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Keeping Those Leather Work Boots Working For As Long As Possible

A good pair of leather work boots is a significant investment in your workplace safety and should receive the same level of care and attention as any other piece of safety equipment. Taking proper care of your work boots will help them retain the characteristics that make them safe, as well as help them last longer. Here are several strategies designed to keep your protective footwear intact and working well for as long as possible:

Keep it Clean

Carefully rinsing your boots on a nightly basis is essential if they are exposed to mud, dirt, grime, grease, or any other substances that stick to their surface. Be sure to dry them well after rinsing. If the material in question is dry, such as dust, a good boot brush with strong, stiff bristles can be used in lieu of rinsing. Besides cleaning them off at the end of each day they are worn, you should also give them a thorough cleaning on a monthly basis. Here's how:

  • Remove the laces and insoles and place them out of the way in a clean, dry place.
  • Brush the boots well with a firm-bristled boot brush, ensuring you cover all parts of the exterior of the boots.
  • Mix a bit of mild dishwashing liquid with some lukewarm water in a bowl. You can also purchase special cleaners manufactured specifically for use on leather boots if you wish, but many people find that mild dish soap does the job just as well and is less expensive.
  • Thoroughly brush the boots your boot brush, refreshing the brush with the contents of the bowl frequently until the entire exterior surface of both boots are clean.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water until boots are clear of all soap residue.

After cleaning and rinsing your boots, dry them off with a soft, clean cotton cloth, apply waterproofing cream, and place them in a well-ventilated area to complete drying. Always chose a night to clean your boots when you will not be wearing them the next day.

Store Them Properly

Although you may be tempted to remove your boots before entering your home and leave them there until it is time to put them on again, doing so can damage them by leaving them exposed to the elements. Atmospheric humidity as well as temperature extremes can both cause leather to crack and warp. Your boots should be stored in a clean, well-ventilated area after they receive their nightly rinsing, brushing, or other necessary maintenance.

Maintaining Older Boots

Although taking good care of your leather work boots will certainly add to their longevity, there will inevitably come a time when they start to show telltale signs of aging. You'll first notice this by the appearance of small cracks and lines. Applications of a good leather cream every two to three weeks is advised when work boots begin to show signs of drying. Your work boot retailer can advise you on the products that will work best on your particular brand or style of boots. Also, be sure to replace insoles and laces at the first sign of wear and tear.

A well cared for pair of work boots should last approximately three years under normal conditions. However, there will come a time when they need to be replaced, and you should not hesitate to do so if you have any concerns or questions about the safety of the boots. For instance, slip resistant soles will eventually wear down no matter how well they're maintained. Use common sense when evaluating whether it's time to get a new pair of work boots, and remember that your safety should always come first.