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How to clean leather boots and shoes? Steps? Please provide some clarity.


Dec 7, 2008
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I would like to clean my Katahdin Iron Works Engineer Boots properly. This will be my first time cleaning leather shoes without water, soap, and some all-in-one polish found at the local drugstore.

I purchased Lexol cleaner and Lexol conditioner but don't know where to begin.

Do I clean, condition, and then polish? The Iron Works Boot did not have a shine when I bought them and I prefer that they don't shine, thus do I still need to polish?

If I want to clean my boots again, lets say from dirt, should I use the Lexol cleaner or a damp towel? If I use the Lexol cleaner, will I be required to redo the conditioning and the polishing?

For shoes such as AEs that have a shine, I would clean, condition, and polish? When do I apply the water/stain repellent?

Thanks! I appreciate the help.


Distinguished Member
Mar 15, 2006
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What an unbelievably naive first post - a grown man needing to be told how to learn to clean his shoes/boots. Read the instructions on the various containers and use the Search function - there are a few threads on the subject but few if any demanding such basics.


Senior Member
Feb 9, 2010
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^^ this guy is being an ass.

GBR--there isn't much information out there for people looking to clean oiled leather boots on SF.

Since they are oiled leather, I would think you could use the same instructions as red wing provides for their oiled boots on their

1)Remove dirt from the shoe by cleaning thoroughly with a stiff bristle brush.
2)Scrub gently with Red Wing Shoes Leather Cleaner, then wipe off the cleaner and dirt with a clean cloth. Boots should then be dried naturally in a cool, dry place, as high heat can remove oils in the leather.
3)Using leather cleaner reduces the oil in the leather. To re-add oil to the leather apply Red Wing Shoes Boot Oil or Mink Oil as directed.
4)Add extra protection to preserve your footwear investment. Red Wing Leather Protector provides an invisible shield from water, dirt, oil, and mud.

This seems like it's a pretty good idea. Oiled leather isnt too finicky, and you can get away with a lot, even just using conditioner (i'd recommend allen edmonds cleaner conditioner, it's pretty cheap and they ship for free). People will tell you to use saphir renovateur, but for your purposes its unnecessary.

You could also call LL Bean and see what they recommend.

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