How To Clean Hiking Boots? A Helpful Guide

How To Clean Hiking Boots A Helpful Guide

How to clean hiking boots? Don’t worry. You can use these instructions to completely clean your boots if they are not made of leather. If you want to use your boots once more the very next day, you might just want to wipe them down and wait until you have a rest day so you can give your boots a chance to dry completely before you need to use them once more.

How To Clean Hiking Boots?

Remove The Shoelaces And Insoles

Insoles collect a lot of moisture, so you should remove them before you start cleaning boots. Sprinkle baking soda on them to help them dry and remove odors. In addition, taking out lace will make it easier to clean and polish lace holes and metal hardware. To clean the shoelaces, rinse them with warm water and dishwashing soap, and then put them outside to dry.

Brush Off The Dirt

Use a hard nylon shoe brush to remove dirt from the shoe surface. If necessary, you can also use wet paper towels to remove accumulated dirt.

If you have stubborn salt stains on your boots, soak them in water for an hour or two

Scrub Boots With Clean Water And Mild Detergent

Warm water and mild detergent should be enough to remove most of the dirt and stains on boots. Scrub with a soft cloth. For stubborn stains, scrub with a soft brush. If your boots are suede, use mild pressure so that you won’t damage the material.

Scrub hard with a toothbrush to reach corners and gaps.

Try using a pencil eraser to remove the wear that the dishwasher won’t remove.

Clean The Exterior

Remove any mud first, of course. Try to get as much of the moisture off your boots as you can before entering. Slamming those boots together is the best way to accomplish that; don’t be concerned; they can withstand it.

With as much force as you can muster, remove that mud. Then, use a good, stiff brush or thin rod to remove the remaining residue. The more debris you clear away, the less time it will take for the boots to become damp. This includes as much mud, dirt, leaves, and rocks as you can.

Grab a bucket, fill it with warm water, and add a small amount of biodegradable dish soap after you’ve cleaned the boots’ exteriors of as much mud as you can. Your boots’ soles should be thoroughly scrubbed after being thoroughly rinsed in warm water after removing the laces.

There is no requirement to fully submerge them. The bucket comes in handy because it lets the warm water coat the boots (making the dirt easier to remove) and because it collects the used water, which you can throw outside once you’re done (saving your sink and drain). Avoid letting the interiors get too wet because this could cause mold and mildew problems. Start the washing process by packing your boots with a hand towel to prevent this.

Clean The Interior

It’s time to concentrate on the inside of your boots once the exterior is as good as new (or nearly so). Your boots’ interiors may become damp from your feet as well as any moisture from snow, fog, or rain (especially salty sweat and saltwater).

A clean, slightly damp rag should be used to clean the interior of your boots after removing any removable insoles and wiping them down. Because you want the interiors to stay dry once you get them there, complete this step before cleaning the exterior in greater detail.

How To Clean Hiking Boots A Helpful Guide
How To Clean Hiking Boots? A Helpful Guide

Waterproofing & Conditioning

Use wax or waterproof compound to waterproof your boots. After cleaning, the pores on the surface of leather boots (leather, suede, and frosted) will open, making them easier to absorb moisture. To close and protect them, you should apply waterproof spray labels to specific materials. Wax will also waterproof and moisturize boots.

Spray them when they are still wet to best impregnate the material and prevent future moisture absorption.

Be waterproof when washing boots. To keep them in their best shape, spray them with spray or wax the day before hiking.

Use leather, scrub, or suede conditioner. After your boots are waterproof, you should apply a layer of cream or conditioner, such as a silicone-based protector, to help maintain moisture. Use a care product with a boot-specific material label. Use this product after your boots are waterproof because the boots should be moist during maintenance.

Although too much moisture is bad for leather boots, an appropriate amount of moisture helps prevent the wear or cracking of leather boots.

It is best to adjust the boots when cleaning and waterproof. Just don’t apply too much conditioner at one time, otherwise, your boots will become too soft.

Polish hardware with chrome plating. Hardware, such as the metal around the laces of boots, is easy to rust. You can apply chrome nail polish with a cotton swab to remove and prevent rust. Apply nail polish, let it stand, and then wipe off the excess nail polish with a dry cloth.

Your Leather Hiking Boots Should Be Dried

If you used towels to clean your boots, you can load them with newspaper or keep the towels inside while they dry. Then, keep your boots away from heat sources and direct sunshine as they air dry at room temperature. To hasten the drying process, utilize a fan.

How Frequently Should Hiking Boots Be Cleaned?

You should clean your hiking boots after each usage, despite popular belief. It doesn’t have to take as much time as it sounds. If you can walk through wet grass, wade through a puddle, or cross a small stream at the end of each trek, you might be able to remove any mud without even needing to use the boot brush.

When you come home, if your boots are only faintly stained, you can usually quickly wipe them down with a damp towel and lay them out to air dry apart from heat sources.

The steps below might help if your boots are more highly dirty after a hike in the woods or if you’ve been hiking frequently lately and need to give them monthly maintenance clean.


Although hiking boots are made to become muddy, periodic cleaning can help them last longer. After a hike, take off the laces and insoles and clean the shoe with a nylon brush. Use a toothbrush to scrape the nooks and crevices of your boots after washing them in water and dish detergent. When removing wax or sap from your boots, try freezing them. Apply a waterproofing agent and conditioning cream to them after you’ve washed them to keep them safe. Avoid exposing them to strong sources of heat, and air dry them entirely out of direct sunshine.