How to clean your hiking boots
Hiking boots are designed to handle rough, muddy, and dusty trails. However, it's always a good idea to clean them after each hike to ensure they last for many years to come.
When you wear your boots they naturally stretch, allowing dirt, grit or sand particles to get into the leather and fabric, causing it to grind. Additionally, mud dries out the leather and sucks the moisture from it, causing the material to harden and age faster. Therefore, it is crucial to give them a once-over regularly to keep them in good condition.
This will help to prevent the need for premature replacements.
If you're too tired to clean them right after a hike, leave them to air out overnight and clean them the following day. But don't leave them out too long :)
Here's some tips to help you.
What you’ll need for cleaning your hiking boots:
- A coarse scrubbing brush or old toothbrush
- You can get some specialised boot cleaner or you can simply use a mild solution of dishwashing soap and water
Before you get started, remove the laces and soak them in a dish of the cleaning solution. Remove the insoles too and soak.
Remove the dust and hardened dirt first by clapping the soles of the boots together (best done outdoors), or you can use the dry brush to remove the excess.
Once the excess is removed, using the dishwashing soap solution, work the brush in rigorous motions across the fabric of the boots to clean through the dirt. Once it's nicely lathered and you are satisfied most of the dirt has been removed, rinse the boots thoroughly with clean water. Leave to dry in an airing cupboard or somewhere that’s not damp. (Do not use a heat source to dry as it can affect the lining or leather).
If you want to speed up the drying process stuff the boots with newspaper, changing it frequently. Always allow the insoles to air dry separately too.
- Don’t use washing detergent or any soaps that contain additives which can harm the leather on your boots
- If there is mould on your boots, add a bit of vinegar to the water when scrubbing
- Never put your boots in the washing machine because it can damage them.