It was a sad day when my favorite pair of leather ankle boots that I bought while studying abroad in Italy finally gave into the salt-covered streets last winter. I made the grave mistake of not cleaning them properly and before too long, the salt stains wouldn’t come out. This winter, I will not be making the same mistake with the rest of my leather pairs. Once I came across the right tips to keeping my boots as good as new, I had to share now that winter is quickly approaching. With just a handful of products, a few of which are already in your home, you’ll never question again how to make your leather boots last for seasons to come.

Read on to learn how to protect leather boots in seven essential steps.

What you’ll need

Do you have salt stains potentially damaging your boots? Maybe you have general dirt that’s built up? Or perhaps your boots got wet walking around in the rain. There are different methods of cleaning leather boots depending on how dirty they are.

No matter which type of damage your boots have withstood, the best thing to do is to clean them off as soon as you get home. before your boots dry off. This will prevent your stains from setting in and any future damage.

For salt stains, mix white vinegar and water in equal parts and wipe off the stains with a soft cloth. For general dirt, use a saddle soap and wipe off the dirt with a damp rag.

Though this is self-explanatory, your boots really do need to dry off completely after a cleaning but before taking away scuff marks. One important thing to note is to let them air dry out in the open somewhere warm but without direct heat on them.

Taking a soft cloth, dap with water to dampen and then dap into baking soda. Rub off the scuff marks until they’re all gone and then wipe the boot clean.

Applying the conditioner is super simpleyou’ll just need a clean cloth, anyone will do. Dab it with your conditioner or leather oil and be sure to spread it all over your boots so that it touches every inch and corner of the leather, including the seams and stitches.

It’s a good idea to spray your boots with a protective barrier after every time you cleaning them off and when you start wearing them each season. Use waterproofing spray on your boots when you first get them before you start wearing them and after you’ve cleaned them each time (only once they’re dry).

Leave your boots out to dry after cleaning them in a warm place. Avoid any harsh or direct heat on them, as it will damage and may ruin the leather. Your need to breathe! Avoid storing them in a plastic bag and instead leave them out in the open somewhere safe, like on a shelf.

Now that you know all the tips and trick to keeping your leather boots spotless and long-lasting, shop a few pairs we’re lusting after this fall.

Need to know: how to clean white Vans in 4 steps.

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