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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the Straw Badge in Textiles.

Leather is skin. When it's alive, it receives nourishment in the form of natural oils from the body. Leather products no longer receive that nourishment and are therefore prone to drying out and eventually cracking. Good leather maintenance and conditioning will give a very long life to your leather boots.

For this BB, you will clean and condition leather shoes, boots, or sandals using natural products.
 - inspect for areas that need pre-repair to prevent needing full repair
 - clean the leather
 - waterproof or condition

Related Threads:

My shoe has lost it's sole. Do I fix? What glue?

Related Articles:

How to Clean Leather Naturally
Boot Care: DIY Guide to Leather Conditioner
Mink Oil Vs. Leather Conditioner: Which One is Really Better?
How To Waterproof Shoes And Boots Naturally

Related Videos:

How to Clean and Condition Leather - Natural Coconut Oil Leather Care


Boot restoration. Conditioning the dried out leather. (Mink oil)


How to Make Your Own Natural Waterproofing Leather Boot Balm



Additional Information:
 - the kind of leather and the technique used for maintenance
 - inspect areas that need pre-repair to prevent needing full repair
 - describe and repair the  issue
 - clean leather
 - waterproof or condition technique  
 - see https://permies.com/t/149367/ungarbage/shoe-lost-soul-fix-glue

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
- Cleaning a pair of leather boots, shoes, or sandals.
- Conditioning and/or waterproofing them.

To document your completion of the BB, provide proof of the following as pictures or a video (less than two minutes):
- describe the kind of leather and the techniques used for maintenance
- Show your footwear before performing maintenance
- Show cleaning the item
- Show conditioning and/or waterproofing your footwear
- Show your properly cleaned and conditioned boots, shoes, or sandals.
COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
Posts: 214
Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
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Approved BB submission
Edit* I meant to post this in the leather maintenance BB, my bad.

So my dad works at a factory outside of town, and part of his benefits includes a free pair of work boots every year. He doesn't go through them that quick so he gets all of us kids a pair instead. So far no one has questioned his ever-changing shoe sizes (lol). So I have a steel-toe pair of blundstones. I've had them for two years now and I've never done maintenance on them. They've seen it all pretty much: road salt, mud, big puddles, paint, heat, cold and what not. Pretty darn impressive that they look the way they do I'd say. Anyways, the maintenance.

So first I left my boots inside to dry for the past couple days. Then I gave them a wipe down with a damp cloth and brushed them with an old tooth brush to get any remaining dirt off. I microwaved about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until it was liquid, then used another cloth to spread it around the boot as evenly as I could. I did both boots this way, and they are now sitting and drying. I love how tropical they smell.

Following this I tried waterproofing my dad's blundstones. They're the exact same boot I have just smaller. So I wiped them down as well with the damp cloth, and brushed them. Then I rubbed a bar of beeswax all over the boot to get a thin layer of it on there. Then I went at it with the blow dryer and rubbed the wax in as it melted. Notice the after pic with the water beads on top...looks like it worked! Also blundstones are made of greasy kip leather which I found out through their website if anyone is curious.
IMG_20201220_131349_890.jpg
Before conditioning
Before conditioning
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One done!
One done!
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Wow, looking gorgeous
Wow, looking gorgeous
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Heating up the beeswax on my dad's boots
Heating up the beeswax on my dad's boots
IMG_20201220_141451_150.jpg
It worked!
It worked!
Staff note (gir bot) :

Leigh Tate approved this submission.

 
Posts: 8
Location: Missouri
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I heard my favorite boots gently weeping from the corner today.  I’ve been using Otter Wax (https://www.otterwax.com/) leather care kit for many moons now (good quality stuff goes a long way) — although now I’m familiar enough with the ingredients and though-process of each step, and have the materials sitting around to make it myself when this runs out.  Halfway through the job, I wondered what permies.com might say on this subject.  I’ll be darned if there’s not a PEP BB for every thing!

My boots are leather outer, leather-lined, rubber sole and stacked leather heel.  I’m in a suburban environment, so these are a mix between dress boots and daily travelers.  Occasionally do a buff/shine if going out somewhere nice.  Once every couple months I go all out (as pictured for this PEP) with:
  1. Soap (beeswax + castile)
  2. Salve (carnuba + shea butter)
  3. Oil (safflower + vitamin E)
  4. Wax (beexwax + lanolin)

Step 1: Get Your Torch! (And Soap Box?)
Saddle Soap.  Apparently there’s controversy (say it isn’t so!) over this stuff.  The kind I have isn’t ye olde version — just castile + beeswax — so I have no qualms using it on my favorite pair of kicks.  Calls for ‘stiff brush’ — I use an old toothbrush and it works just fine. Soap it up, then wipe it down with clean cloth.

A couple articles on the sordid history of saddle soap:
Section of interest is ~2/3 way down the page: http://www.usmilitaryknives.com/leather_care.htm
This one talks about pH, which I found interesting: https://bootmoodfoot.com/saddle-soap-leather-boots/

P.S. I do love the wikiHow link in the original post about using a banana to clean!


Step 2: Condition(al) Love
From the kit’s insert: “leather is happy when it’s hydrated.” Start with soft cloth for large areas; fingertips for difficult-to-reach spots.  Leave for 30 minutes; buff with clean cloth.

Step 3: Shine On!
Polish. Soft cloth to apply, even coating, work it into the leather with hands. Can use this version on rubber/leather soles ... and my hands benefit, too!

Step 4: Sally seals sea shells...
... Or something like that.
Beeswax + lanolin waterproofing step. Soft cloth, evenly coat, use fingers or soft brush to work it in everywhere, especially places more susceptible to water damage. Let it sit overnight before use. Test by splashing water on it — if beads up and rolls off, good to go!
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Staff note (gir bot) :

Nicole Alderman approved this submission.
Note: I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete!

 
steward
Posts: 17867
Location: Pacific Northwest
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A little over a month ago, I found my old, crusty shoes. They were stiff and uncomfortable to wear. So I thought I'd see if I could rehabilitate them!



I used the same saddle soap that I made to clean my leather gloves. Here they are all cleaned:

Shoes cleaned with saddle soap. They need to dry out before I can oil them


I waited a few days for the shoes to dry out, and then oiled them!

The dry shoes, in need of conditioning. I conditioned them with coconut oil+beeswax, and lanolin


I keep a beeswax+coconut oil salve/wood oil ready for whenever I need to oil things. So, I used this for the shoes. It seemed easier to just add a bit of lanolin to it when I applied it to my shoes, so I didn't have to make yet another small jar of specialized stuff.

Left shoe is oiled--what a difference!


Action shot of me conditioning it. I mix the lanonline and salve together on the shoe...it's just easier that way.


Since it's taken me a full month to get around to actually posting these pictures, I just now realized that I never took an "after" shot. So, I put the shoes on and snapped a picture. They're very comfortable, and far, far improved from the stiff leather shoes they'd been before. They're no my go-to shoe!

The very much after, 'after' picture, hahaha!
Staff note (gir bot) :

jordan barton approved this submission.

 
pollinator
Posts: 434
Location: New Jersey, USA
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I love the video on making leather balm! I then realised I had all the ingredients in, so there was no excuse not to make it. I repurposed a parfait jar that had lost it’s lid, gathered the ingredients and started the process. It was very easy and smelt surprisingly good. In fact the ingredients are 100% edible.

It was the first time this autumn that it was chilly enough this morning for me to return upstairs and exchange shorts for trousers. It’s that time of year when my wardrobe gets reshuffled. Sandals go away and the boots come out. After four or five months in the cupboard they definitely needed some tlc.

With my new found skills and enthusiasm, I cut up an old t-shirt to make a cover for the jar. The bunch of carrots I bought this morning had a big purple elastic band holding them together, so with my rags, a circle of cloth and jar of balm, I was all set.

The boots soaked up the balm. I tested afterwards with a plant spray and the water beaded in a very satisfying way. I labeled the jar, put on it’s ‘lid’ and my task was done.

NB - I need to learn how to use a sewing machine so I can put a hem on the lid . . .
 
72E6ECFA-05D6-48BA-806A-A0AD6E18A639.jpeg
Ingredients for the balm
Ingredients for the balm
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Weighing cocoa butter
Weighing cocoa butter
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Adding in the cold Jojoba oil
Adding in the cold Jojoba oil
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All blended
All blended
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Ready for cooling
Ready for cooling
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Balm is set
Balm is set
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Cutting up rags and lid
Cutting up rags and lid
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Boots before
Boots before
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Applying balm
Applying balm
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One done for comparison
One done for comparison
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Both done
Both done
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Water resistant
Water resistant
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Jar of balm
Jar of balm
 
Nicole Alderman
steward
Posts: 17867
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Edward, do you happen to have any pictures of cleaning the shoes, or how you cleaned them? The BB says,

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
- Cleaning a pair of leather boots, shoes, or sandals.
- Conditioning and/or waterproofing them.



I don't see anything about cleaning them in your post (though they do look clean, and they look very nicely conditioned). I think I can certify this if you post a picture of cleaning them, or even just show something else you've cleaned so I can tell you've cleaned shoes...

Edward Norton wrote:NB - I need to learn how to use a sewing machine so I can put a hem on the lid . . .
 



You don't need a sewing machine! A simple, normal "straight" stitch will work well. You just fold the edge over once or twice (twice is more secure, but I don't think your lid cover is going to get that much stress put on the seam).

Another option is a "blanket stitch." This takes longer, but works rather nicely on round things. (The below video shows how to sew two things together with a blanket stitch, but you can do the exact same thing on the edge of just one piece of fabric.)



My kids and I all have a yucky head cold, and so I made a bunch of washable kleenexes (aka "Booger Rags" or "Hankies"). I did a simple running stitch seem on the top ones, and the bottom one is a blanket stitch.
20211001_110758-1-.jpg
I only folded the edge over once to make the top seems. The bottom rag has a blanket stitch.
I only folded the edge over once to make the top seems. The bottom rag has a blanket stitch.
 
Edward Norton
pollinator
Posts: 434
Location: New Jersey, USA
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Oh no . . . Another lost in translation. Cleaning to me means applying the balm.

I’ve got another pair of boots on my list of tasks today. I’ll document and upload.

Thanks Nicole for not adding to my sad list of negative BBV’s - although it is a great incentive to level up to where I can start approving.
 
Edward Norton
pollinator
Posts: 434
Location: New Jersey, USA
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Round two!

These are my go to boots for dashing to the garage when it’s raining or jumping on my bike to go grocery shopping. They’ve had a lot of abuse and not much love.

Maybe making show balm with cocoa butter was a mistake - it smells so go.

The boots sucked up way more balm than the previous pair. They’ve lost their yellow colour, so maybe people will stop assuming I work in construction!

Here’s all the photos including cleaning which I carried out with a stiff brush.
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Staff note (gir bot) :

Nicole Alderman approved this submission.
Note: I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete! Good job waterproofing all your boots!

 
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