Leather is skin. When it's alive, it receives nourishment in the form of natural oils from the body. Leather products no longer receive that nourishment and are therefore prone to drying out and eventually cracking. Good leather maintenance and conditioning will give a very long life to your leather boots.
For this BB, you will clean and condition leather shoes, boots, or sandals using natural products.
- inspect for areas that need pre-repair to prevent needing full repair
- clean the leather
- waterproof or condition
How to Clean and Condition Leather - Natural Coconut Oil Leather Care
Boot restoration. Conditioning the dried out leather. (Mink oil)
How to Make Your Own Natural Waterproofing Leather Boot Balm
To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
- Cleaning a pair of leather boots, shoes, or sandals.
- Conditioning and/or waterproofing them.
To document your completion of the BB, provide proof of the following as pictures or a video (less than two minutes):
- describe the kind of leather and the techniques used for maintenance
- Show your footwear before performing maintenance
- Show cleaning the item
- Show conditioning and/or waterproofing your footwear
- Show your properly cleaned and conditioned boots, shoes, or sandals.
Edit* I meant to post this in the leather maintenance BB, my bad.
So my dad works at a factory outside of town, and part of his benefits includes a free pair of work boots every year. He doesn't go through them that quick so he gets all of us kids a pair instead. So far no one has questioned his ever-changing shoe sizes (lol). So I have a steel-toe pair of blundstones. I've had them for two years now and I've never done maintenance on them. They've seen it all pretty much: road salt, mud, big puddles, paint, heat, cold and what not. Pretty darn impressive that they look the way they do I'd say. Anyways, the maintenance.
So first I left my boots inside to dry for the past couple days. Then I gave them a wipe down with a damp cloth and brushed them with an old tooth brush to get any remaining dirt off. I microwaved about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until it was liquid, then used another cloth to spread it around the boot as evenly as I could. I did both boots this way, and they are now sitting and drying. I love how tropical they smell.
Following this I tried waterproofing my dad's blundstones. They're the exact same boot I have just smaller. So I wiped them down as well with the damp cloth, and brushed them. Then I rubbed a bar of beeswax all over the boot to get a thin layer of it on there. Then I went at it with the blow dryer and rubbed the wax in as it melted. Notice the after pic with the water beads on top...looks like it worked! Also blundstones are made of greasy kip leather which I found out through their website if anyone is curious.
I heard my favorite boots gently weeping from the corner today. I’ve been using Otter Wax (https://www.otterwax.com/) leather care kit for many moons now (good quality stuff goes a long way) — although now I’m familiar enough with the ingredients and though-process of each step, and have the materials sitting around to make it myself when this runs out. Halfway through the job, I wondered what permies.com might say on this subject. I’ll be darned if there’s not a PEP BB for every thing!
My boots are leather outer, leather-lined, rubber sole and stacked leather heel. I’m in a suburban environment, so these are a mix between dress boots and daily travelers. Occasionally do a buff/shine if going out somewhere nice. Once every couple months I go all out (as pictured for this PEP) with:
1. Soap (beeswax + castile)
2. Salve (carnuba + shea butter)
3. Oil (safflower + vitamin E)
4. Wax (beexwax + lanolin)
Step 1: Get Your Torch! (And Soap Box?) Saddle Soap. Apparently there’s controversy (say it isn’t so!) over this stuff. The kind I have isn’t ye olde version — just castile + beeswax — so I have no qualms using it on my favorite pair of kicks. Calls for ‘stiff brush’ — I use an old toothbrush and it works just fine. Soap it up, then wipe it down with clean cloth.
P.S. I do love the wikiHow link in the original post about using a banana to clean!
Step 2: Condition(al) Love From the kit’s insert: “leather is happy when it’s hydrated.” Start with soft cloth for large areas; fingertips for difficult-to-reach spots. Leave for 30 minutes; buff with clean cloth.
Step 3: Shine On! Polish. Soft cloth to apply, even coating, work it into the leather with hands. Can use this version on rubber/leather soles ... and my hands benefit, too!
Step 4: Sally seals sea shells... ... Or something like that. Beeswax + lanolin waterproofing step. Soft cloth, evenly coat, use fingers or soft brush to work it in everywhere, especially places more susceptible to water damage. Let it sit overnight before use. Test by splashing water on it — if beads up and rolls off, good to go!
No trees were harmed by sending this message, but a few million electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
I waited a few days for the shoes to dry out, and then oiled them!
I keep a beeswax+coconut oil salve/wood oil ready for whenever I need to oil things. So, I used this for the shoes. It seemed easier to just add a bit of lanolin to it when I applied it to my shoes, so I didn't have to make yet another small jar of specialized stuff.
Since it's taken me a full month to get around to actually posting these pictures, I just now realized that I never took an "after" shot. So, I put the shoes on and snapped a picture. They're very comfortable, and far, far improved from the stiff leather shoes they'd been before. They're no my go-to shoe!