Bootblacking

October 30th, 2012

Cleaning Boots

What You Need:
1) Saddle or Glycerin Soap
2) Spray bottle of water
3) Brushes – polish brushes, tooth brushes, boot brushes
4) Leather Conditioner
5) Leather Polishes, Grease and/or Oil
6) Soft, lint-free clothes for drying, buffing
Optional:
7) Small plastic bowl
8) Wax pencils – white & yellow

Preparation
1) Ask questions of boot owner if you have any or are unsure.
2) Roll pant legs away from boot.
3) Unlace boots, paying attention to how they are laced.
4) Check for dents, dings or frayed lacing.

Saddle Soap/Glycerin
1) Using a little bit of water, work up a light lather with brush.
a) I use a small plastic bowl and a spray bottle.
b) Use as little water as possible.
2) Scrub entire boot with brush.
3) If lather fails, relather brush.
a) A toothbrush can be used for edges or crevices.
4) Wipe off excess soap with soft cloth.
5) Let dry while you clean second boot.

Conditioner – if needed
1) Apply conditioner to entire boot with hands or soft cloth.
2) Let soak into leather.
3) Remove excess with soft cloth.

Oil/Grease/Polish – Oil/Grease for Oil Tanned, Polish for High Shine
1) Warm oil/grease/polish – either by fire(polish) or by
hand(polish/oil/grease).
2) Apply to entire boot with hands, soft cloth or brush.
3) Work evenly into leather.
4) If you get oil/grease/polish on stitching, remove immediately with small brush(baby toothbrush) and soap.
4) Let dry while doing other boot.

Buffing
1) For Polish – buff first with shoe brush, firm bristles to soft in short quick strokes.
2) After brush, or for Oil-tanned – buff with soft, lint-free cloth to remove excess polish/oil using quick strokes.
a) Nylons are useful for final buffing.

Finishing
1) Inspect boots.
2) Use wax pencil to highlight stitching.
3) Relace boots.
4) Roll pant legs back down.

Storing Boots

1) Stuff boots with rolled up bags, newspapers, magazines or boot savers.
2) Store in acid free shoebox, or standing upright, away from other materials.
3) Do not use mothballs or plastic boxes.

Top Tips

1) Identify the type of leather first, ask if you aren’t sure.
a) High Polish tend to be harder and shinier than Oil Tanned.
b) If it’s exotic, ask more questions.
c) Most exotics should only be cleaned with a damp soft cloth and
very soft brush, and using a specialized wax or polish if any.
2) Have several colors of polish in your kit – black, brown, neutral, etc.
3) Spot clean suede with damp cloth and brush with a suede brush.
4) Salt stains can be removed with careful use of a vinegar/water
solution – wipe off quickly.
5) Polish – Cream or Wax? Both can be used on polishable boots, cream does more conditioning and is better for softer leather whereas wax is mostly for shine and harder boots.

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