How To Clean Your Hiking Boots

By Amy Johnston | Guides

Dec 14
How To Clean Your Hiking Boots

How long do you leave your hiking boots covered with mud, sand, or dirt? What about grit lodged in its traction-boosting lugs? Your hiking shoes will last longer if you clean them as soon as you come home. You may not clean them in the evening, but you have to clean them the next morning. If you leave your boots covered with sand, dirt, or grit, they will degrade the leather or upper fabric. As the mud dries, it will suck all the moisture from the leather and leave it less pliable. It will also accelerate the leather’s ageing process. Let us take a look at the simple boot cleaning steps recommended for hiking boots.

How to Clean Hiking Boots

  1. The first step is to remove sock liners or insoles.
  2. Remove any dirt, mud or sand using a specialised tool or a toothbrush you bought for that purpose.
  3. Remove the shoe laces.
  4. Use a tread cleaner to wash off any stubborn gunk from the outsoles.
  5. Soak the outsoles in a shallow pan to soften the mud or dirt.
  6. Once the dirt loosens from the outsole, you can horse it away.
  7. Mix a specialised boot cleaner with tap water. Alternatively, you may use a mild dishwashing soap.
  8. If there is mould on the leather, mix 80% water with 20% vinegar and use the solution to wash it off.
  9. Use a soft rag and the solution you made in step seven to clean the uppers of your hiking boot.
  10. Dry the boots by hanging them upside down to air-dry.
  11. Wash the insoles as well, and let them dry separately.
  12. Place the boots and insole close to a fan to air-dry them faster.

What to avoid when cleaning your hiking boots

  • Do not use a bar soap or detergent to wash the uppers.
  • Never clean footwear using a washing machine.
  • Never soak the uppers of your hiking boots.
  • Do not place your boots or use a heat source to dry them.

Basic Care Tips For Your Hiking Boots

  • You should not use soap or detergent because they contain water attractants. When your boots dry, the water attractants will suck any residual moisture, making the leather less pliable. Detergents also contain fabric brighteners. These can leave residues on your boots when the leather dries.
  • Avoid using dry heat sources on your boots because the dry heat weakens the adhesives used in modern footwear.
  • If you do not have a fan to help air-dry your boots, you could use newspapers instead. They are quite good at absorbing moisture. You will, however, have to change them after an hour or so.
  • The best places to store your boots are those with normal room temperature and humidity, such as your shoe wardrobe. Do not store your hiking boots in the attic, garage, or car trunk. Those places experience extreme temperatures changes. Extreme temperatures changes are likely to ruin your boots.
  • Cleaning stains and scratches are quite easy. Just use a solution made of 500ml tap water mixed with about five drops of a mild dishwashing detergent or soap. Dip a rag in the solution and clean any spot using a circular motion.
    6. Removing substances such as tree sap or adhesives can be challenging. As a last resort, you can put your boots in a freezer. That will harden the gum, wax, or tree sap. You can then gently chip it away. Then let your boot warm up slowly at room temperature.

The above boot cleaning tips will help you get value for the money you spent on your hiking boots.

About the Author

Leave a Comment:

Leave a Comment: