How to Restore Peeling Leather Boots

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Add years use to your leather boots by restoring them.
Add years use to your leather boots by restoring them. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Since leather is a natural material, it is susceptible to wear and tear as well as the elements. Leather starts to peel when it is dry. To restore peeling leather boots, a leather dressing must be made to add oil back into the leather. Neat’s foot oil and lanolin are two products available from the hardware store that restore the finish and oil of leather. Instead of throwing away your old boots, restore the leather and use them for years to come.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Castile soap
  • Cooking pot
  • Stove
  • Heat-resistant glass container
  • Two cups of lanolin
  • Three cups of neat’s foot oil
  • Wooden rod
  • 30-percent glycerin solution
  • 70-percent ethanol solution
  • One-gallon container
  • Weights
  • 20-percent acetone solution
  • Two-gallon container

Leather Dressing Treatment

Rub the leather boots with warm water and a soft cloth. Lather castile soap onto the soft cloth and buff the outside of the leather boot.

Rub the outside of the boot with a dry, soft cloth.

Pour four cups of water into a cooking pot. Bring the water to a simmer. Place two cups of lanolin into a heat-resistant glass container. Place the container in the hot water. The hot water melts the lanolin.

Remove the lanolin from the hot water. Pour three cups of neat’s foot oil into the container and mix the solution slowly with a wooden rod.

Apply the solution to a soft cloth using your fingertips. Rub the outside of the boot with the solution. Continue until the whole exterior surface of the leather is covered.

Let the dressing absorb for 12 hours. You have restored your peeling leather boots.

Smithsonian Glycerin Treatment

Pour a solution of one part glycerin and 3 parts ethanol into a gallon container. Mix the solution with a wooden rod.

Place weights in the inside of the boots to keep them from floating. Soak the leather boots in the solution for two weeks. The boots should be completely submerged.

Remove the boots. Pour one gallon of acetone into a two gallon container. Soak the boots for three hours. Remove the boots. Repeat this step two more times. Use new acetone each time.

Let the boots dry for one day. You have restored your peeling leather boots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear protective goggles, mask and gloves when handling glycerin and acetone. Work in a well-ventilated area.

References

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