The Cheapest Way to Waterproof Leather Boots

The Cheapest Way to Waterproof Leather BootsUnless you only hike in areas that get little or no rainfall, you will need to waterproof your leather boots. Though there are many products on the market that will get the job done, you can use common household items to waterproof your leather boots--and save money in the process.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Paraffin
  • Emergency candles
  • Mineral oil
  • Baby oil
  • Metal pot
  • Stove
  • Wax paper
Step 1
Place a block of paraffin--or several white candles--into a metal pot. Remove the wick if possible, but it is not necessary. The wick will not impede the waterproofing process. Use a pot that you do not mind throwing away, as the melted wax will likely ruin it.
Step 2
Add 2 tbsp. of baby oil or other mineral oil. Melt the mixture on medium-low heat and stir it as it melts so the oil binds with the wax. Remove the pot from the stove once the mixture has melted.
Step 3
Allow the mixture to cool slightly and begin to solidify before removing it from the pot. Once it is pliable, pour the mixture onto a sheet of wax paper.
Step 4
Form the wax/oil mixture into a block that will be easy for you to handle. Make sure the block is 2 to 3 inches thick. Allow the block to cool and harden for one hour.
Step 5
Remove the shoelaces from your leather boots. Rub the wax block over the entire outer surface of the boots. Cover areas and creases around the soles and other hard-to-reach places. Rub the wax in with your hand, if necessary, to completely cover the leather surface.
Step 6
Brush off any excess wax from the boots. Repeat the waterproofing process after wearing the boots two to three times. Periodically reapplying the wax coating to the boots will ensure the leather retains the waterproofing--waterproofing products break down after boots are repeatedly worn.

Tips & Warnings

If you use oil-based candles, do not add mineral oil. Candles will generally state if they contain oil.
Do not use colored candles as they may leave a colored film on your hiking boots.
Glacier National Park's Travel guide suggests wax for waterproofing leather, but also notes it will restrict airflow and the boots will not breathe as well. The guide also suggests: "If your feet do get wet by falling into a river, it will take a great amount of time for them to dry out and you may waste additional socks in the process."

Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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