*Leather Boot Cleaning and Conditioning*
By: Bignasty
19 May 2014

The proper care and maintenance of leather boots can help them last decades for a good quality pair. If the company will rebuild the boots, then they're probably good quality. I currently don't own a pair that's rebuildable, so I'm trying to make them last as long as possible. They're going on 3.5 years now and didn't get any conditioning for the first 2.5 years. Since I have started caring for them properly, I haven't noticed any new gouges or cracking in the leather and they are much more flexible.

These boots spend 99% of their time in a surface coal mine kicking around on machinery and covered in mud. Being conditioned helps them repel water and mud better and allows the leather to bend when it's kicked into something, rather than take a gouge out.

The conditioner I use is made by Obenauf's and is highly spoken of by many. It was rated number 1 over many other brands. It's a solid but turns to a liquid with body heat and makes it easy to apply by hand.

To get started we need to get the boots clean, obviously. I use hot water with some soap to scrub them clean. I had to use soap since the Obenauf's builds up a protective layer after several applications. In the second picture you can see the toe is clean leather, while the back half is cleaner but still has a layer of Obenauf's on it.

I strip my laces and soak an clean them also. Once you've got them clean and dry you can start applying the conditioner. I just scoop some out and start applying it to the leather. If your boots have never been conditioned, it may take several coats as it will soak up the conditioner. You simply cover the entire boot in conditioner and let it dry.

You can see the waxy looking coating on the boots, which means they have soaked up as much as they can. I'll also add that I use Obenauf's boot laces also, which don't loosen up and won't come untied. I highly recommend them. The conditioner also works wonders on gloves that have gotten wet and stiff. Something so simple, that makes such a difference, should not be over looked in your preps.


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