Whether you are a novice hiker or have years of experience, your hiking boots are your most important piece of gear. They protect your feet from the terrain as well as keep you dry. Eventually, those nice, new boots are going to end up covered in mud.
To prolong the life of your boots, periodic cleaning is imperative. Whether the boots are fabric or leather, the process of cleaning is relatively easy. Your boots, pocketbook, and feet, will thank you, as your clean, mud-free boots keep on trekking for miles.
Things You’ll Need:
Mild dish detergent
Step 1 Remove the boots and rinse them off with water to remove the largest mud deposits. Rinse both fabric and leather boots. Leather boots will tolerate an occasional washing before the leather turns brittle.
Step 2 Remove the boot's shoelaces. Wash them with a mild dishwashing detergent to remove any mud or dirt. Hang the laces up to dry.
Step 3 Scrub fabric hiking boots with a non-detergent soap mixed with water. Wash the outside of the boots until clean and rinse of any soap residue with water. Allow time to dry.
Step 4 Set leather hiking boots in an area that is warm and dry, allowing them to dry naturally, after rinsing them with water. Sitting the boots by a campfire or other source of heat can damage the leather and the materials holding them together.
Step 5 Scrub leather hiking boots, once dry, with a toothbrush. Work the brush over the boot's outer surface and seams, scrubbing away any remaining mud or dirt.
Step 6 Dampen a cloth with water. Wipe the outer surface of the boots off, removing any remaining dirt.
Step 7 Rub a leather conditioner over the outside of the leather hiking boots, according to the package instructions. Regular cleaning and conditioning of leather hiking boots helps them to remain water repellant.
Step 8 Re-lace after the laces and boots have dried.
Step 9 Place a fabric softener dryer sheet inside each boot. Allow the boots to air out with the dryer sheet in place. It will help deodorize the boots and remove any remaining smells.
Tips & Warnings
Always dry out your hiking boots first before brushing them clean.
Allow your hiking boots to dry thoroughly after every hike.
Using oil conditioners such as mink oil on leather boots can soften the outer structure of the boots affecting their support. It is best to use a wax or silicone conditioner made specifically for use on leather boots.