Work Boot Cleaning And Care Made Easy
by Kim Russell, Product Expeditor from
The first step in ensuring that your work footwear will perform well over
time is selecting a comfortable, quality product. After purchase,
your boots before wearing them for the first time, and taking a few minutes each month to care for them,
will extend the life and increase the performance and comfort of your work footwear.
Taking care of your standard leather footwear
pays back in comfort and long life...
Different types of leather footwear require different types of
care. A simple four-step process will keep standard leather boots in excellent shape:
Clean – use a leather cleaner and cloth to gently swipe away dirt.
– after boots have dried, condition them using mink oil. Apply with a soft cloth
rubbing the oil in well at the seams and allow to the boots to dry. Wipe off
excess mink oil with a clean soft rag.
Polish – you can polish the leather by
using the same soft cloth you wiped the excess mink oil off with. Finish
by buffing in long circular strokes.
Weatherproof - protect your boots from wet
conditions with a waterproofing product.
What about caring for nubuck, suede and
"specialty" leather boots?
The process of cleaning nubuck (durable, suede-like leather) and real suede boots differs
slightly from cleaning standard leather work footwear.
- Clean nubuck and suede - use a plastic or rubber-tipped brush to remove
surface dirt before it sets in. Seal with a spray boot protector
specifically made for nubuck and suede.
- Condition – use a nubuck-specific
conditioner (a no-no for suede!)
- Weatherproof - spray on boot protector that is designed for a nubuck
or suede leather.
Note that a suede boot cannot be polished. Should a stain appear on a suede boot, use a
solvent-based cleaner immediately to remove it. Another option is to use a very
fine grade of sandpaper on a stubborn stain by lightly rubbing in a circular
motion. Be very careful not to rub too hard!
Some footwear manufacturers have created premium materials that perform even
better than your standard leathers or suede. Wolverine, a leading work boot
manufacturer, offers many styles of waterproof work footwear, some of which are
made with Wolverine “Performance Leather.” This leather is lightweight,
flexible, breathable, scuff-resistant and repels water better than full-grain
cowhide. You can take care of the performance leather the same way you do
regular leather, but it will require much less maintenance.
If you are unsure of the type of leather your boots are made of, contact the
manufacturer for any special treatment they may need to give you long-lasting
performance. After all, the best boots aren't cheap, so the longer they
last, the better!
Love might be, but waterproofing is
Whether you work indoors or out, maintaining the waterproofing condition of your
is critical for maximum comfort, performance and longevity.
From beeswax and mink oils to protective sprays, a variety of waterproofing
agents exist in the marketplace. Beeswax and mink oil products provide the most
protection against the elements, but can also alter the coloring of the shoe.
You can use a protective spray to maintain the appearance of the boot and still
protect against water.
Waterproofing your boots needs to become a regular habit. To test if boots
are still repellent, spray them monthly with a bit of water. When the water no
longer beads up, treat the boot again. To re-treat with beeswax products, strip
the waterproof coat off once a year using leather soap and a slightly damp
cloth. Then reapply a thick coat of wax, paying attention to the toes and heels.
Allow the boot to sit overnight to let the beeswax to absorb into the leather
and remove any excess wax with a cloth in the morning.
Double-protect your boots inside and out!
Many boots in today's market feature water-repellent leather
but because the boots are merely treated with a water-resistant coating, it is a
temporary solution. Periodically waterproofing the leather of your boots,
even if they have been pre-treated, is still an important step to improving the
longevity of your footwear. Some boots also feature waterproof liners made of
materials like GORE-TEX™. Waterproof liners protect the foot from moisture and
help keep the boot ventilated; however, it does not stop the leather from
becoming waterlogged in soggy conditions. The combination of treated leather and
waterproof liners will doubly ensure footwear that stands up to the elements.
For extra protection you can spray inside the boot. Remove the insole and spray
it with a waterproofing spray and allow it to dry thoroughly before putting it
back in the boot. Spray on and around the lace area and allow to dry before
wearing in wet conditions.
Boot Care While You Sleep!
Storing your work boots properly at the end of the
workday can benefit them in a number of ways. Placing boots on a cedar shoetree
enhances the comfort, appearance and overall condition of your boots. Cedar's
unique wicking action absorbs moisture, acid and salt, smoothes out linings and
insoles, and maintains the shape of boots. Another recommendation if you own
several pairs of boots is to rotate wearing them daily, allowing each pair to
The purchase of a good pair of work boots is an investment worth protecting.
By following these simple steps your boots can provide years of value, safety
For product information or to check out Wolverine's complete line of footwear
and apparel please visit www.wolverine.com.