Last week, we gave you tips on choosing a pair of cowgirl boots that is right for you. Now, if you are anything like most women, you probably have more than one pair of said boots, which means you don't wear them all equally, and you don't wear them all the time. That brings us to the subject of properly caring for and storing your leather boots when they are not in use.
The best, simplest thing you can do for your cowgirl boots on a daily basis is wipe off the dust. Dust is the arch-enemy of cowgirl and cowboy boots. It causes microscopic cuts in the hide, which ages the leather rapidly. It will also cause finish to wear off and leather to split, usually around stitching.
Your daily routine, after wear, should be to dust your boots off with a soft, damp cloth before putting them away. Also, if you have mud or other debris in the crevices around the stitching, remove it using a q-tip or a soft, baby toothbrush. This is a gentle but efficient way to remove the caked dirt from your boots, and it goes a long way toward extending their life and good looks.
What if you don't use your boots on a daily basis? Say, you only use them in winter time, and want to make sure they are properly stored during the hot summer months.
There are different methods different people swear by for storing leather boots away during the warmer time of the year. Whichever school of thought you decide to follow, the most important thing is not to skip the daily cleaning tips listed above. Also, make sure that anything that needs repair (such as heels) is repaired before boots are stored away.
Here are four steps to follow before storing your boots away for the summer:
Once the boots have been dusted off and cleaned, rub some leather cleaner, mink oil, or olive oil into the leather of your boots. That is especially important if there are any salt or mud/water stains on them. Leather cleaner will remove those.
Fill two socks with baking soda, and tie them off. Insert a filled sock into each boot's toe bed. That will help protect your boots from moisture or odor, as the baking soda will absorb them. Another option to keep your stored boots from absorbing moisture and developing odors is to place some silica gel packets inside each boot for moisture protection, and lavender or cedar chips to combat odors.
Create support for the boot shaft by stuffing it with crumpled paper. This is done to help the shaft retain its shape during all those months your boots will be hiding in the closet. An even better option, although it may require some craftiness on your part, would be to make cardboard 'legs' for your boots. You've probably seen them in your boot shafts when you originally purchased your boots, but who ever saves all the packaging that comes with something they buy? Fear not, they are easy to make.
First, make a paper template of the shape of your boot from the heel portion to the top of the shaft (make sure you use the shaft side opposite the zipper if your boots zip up). Fold your paper in half before drawing the template, so that you get a mirrored image of the side of your boot's shaft once the template is cut. Then, open up your paper template at the fold, place it on top of cardboard, and cut the 'leg'. Lightly fold the cardboard 'leg' in the middle lengthwise, and place it into the boot shaft with the fold facing the front of the boot. You might want to cut your cardboard 'leg' a bit wider than your boot's shaft, so that you can overlap the edges in the back and prevent them from poking a sharp line into the back of the boot.
Place your boots in their original shoebox - if at all possible - or in an appropriate storage bin with a lid. Make sure that the boot toes point away from each other. Storing your boots horizontally in a box helps them maintain their shape, and protects them from dust.
Now that your prized leather boots are happily stored away, go and enjoy some summer fun! Yee-haw, cowgirls!
Do you have any tips and tricks for long term storage of leather boots not mentioned above? Share them in the comments to this post.
the mind and hands behind hART Sense Design. I am a designer and hand-maker of one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry and accessories for artistic, chic cowgirls, boho babes, and lovers of all things western.
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