Is It Ok To Soak Leather Boots In Water?

Leather boots are a staple in many people’s wardrobes. Whether it’s for work purposes or fashion purposes, they’re a practical and stylish footwear choice. However, when it comes to maintenance, many people are unsure of how to properly take care of their leather boots. One common question that arises is whether it’s safe to soak them in water.

Soaking leather boots in water can cause some damage, but it’s not always a bad thing. It depends on the type of leather and the reason for soaking them. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into whether it’s okay to soak leather boots in water and explore the implications of doing so. We’ll also provide tips for taking care of your leather boots to keep them looking and feeling their best.

Key Takeaway
It is not recommended to soak leather boots in water as it can damage the leather. Water can cause leather to shrink, crack, and lose its shape. Moreover, if the leather is not properly dried after soaking, it can develop mold and mildew, which can further damage the boots. Instead, it is best to clean and treat leather boots with a leather cleaner and conditioner recommended for the specific type of leather.

The Benefits of Soaking Leather Boots in Water

While it may sound counterintuitive to some, there are actually some benefits to soaking your leather boots in water. Firstly, it can help to soften the leather, making them more comfortable to wear. This is especially true if you have just bought a new pair of boots that are still quite stiff. Soaking them in water can help to break them in and get rid of that uncomfortable feeling.

Secondly, soaking leather boots in water can help to remove dirt and stains from the surface. This is particularly useful if you’ve been out hiking, gardening, or doing other outdoor activities that have left your boots covered in mud or grime. By soaking them in water, you can loosen up the dirt and make it easier to clean them thoroughly. Overall, while there are some risks involved with soaking leather boots in water, there are also some benefits that may make it worth the effort. Just make sure to take proper care of your boots afterwards to ensure they stay in good condition for years to come.

The Drawbacks of Soaking Leather Boots in Water

While it’s not advisable to soak leather boots in water, there are some obvious drawbacks that come with doing so. Firstly, water can cause leather to shrink and lose its shape. This can result in a poor fit and a less aesthetically pleasing appearance, which can be especially frustrating if you’ve invested a significant amount of money in a high-quality pair of boots.

Secondly, soaking leather boots in water can damage their natural oils and cause them to dry out more quickly. This is because water has a tendency to strip leather of its natural oils and cause it to dry out. This can lead to cracking, splitting, and other forms of damage that can be difficult to repair, making it important to take the proper precautions to protect your leather boots from water damage.

How to Properly Soak Leather Boots in Water

Soaking leather boots in water can be a tricky process if not done correctly. Before soaking your boots in water, it’s important to make sure that your boots are actually waterproof. Not all leather boots are waterproof, and soaking non-waterproof boots can cause irreparable damage. To check if your boots are waterproof, you can apply a small amount of water to a small area of the leather and see if the water beads up and rolls off. If it does, then your boots are most likely waterproof, and you can proceed to soak them.

When soaking your leather boots, it’s important to avoid using hot water or harsh chemicals that can damage the leather. Instead, use cool or lukewarm water and a gentle soap that’s safe for use on leather. You can also add a small amount of vinegar to the water to help remove any stubborn stains. Once you’ve prepared your soaking solution, submerge your boots in the water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. After soaking, remove the boots from the water and let them air dry, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

The Different Methods for Soaking Leather Boots in Water

There are several methods for soaking leather boots in water, each with their advantages and disadvantages. The first method involves filling a tub or sink with water and adding a small amount of detergent. The boots should be immersed in the water for about 20 minutes, then removed and dried. This method is effective at removing dirt and stains and is relatively simple to execute.

For a more immersive approach, some people recommend soaking leather boots in a stream or river. This method can be more challenging, as the boots must be secured in some way to prevent them from floating away. Additionally, the water temperature can be unpredictable, which may affect the quality of the leather. However, some hikers and outdoor enthusiasts swear by this method for thoroughly cleaning and softening leather boots. Ultimately, the method you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the condition of your boots.

Alternatives to Soaking Leather Boots in Water

There are several alternatives to soaking leather boots in water, which can help to prevent any damage that may occur to the boots from water exposure. First, try using a damp cloth to wipe down and clean the boots. This will help remove any dirt or grime without the risk of water damaging the leather.

Another alternative is to use a specialized leather cleaner. There are many leather cleaning products on the market that are designed specifically for use on leather boots. These usually come in the form of sprays or creams that can be applied to the boots, sparingly and carefully. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, as some products may require a certain amount of time to dry or may require a special application technique. Using these alternatives will help to prolong the life of your leather boots and prevent damage from water exposure.

Common Misconceptions About Soaking Leather Boots in Water

Misconceptions about soaking leather boots in water have been around for years and people often believe these misconceptions without verifying them. One of the common misconceptions is that soaking leather boots in water will ruin their quality. This is not always the case. Leather boots are designed to withstand water and they can handle getting wet without being damaged. However, it is important to note that the quality of the leather may be compromised if it is soaked in water for an extended period of time or if it is not properly dried afterwards.

Another misconception is that soaking leather boots in water will make them shrink. While it is true that leather can shrink when it gets wet, this only happens if it is not properly dried afterwards. If you soak your boots in water and then let them air dry, they are likely to shrink. However, if you dry them using a cloth or a dryer, they will not shrink. The key is to make sure that the boots are completely dry before wearing them again. Overall, it is important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to soaking leather boots in water. By taking the necessary precautions, you can enjoy your boots without worrying about damaging them.

How to Care for Leather Boots After Soaking Them in Water

After soaking leather boots in water, it is important to take proper care of them to make sure they don’t deteriorate. The first step is to let the boots dry out completely before wearing them. Place them in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources, and stuff them with newspaper to help them retain their shape.

Once the boots are dry, apply a leather conditioner to restore any lost oils and prevent the leather from cracking. A waterproofing spray can also help protect the boots from future water damage. Make sure to follow the instructions on the products you use and do a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area of the boots first. With proper care, your leather boots can still last for years to come, even if they were accidentally soaked in water.


In conclusion, it is not recommended to soak leather boots in water as it can cause damage to the material, such as shrinking and cracking. Instead, there are alternative methods to clean and condition leather boots without causing any harm. Using a damp cloth or brush to wipe away dirt and applying a leather conditioner can help maintain the quality and longevity of the boots.

It is important to take proper care of leather boots to ensure they last for a long time. Avoiding soaking them in water and taking the time to clean and condition them regularly can prevent any unnecessary damage. Investing in a good quality leather conditioner can also help protect the boots from wear and tear, ensuring they remain a reliable and durable footwear option.

Leave a Comment