Abrasions and scratches on your leather boots can easily affect the look and aesthetics. For people who don’t know how to remove scratches from leather boots, this can be quite frustrating. There’s plenty of ways in which boots can get scratched, whether it’s due to the rough conditions at your job site or your playful cat’s long nails.
The good news is that you can find several techniques to fix this problem. Our foolproof guide below shares the most effective methods to repair your boots from scratches so you can go back to being the stylish and neat person that you are.
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Before You Remove Scratches
Before you start to fix your boots, it is important to know a few facts about your leather footwear. Once scratched or damaged, leather cannot mend itself back to the original state as it is made from animal dead skin. Therefore, your task will not be to do mend the scratched area but rather, to cover it; giving the impression that the part was never damaged in the first place.
Furthermore, abrasions and scratches come in three common types, i.e. light, medium, and deep scratches. No matter the damage, the scratched area is likely to be filled up with dust. So, before you begin to fix the boots, there’s a need for some clean up.
To clean the boots, soak a clean, soft cloth with mild soapy water and wipe the outer surface clean. Rinse out the cloth and repeat the step with a cloth soaked with clean water to rinse out the surface. Wipe the surface dry with a clean dry cloth and proceed with the repairs.
Removing Scratches From Leather Boots
Before you begin to work on the scratched area, you want to restore the boots to their shape as if someone is wearing them. Doing so allows them to fully expose the damaged area, thus, ensuring that the treatment is fully applied and you properly fix it. To restore the shape of your boots, stuff in a fist full of old newspaper or a boot tree.
1. How To Remove Light Scratches
These are the easiest to remove – all you need is oil to condition the leather. Typically, you can use olive oil or mink oil you have in your home. If you want to get a bit fancy and enjoy the best results, you can also opt for specialized leather boot oil.
Apply a few drops of the oil on your fingers and then, gently dab the oil on the affected area. Using a clean and soft piece of cloth, polish the affected surface for at least 3 to 5 minutes. You will begin to see the scratches disappear. Continue polishing the boots until you no longer see the scratches.
2. How To Remove Medium Scratches
Medium scratches tend to be more visible but don’t tear through the leather. Therefore, removing them is still fairly easy. However, oil conditioning will not work for a medium scratch as it does for light scratches.
The easiest and most practical way is to use lanolin cream. Lanolin cream is specially formulated to soften the leather and nourish it more than regular oils would. Small amounts can easily penetrate leather scratches, thus, causing the leather to expand.
This expansion is what covers the scratches and restores the boots to their original state. To apply the lanolin cream, simply follow the same steps for applying oil. Dab the cream on the affected area using your fingers and then, polish the area using a clean, soft cloth until the scratches disappear to leave the surface unblemished.
3. How To Remove Deep Scratches
With deep scratches, the damage is normally highly visible and sometimes, even severe with visible tears and lacerations. However, you can still remove them from your boots. Whilst it may be challenging to do so, sometimes, you will have the option to use more than one method to ensure you fix your boots.
However, in this case, oils and cream will certainly not be sufficient. The least oil and cream conditioning will do is to lessen the scratches rather than hide them. You have to apply more serious measures to ensure the scratched blend with the unaffected areas.
I. Using Glue And Leather Fillers
You can use leather fillers or glue. These tools effectively fill up the damaged area and help to mask it. However, glue and leather fillers are a temporary solution. This is because unlike substances such as oils and creams, they don’t exactly work on moving spaces.
To understand this point, think of how moisturizers such as oils and creams have worked for light and medium scratches. When you apply them to the damaged area, they are easily absorbed to hide the scratches. Glues and fillers on the other end can penetrate the interior.
Yet, rather than being absorbed they will dry up and turn solid, thus, leaving marks of their own that don’t match the rest of the shoe. Furthermore, as you continue to walk on the boots after applying glue or fillers, the dried material will begin to loosen up and chip away, only to re-expose the fixed area.
II. Using Super Glue and Leather Filler Process
Still, there is a way you can improve this method and prolong its effects. The first step is to, of course, apply the glue or filler. Then, use a sanding process to level the surface and finish up with a polish.
Before you advance to the sanding process, you must first learn the proper way to apply glue. To do so, opt for clear super glue/leather fillers, or a tint that matches the color of your boots. This makes it easy to maintain the color throughout the shoe.
Super glue is also a better option as it is long lasting and more stable. Use a sharp object such as a sewing needle or toothpick to gently apply the glue on the damaged area – ensuring it doesn’t come in contact with the undamaged surface to prevent ruining your boots. If the scratch is wide, apply the glue on either side so you can be able to close the gap.
Once you are done applying the glue, use a dry and clean paper towel to soak up any excess. As much as it may be tempting, never use soft napkins as they may easily stick to the glue, and cause even more damage. You will begin to notice the scratch fading away.
For deep scratches that are not as severe, this step alone is sufficient – after all, you will only see a thin, fine line on the repaired area. However, for more severe scratches, you want to proceed to the sanding paper process.
III. Sanding Process
As soon as you are done wiping off the excess glue, use fine-grit sandpaper on the repaired area – your sanding motion should follow the direction of the scratch. As you continue to sand the repaired area, you will notice that it begins to smoothen out the glue.
It also becomes flat and aligned once the glue dries up. Furthermore, the sanding process will create leather dust, which fills up the scratch and sticks to the glue for a more natural look that matches the rest of the boot.
Once you are done sanding the boots, examine them again. If you are satisfied with the finished product, the sanding process may be enough. However, if you are not, you will have one more method to improve the look of your boots.
IV. Leather Polishing Process
In this case, you will use leather polish to restore the color of the damaged area to match that of the rest of the boot. Simply apply the leather polish using a soft-bristled foot brush on the repaired area and then, move on to the rest of the boot; making gentle motions until the colors blend.
How To Prevent Leather Scratches
Whilst there are effective methods on how to remove scratches from leather boots, it’s a good idea to avoid them entirely. After all, doing so helps to preserve the longevity of your footwear. The best way to minimize the likelihood of scratches on your boots is by applying foot spray.
A foot spray helps to repel elements that can easily form scratches on them. Additionally, to keep them away from your sneaky cat, find a safe place in your home where your cat cannot access. Your cat is amongst the top perpetrators of deep scratches on your boots!
Sometimes, scratches may not be as bad – especially for cowboy boots or work boots designed with a rugged look. In this case, you can leave the scratches if they are not as big and visible. Nevertheless, if you want to fix your boots, the methods above are guaranteed to restore them to their original state.