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How To Get Water Stains Out of Cowboy Boots? 6 Effective Methods

How To Get Water Stains Out of Cowboy Boots? 6 Effective Methods

Sometimes, a random rain will, unfortunately, catch us in the middle of the road, and the result is splotchy water stains all over the cowboy boots’ vamp or shaft.

At another point, you just step into a large puddle and your cowboy boots will soak under the water again, causing a lot of watermarks.

The point here is that we cannot prevent water stains from forming on real leather cowboy boots since water is everywhere on the way we go. What we need to do is to find the most suitable solution to deal with these patchy traces.

Water stains are one of the most common stains, and it is not so difficult to remove them from the surface of leather, making them disappear from your sight forever.

Even if your stains have been around for too long on the outside of your boots, we still have a way to deal with them.

The good news is that you will surely get rid of stubborn water stains after reading this article.

Let’s dive in!

How to get water stains out of cowboy boots?

Here are some good ways to deal with these stubborn water stains.

1. Using PH-balanced leather cleaner

The easiest way of all is to use a pH-balanced leather cleaner to remove both water stains. Most of these leather cleaners are capable of removing stubborn stains, not just water stains. They do not contain detergents that damage the structure of the material.

PH balance means they don’t leave the material too dry or too wet after application, preventing mold, odors or over-drying of the surface. This method is recommended for soft, supple and wrinkled leather cowboy boots that are highly adaptable to the product.

You will need to prepare:

  • 1 horsehair brush
  • 1 bottle of leather cleaner
Leather Care Kit includes Leather Cleaner and Conditioner with Cloth from Tecovas

Leather Cleaner and Conditioner | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

Step 1: Clean the dirt on the surface

The first step in any leather treatment process is to clean the dirt on the surface of the material. They also contribute to protecting your leather from being scratched during subsequent rubbing.

You just need to use the horse brush to clean the nooks and crannies of the leather cowboy boots. The horse hair brush has a very soft structure and has a high cleaning ability while not scratching the leather surface badly.

Step 2: Applying cleaner all over the material

You may need to leave a little by little amount of cleaner liquid on small spots all over the leather upper, then quickly rub the liquid evenly with a horse brush until the water stains magically disappear.

Keep in mind to not pour too much liquid on the material at once if you don’t want to get more water stains after that. In case the liquid stays very long on the surface, it tends to get deeper and form unexpected marks as we often call watermarks.

This method may work better for new watermarks left in the construction of the material.


  • Cheap and easy to get things done
  • Don’t require much effort and time
  • Work effective for light and new water stains


  • It may not work well for deep and cross water stains.
Cleaning Leather Boots With Bickmore Bick 1

2. Darkening leather

Since water stains are usually most prominent on the surface of light-colored cowboy boots, darkening the leather is the simplest method to cover those stains.

You can darken leather cowboy boots in a variety of ways, from simple to complex, using household oils (coconut oils, olive oils) or professional leather oils (mink oils, neatsfoot oils).

The result of this method is a brand new-looking cowboy boot with the perfect dark color and a nice sheen look.

Darken cowboy boots with scream

You need to prepare:

  • 1 soft cloth (can be taken from an old t-shirt)
  • 1 little apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bowl of warm water
  • Coconut oils/olive oils/mink oils/neatsfoot oils

Step 1: Clean the surface of cowboy boots carefully

This step is very important because you need to remove all the dust and chemicals that have been deposited on the surface of the leather cowboy boots. It will help increase the evenness and shine of the final boots.

You mix warm water and apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 3:1. Then, apply this solution to a soft cloth and wipe the entire surface of the leather cowboy boots (not just the water-stained areas) and leave for 1 minute.


Step 2: Darken leather with oils

Use the other side of the soft cloth and take an appropriate amount of coconut oils/olive oils/mink oils/neatsfoot oils.

Rub the cloth evenly with moderate force on the entire outer surface of the cowboy boots. You will see the leather gradually turn dark and begin to cover all the water stains on the surface.


  • Cover all kinds of stains
  • Easy to prepare and get things done


  • If darkening leather is not your wish, this method is not for you.

3. Hide watermarks using colorful polish

If you want to keep the original color of your cowboy boots while wishing to remove water stains from your view, colorful polish is the way to go.

man is polishing cowboy boots with stitching

However, it is not easy to find the right color for your cowboy boots. In addition, you also need some techniques and ingenuity to not make the cowboy boots look patchy.

You need to prepare:

  • 1 soft cloth (can be taken from an old t-shirt)
  • Colorful polish (in the ideal shade)
  • 1 bowl of warm water
  • 1 piece of soft foam

Step 1: Clean and moisten leather boots

You use a soft cloth prepared and soaked in warm water. Then, gently rub the wet cloth over the entire surface of the leather cowboy boots to clean the dirt and chemicals left on the leather.

This will make the coloration after applying polish even and smoother. Keep in mind that you should not put too much water on the leather surface and let it sit for too long, otherwise, you will have more water stains appear later.

Step 2: Applying colorful polish

After cleaning and letting the cowboy boots dry for 1 minute, apply a small amount of colorful polish to the piece of soft foam.

Note that you better take the polish little by little while applying the polish to the leather. If you put on too much, they can cause uneven colors on the surface.

Gently rub the foam containing the polish over the entire surface of the leather boots (or just around the water-stained areas). Repeat the process until no more water stains are visible and the leather surface looks shiny and beautiful.

Read more: How To Polish Cowboy Boots with Stitching?


  • Simple preparation and performance
  • Giving another vivid color to leather
  • Effectively cover water stains


  • If you don’t like glossy looks, this method is not what you need.

4. A combination of lemon and shoe cream

Shoe cream is a form of leather conditioner with a thicker texture than conditioner, less shine and moisture than colorful polish.

If you don’t want your cowboy boots to look too shiny like with color polish, you can use lemon and shoe cream to cover water stains. Shoe cream also contains the same color as colorful polish.

Hey, look! It sounds much more beneficial when combining water stain removal and leather maintenance in one go, doesn’t it?

Lemon and shoe cream

You need to prepare:

  • 1 cup of 200ml warm water
  • Half a fresh lemon
  • Shoe cream in the ideal color
  • 1 piece of soft cloth (can be taken from a T-shirt)
  • 1 old toothbrush

Step 1: Clean the leather with lemon

An interesting fact is that light acid liquids like fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar are actually better at cleaning than milk liquid. With a higher pH, they aid in fading stains and better cleaning dirt and chemicals on the surface of the leather.

lemon and cup of water

However, you should not pour this acidic liquid directly on the leather since it will fade the color of the leather quickly, causing severe patchiness.

Squeeze 2/3 of half a lemon into the prepared cup of warm water. Apply the liquid to a soft cloth and start scrubbing the entire leather surface to clean it, then let it dry for 1 minute.

Step 2: Hide water stains with shoe cream

If your cowboy boots are light-toned tan or brown, you can choose cream shoes in dark brown or tan.

Take a small amount of cream on the bristles of the brush and start scrubbing the entire surface of the leather until it is evenly colored and has completely covered the water stains.

Read more: How to Clean Cowboy Boots with Household Items?


  • Give excellent sheen and a healthy look result for leather
  • Effectively cover water stains
  • Easy to get things done


  • May need some techniques to even color perfectly.
How to remove water stains from leather shoes

5. Dye leather cowboy boots

Now you have a pair of cowboy boots that have worn out over time and are covered with layer and layer of water stains. In this case, color polish and shoe cream are not enough to get your leather cowboy boots back to excellent color.

Your boots need to be re-colored. This method should only be applied to cases where cowboy boots are too old with heavy stains that cannot be removed with the above methods.

Dyeing the leather is the best way to completely cover the watermarks while giving you the feeling of buying a brand-new pair of cowboy boots.

I do not recommend doing this at home. Better yet, let a professional handle them for you since the leather dyeing process is quite complicated.

You will need to fade the original color of the boots (if the boots are dark) and then moisten the leather several times and finally stain the leather surface.

If you make it at home, you may end up paying a lot of money to buy the necessary ingredients without guaranteeing ultimate success. They are even more expensive than having a professional help you out.

DIY - How to Dye Leather Boots


  • Perfectly treats severe water stains as well as discolored skin
  • Provides maintenance for skin quality


  • High cost when needing expert help
  • The risk of failure is high if you do it yourself at home

6. Erase water stains on suede/nubuck cowboy boots

Finally, we’ve got something to remove water stains from suede or nubuck cowboy boots. The truth is, suede or nubuck cowboy boots are likely to pick up water-based stains more easily and quickly than real leather.

This is because they have a napped finish on the outer surface, which increases their ability to absorb water faster. But the interesting thing is, you will easily remove water stains on suede and nubuck with ease and very little money.

Suede cowboy boots

You need to have:

  • Suede brush, eraser
  • Suede cleaner
Tecovas suede cleaner, brush and eraser

Suede Cleaner, Brush and Eraser | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

Step 1: Dry suede/nubuck cowboy boots completely

The first thing you need to do is to dry out the water stains that appear on the suede/nubuck surface as quickly as possible since they are formed by water drops. You can hang the boots under the sunlight or in a dry place to let them dry out quickly.

You can also put suede/nubuck cowboy boots in the clothes dryer to dry on low heat so as not to damage the structure of the boots. You will notice that after the material has dried completely, the water stains will disappear. It’s amazing, right?

Step 2: Brush the suede/nubuck

To complete this process perfectly, you need to use a suede brush and an eraser to brush evenly over the surface of the material.

This helps to completely remove the hairs that are stuck together due to water after being dried. Just rub the brush over the entire suede/nubuck surface 1-2 times and we get things done!

A man is holding suede eraser and suede brush

Step 3: Cleaning all leftovers 

This step should be taken when you realize that after water stains are removed from the surface of suede cowboy boots, there is still a lot of dust and tiny mud that a brush is unable to remove. You need a dedicated cleaner specifically designed for suede and nubuck.

Keep in mind that you must never use ordinary leather cleaners on suede/nubuck cowboy boots if you don’t want to regret it later.

You need to foam suede/nubuck cleaner with a sponge or soft cloth (better sponge). Then, you rub the sponge over the entire surface of the cowboy boots without missing any spots.

Wipe the foam on the surface of cowboy boots away and dry them with a boot dryer.

Read more: How to Clean Suede Cowboy Boots?


  • Effectively remove water stains from suede/nubuck
  • The method is easy and cheap


  • It can be quite time-consuming.

Before you leave

Getting rid of water stains is no longer a dream. We’ve already got some good ways for you.

However, keep in mind that the best way to never have to think about removing water stains on leather cowboy boots is to condition your leather with mink oils and professional leather conditioners every two to three months.

Leather will be provided with a special layer of protection from the fat that does not allow water to penetrate deep below, reducing the formation of water stains later.