You’ve been putting your new Blundstones through their paces, haven’t you?
They’re looking a little rough right now. But after this guide, you’ll have them looking good as new.
Blundstone care really isn’t all that difficult, and it doesn’t take that much time either.
In this guide, I’ll show you the basics of how to clean Blundstones (including which leather conditioner to use), explain what to do if your boots are really dirty, and show you a nifty trick you can do if you’ve picked up some unsightly scratches in the leather.
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Blundstones
Because Blundstones are rugged boots, a lot of folks put them through a lot before they start wondering how to clean them up.
The good news is that Blundstone leather is resilient, so if you haven’t cleaned or conditioned your Blunnies in a year or two, no worries: you can still take care of the leather and prolong the life of your favorite boots.
To clean your Blundstones, you’ll need:
- Microfiber towel, or old shirt
- Horsehair brush
- Leather Conditioner (I use Venetian on my Blundstones)
- Saddle Soap (only if your boots are very dirty and have dust/mud or oil stains in the leather)
- Dark brown leather dye (only if you have scratches that expose the raw leather)
Blundstone Care Guide
You probably won’t need to do everything in this Blundstone care guide. If you’ve picked up your Blundstones in the past six months and want to give them a little sprucing up, you’ll likely only need to do steps 1-3.
If you’ve spilled on your Blunnies and worn them through mud, you might want to add the optional saddle soap step to give the leather a deep clean before conditioning them.
And if you’ve scratched up your boots a ton and want to even the color out, adding the optional leather dyeing step can help you get them closer to how they originally looked.
I’ve also included below what you can do if you have suede or nubuck Blundstones, and some ways you can add water resistance to the leather if you’d like.
Step 1: Remove excess dirt with a rag
Bang your boots together. Have a good time with it—just try not to scare the dog. After you’ve gotten the big chunks of dirt off, use an old t-shirt or a microfiber towel to brush off as much dust as you can.
If you start conditioning your boots with dirt still on them, you run the risk that a small grain of sand can leave a nasty scratch across the upper, leaving your Blundstones worse looking than when you started.
Also, removing dirt first ensures you aren’t pressing dust further into the pores of the leather and sealing it in with a conditioner.
You don’t need to use any water in this step.
If you want to clean the sole of your boots, you can use water on the rubber. Try not to get the leather wet, but don’t stress if you do. You want the leather to be as dry as possible before you condition, so do your best to keep the water just on the rubber sole. I’d wet a rag and use that to clean the sole, rather than applying water directly to the boot.
Step 2: Apply leather conditioner
Apply anywhere between a dime size and quarter size amount of leather conditioner to each boot.
My preferred leather conditioner for Blundstones is Venetian Leather Balm. It won’t darken the leather and it does a great job penetrating quickly so the leather stays flexible and supple. If you use Venetian, you may notice a slight amount of shine at first (and a small amount of darkening), but both the shine and darkening fade within the first wear.
If you’re a little more budget-conscious, you can also try Bick 4. It doesn’t penetrate as deep into the leather, but if you’re patient and willing to apply one coat, wait 10 minutes, then apply a second coat, you can get similar results as Venetian. Bick 4 doesn’t darken the leather at all, nor does it add any shine.
No matter which leather conditioner you choose, the process of caring for Blundstone leather is the same. Evenly spread the leather conditioner across each boot. You can either use your hands, or you can use a rag to do so.
You don’t want gobs of conditioner on any one part, but you also don’t need to be so meticulous that you’re ensuring the coat is perfectly even.
Leave the leather conditioner on the boot for about 10 minutes. This gives the conditioner time to settle into the pores of the leather.
Step 3: Brush your boots with a horsehair brush
Using a horsehair brush, swipe back and forth across your boots. This will even out the leather conditioner and start to bring a slight shine into your boots.
If you think your boots could use a second coat, go ahead and repeat step two now.
If you’re happy with how your Blundstones are looking, then you’re all set. You can slip on your Blundstones and go back into the world. It can really be that simple.
But if you’d like to do a bit extra for your Blunnies, keep reading.
Optional Step 4: Waterproof your Blundstones
I’ll say this first: there’s no way to fully waterproof your Blundstones. Because the sole is cemented on, water will enter where the leather upper meets the rubber sole. But you can take some measures to add more water resistance to the leather.
One way to add more weather resistance to your Blundstones is to use mink oil in step two rather than Venetian.
Mink oil will seep into the leather and cause water to bead up and fall off. However, mink oil will significantly darken your leather, which is why I don’t use it on my Blundstones. If your Blunnies are the classic mocha-colored leather, they’ll basically look black after using mink oil.
You can also use a leather waterproofing spray, which is an easy method. This tends to wear off somewhat quickly, but can be a good option if you know it’s going to be rainy or snowy for the next few weeks and you want some added protection from the elements.
I personally don’t add any extra weatherproofing to my Blundstones. I find that re-conditioning them every six months or so is plenty to keep the leather soft, supple, and strong (and I basically never get them saturated with water).
Optional Step: Use saddle soap to clean the leather
If your boots are exceptionally dirty (like you’ve completely caked them in mud or you’ve gone on a hike in the desert and you can’t get the dust off of them), then you may want to use saddle soap.
The best time to use saddle soap is between steps one and two (i.e. after you’ve brushed off as much dirt as you can and before you apply leather conditioner).
Using saddle soap is easy. No matter which brand you choose, the process is the same.
Open the lid of your saddle soap tin and fill it with warm water. Grab a dauber brush (small, circular horsehair brush), and wet it. Swirl your wet dauber brush in the saddle soap to work up suds.
Start scrubbing the Blundstone leather in a circular motion. Apply suds to the entire boot.
After you’ve scrubbed down the whole boot, remove as much soap as you can with a dry rag. Do the same with the other boot. Since some water has likely penetrated into the leather at this point, allow your Blundstones to dry for 6-12 hours (or you can just let them sit for a day—whatever is most convenient).
Don’t try to speed this process up with a hair-dryer: you may damage the leather.
Once the leather is fully dry, you can now add leather conditioner.
Optional Step: Dye the scratches
If you have scratches on your boot that appear much lighter than the rest of the leather, you can add dye to darken the scratches and make your boots look more evenly colored.
Because Blundstone uses leather that isn’t dyed all the way through, scratches can really pop out, which is a bit annoying.
You won’t be able to get the scratches to the same exact color as the upper leather, but you can at least darken them so they’re not as noticeable.
Use Fiebings leather dye (choose the color closest to your Blundstones).
Add the dye to a q-tip and daub it on the scratches. Let the dye sit for an hour or so before applying conditioner. You’ll want to do this step after brushing all the dirt off, and after applying saddle soap if you’ve completed that optional step.
How to Clean Suede and Nubuck Blundstones
The above examples were all on Blundstone’s Stout Brown leather. The process is totally different if you’re rocking a suede or nubuck pair of Blundstones (note: Rustic Brown and Rustic Black leather isn’t suede or nubuck, so scroll down if you want to know how to care for that type of leather).
Start by removing all dirt from your boots like you see in step one above. Use a rag or old t-shirt and brush your boots as best you can.
Step 1: Use a suede/nubuck brush
You may need to buy a suede and nubuck care kit (they’re easy to find under $10).
Use the suede brush and, in one direction, brush your boots. You shouldn’t be using your suede brush the way you would a horsehair brush.
You’re aiming to restore the knap of the suede. I usually brush away from my body. Do the same for both boots.
There’s a chance this is all you need to do for your suede and nubuck boots. Once you’ve restored the knap, they should be all good to go. If you have some stubborn dirt or oil stains, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Use a suede eraser
Your suede and nubuck care kit should come with an eraser. Rub this eraser into stubborn stains in a circular motion. You should see the eraser darken a little as it grabs the dirt and lifts it from your leather.
Brush the spot out using your suede brush. If the stain is still there, repeat this step. If you need to repeat step 2 more than four or five times, then you may want to try a suede cleaner. Read more about removing suede stains in my full guide to cleaning suede and nubuck here.
Optional Step: Apply Scotchgard to waterproof the suede
Scotchgard is awesome. It’ll help keep water from penetrating your suede and nubuck. This is particularly helpful for Blundstones because you’re often wearing them in rougher conditions.
You should spray Scotchgard on your suede Blundstones only after they’re clean. It’s best if you can do this when they’re new, but don’t worry if you’ve already owned your Blundstones for a while.
How to Clean Rustic Brown Blundstones
If you picked up the second most popular Blundstone leather: the Rustic Brown (or 585), your leather care process is a bit different.
The Blundstone 585 Rustic Brown (and 587 Rustic Black) really don’t need that much care or attention.
I would stick to only steps 1-3 in the leather care process mentioned above. Brush the dirt off your boots (you can scrub the sole with water), apply leather conditioner, and even it out with a horsehair brush.
For the leather conditioner, I’d stick with Bick 4. Because Bick 4 doesn’t penetrate deep into the leather, it’ll keep the color the same. Only use one coat—not two.
Never use mink oil on the Rustic Brown leather, and avoid washing with saddle soap. Also, if you use dye on the scratches, it’ll likely look pretty funky, so I’d avoid that too.
The Rustic Blundstone leather options are designed to basically never need any care. They’re already quite saturated with oils and waxes, so the leather can easily outlast the sole.
Bick 4 is an outstanding addition to your leather conditioner collection. It’s inexpensive and perfect for giving your boots a pick-me-up without changing the color at all. It doesn’t penetrate deep into the leather, so you should use a liberal amount, and you may want to do several layers, but the price is right.
Ready to Clean?
Don’t worry, you’re not going to ruin your boots. Blundstones are tough, and the leather can take a beating. It can also take a cleaning.
If you follow this guide, you won’t darken or discolor the leather, and you’ll add months of life to your boots.
How can I make my Blundstones look new?
Add cedar shoe trees or stuff your boots with newspaper or old shirts to reduce the creases in the leather. Then treat the leather with leather balm. Leave your boots for a day or two and your Blundstones will look much better than before.
Can you get Blundstones wet?
You don’t need to avoid water, rain, or snow when wearing Blundstones. They’re not waterproof, but the leather is fairly weather resistant, so they’ll keep your feet dry in the rain and the leather likely won’t discolor or be damaged in any way. If the leather is saturated with water, just let your boots air dry for a few days and they’ll be fine.
Can you use dubbin on Blundstones?
You can, but I don’t recommend petroleum-based dubbin. Venetian leather balm, and Bick 4 are ideal for conditioning the leather, and mink oil or boot wax is a better choice for adding weather resistance.