How to Clean Leather & Suede Boots & Wellies | ArdMoor

Prolong the life of your boots and shoes with the ArdMoor footwear care guide

Whatever materials your new shoes or boots are made from, you can significantly prolong their life with just a little care. Whether they are made from leather, suede, nubuck, canvas, rubber or fabric, follow our care guide and help your footwear last as long as possible.

How to clean your leather shoes & boots

To clean your muddy leather boots or shoes, first remove any mud or dried dirt with a soft bristled brush and damp cloth and then leave to air dry. Don’t try to speed up the drying process by placing next to a radiator or fire as this will dry out the leather which could lead to the leather cracking.

When the boots are dry, apply a small amount of leather cleaner to a slightly damp cloth. Rub this in small circles all over the boot, paying special attention to any scuffs or worn areas.

Wipe away any lather or excess and allow to slowly air dry. When dry, dress the boots with a polish, cream or spray to protect your boots from further damage.

Save your suede

Here's how to clean suede boots and shoes -  use a suede brush to clean any muddy areas or any surface stains, always going with the grain of the suede to avoid damage.

Then use a clean gum eraser or rubber to rub away any scuff marks and wipe clean to remove any bits of rubber left on the boot.

Now dampen the suede brush and pour a small amount of suede and leather cleaner onto the brush. Then use this to gently clean the suede. When finished, dab the boots dry with a towel and stuff with tissue or paper towels and leave to air dry away from direct sunlight or radiators and fires.

Once the boots are completely dry, you can then apply a water and stain repellent to avoid damage in the future.

Caring for your nubuck

To keep your nubuck boots looking their very best, use a nubuck cloth to remove any surface dirt. Then use a nubuck brush and gently brush all over in a circular motion making sure not to overwork any particular area.

Scuffs can be removed with a gum eraser or by applying a spray-on nubuck cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Try on a small hidden test area first.

Then, dab dry with a towel and allow to air dry away from direct heat. Once dry, you can apply a Nubuck Water Repellent to help prolong the life of your boots.

Keep canvas clean

Scrub any patches of dirt with a soft bristled brush. An old toothbrush (minus any toothpaste) will work perfectly well.

Use either washing up liquid or a wash powder in warm water and gently scrub with a cloth or brush. Afterwards, when you’ve cleaned the entire boot, thoroughly rinse with clean cold water and then stuff your canvas boots with tissue or kitchen roll and leave to dry naturally away from direct heat sources.

Revive your rubber

Wellies are absolutely designed for getting deep into the muck, but fight the temptation to just kick your muddy boots off when you get home.

Dirt, mud & muck on left to dry on the boot will pull the moisture out of the rubber of your boots. This will prematurely age them, increasing the likelihood of cracks or splits.

A quick wipe down or, better yet, a good spray from a hose to clean off any build-up when you get home will go a long way to keeping the rubber from drying out.

Don’t be tempted to put them by the fire, next to a radiator or in direct sunlight – while extreme heat can obviously do physical damage to your boots, prolonged heat will also pull moisture out of the rubber and aids the oxidation process.

Also, leaving your wellies exposed to sunlight will drastically cut short their lifespan.

If you do find yourself desperate to dry out wet boots quickly, a boot dryer is a great option to gently dry the inside of the boot without causing undue stress to the rubber outer.

Watch your step

Some common substances can be particularly damaging to rubber (and, indeed, leather). Manure (and particularly cow poo) is acidic and will eat away at your boots over time, while salt from sea water, gritted roads/pavements and so on will pull the moisture out of the rubber very quickly. Industrial chemicals, paints, fertilisers, cleaning solvents, oils & other potentially corrosive substances can damage your boots and cause them to quickly degrade.

Give them some love

Topping up the moisture in your boots is very simple – some natural oils can be used to do this, or there are a host of specialised rubber care sprays available. As well as restoring the moisture in your boots, some of these can also provide some extra UV protection and help to repel mud & dirt.

A great product for wellies is Grubs Revivex Rubber Care 120ml – £9.95

How often you do this will depend on how hard you are on your wellies, but twice a year is a good guide for the average user. If your boots are regularly exposed to common hazards, or if you live in them day in & day out, a more regular regime will help keep your trusty welly boots in top condition.


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