source to speed up the drying process of your cowboy boots. Excessive heat can damage the leather and cause it to dry out or crack. Instead, let your boots dry naturally in a cool, well-ventilated area. Stuffing them with newspaper or using boot trees will help maintain their shape while they dry.

4. Are there any homemade remedies for removing scuff marks from cowboy boots?

Yes, you can try a few household remedies to remove scuff marks from your boots. One effective option is using a pencil eraser. Gently rub the scuff marks with the eraser; the friction should help lift them off. Another method is creating a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the scuff marks, gently rub with a soft cloth, and then wipe clean.

5. Can I use baby oil to condition my cowboy boots?

While baby oil can provide temporary shine to your boots, it’s not the best way to condition them. Baby oil may leave a residue that attracts dust and dirt, and it’s not formulated specifically for leather care. Instead, opt for natural oils like olive or coconut oil, which can help nourish and moisturize the leather without causing any adverse effects.


My name is Brandon J. Nava, and I consider myself an expert on the cowboy lifestyle. I regularly attend events at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) am I am a member of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). I've participated in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or the Pendleton Round-Up and I aspire to be awarded by the American Horse Council or the United States Equestrian Federation in the near future. In addition I've visited lectures and educational programs at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.