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Soaking Cowboy Boots In Water: Should You?

Soaking Cowboy Boots In Water: Should You?

Many people often use water as the simplest method to clean cowboy boots. They even like to dip the entire cowboy boots in water with the hope that they can clean cowboy boots quickly and simply.

Or, when you browse the web, you will see a lot of different advice such as breaking in boots, stretching boots, or shrinking boots by soaking them in water. Well, is that advice really true? And should you do the same?

In fact, letting cowboy boots contact too much is not a wise choice. This action leads to negative effects rather than positives.

To clarify this matter for you, this article will tell you whether you should soak your cowboy boots in the water and explain why!

Let’s check it out!

Key Takeaways

  • Cowboy boots should not be dipped in water to break in, stretch, or for any other purposes. It only causes cowboy boots to quickly lose their shape, dry out, crack or appear mold, etc.
  • Dipping boots in water will cause natural oils and waxes to quickly wash away. Your boots will become dry faster over time, leading to cracking, fading, and loss of shape.
  • Soaking boots in water can make boots susceptible to mold and mildew on the inside if not dried properly.
  • Make sure you know how to dry your boots inside and out and know how to restore their natural oils and waxes if you still decide to soak them in the water.

What happens when cowboy boots are soaked in water?

Cowboy boots, with 100% leather construction, are very durable over time. Even so, they are not invincible, especially in the fight between cowboy boots and water. Eventually, the disadvantages will belong to the boots in the long run.

To explain that, you should know that leather can be soft, supple, smooth, and durable thanks to the great work of natural oils and waxes.

If exposed to water continuously without being treated properly, oils and waxes will quickly be washed away. As a result, cowboy boots will be prone to cracks due to dryness, and also lead to other negative things like loss of shape or color fading.

dry rot cowboy boots appear with cracks and fade color

Meanwhile, the 100% leather and high structure make cowboy boots easily store moisture inside, thereby leading to mold, fungus, etc.

This causes bad odors in the boots, dries out the boots from the inside faster and affects your foot health.

With such consequences, soaking cowboy boots in the water is not recommended for any purpose.

do not soak cowboy boots in water

Some solutions to treat cowboy boots without soaking them

Due to the high and deep construction of cowboy boots, it’s really not that easy and quick to dry them completely, inside and out. Only when they are completely dry can you begin to restore their lost oils and waxes.

Use a little water to spray on the surface of the boot to clean or speed up the break-in process. This way, you can control how wet your boots are to dry and restore them.

spray on cowboy boots

There is also an exception, some cowboy work boots have a heavier construction that can be soaked in water in case you want to clean them quickly.

Cowboy work boots also generally have a lower construction so you also have less trouble drying them. They are also usually waterproof, so you can easily clean them as they don’t get too wet.

Justin Original Work Men's Stampede Pull On Square Toe, Rugged Tan, 11 D US

A waterproof cowboy work boot – Click image for more info on Amazon

In case you still decide to put all your cowboy boots in the water, I suggest you read through our article: how to treat wet cowboy boots here! We have full instructions on how to handle it.

This includes how to dry the boots from the inside out as well as restore moisture (including waxes and oils).

In general, you should use a boot dryer to make sure your cowboy boots are dry from the inside out. In the process, the boot dryer also keeps the shape of the boots, preventing them from breaking.

PEET, Original Electric Shoe & Boot Dryer with 25 year warranty - Made in USA
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In addition, before going to bed, stuffing boot trees into the boots will ensure that they are moisture-wicking inside. Therefore, you can avoid mold or mildew appearing on them.

Stratton Cedar Western Boot/Shoe Tree For Men - Aromatic Red Cedar (Small / 6.5-7.5, Basic)
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Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Some household items such as desiccant paper and toilet paper can also be used to fill in cowboy boots to absorb moisture in case you do not have boot trees available.

Finally, applying a leather conditioner to your cowboy boots (not suede, nubuck, or rough-out leather) can help restore the lost oils and waxes of the leather.

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That’s all you need to know!

Before you leave

In general, it is not advisable to soak your cowboy boots in the water for any reason.

Simply because it is not easy to thoroughly dry a pair of boots made of 100% leather and 12 inches tall. It also takes time to condition them to recover from damage.

If cowboy boots are in a damp condition for a long time, it will lead to mold, fungus, and bad smells. In other scenarios, your boots might lose shape, or crack when they are dry.

Instead, using a water sprayer to control how much water is sprayed on the boots would be a wiser approach!

Just that, let’s protect your dear boots from moisture!