Cleaning the Invert Mud Off Leather Boots

I recently bought a pair of Red Wing Pecos Slip On boots. I believe that waste is a sin, so I’m trying to keep them in good shape so I don’t have to buy another pair of boots.

Working on oil rigs is tough on boots. Steel edges gouge and scrape, but invert mud seems to be the worst thing. Invert mud is used for the drilling process in the Bakken Formation, made out of diesel and dirt and a variety of other chemicals. It smells remarkably like a cat’s litter box and has a corrosive effect on leather.

To keep the invert at bay, I applied three coats of beeswax based Obenaufs wax and some mink oil as well. DON’T HEAT YOUR BOOTS IN THE OVEN TO HELP THEM ABSORB OIL. THIS IS HORRIBLE FOR THE LEATHER. The heat of your hand is enough to heat up the leather to make it absorb oil.

You come back from a job with boots covered in mud. I had been using Simple Green to wash them off, but Gojo soap, or any soap with an abrasive grit will work. This seems to be much easier on the boot than Simple green. It really speeds things up, as that invert mud is nasty. Apply oil once the boots are dry. Also, don’t use a pressure washer to clean your leather boots. It is way to hard on the leather. My boots still look brand new after 3 weeks of work!

I hope this helps.

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3 Responses to Cleaning the Invert Mud Off Leather Boots

  1. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!

  2. Trevor says:

    If you have invert mud on anything, use Protocol k300i industrial degreaser. Dilute it 10 to 1 with water. Once you try it you won’t use anything else.

  3. KC Athow says:

    I was a floorhand for a little over 2 years up here. No matter what boots you buy it seems like the best you can get out of them is 3-5 hitches. Salt water was the worst. It seems like invert would start to deteriorate them and salt water would harden them up, shrink them and make them crack. After my 2nd hitch, I would buy a brand new pair, oil the hell out of them with Justin’s boot grease and keep them in the pickup. I tried every brand of boot in the 200 dollar range and my favorite were the waterproof Pecos in winter with a heavy sock and the standard Pecos in summer, with plenty of boot grease. I found muck boots to be the worst on the rig floor for the slipping aspect. You need total confidence on a rig floor.

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