How to Clean Oiled Leather Shoes

Oiled leather shoes are a great investment as they look good and last for years, but without proper care and maintenance, the shoes will quickly become stained and scuffed. Taking the time to clean oiled leather shoes regularly can help keep them in top condition for years.

How to Clean Oiled Leather Shoes

Cleaning oiled leather shoes can have several advantages. First, it helps to maintain the quality of the leather, keeping it looking its best for longer. Second, oils can eventually build up and make the shoe stiff or uncomfortable to wear, so removing them can improve comfort.

Finally, as a water-resistant material, cleaning off oils will also help to prevent water damage and keep the shoes looking their best for longer. All these benefits make cleaning oiled leather shoes a necessary part of regular shoe care. In this blog post, You will learn in detail how to clean oiled leather shoes.

Step-by-Step Processes for How to Clean Oiled Leather Shoes

Step 1: Inspect the Leather Material

Make sure that the leather is not cracking or peeling. If so, don’t proceed with cleaning them as it could cause further damage to the shoes. Before beginning any oil stain removal process, use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt from the surfaces of your leather shoes.

Step 2: Clean the Shoes with a Leather Cleaner

Use a quality leather cleaner specifically designed for use on oiled leather. This is important as using another type of cleaner could damage your shoes. Follow the instructions on the product label and make sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first. Work in circular motions until the surface of the leather is free from dirt and grime.

Step 3: Rinse with Water

Once you have finished cleaning your shoes, rinse them off with warm water. Avoid using too much pressure during this step, as it could strip away some of the natural oils from the leather.

Allow your shoes to air dry for a few hours or until completely dry. Once your shoes are dry, apply a leather conditioner to help maintain the softness and suppleness of the material. Work in small circular motions with a clean cloth to ensure you’ve evenly coated all areas.

Allow Your Shoes to Air Dry

Step 4: Remove Stains with a Mild Detergent

Mix a small amount of mild detergent and warm water together. Dip a soft cloth into the mixture and gently scrub any remaining stains from your leather shoes. Wipe off any residue left behind with a damp cloth.

Using a dry cloth, sprinkle some baking soda into the shoe interior. This will help to remove any odors caused by sweat and bacteria. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before gently brushing it away with a soft brush.

Step 5: Wipe Off Excess Water

Once you’ve finished cleaning the inside and outside of the shoe, use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess water. This will help prevent the leather material from becoming overly saturated with moisture. Let your shoe air dry for at least two hours before attempting to wear them again. Place a sheet of newspaper beneath the shoes to help absorb any remaining moisture.

Step 6: Polish the Leather

Once your shoes are completely dry, use a leather polish specifically designed for oiled leather. This will help restore the natural oils of the material and make them look as good as new. Finish off by applying a protective spray to further protect the leather material. This will provide an extra layer of protection against dirt and water damage. Follow the instructions on the product label to ensure optimal results.

Precautions for How to Clean Oiled Leather Shoes

  1. Wear protective clothing when cleaning oiled leather shoes, such as rubber gloves and safety goggles.
  2. Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling any hazardous chemicals or fumes.
  3. Never use acetone, bleach, or other harsh chemical solutions on the leather; these will damage the material and may cause discoloration.
  4. Test cleaning solutions on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather shoe before using it on the entire surface.
  5. Remove excess oil from the leather shoes with a clean cloth first before attempting to treat or clean them.
  6. Use natural cleaning solutions such as white vinegar and mild dish soap if possible; they are less likely to damage the material compared to harsher chemicals.
  7. Always condition the leather after cleaning it with a leather protector or tanning oil, as this will help keep it in good condition and prevent discoloration.
  8. Allow shoes to air dry naturally; never use a hair dryer or other heat source as this could cause the leather to shrink or crack.
Wear Protective Clothing

Following these precautions can help ensure that oiled leather shoes are properly and safely cleaned without causing damage.

What Supplies Will You Need to Clean Your Oiled Leather Shoes? 

Once you have decided to clean your oiled leather shoes, the first thing you will need to do is gather all the supplies you will need to get the job done. The following items are necessary:

  • A soft cloth or brush (to remove dirt and grime)
  • Cleaning solution (special oiled leather cleaner or a mild detergent mixed with lukewarm water)
  • Soft clothes (for buffing and conditioning the shoes)
  • A leather conditioner (to help protect the leather from further damage)
  • Shoe polish (optional to add an extra layer of protection and shine).

Once you have all of your supplies, you can begin the actual cleaning process.

How Should You Prepare the Surface of the Shoe Before Cleaning? 

It is important to clean the surface of the shoe before attempting to remove any oils or dirt. This can be done by wiping down the leather with a damp cloth. Make sure to use mild soap and avoid any harsh chemicals that could cause damage to the leather. After cleaning the surface, let it dry completely before attempting further cleaning steps.

If you are using a leather cleaner, apply it to the shoe with a soft cloth and carefully work it into the surface of the leather. Ensure not to rub too hard or use an abrasive material that could damage the leather.

Once you have worked in all of the cleaners, allow it to set for about 10 minutes before wiping away any excess. Once your leather shoes have been prepared, you can use a stiff brush to work the dirt out of the creases and cracks.

Important to Clean the Surface of the Shoe

How Should You Condition the Leather After Cleaning? 

Once the shoes are clean, you want to condition them. This will help keep the leather supple and protected from dirt and moisture. To do this, you can use a leather conditioner specifically designed for oiled leather shoes. Simply apply it to the entire surface of the shoe with a soft cloth or brush and let it sit for five minutes before buffing it off with another cloth.

If you don’t have a leather conditioner, you can also use baby oil or olive oil as an alternative. Massage the oil into the shoes with a soft cloth and let it sit overnight before wiping away any excess. Doing this regularly will help keep your shoes in good condition and prevent them from cracking or drying out.

After conditioning the leather, it’s important to protect your shoes from future dirt and grime with a spray-on leather protector. This will create an invisible protective layer that will repel water and keep the material in good condition for longer.

Use Olive Oil as an Alternative

Be sure to apply it evenly over the entire shoe surface, avoiding any direct contact with metal parts. This will help ensure that your shoes remain in good condition for longer and that you’ll be able to enjoy them for years to come.

How Often Should You Clean Your Oiled Leather Shoes? 

The frequency at which you clean your oiled leather shoes depends on how often you wear them and what surface they come in contact with. Generally speaking, cleaning your oiled leather shoes every 3-6 months is recommended.

This will ensure that dirt and dust buildup is kept to a minimum and the material remains supple. If your shoes come in contact with a lot of water or mud, you may need to clean them more often.

For best results, use a leather conditioner after every cleaning session. This will help protect the oiled leather from cracking and staining. Regular care and maintenance are essential for prolonging the life of your shoes and keeping them looking their best.

It is also important to note that some oils may cause discoloration of your shoes over time. To avoid this, use a leather conditioner regularly and keep the leather away from direct sunlight or intense heat sources. Taking these precautions will help ensure that your oiled leather shoes remain in pristine condition for years to come.

What Can Tips Be Used to Prevent Future Damage? 

Regularly cleaning and conditioning your leather shoes can go a long way in preventing damage from occurring. When you notice that the material is beginning to look dry or discolored, use a leather conditioner to moisturize it and restore its appearance. Additionally, make sure to avoid over-exposure to water by wearing waterproof boots during wet weather.

Using a protective spray or wax on the leather can also help to keep it safe from water damage. Finally, store your leather shoes in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight when not in use. This will help to prevent fading and cracking of the material over time.

Following these tips can help you enjoy your leather shoes for much longer and protect them from further damage. Regular cleaning and conditioning are key, as they will keep your leather in good condition and allow you to enjoy its rich colors and textures for years to come.

Taking the extra steps to waterproof your shoes or applying a protective spray can also help to prevent future damage. Finally, don’t forget to store your leather shoes in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight when you’re not using them.

Using a Protective Spray


In conclusion, it is important to regularly clean your oiled leather shoes to maintain their longevity and quality. The best way to do this is by using a mixture of saddle soap, water, and hydrogen peroxide to gently remove dirt and debris without damaging the material. Also, you should always use a soft cloth or sponge to clean such materials and avoid harsh scrubbing and chemical solvents.

Additionally, you should always condition your oiled leather shoes with quality oil or wax to keep them in optimal condition. I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to clean oiled leather shoes. Make Sure the precautionary measures are followed chronologically. 

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Matt Clark

Hi, this is Matt, and I am a leathercraft hobbyist. I have been working with leather for quite a bit of time. When I was a teenager, my father taught me the basics of leathercraft. Along the way I have learned a lot of things about leather work leather items, restoring leather, and creating leather accessories. I started this blog to share my knowledge of leatherworking with others and help people learn about this amazing craft. I also wanted to create a community of like-minded people who could share ideas and support each other in their leatherworking journey.

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