The best way to keep your leather boots clean is to prevent them from getting dirty in the first place. Before you wear them, spray them with a protective water-repellent coating.

If your leather boots are stained with salt lines from winter road salt, you can use a commercial desalting product (available at shoe repair shops). Alternatively you can:

  1. Make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. You can use a gentle, moisturizing soap instead of vinegar.
  2. Soak a rag in the cleanser.
  3. Dab the stained parts of the boots.
  4. Wipe the boots with a damp cloth.
  5. Wipe the boots dry with a towel.
  6. Allow the boots to dry slowly. Don't try speeding up the drying process by putting the boots near a heat source, as this can make them brittle and crack.
  7. Once they're dry, buff the boots with a soft cloth [Source: Forte].

Next time, prevent the formation of salt lines on your boots by treating them as soon as you get home, before they have a chance to dry. Dampen the leather with a wet sponge and then stuff the boots with paper, so they hold their shape until they dry.

If your leather boots are scuffed, don't scrub them roughly. Instead:

  1. Dip a soft cloth in clean water.
  2. Dip the wet cloth in baking soda.
  3. Rub the cloth gently over the scuff marks.
  4. Wipe the boots with a clean, damp cloth.
  5. Buff them dry with a soft cloth [Source: Forte].

Here's what to do if your boots are both dirty and wet:

  1. Let them dry them completely. Stuffing them with newspaper will help them dry more quickly and will help them retain their shape.
  2. Brush off the dirt.
  3. Apply a commercial leather cleaner.
  4. Polish the boots and apply saddle soap [source: Heloise].