The Secrets You Should Need To Know About How To Wash Hiking Boots?

If you do not intend to change your hiking boots every few years, you must keep them clean and store them in the right place after every use. Moreover, if you just came back from a rough hiking session, you MUST go through a deep cleaning session before storing them. It would be great if you can start the procedure right after you come back. Otherwise, there is a great chance to get those mud and dirt stuck to your boots firmly. If this is the case, you will be having a hard time cleaning your pair. Also, if you keep all those grimes stay there for a long time, it might affect the integrity of your boots making them less durable and less breathable.

how to wash hiking boots

On the other hand, if you are a lazy person like most of us and you were thinking of throwing them into the washing machine once they are dirty, PLEASE DO NOT. That will damage your boots and there is a good chance for you to not be able to wear them ever again. One thing you must keep in mind that most leather boots need extra care. But most boots are well built to go through almost all rough events efficiently while hiking. Also, the manufacturers themselves give you an instruction manual with the boots while selling. Go through them to find out all that you need to do for taking care of your pair.

Anyhow, let us not keep you waiting any longer. Let's get into the step-by-step process for washing your pair of boots.

Step by Step Guide on Washing Hiking Boots

While making the purchase, know the material and types of leather they mostly use for hiking boots. Make the purchase only when you know that, yes, this is the right pair for you. Because when you know your boots, you eventually understand what's best for them. Hence, it becomes easy for you to care for them. Also, in this guide, when we talk about using water we generally mean slightly warm water or lukewarm water. As cold water might affect the upper material of your boots resulting in them cracking sooner than expected.

Getting prepared

It is a healthy habit to bang your pair with each other, with a wall, or bang them onto a flat ground after taking them off. This lets all the loose dirt fall off. First, let us give you a list of things you might be needing while washing.


  • A running water tap/ a faucet for water
  • A bucket/sink/tub (any pot big enough to hold a boot or the pair)
  • Rag
  • A soft brush (a soft toothbrush will do)
  • Clean piece of cloth or paper towel
  • However, if you are washing them after a rough hiking session you might need some extra tools:
  • A stiff brush
  • Screwdrivers (Yeah!  it sounds weird but you might need one to remove the small stones and caked dirt from the outsole)
  • A disinfectant

Removing the Insole and the Laces

Before getting started, make sure to remove the insole so that they can not absorb unnecessary moisture while washing and get smelly. Also, it is better to wash the insoles separately with baking soda to eliminate odors (if there are any). This also decreases the drying time. Next, take out the laces as well and soak them in any mild dish detergent and hang dry. Taking off the laces at first makes the washing procedure easier allowing you to take good care of the lace holes.

Step by Step Guide on Washing Hiking Boots

Washing Procedure

Mostly, a good wiping with a piece of a wet cloth or a rag does the job of cleaning. Rub all the corners and the upper surface thoroughly and you. are done. But as we have mentioned before, if you just came back from a wonderful adventure it will definitely show on your boots. The sole of the boots takes almost eighty percent of the stress during trekking. So, a very fine cleaning is required in that area along with the upper surfaces. The best way for getting out all the debris fast is to soak the boots in a bucket full of water mixed with a mild dish detergent. After soaking them for 1 to 2 hours, you will see that most of the dirt already got off. Take them out of the water, take a toothbrush or any cleaning brush of that sort to clean the remaining grimes off of your shoes. A toothbrush works very well in this case because it has a narrow brush head that can easily get into any spots of your boots for cleaning.

Now, all you do is scrub/rub gently with the brush against the surfaces where you see dirt. Do this until all the junk is gone. Do this for the outsoles also. You. can go a bit harder on the outsoles for cleaning as they are mostly made of rugged rubbers or sturdy materials of that sort. So getting out debris from the soles can get difficult if you are going too gentle on them. However, at times you will see stubborn stones or other hard debris stuck in there. At this point, you can make use of the stiff brush to get them off. If the brush does not work, take a screwdriver and get all those stubborn trash out of your soles.

However, in the first step if you do not feel like soaking your boots there is another way for you to get this job done. Start from the second step; i.e. start washing with a brush. For best results, soak the brush in the detergent or rub it against mild dish soap and start cleaning. And the rest of the procedure is the same.

At this stage, when you are satisfied with getting out the specks of dirt, rinse your pair of shoes thoroughly in lukewarm water. Pay special attention so that too much water does not get inside the boots. Additionally, if you have a smelly pair of boots, soak them in baking soda before you start the washing procedure. You can also sprinkle some baking soda and keep them overnight on the night before washing. Also, for cleaning the inside of the boots, using baking soda and washing them is the best option to get a clean and odor free pair.

When you are done rinsing, for speeding up the drying process wipe the excess water with a clean piece of cloth from the boots. This all for the washing session. In the next part, we will be discussing the drying procedures.

Drying Process

Drying your boots naturally in the open air is the best and healthy way for your boots. Remember never to dry them in the direct sunlight or a damp and dark place. 'Go natural' is our motto for the drying process. For speeding up, do not use any external heat source. This will result in decreasing the lifespan of your pair. If your boots come with a waterproof membrane, it is better to use good waterproofing products and conditioners before drying when they are still moist.


waterproofing treatment should be done as mentioned above. Next, after they are completely dried out naturally, store them in a place that is clean and has low humidity.


No matter if you are cleaning these for regular maintenance or because your boots require a deep cleaning session right after you came back from that amazing hiking event, doing this will help you keep your favorite pair for a long long time with you. Moreover, when you find that squeaky clean shoes right before hitting the trail, it will be one of the best feelings in the world. Hope you got all that you needed to know and thank you for being with us till now and reading till the end!

Thomas Nora

It's Thomas, who is always concerned about men's fashion. He loves to write fashion blogs along with his deep personal experience in fashion designing. He contributes and hosts a good notable number in the men's fashion industry. Currently he writes in Men Fashion Host to help readers to choose the best products for them.

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