How to Polish Cowboy Boots

by James Miller

The boots we wear speak a lot about who we are. Someone can tell if you are fashion-forward or you like following trends by the look of your boots. The cowboy boots you wear, how you wear them, and the care you accord them helps people to have the first impression on you when you meet them.

Thus, it is vital to learn how you should take good care of the cowboy boots. Polishing your cowboy boots is one of the top boot cares you need to apply. But the question is, what is the best way you should polish your cowboy boots? And which products will you use and how often should you do it?

This article has provided you with the answers to your questions. We have explored two main methods on how you should polish your cowboy boots more, especially those with stitching.

How to Polish Cowboy Boots
How to Polish Cowboy Boots

Taking care of cowboy boots is essential because it will help the boot to have maximum performance. Regular cleaning of the boot keeps it looks great, protects it and preserves them to serve you for an extended period. Clean cowboy boots involves some steps that you need to follow to have a successful process.

Whether you have purchased a new cowboy boot or want to revive your old cowboy boot, you can make them more appealing by cleaning dust or other debris from their surface.

The leather material in the cowboy boot differs, and therefore cleaning needs to be done in stages to ensure every part has received attention required. Cleaning can be done either on the interior or exterior part of the cowboy boot.

How to Clean Cowboy Boots

Cleaning with Water and Saddle Soap

Soap is one of the tough cleaners that are effective not only for cowboy leather cleaning but also removal of dirt from underlying areas. Saddle soap is one of the top effective leather boot cleaner products. Although there are various other leather cleaner brands, they almost work similarly.

Clean off Mud and Brush off the Dirt

If you have a cowboy boot covered with mud or dirt, it is good to wipe it off before using your soap on the shoes. Using a soft-bristled boot brush or a soft cloth and some warm water are required to carry out this process. Do not please use hot water because it might affect the leather.

Remove your shoe laces and insoles, and then brush the top surface at the tongue area if it has some dirt. Then damp the soft cloth or sponge on the lukewarm water and wipe the surfaces of the boot. If there are thicker layers of mud, scrap them gently using a hard object before using water to clean it. Note that if you wrongly clean cowboy boots, they will look old.

This water cleaning method can be used in cowboy boots with smooth, exotic, and distressed leather. Do not use this method if you have suede-made boots because water will affect the material. Also, be keen on exotic leather as they are vulnerable to dust.

Rub off the Ingrained Dirt with Water and Soap

If there is deep dirt, clean cowboy boots with a brush and some appropriate ingredients. With stubborn spots, use saddle soap in the area before you clean the underlying surface.

Using a sponge or soft cloth, apply saddle soap and rub it to form foam. Then rub the leather with the foam using the soft cloth in all parts of the boot. When the dirt is completely off, use a dry clean cloth to remove the soap suds. When wiping the suds soap from the boot, there is no need to rinse it because it has some waxes and oil that might be vital to the leather.

Rub off the Seams Using a Toothbrush

Most of the surfaces of the cowboy boots are easy to clean, although most people forget that seams are delicate and, therefore, they need to be cleaned with great care. Gently damp the toothbrush and rub it at the welt where the sole meets the upper part. This is effective as it dominates to remove all debris.

Interior Cleaning

Dirt boots have some odor smell. Cleaning the interior can be tricky because the high shaft limits you from accessing the toe cap where some odor might originate. However, the process isn't that hard if you are aware of how to go by.

You can combat the smell with either baking powder or vinegar. You need to sprinkle the baking powder into the boot or spray the vinegar solution into the boot and let it stay there overnight. In the morning, pour out the resolution, and you won't get the odor anymore. Let the boots dry.

Wipe any dirt that might not have been removed using a clean cloth. Ensure that all the residue has been removed and allow your boot to dry in an open area.

Do not expose your cowboy boot to artificial heat or leave it in the sun for an extended period. This is because excess heat might harden the leather of your boot and hence prone to cracks. If it is a must to use it, let it be minimal.

Clean Cowboy Boots with Vinegar and Water

Vinegar has acidic qualities that are an excellent cleansing agent. The acidity counteracts any stain or brines that were left behind by hard water. All you need is a solution of vinegar, clean cotton or soft cloth, and water.

Make mixture water and vinegar, stir it properly to form a uniform solution. Dip or pour a small amount of the solution into the soft cloth. Wipe the cowboy boot with this damped soft cloth on the surfaces and leave them to dry.

Clean Cowboy Boots with Toothpaste

Toothpaste is one of the abrasive products that have baking soda. The abrasive nature and cleansing agent in the paste make it easy to remove stains and debris from leather. The sodium lauryl sulphate that is present in the Toothpaste is the one that has the cleansing agent.

Make the surface of the cowboy boot a little damp by wiping it with a wet cloth. This is essential because it will make the Toothpaste stick easily on the boot instead of when the surface is dry.

To remove any stain or debris from the surface:

  • Apply the paste to the areas of the stain. You can use a hard-bristled toothbrush in this case.
  • Once you have done this, leave the paste for around 15 minutes before you wipe it away with a wet cloth.
  • Ensure that you have removed all the paste.
  • Leave the boot outside in an open place for around 3 hours to dry before you wear them.

Clean Cowboy Boots with Tartar Cream and Lemon Juice

Tartar cream is another beast alternative cleaner for the removal of stains from the boot. When combined with lemon juice, it forms a strong cleaning agent that removes all dirt. However, the method is only applicable to light-colored boots because the two products have a mild bleaching effect on boots.

Make a mixture of equal portions of tartar cream and lemon juice to form a paste. Using a toothbrush, apply the paste on the surfaces of the boot. Allow the paste to soak into the boot for about 30 minutes. Using a damped soft cloth, remove all the paste and let your boot in an open place to dry out.

How to Clean Leather Cowboy Boots

Clean Cowboy Boots Naturally
Clean Cowboy Boots Naturally

Suede Cowboy boots feature a nap that is a fuzzy texture that becomes hard when it comes into contact with water and dirt. The suede material is made from soft leather. Cleaning suede boots requires some specific cleaning supplies. You need a suede brush, damp sponge, among other items. To get out all the stains from your suede boots, follow the following steps.

Step 1

Using the suede brush, clean off the loose dust, dirt, and debris from your boot. This process should be done in back and forth motions and in a gentle way.

Step 2

Standard leather cleaners are not good at cleaning; therefore, you need a rubber suede cleaner to remove stains or cracked mud by rubbing it to the boot. In the area of the stain, continue erasing until the stains are eliminated. The rubbing process should be done gently to avoid making any rough motion on your suede boot. Then remove the remaining rubber bits using a suede brush.

Step 3

It is somehow tricky to remove water and salt stains from suede boots. It is because of this that vinegar becomes an effective method here. For any liquid stains, use talcum powder, let the powder stay there overnight before brushing it off in the morning.

Water and white vinegar can get rid of the salt stains or other marks on the leather boot for suede boots. Make a mixture of the two, dampen a soft cloth or cotton in the mixture, and gently wipe away the salt stains from the suede.

Step 4

Let your boot out to dry in a cool, dry place away from direct light. This process helps to rejuvenate the dullness and stains in the boots to the refreshed ones.

Why You Should Polish Cowboy Boots

Cowboy Boot Polish
Cowboy Boot Polish
  • Polishing cowboy boots help restore moisture on the leather and keep them safe from dirt, water, etc.
  • Polishing also boosts the lifespan of your boots.
  • Some cowboys/cowgirls like to polish their boots as a way of taking good care of them. This makes the boot continue shining despite the years they have been used.

Polishing Cowboy Boots with Stitching

There are various steps that you need to follow before you start to polish your cowboy boots. You need to prepare tools to use as well as the following tasks. Before we look at these steps required, ensure that you have done good preparation and clean the boots.


  • As you prepare to polish your cowboy boots, ensure that the following tools are available in your polishing set.
  • Boot polish that you prefer for your cowboy boot like kiwi shoe polish or Saphir
  • An old sock or cloth
  • A chamois or buffing cloth
  • Horsehair brush for shining and cleaning
  • Bleach pen or wax pencil for white and colored stitching, respectively

Cleaning the Cowboy Boots

Ensure that you have cleaned well your cowboy boots ready for the polishing process. Cleaning depends on which conditions the boots are in. However, you need to follow this simple process;

  • Using a brush or old cloth, chase away all the dirt from the boots
  • With a soap and brush, clean dust from the boots, including your welt and outsoles. Using a dry rag, wipe away the boots and let them in an open place to dry before moving to the next step.

How to Polish Cowboy Boots with a Top Quality Polisher

Polished Cowboy Boots
Polished Cowboy Boots

Step 1: Polish application on your cowboy boots

Wrap your middle and index fingers with a piece of cloth, dab the cream or wax polish, and spread it out on your whole boot. To avoid wastage, just dam a small amount. Rub your boot gently in a circular motion. It would be best if you were caring for it to soak your boot properly.
In some cases, the boot might be fogging or clouding in this step. Do not worry because the result will be different. Some products also make the boot rich in color instead of darkening it. To make it shinier, heat your Kiwi for 20 seconds and leave it to dry before using the boot.

Step 2: Brush your cowboy boots

With your horsehair shine brush, brush your boots faster and repeatedly with some short strokes within your shoes. Ensure the brush bristle is made from horsehair. Brush the boot until you feel tired; this is because the long and repeated brushing helps the polish penetrate uniformly into your cowboy boots.
The more you do, the shinier the boots become. A coat of 2 to 3 layers of the polish on the boot's surface is good because it helps to retain its original color for a long period. Ensure that your polishing brush is different from the one you used in boot cleaning.

Step 3: Cowboy boot wiping

With a clean piece of soft cloth, wipe away the excess polish from your boots. To ensure you have removed all of them, rub it until you experience luster on the boots.

Step 4: Buff your Cowboy boots

Suppose you want to make your cowboy boot shinier, buff the leather with a lean dry cloth. In this process, you will have finished your polish process. The buffing cloth needs to be done in forth and back movement up to when you achieve your gloss that you need.

Step 5: Making stitches back to original colors

For cowboy boots with stitching, other than carefully cleaning them, there are some pens you need to do to bring back the stitching. The pens should be applied after cleaning and polished your cowboy boot with stitching. They include

1. Use Bleach Pen for Cowboy Boots with White Stitching

This pen features a brush and nozzle on each of the ends. Use the small nozzle on the thread and the bleach to remove debris for the stitching. There is no need to use water; you only need to take the pen and stitch to the cowboy boot.

2. Use of a Wax pencil in colored stitching

To get back your colored stitching, take some time to care to color the thread. It would be best if you were keen not to draw the leather of your boots. After you have applied, let your boot dry and see the result.

Advantages of polishing cowboy boots with Kiwi

  • They make your shining boot look like new brands
  • The method can be done easily at home
  • The polish shine is inexpensive, and it nourishes the leather

Disadvantages of polishing cowboy boots with Kiwi

  • It is difficult to remove hard stains
  • Your boot might look shiny and glossy, which might not be a good look

How to Shine Cowboy Boots without Polish

Cowboy Boot Shine Kit
Cowboy Boot Shine Kit

Despite that, you might not get the same quality as when you use a polish, you can shine your boots without necessarily using the polish. This method is good when you run out of polish, and you need to polish your shoe.

There are a few common home items that you might need to make the process successful. Some of the items include;

  • Vegetable oil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Olive oil
  • Banana peel
  • Vinegar
  • A soft cloth
  • An old newspaper
  • Cotton balls if you use vinegar, petroleum jelly, or oil


  1. Clean your boots as possible using the old cloth or rag
  2. Lay the newspaper on the floor to prevent stains
  3. Dip a cotton ball into vegetable oil, olive, or petroleum jelly if you decided to use them
  4. Rub the dipped cotton ball gently on the boots in a small circular motion
  5. If you used banana peels, rub the inside part of the banana peel on your boots
  6. With another soft cloth, wipe your shoes to get rid of excessive petroleum jelly or oil
  7. Allow your boots to dry, and look at the result

This is an alternative method you can use to polish your shoe if you do not want to use any chemical or are out of the polish. The method can be used occasionally but using quality shoe polish is the best one. To get rid of stain marks, you need to apply a small quantity of vinegar to the stain.

The pros of this method

  • You can use any of these home items to make your boots look new again
  • Your boots become shiny without applying any chemical
  • Vinegar helps to remove scuff marks from the cowboy boots
  • Petroleum jelly is good in repairing cracks within our cowboy boots

Cons of the method

  • Some of the items leave a smell on your boots
  • They do not boost the boot durability as the real shoe polish do

Tips to Note: When Polishing Your Cowboy Boots

How To Clean Leather Cowboy Boots
How To Clean Leather Cowboy Boots
  • Boot cleaning is vital before polishing. Ensure you have cleaned your boots well and pay attention to the boots' heel, sole, welt, shafts, among other parts
  • Select the best polish that matches the color of your cowboy boots. Where you are not sure, you can choose neutral or uncolored polish, although they will have a little different effect.
  • You can add more layers of the polish for high shinning, although it depends on the type of products used. Ensure that the layers are thinner than their previous layer.
  • The polish brush and clean polish should be different and do not use one in doing the two processes.
  • Use different soft cloths also in buffing and cleaning your cowboy boots
  • Learn the polishing and cleaning tricks

Final Word

Reviving your cowboy boot can't be hard again if you follow the above procedure. All you need to do is to have the right polishing tools and following the procedure. As we have mentioned, if you want your cowboy boot to be shiny, clean them first and let them dry before you apply your polish.

In case you run out of your polish, you need not to panic because there are some common home items that you can use to polish your boots. This method might not be that good as polish, but it can act as a backup plan for you.

All of us love our boots when they are new. If you are a genuine lover of cowboy boots, you are aware of the importance of cleaning them always. To some people, cowboy maintenance is like it has lost meaning in them, and instead, they will not do anything to clean their boots properly.

To such individuals they will go for new ones instead of maintaining the conditions of what they have. However, the condition of your cowboy boot can be changed if you clean them well. Cleaning is the first thing that will make them look new and last for a long period.

If you have read this article, there is a reason to smile; we have shown you that you can clean your boot using different methods and have a great result.

About James Miller

James Miller is a dedicated individual based in the vibrant city of San Francisco, CA, USA. His unwavering passion lies in the realm of construction, where he finds fulfillment in exploring and documenting various facets of construction equipment and processes. A graduate of the University of California Merced, James holds a dual degree in mechanical and electrical engineering, which has equipped him with a solid foundation in technical knowledge.

With a keen eye for detail and a knack for articulation, James has channeled his enthusiasm into writing about the intricacies of construction gear and methodologies. His insightful writings offer valuable insights to both industry professionals and curious enthusiasts, shedding light on the machinery and techniques that shape the built environment.

James Miller's educational background in mechanical and electrical engineering lends credibility to his work, allowing him to delve into the technical nuances of construction with precision. His passion for sharing knowledge and fostering understanding in the construction field is evident in his contributions, making him a respected voice in the industry.

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