How to Clean Hiking Boots
How to Clean Hiking Boots

Have you ever been on a long hike and noticed that your boots are starting to look worse for wear? It’s easy to get discouraged, significantly if you’ve invested in a nice pair of hiking boots.

Fortunately, it’s possible to bring your shoes back to life and make them look as good as new.

In this blog post, we will explore the steps necessary to properly clean hiking boots so that they stay looking great no matter how often you take them out on the trail.

Remove dirt and debris

The first step to cleaning your hiking boots is removing all the dirt and debris. This can be done by using a brush or a damp cloth to wipe down the outside of the boots.

Be sure to pay extra attention to the soles, as they can often be the dirtiest part of the boot. Once you’ve removed all the visible dirt, you can move on to the next step.

Treat stains

If you’re lucky, your hiking boots will stay mostly clean on your adventures.

But if you do get them dirty, it’s important to clean them as soon as possible to prevent the stains from setting in. Here’s how to treat different types of stains on your hiking boots:

  • Mud: Let the mud dry completely, then brush it with a stiff brush. If there’s still some residue left, mix a paste of water and baking soda and scrub it into the stain. Rinse with water and let the boots air dry.
  • Grass: Treat grass stains like mud – let them dry completely before brushing or scrubbing. You can also try using white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to help break down the stain.
  • Blood: Soak bloodstained areas in cold water for 30 minutes, then gently scrub with a mild soap. You may need to repeat this process several times to remove the stain.
  • Sweat: Mix equal parts vinegar and water and use a cloth to wipe down sweaty areas on your boots. Let the boots air dry completely before wearing them again.


If you’ve ever been caught in a rainstorm while wearing hiking boots, you know that they can take forever to dry out.

And if you don’t have time to let them dry completely, they can develop a musty smell. Waterproofing your hiking boots will help keep them from getting soaked through in the first place and also help them dry out more quickly if they get wet.

There are a few different ways to waterproof your hiking boots. You can use a spray-on waterproofing treatment or apply a waterproofing wax or cream.

Whichever method you choose, follow the instructions carefully, so you don’t damage your boots.

Waterproofing your hiking boots is an important part of taking care of them and can help significantly extend their life. It’s well worth the effort to ensure your boots are ready for anything the weather throws them!

Store properly

When you return from a hike, take the time to clean your boots before storing them away. This will help keep them in good condition and prevent any dirt or debris from causing damage.

To clean your boots, remove any dirt or mud with a brush. Then, wipe down the leather with a damp cloth to remove any sweat or moisture. Finally, polish the leather with a dry cloth to restore its shine.

Once your boots are clean, store them in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, which can cause the leather to crack and fade.

If you must store them in a humid environment, consider using boot trees or desiccant packets to help absorb moisture and prevent mildew.

What you will need

Assuming you will be cleaning your hiking boots with water and soap, you will need the following:

  • A container large enough to fit your boots (a sink or bathtub works well)
  • Mild dish soap
  • Water
  • A soft bristled brush (an old toothbrush works well)
  • A towel or clothes for drying
  • Optional: boot polish and a soft cloth for polishing

The process

Assuming you’re talking about cleaning the boots and not just the soles, there are a few different options.

You can either hand-wash them with a soft brush and mild soap, or machine-wash them on a delicate cycle with cold water and mild detergent. If your boots are particularly dirty, you may want to pre-treat them with a stain remover before washing them.

Once they’ve been washed, it’s important to let your hiking boots air dry completely before wearing them again – this will help prevent mold or mildew from forming.

If you’re in a hurry, you can also stuff them with newspaper to help speed up the drying process.

Tips and tricks

If your hiking boots are starting to look a bit worse for wear, it’s time to clean them.

Here are some tips and tricks to get your boots looking like new again:

  • Remove all dirt and debris from the outside of the boot using a soft brush. Pay particular attention to the soles, as most of the dirt accumulates.
  • If your boots are dirty, you may need to use a mild soap and water solution to help break down any stubborn dirt. Use a soft cloth or sponge to avoid damaging the leather.
  • Once you’ve removed all the surface dirt, it’s time to focus on the inside of the boot. Use a shoehorn or similar tool to loosen any built-up dirt and grit from the lining. If your boots have removable insoles, take them out and wash them well.
  • To freshen up the smell of your boots, add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm water and use this solution to wipe down the inside of your boots. Be sure to let them air dry completely before putting them back on your feet.
  • Finally, apply a thin layer of beeswax or another waterproofing agent to the outside and inside of your boots. This will help protect them from stains and keep them looking shiny and new for longer!


Cleaning your hiking boots is a simple task that can help keep them in perfect condition for years to come.

With the right cleaning products and techniques, you can get rid of dirt, mud, and salt stains from the outside of your boots and prevent odors from forming inside.

Make sure to follow our tips regularly, so your feet stay dry and comfortable no matter where you’re exploring!

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Nick Haden
Hi there! My name is Nick Haden, and I am thrilled to share my passion for shoe cleaning with you at As a renowned shoe cleaning expert, I have dedicated years to perfecting my craft and helping people maintain the longevity and beauty of their favorite footwear. With my expertise, I have received numerous accolades and rewards, including certifications as a certified aromatherapist. This unique background allows me to bring a holistic approach to shoe cleaning, combining my knowledge of essential oils and their beneficial properties with effective cleaning techniques. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with various shoe brands, professional athletes, and fashion enthusiasts, helping them restore and revitalize their shoes to their former glory. I have also been featured in several publications and online platforms, showcasing my expertise and sharing valuable shoe cleaning tips. Beyond my professional achievements, I am passionate about providing practical advice and step-by-step guides that can empower shoe owners to take care of their footwear properly. My writing philosophy is centered around simplifying complex shoe cleaning processes, making them accessible to everyone, regardless of their experience level. When you explore, expect to find a wealth of information, from general shoe cleaning tips to specific advice for different shoe materials. I believe that maintaining clean and well-cared-for shoes not only enhances their appearance but also prolongs their lifespan, saving you money in the long run. I am delighted to be your go-to resource for all things shoe cleaning. Explore the site, discover helpful tips and tricks, and let me guide you on your shoe cleaning journey. Remember, a little care goes a long way! Thank you for visiting, and I look forward to helping you keep your shoes in pristine condition. Best regards, Nick Haden