During the winter season, your boots can take quite a beating. They can be exposed to all kinds of harsh elements, from rain and snow to slush and salt, and this can really take a toll on how they look and perform. The good news is that you can get a lot more life out of your boots by givinflog them a little TLC. Below are some tried-and-true tips to help you protect your boots during the rough winter season.
Caring for Leather Boots
Although leather is a naturally water-resistant material, it is not entirely waterproof. Untreated, unwaxed leather in particular is susceptible to water damage, but even treated leather can begin to stiffen up and lose its softness when exposed to water. For this reason, it’s important to dry your boots off immediately with a dry, non-abrasive cloth once you come in from any snowy, slushy or rainy weather. If you’ve been out on a dry day but your boots have managed to collect dirt or salt, be sure to wipe them down using a soft, lightly damp cloth in order to avoid any streaking or staining later. Clean your boots with saddle soap about once a week, as this is the best way to keep the leather from getting cracked, worn or dried out. Use a damp cloth to apply the saddle soap (only after you’ve lathered it up really well), and then allow your boots a handful of seconds to dry. Now wipe them down with a dry, non-abrasive cloth, and then using either a boot shaper or crumpled-up newspapers stuffed inside the boots, allow them to stand and dry out. For ongoing maintenance, try conditioning your boots with mink oil (a good waterproofing agent) at least once a week in order to keep the leather nice and flexible.
Caring for Suede Boots
Suede is very sensitive material, and it is much more susceptible to water damage than leather; this means that the tools that you would use to clean leather really won’t work well for suede. Your best bet would be to use a small brush in order to get dirt, dust, dried mud, or other debris out of the various contours and crevices of your boots. Once you’re finished with the basic “brush-down,” you will need some type of waterproofing and conditioning spray to keep the texture of your suede boots nice and smooth. Several stores offer suede cleaning products, such as this shoe cleaning brush and protector spray for suede and nubuck boots, both of which are available at Macy’s.
Caring for Synthetic Fabric Boots
Of the three major types of materials, synthetic fabric is probably the easiest to clean and maintain. For the most part, you can get away with cleaning your synthetic fabric boots using nothing more than warm water and a mild dish soap (e.g., Palmolive), and then using a separate damp cloth to wipe off the soap. Once your cleaning session is done, allow your boots to dry on their own, but be mindful to keep them at a distance from any fireplaces, radiator heaters, space heaters, or other heat sources.
Although some degree of wear and tear is unavoidable, it is possible to extend the life of your boots by performing a little bit of routine maintenance. Keep the above tips in mind to help you keep your boots looking good and performing well all throughout the cold months.