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How to Clean Muddy Cowboy Boots? Step by Step Instructions

How to Clean Muddy Cowboy Boots? Step by Step Instructions

Cowboy boots are born to serve the needs of cowboys and farmers on the farm. They need sturdy, affordable boots that give their feet the best protection.

To this day, you will still easily find cowboy boots in the fields of America. They can fight through mud, rain, or hot sun.

Because of working on the muddy and sunny farms in the West, cowboy boots need to be cleaned regularly to keep the outside fresh and lasting for years.

And mud is one of the most annoying foes for your cowboy boots, which is very common during the rainy season.

Today we will learn about how to clean muddy cowboy boots. This is a huge headache for the Cowboys!

Let’s check it out!

Before we dive into the process of cleaning mud from your cherished cowboy boots, it’s essential to ensure you’re equipped with the right tools.

Doing so not only helps maintain the boots’ pristine appearance but also extends their lifespan.

Here are the five key items you’ll need: a soft cloth, a horsehair brush, a spray bottle filled with warm water, saddle soap (or leather cleaner), and a quality leather conditioner.

Leather care kit from Tecovas

Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info on Tecovas

Now, let’s delve into some crucial considerations when cleaning mud from leather cowboy boots.

Using the correct cleaning tools is vital. While some may resort to using a toothbrush, it’s worth noting that the bristles of a toothbrush can be too abrasive over time, potentially diminishing the boots’ longevity and vibrancy.

To keep your cowboy boots looking fresh and vibrant, opt for brushes specifically designed for this purpose.

horsehair brushes

If your cowboy boots feature laces (although most do not), it’s advisable to remove the laces before cleaning. You can wash them separately in a washing machine for a thorough cleaning.

Furthermore, it’s essential to recognize that there are distinct methods for cleaning waterproof and non-waterproof cowboy boots.

With the right knowledge and tools at your disposal, you can ensure your boots remain in top-notch condition. Now, let’s begin the process!

men and women wear cowboy boots stan on the muddy place

How to Clean Mud Off NON-WATERPROOF Leather Cowboy Boots

Normally, the best way to keep the original color of your cowboy boots for a long and extend their life is cleaning the boots right after they get dirty, mud or rainwater, etc.

As a practical approach, let’s break down the cleaning process into two specific scenarios: dealing with wet mud and addressing dry mud.

1. Clean WET MUD

Cleaning leather cowboy boots that have been soiled with wet mud requires a methodical approach to prevent damage.

man with muddy cowboy boots

The key steps involve initially applying warm water to the mud stain, followed by gentle wiping with a moistened cloth.

Focusing on the seams and Goodyear welt, where mud tends to accumulate, is crucial. If the mud proves stubborn, a brush can be employed along with additional water.

Finally, saddle soap is used to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning, leaving your boots looking their best.

Step 1: Use a spray bottle to spray warm water on the mud stain on leather cowboy boots.

Step 2: Moisten the soft cloth with warm water and use it to wipe off the mud.

Step 3: Wipe thoroughly in the Goodyear welt and seams areas, then clean every seam carefully. Those are parts of cowboy boots that are most susceptible to mud.

Do not rub too hard, if the stain is stubborn, use a brush to remove the mud. Besides, use a spray bottle to spray warm water on the mud stuck on cowboy boots.

Step 4: At this point, your cowboy boots could relatively escape from stubborn mud. Now use a brush and saddle soap to clean leather cowboy boots. Saddle soap will help remove all the dirt caused by the mud on the boots.

How to use saddle soap: Moisten the brush with warm water (normal water is okay) and apply the saddle soap to the brush, then rub the brush on the surface of the cowboy boots.

Similar to step 3, scrub in the Goodyear welt and in the areas with many stitches.

Step 5: Use a dry cloth to wipe off the saddle soap left on the leather cowboy boots, carefully wipe the nooks and crannies on the boots, making sure the boots are dry after cleaning.

After you’ve cleaned your cowboy boots and kept them dry, don’t forget to use a conditioner to protect them completely from stains. Also, some types of conditioners can keep cowboy boots waterproof (mink oil).

Besides, remember to polish your cowboy boots so they are always shiny and fresh.

2. Clean DRY MUD

When dealing with dried mud on cowboy boots, the key is to avoid rushing into wetting them. Instead, use a soft cloth or a specialized brush to gently remove as much dirt and dried mud as you can.

cowboy boots with dry mud

This careful dry cleaning process lays the groundwork for effective mud removal, keeping your boots in good shape and protecting the leather.

Step 1: Do not rush to wet your cowboy boots, use a soft cloth or specialized brush to sweep the dirt and dry mud on the boots as much as possible.

Step 2: Once the dry mud has been defeated, use a spray bottle to spray warm water on the cowboy boots and use a soft cloth to wipe every corner thoroughly.

Step 3: Use a combination of a horsehair brush and leather cleaner to remove stubborn dirt and mud.

Step 4: Dry boots after completing the above process.

Step 5: Apply conditioner on your cowboy boots to make the boots soft restore their original color and help your cowboy boots against water, dirt, and mud.

After the conditioner is dry, polish your cowboy boots to make them bright and fresh again. That way keeps your boots durable and beautiful.

Are Cowboy Boots Good for Mud

How to Clean Mud Off WATERPROOF Leather Cowboy Boots

For some waterproof cowboy boots (workhog boots, western work boots, rambler …), cleaning these boots is very easy.

Because of the characteristics of waterproof cowboy boots that are constantly exposed to mud and dirt, manufacturers have sprayed a chemical layer against dirt, mud and water outside the leather of these cowboy boots.

Step 1: Put on your waterproof cowboy boots.

Step 2: Use a spray bottle and spray directly on the stubborn dirt and mud. You can apply this method whether it is dry mud or wet mud.

Step 3: Use a soft cloth to wipe away the stains in the narrow trenches of cowboy boots.

Step 4: Use a special brush and leather cleaner to clean the boots.

Step 5: Dry your boots. Even if the boots are waterproof, you still need to use a dry towel to wipe them.

After the boots are dry, use a conditioner to maintain the boots well so that they are durable enough to withstand the environment and soft enough to cuddle your feet.

Usually, these boots are for outdoor work and heavy work, so there’s no need to polish them, but if you like, just do it.

kid wear cowboy boots walking in the muddy ground

How to Clean Mud Off the Sole of Cowboy Boots

To clean the outsole of cowboy boots, you don’t need to be as careful as cleaning the other parts made of leather.

The outsole of cowboy boots is usually very solid, hard, and durable. Besides, the outsole is also made from many different materials such as leather, rubber or synthetic.

Do not use the above brushes to clean the outsole of the boots. Instead, use old or discarded brushes in your home.

Combine those brushes with water to clean the outsole of the boots. Spray the water directly onto the outsole and scrub thoroughly to make sure that the mud has been washed away by the water and the brush.

You can also use specialized tools to clean the outsole if you are a person who often has to wear cowboy boots and do outdoor work.

Cowboy boots with mud on the soles

How to Clean Red Mud and Clay Mud Off Leather Cowboy Boots

Unlike normal mud, red mud or clay mud is a nightmare for cowboy boots.

Red mud and clay mud can stick very tightly and leave traces of them on the boots for a long time, which will seriously affect your cowboy boots.

The best way to handle when your boot gets caught in this mud is to clean your leather cowboy boot when the mud just sticks.

Red mud and clay mud often stick to large patches in the boots, so try to remove them as much as you can with your hands.

Then use the methods above to handle. It may take more time and more leather cleaner.

A pair of cowboy boots and saddle on the ranch

Some notes when cleaning cowboy boots

  • Use leather cleaner when cowboy boots have been dried to a certain extent.
  • Limit the use of non-specialized leather products to clean cowboy boots.
  • The above methods are only used for leather cowboy boots. Don’t apply it to suede cowboy boots!
  • After cleaning your cowboy boots, make sure you dry the boots completely. Do not clean cowboy boots too often, too much contact with water will make the leather less durable.

Related Questions

1. How do you get dried mud out of cowboy boots?

When faced with the challenge of removing dried mud from your cowboy boots, the initial and crucial step is to exercise patience.

dry mud covers cowboy boots

It’s essential not to rush into wetting your boots. Instead, use a soft cloth or a specialized brush to carefully sweep away as much dirt and dry mud as possible.

This meticulous dry removal process sets the foundation for successful mud removal, preserving the integrity of your boots and preventing deeper damage to the leather.

Once dry mud is cleared, use a spray bottle filled with warm water to lightly mist the boots’ surface. With the boots slightly moistened, use a soft cloth to wipe off any remaining mud, ensuring a thorough clean.

If stubborn stains persist, use a horsehair brush and an appropriate leather cleaner to gently work on the affected areas, lifting away the mud.

Allow the cleaned boots to air dry naturally at room temperature. Avoid using direct heat sources.

2. How to Clean Leather Boots with Vinegar?

In our extensive collection of articles on cowboy boot care, we consistently advocate the use of dedicated products tailored for leather or suede maintenance.

However, in reality, if you find yourself busy and without specialized leather care products at hand, you can explore alternative methods, such as using vinegar for cleaning cowboy boots at home, but it’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid excessive use.


Vinegar is known for its mild acidic properties, making it suitable for cleaning various surfaces, including leather. It can help break down and dissolve dirt, mud, and stains without being too harsh on the leather.

Step 1: Dilute white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio.

Step 2: Spray warm water on the leather boots and use a soft cloth to thoroughly wipe the leather boots, especially Goodyear welt and stitches.

Step 3: Use a soft cloth to soak into the vinegar-water solution, then continue to rub until the remaining stubborn dirt and mud are gone.

Step 4: Dry the boots and use the conditioner to protect and maintain the leather boots and also increase the lifespan of your boots.

The method of using vinegar is not too different from the above methods that we have instructed. The only difference is that you use a vinegar-water solution instead of saddle soap or leather cleaner.

Before you leave

A woman wears jeans and cowboy boots on the ranch

These methods detailed above represent some of the best and simplest ways to effectively clean mud from your beloved cowboy boots. We hope you find success when applying these techniques.

Leather cowboy boots, when cared for properly, are known for their remarkable durability and sturdiness, often serving you well for over a decade.

And as a final note, once you’ve successfully cleaned your boots, don’t forget to show your appreciation by dropping us a thank-you message!

Best of luck with your clean and well-maintained cowboy boots!