Exploring nature and being surrounded by breathtaking scenery is an unrivaled experience. But when we go on these trails, we’re accompanied by our trusty hiking boots. They are made to withstand the hardships of the trip. Mud, rocks, water, and other elements take their toll, reminding us of the problems and miles we’ve conquered.
In this guide, we will delve into how to clean hiking boots. Every part of a boot tells a story. I’ll show you how to clean different boots and discuss the tools you need. And I will give you tips on how to make your boots last longer.
So whether you are a seasoned hiker or a fledgling novice, join us on this journey.
Together, we’ll take care of the boots through mountains, valleys, rain, and many happy moments.
ÔŚĆ When your boots bend, dirt, grit, or sand gets deep into the leather and fabric and rubs off like sandpaper.
ÔŚĆ Dirt soaks up the leather’s wetness as it dries. It makes the leather less flexible and speeds up the aging process.
Even if you don’t think so, you should clean your hiking boots whenever you use them. It sounds time-consuming, but it isn’t. At the end of every hike, you don’t need to clean your boots with a brush if you can walk across wet grass or swim through a puddle or shallow stream.
ÔŚĆIf your boots are only slightly dirty when you get home, wipe them down with a wet cloth, put them somewhere out of the sun, and heat them to dry.
ÔŚĆFollow these steps if your boots get very dirty after a walk in the woods or if you go hiking often and need to clean them monthly for care.
Items needed to clean your hiking boots:
ÔŚĆ Specialized boot brush, old vegetable brush, or toothbrush
Specialized boot cleaner, soap, or a solution of mild detergent and water
Time: about 10 minutes!
It’s better to clean your boots in the yard than inside, where you might leave a puddle of sewage on the floor.
You can wash your boots in a tub, shower, sink, or bucket if you can’t do this.
Do not use soap or other cleaners on leather hiking boots. Instead, you’ll need to use a leather hiking boot cleaner and follow the steps below:
ÔŚĆEven though most shoe cleaners can be used on a wide range of materials, make sure yours can be used on boots. Please read the directions, and do as they say.
ÔŚĆ Do not use soaps or detergents; many contain additives that may harm the leather or waterproof membrane.
ÔŚĆ To clean mold, mix 80% water and 20% vinegar.
ÔŚĆ Always rinse your boots thoroughly with water afterward.
ÔŚĆ Do not put your boots in the washing machine, which can damage them.
ÔŚĆ If you intend to waterproof your boots, do it while they are still wet. Most boots are waterproof when you first buy them. You don’t need to waterproof them until you notice that water droplets no longer form beads on the surface.
ÔŚĆ At the end of the season, or if you don’t plan on using your shoes for a few months, rinse them out and let them dry completely.
ÔŚĆ Remove the insoles and store your shoes in the open air, away from moisture and sunlight. Do not place them in any plastic bag or sealed box!
ÔŚĆ Cleaning your hiking shoes is as important as cleaning your sneakers, road shoes, or trail running shoes. It is part of taking care of your gear to make it last longer. When dirt gets into the cloth, it speeds up the fibers’ natural wear and tear. Also, when dirt dries, it forms a crust that hardens the cloth on the outside and makes it weaker where it folds.
ÔŚĆ Another piece of gear that is essential for hiking is a clean pair of socks. Changing into a new pair of shoes daily while hiking will make you feel better and reduce smells.
We wrap up this lesson on how to clean hiking boots. Remember every scuff, stain, and mark on your boots. They represent a chapter in your outdoor adventures.
The cleaning process isn’t just about keeping your boots looking good. It’s about cherishing what they’ve been through. You may assure that your boots will serve you dutifully for many more kilometers with a little care.
As the sun sets, let’s take on tomorrow’s journey in clean and tidy boots that carry a remarkable story. Only the wilderness and you can create remarkable stories together.
Happy hiking, and may your boots carry you to new horizons with every step.
Andrew Hoffmann is an avid outdoor enthusiast and writer specializing in evaluating and reviewing outdoor equipment. Andrew has trekked through rugged mountain ranges from the Rockies to the Andes, summited major peaks, and completed long-distance hikes like the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. He's spent over 500 nights camping in all terrain and weather. This first-hand experience testing gear on the trails allows Andrew to provide practical, knowledgeable advice. As an avid explorer with years of experience evaluating outdoor products, Andrew strives to be an authoritative voice that outdoor enthusiasts can trust.