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How To Take The Shine Off Cowboy Boots? 5 Effective Ways

How To Take The Shine Off Cowboy Boots? 5 Effective Ways

Glossy cowboy boots give a great sense of courtesy and class to the wearer. These are highly recommended items for business attire.

Yet, in some cases, they can make you look so extra (especially something like super glossy plastic-looked cowboy boots) that you will definitely stand out from the crowd.

Since cowboy boots have been somewhat dramatic and ornate with lots of decorative and embroidered motifs along the shaft, it isn’t a good way to go.

Heavy sheen cowboy boots can be fine, but they also easily reveal obvious scuffs and flaws on the boot shaft.

For that reason, many are seeking to dull and matte their glossy cowboy boots in one way or another.

If you are looking for ways to make it happen at home, this article will also come in handy for you.

There’s nothing wrong with shining off your cowboy boots since you can combine making cowboy boots out of heavy sheen with effective leather maintenance.

Here are some good ways to go!

How To Take The Shine Off Cowboy Boots?

Technically, shining off leather cowboy boots means that you will reduce the amount of sheen on the surface of the boots. Leather does not usually shine on its own.

They will usually be chemically coated or polished with glossy wax or polish to achieve the desired shine. The key to shining off the leather is to somehow wear away this glossy finish.

The methods below help reduce the shine on the surface of leather cowboy boots, even giving them a matte finish. In addition, they support the cleaning of leather without affecting the quality of the real leather.

1. Abrasive wipe

Abrasive wipe for cowboy boot

This is the simplest method that you can apply at home. Using an abrasive wipe is to use a physical impact to remove the glossy coating on the surface of leather cowboy boots. Here are a few items you can use to make it happen.

However, the first step is always to thoroughly clean the leather cowboy boots. Otherwise, dirt and chemicals can cause the final matte finish of the boots to become uneven and less aesthetically pleasing.


  • Cheap and easy to make it happen at home
  • Less time-consuming and labor-intensive
  • Condition leather while removing heavy sheen
  • Great matte finish eventually


  • Rubbing can unfortunately affect the leather structure

Step 1: Clean the leather cowboy boots thoroughly

What you need to prepare:

  • 1 bowl of warm water
  • 1 soft cloth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

First, you need to clean the dry dust on the surface of the leather cowboy boots. Use part of a dry cloth and rub it all over the leather, including the decorative areas and seams.

Mix apple cider vinegar and warm water to make a mixture that has a ratio of 1:3. Soak the rest of the soft cloth in the mixture and then wipe it over the entire leather surface. You should only do it once and let the boots dry for 1 minute.

Step 2: Wear the gloss on the boots away

After your leather cowboy boots are completely clean from dirt, it’s time to remove the shine on the surface of the material.

a/ Wipe with acetone

If you live with your girlfriend and she does her nails all the time, you can use her acetone to bring your glossy cowboy boots a real matte look.

What you need to prepare:

  • 1 soft cloth
  • 1 bottle of acetone (note that the volume should be enough to cover 2 cowboy boots)

You need to put a sufficient amount of acetone on a soft cloth. Keep in mind that you should apply the liquid to the leather immediately because this chemical will evaporate most quickly.

However, you should not use large amounts of acetone to treat the shine since it will cause uneven matte finishes.

Gently rub the acetone-soaked cloth over the entire surface of your cowboy boots or anywhere you want to remove the original shine. It is really important to note that you should not rub hard on the leather; doing so will damage the structure of this material.

You can repeat the process until you reach your desired level of matte. However, in my experience, once or twice is sufficient to not destroy leather while maintaining a nice matte appearance.

Shoe Tips : How to Take the Shine Off Shoes

b/ Rub with a foam sponge for dishwashing/ sandpaper

A simpler way to physically remove the shine on leather cowboy boots is to use friction with the rough surface. These methods have a high success rate and do not affect the texture and quality of the real leather.

What you need to prepare:

  • Foam sponge for dishwashing/ Sandpaper
  • Leather liquid conditioner

You can use the hard surface of the sponge for dishwashing with soft leather, which usually possesses a thin gloss finish and a good level of adaptability.

If your cowboy boots are made of sturdy full-grain leather and have a thick glossy finish, you need a heavier-abused tool: sandpaper.

Rubbed cowboyboot by foam sponge

You need to rub the rough side of the sponge or sandpaper over the entire glossy leather surface with light intensity. At this point, you need to examine how well the boots are removed. Then, you do more scrubbing to get a satisfactory matte finish.

Finally, after having a satisfactory layer of matter, the leather surface will be relatively rough.

You need to apply a thin layer of leather liquid conditioner to the areas that have just been scrubbed. They are just enough to moisturize the material without providing a shine to the surface.

c/ A mix of lemon and alcohol

If you don’t have acetone at home, a mix of lemon and alcohol is an effective alternative that can provide the same effects.

Moreover, this mixture is not as toxic as Acetone if you accidentally inhale it. If you are pregnant and have been told not to be around this chemical, this method is best to use.

What you need to prepare:

  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1 amount of alcohol sold at a drugstore
  • 1 soft cloth
  • 1 amount of leather liquid conditioner

A mix of lemon and alcohol

Fresh lemon juice works as a mild bleaching agent. However, it is not really strong enough to remove heavy sheen. You need to mix them with alcohol to increase bleach effectiveness, but it won’t be as powerful as using alcohol itself to remove the sheen surface.

You need to mix lemon juice and alcohol in a ratio of 2:2. Start by dabbing the solution on a soft cloth and start scrubbing hard onto the shiny leather surface. Repeat continuously until the desired shine is achieved.

After completing the process, you need to dry the leather surface completely so there is no risk of water stains later.

Finally, after the boots are dry, you need to apply a small amount of leather liquid conditioner to the surface of the boots for good moisture and a soft feel.

Note that this method is safe and suitable for soft, medium-gloss leather. If your cowboy boots are high-gloss and are made of hard leather, you may need stronger bleach chemicals such as oxalic acid, which is used in woodworking.

2. Dyeing leather

Dark brown cowboy boots with red hat

Another interesting method that both helps shine off leather cowboy boots and gives you the feeling of brand new cowboy boots – is dyeing leather.

You can color your leather boots at home and use coconut oils to moisturize, increase elasticity, and provide light waterproofness to the leather.

This method does not require abrading of the surface of the real leather, thereby it doesn’t affect the structure and quality of the material.


  • Change the color into a whole new one
  • Shine off leather effectively


  • Can be quite labor-intensive
  • It’s very time-consuming
  • The preparation is not cheap and easy

What you need to prepare:

  • Leather brush
  • 1 jar deglazed/preparer
  • 1 vial of dye with matching colors
  • 1 amount of leather conditioner/coconut oils
  • 2 soft cloths
  • Rubber/plastic gloves to protect hands
Leather care kit from Tecovas

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

Step 1: Clean the leather cowboy boots

The first is the cleaning of dirt and chemicals on the leather surface. You use the leather brush to scrub the entire surface of the leather.

You do not need to use other cleaning solutions. Because the dry surface will allow the dyeing process to take place more efficiently.

If the boots have stubborn stains, you need to treat them separately and wait until they are completely dry before moving on to the next steps.

Step 2: Blur the original color of the leather

Dip a small amount of the solution from the deglazer and wipe the entire glossy surface of the leather. You may need to repeat the process several times.

The truth is that you can already have matte cowboy boots after completing this step.

After applying the deglazer to the leather, it turns out to be a very matte finish. However, you can see color patches on the surface of the material. So you need to dye the leather afterward.

The boots need to be dried completely after applying the deglazer. You may need to wait overnight for them to dry. Then brush the surface gently to increase color penetration afterward.

Step 3: Dye the skin color

Black is the recommended color to use at home as it is easy to do and does not require intermediate colors to get the desired results. Wear gloves properly, first of all.

You need to turn the dye bottle upside down and shake it multiple times so that the color is evenly mixed into the other chemical solution.

You need to test the color on a small piece of leather to see the effect on its color (it’s optional if you’ve got one).

Now, apply the color little by little onto a soft cloth or brush (personally, I prefer a soft cloth or sponge). You need to rub the color on the surface of the leather cowboy boots evenly without causing the color to be deposited in any area.

You can repeat the process to get the desired effect every 30 minutes once the leather has dried. However, if you choose to dye it in bold and dark colors, you only need to do it twice.

Finally, you should use a boot dryer to completely dry the boots. At this point, leather cowboy boots already have the perfect all-round matte look.

Step 4: Apply coconut oils/leather conditioner

Personally, I like oils because they provide more lasting moisture to dyed leather without making it greasy and shiny.

Keep in mind that, if you condition glossy leather cowboy boots with coconut oils, the boots will eventually appear light sheen.

If you apply coconut oils to matte leather, they won’t leave the skin glossy at all, but just provide a very light and healthy shine – which is perfect. The sheen will fade off in just one or two days.

3. Using matte leather dressing

Using matte leather dressing on cowboy boots

Another simple way that doesn’t need to be abrasive for leather cowboy boots is to use matte leather dressing. There are not too many of these products on the market since the glossy look is more of a cup of tea for most people.

A matte leather dressing is also used to condition and moisturize the leather while creating a final matte finish instead of a heavy sheen.


  • Availability
  • Easy to do
  • It doesn’t take too much time
  • Immediate effect
  • Conditioning leather while creating a matte finish


  • Non-abrasive leather structure
  • Need to re-apply over time.
  • Not long-lasting effect.

What you need to prepare:

  • 2 thick foam sponges
  • 1 bottle of matte leather dressing

Step 1: Clean the leather thoroughly

You need to clean the leather from dust and mud completely. Otherwise, you may end up with specks of dirt mixed in with the final matte finish.

You use a foam sponge to clean the leather surface without using water or other solutions. That way, you won’t waste time waiting for the boots to dry completely.

Step 2: Apply matte dressing on leather

Take a solid amount of liquid from the dressing bottle and put it on the remaining foam sponge. You need to get a large amount, but you won’t use all of them. You need to spread the liquid on the surface evenly and brush off the excess liquid.

Gently rub the liquid foam sponge over the entire cowboy boot surface. You will need to repeat the process several times until the desired effect is achieved. Leave the boots to dry overnight.

The next day, if your cowboy boots are still not matte enough (which usually happens with heavy, glossy, and stiff leather cowboy boots), Repeat the process until the gloss is covered with a full matte finish.

4. Using a matte finish spray paint

Using matte finish spray paint on cowboy boots

Another handy method that does not require abrading the leather surface is using matte finish spray, which is used in the industry. It could be an interesting solution.

Applying the same principle as creating a heavy glossy finish, you will make a matte finish by spraying matte-finish chemicals on it.

This effectively helps to remove glossiness and, at the same time, enhances the water resistance on the surface of the material.


  • Easy to apply
  • Immediate effect
  • Availability
  • Less time-consuming and labor-intensive
  • Add some waterproofness


  • Not long-lasting effect
  • May harden unwanted leather
  • Tend to heat

What you need to prepare:

  • 1 soft cloth
  • 1 piece of old storm paper
  • 1 bottle of industrial matte finish spray

Step 1: Thoroughly clean cowboy boots

You should never forget to clean cowboy boots before starting anything on the leather since dirt particles can cause an uneven finish. Sometimes, you have almost no way to fix that.

Thoroughly clean cowboy boots

You just need to use a soft cloth to rub the entire surface of the leather boots. You do not need to use a solution or water for deep cleaning since we need to keep the surface of the material perfectly dry.

Use a hair dryer to brush off any dust remaining on the surface.

Step 2: Creating a matte finish

You need to cover the entire base of cowboy boots with old newspaper so that they do not appear patchy after spraying. In addition, you also need to cover the decorative areas on the boot shaft if they are made of fabric or dense embroidery thread.

Shake the spray bottle well and spray evenly over the entire leather cowboy boots or areas you want to shine off.

Every time you spray the solution on, you will notice the leather turn to a matte finish immediately.

You only need to spray once, which is enough to create the desired matte finish.

5. Distress leather

Distressing leather is the last method that I would recommend to you. They are damn good as you can turn your so-extra glossy cowboy boots into a pair of stylish rustic, vintage boots. Distressed cowboy boots appear with an aged and worn-out look with scuffs all over the surface. Besides, distressed leather is also more durable and abrasion-resistant.


  • It works well for heavy-sheen leather cowboy boots
  • Give a permanent effect
  • Immediately effective
  • Excellent sense of fashion and style


  • Truly time-consuming and labor-intensive

What you need to prepare:

  • Leather brush
  • A bowl of warm water
  • 1 amount of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 soft cloths
  • 1 bottle of medical alcohol purchased at a drugstore
  • Some rocks have sharp edges (can be taken from your backyard)
  • 1 bottle of lightweight leather conditioner
Leather Care Kit includes Leather Cleaner and Conditioner with Cloth from Tecovas

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

Step 1: Clean the boots thoroughly

This is a method of relatively heavy abrasion to the surface of leather. Therefore, your leather needs to be thoroughly cleaned first.

Mix a sufficient amount of warm water and apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 2:1. You absorb the mixture just mixed into a soft cloth and rub it on the entire surface to soften and clean all dirt and mud.

Repeat the process a few times to make sure there is no residue left on the surface of the leather.

Then, dry the cowboy boots completely.

Step 2: Abrade the gloss coating with alcohol

Abrade the gloss coating on cowboy boots with alcohol

You use the second soft cloth to absorb a thin amount of alcohol, then rub the entire leather upper. You will gradually remove the glossy coating and replace it with a smooth light matte finish.

You should only do this step once so as not to cause severe damage to the leather’s structure.

Step 3: Create a rough surface

Cowboy boots under the sun on the rocky road

This is a pretty important step because it determines how rustic the leather can be in the end.

You use sandpaper and rub it over the entire surface of the leather. Note that you need to create some out-of-order roughness since distressed leather is supposed to look as natural as possible.

You can alternate strong and light scrubs to get the most natural scratches.

Step 4: Make some deep scuffs with rocks (optional)

If you want the dustiest and rustic feel, you can use the sharp edge of the stone to carve scuffs onto vamps, toes, or boot shafts.

The general rule is that we don’t make uniform textures. Make it look like they don’t follow any rules.

Step 5: Condition leather

Cowboy boots, belt and hat

At this time, you need to provide a certain amount of moisture to the leather to increase the elasticity and durability of the material.

Lightweight leather conditioners will not create a visible sheen on the boot shaft.

Leave the cowboy boots overnight to dry completely.

Step 6: Throw them on the dirt

In the last step, you need to cover a layer of fine dirt on the leather surface and rub it gently. This will create the most authentic distressed look.

Final thoughts

It’s fun to have beautiful shiny cowboy boots, however, you don’t often need to show off that much since they can make your look so extra. Finding a way to shine off these glossy things is not hard. We’ve got everything you need above. Hope you find something applicable to your case!