How To Clean A Shift Boot

Updated by Mike on 2023-05-15.
Reading time 3 minutes.


There are a few necessary steps on how to clean your shift boot and restore it to maximum possible glory (given its age and condition, of course). We'll talk about those in this article. However, at some point, you'll just need to replace your shift boot. If, after reading this, you determine that's the preferred course of action, you've definitely come to the right place! :)


Either way - the steps you'll want to consider are cleaning dust and lint, washing off stains and conditioning the shift boot. We'll cover them step by step in this article on how to clean a shift boot.


Removing dust and lint from your shift boot

A leather shift boot, or an Alcantara one for that matter, is a nice interior upgrade. However, it won't look good unless it's clean. A sanitized shift boot is an attractive shift boot!


Due to the very nature of the item, it's usually prone to gathering dust and lint in the folds at the bottom. That's because it needs extra height to prevent it from hindering the travel of your shifter to all gears. This tendency to gather dust and lint is exacerbated if you are running a short shifter kit without a height-matched shorter shifter boot.


If your shift boot is leather, a small vacuum cleaner will be a big help in removing dust and lint gathered in the pocket. If your material choice was Alcantara, or another suede-like material, some particles of dust might be lodged in the hairs of the suede/Alcantara.


You could consider using your vacuum cleaner more ferociously. However, Alcantara is prone to mechanical damage caused by excessive rubbing. Therefore we recommend trying a gentler tool, such as a lint roller. It usually works better if you can flatten the cleaned surface, which requires removal of the boot from the vehicle.


We suggest a combination of gentle vacuuming and clever pulling on the boot to give your lint roller a better surface to work on. Removal of a shift boot differs in difficulty between vehicles (we cover this topic in more depth in our blog entry on how to replace a shift boot).


More often than not, it requires much more work than just the clever application of cleaning techniques.


Removing stains

On leather, stain removal is very simple. All you need is a wet cloth, or sponge, and some neutral soap (or washing detergent) if the type of stain is not prone to yielding to water alone.


Things do go uphill quickly, if your shift boot is Alcantara, however. There are a plethora of solutions whose application depends on the type of stain. Alcantara themselves publish a detailed Alcantara stain removal guide - make sure you refer to that article when dealing with a persistent stain. A bristle brush (ideally a detailing brush) with little water and soap or washing liquid will get most stains. Some will require a fabric cleaner that can break down the oils and dirt by virtue of its chemical composition. Again, refer to the Alcantara's stain removal guide for details. You want to use a bristle brush rather than a cloth/sponge because the brush will restore the raised hairs of Alcantara without flattening them. Make sure to use the cleaning solution sparingly, and avoid saturating the material with the cleaner.



There are a host of leather conditioners available on the market today, and we prefer not to make direct recommendations. How to clean your shift boot is up to you in this instance.


Just remember - you want something color-neutral if your stitching is different colored than the underlying leather. If you just use a black shoe polish on a black boot with red thread, you'll end up with a black boot with black thread. :)


Alcantara does not post any conditioning guidance for their product. Once done with cleaning/stain removal, there's nothing more you need to do with an Alcantara shift boot. If your shift boot is nubuck or suede, make sure to use a respective water leather protector.


They are usually spray-on and leave a lasting smell. So air your vehicle thoroughly (unless you applied it after having removed the shift boot from the car). That also explains why nubuck and suede shift boots are not a great solution. That's assuming you'd want yours conditioned, of course. :)



If the result of your shift boot's appearance after cleaning and conditioning falls short of your expectations, replacing the boot with a new one might be the only remedy. We have been manufacturing top quality leather and Alcantara since 1999. You are definitely in good hands if you decide to shop for your new shift boot with us! Browse shift boots for popular vehicles like Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Camaro, Mazda Miata, and more!


We take pride in our manufacturing process, providing a product that is of the highest quality. A small, family-owned business with heart — you can trust RedlineGoods to make leather shift boots that fit like they’re straight out of the factory. RedlineGoods’ focus on customer service ensures you’ll never have to worry about your RedlineGoods leather shift boot! Our shift boots have an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 star rating from our happy customers!


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