How to Clean and Polish Leather Boots – HGTV

– I’ve been around long enough that, unfortunately,
when I meet people, I look at their shoes. You know? And judgment occurs. I’m Jerry Ryan. I’m the owner of Heritage Boot. This is our little
store, our little corner. I come from a world in which
people had two pairs of shoes as a kid. There was the good pair,
and the not-so-good pair, as opposed to having a
closet full of sneakers. Now, it’s a sneaker world, which
I sort of dismiss, you know? Well-fitting shoes,
boots, whatever– they improve with age. They don’t degrade with age. I mean, I’ve had shoes
for 20, 25 years. I mean, ultimately,
with any good shoe, they’re made to be repaired. And they’re just as good as new. There’s art involved. Some boots require a
lot more maintenance. I’ll tell you a little story
that– number of years ago, this young man came in and
bought a pair of boots, a pair of ostrich boots. Nice boots. And he came in six months
later, and he said, these are the most comfortable
things I ever wore. And I looked down at his feet,
and they looked like crap. And he had not cleaned
them once, done anything. He’d probably been out
wading in water in them. And I proceeded to give
him some polish as a gift, to go home and clean them. And he said to me, I’ve never
cleaned a pair of shoes. I don’t know how to do that. And I gave him instructions. Whether he followed
it, I don’t know. But I would sooner give
somebody some polish, and them look after them. These are a pair
of my wife’s boots, which she has not
cleaned in forever, and it’s time to clean them. The first thing you want to
do, with a horsehair brush, is just take the dust off. The standard of
a brush for boots has always just been
a horsehair brush. I’ve never questioned
it, you know? So these here, they
need extra love. So what I’m going to
do is just clean them first with some clear lotion, a
wax-free, silicone-free lotion. Silicone is basically
plastic, you know? And you don’t want
to put plastic on top of your nice leather. So just with an old
T-shirt, you’re just really taking the dirt off. Your shoes will
thank you for it. You’ve got them clean, now. And now, it’s time to
put some polish on them. So when I say polish, I like
a cream, as opposed to a wax. Wax just sits on the surface. It doesn’t really
penetrate the leather. You know, there’s a few
good ones out there. You know, just go to
a good shoe repairer, or if they have it when
you’re buying your boots. I’m putting on a generous
amount, not too, too much. You’re just really putting
the color back into it. Boots have a history. I think there’s a lore. There’s a coolness
factor that you’re not going to get anywhere else. Be in an old pair of
Levi’s and a pair of boots, it’s like you’re
dressed, you know? So you got your polish on. And what you’re
going to do now is you’re going to brush it
in as much as possible, until you get tired. I’m not done. This is round 1, OK? So you’re taking all the
excess off with the brush. Just give it a wipe with that,
so it doesn’t get too much junk on it. And then, you’re going to
get a clean piece of cloth and just keep going. I don’t want to
bore you too much, but I’m going to just finish
off just doing this one boot. And if you get your boots
really wet, just come home, stuff them with newspaper. Just let them dry out naturally. And then just really
take your time, and just do a really
thorough cleaning. Now, you think about what they
looked like to begin with, they look a lot different now. It actually feels
nicer, as well. You know, you put some
moisture back into it. Yes, well-loved boots. My sister found this
photograph, and it’s me dressed in full cowboy
kit at about age four or five in Dublin. And we decided to turn
it into a price tag. It’s just a reminder that you
don’t know the road sometimes, you know? But that’s where you end up. I started having shoes
made for myself when I was about 17 years of age– like custom shoes. And then it was whatever. I probably have a
serious footwear fetish.

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