Wipe off the Dust
Leather is skin and will react the way skin does when dust particles are left unattended. The most important thing you can do in boot care or for any piece of leather footwear is to keep it dust free. Specifically pay attention to the dust that may have settled into the creases of boots. Dust that collects can act like sandpaper scrapping off the finish with every step you take. Eventually it will cut through not only the finish but the fiber itself and the leather will split. Wipe the dust off with anything you have handy, you do not need a special brush or cloth. Doing this often will not harm your footwear in any way, only make them last longer!
Wash off Loose Dirt and Apply a Quality Conditioner
Basic boot care starts with a good cleaning and conditioning every so often. Begin by removing loose dirt and dried mud with a damp cloth, followed by a good brushing of the boot. While the leather is still moist, apply a lather conditioner. Once it has dried, it should be buffed with a soft cloth. The final step is to apply a boot cream to the boot and buff.
Boot Care and Conditioner
Choose a cream a shade or two darker then the color of the boot. Leathers fade slightly as they age and this will return them to their original color. You should use a matching color cream with new boots. Never mix brushes! Keep brushes for each color of polish with that particular brush.
Boot Care for Exotic Leathers
Exotic Leathers especially reptiles have deeper textures that do not absorb conditioner and cream as quickly. When applying conditioner to these leathers, apply in several thin layers rather than all at once. Apply conditioner to snakes gently against scales then rub down with scale direction. You should never leave snakeskin boots to dry out.
Harder surface exotics like lizard and alligator require a little more time in keeping dust and dirt out of the tiles especially in the folds as boots age. The life of the boot is greatly extended by keeping them clean and conditioned. Be sure to brush conditioner all the way to the sole line. Many people forget that area of the boot and it can cause the boot to crack and pull away at the sole. If the boot has a leather sole, it should also be conditioned. This increases the life of the sole because it restores moisture, which deters cracking.
Stains on Boots
Stubborn spots such as dried soda or alcohol can be removed by using a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Most scuffs and marks can be removed with a pencil eraser. It is important to remember that when conditioning your footwear or if the boots get wet, allowing them to dry away from direct heat is recommended.
Boot wax is not really necessary except where a “spit shine” is needed. It is important to remember that wax is water based and will dry out boots. A coat of cream should always be applied first followed by the wax. You can use saddle soap if you do not let it dry on the boots and you do not rub it in. Saddle soap should be wiped off wet. Mink oil is another product frequently used. It will waterproof the boots, but also seals the pores and eventually causes cracking. Therefore, it is not recommended for boot care.