How To Clean Boots and Shoes at Home : An Ultimate Homemade Boot Cleaning Guide

Posted In : Boots Care
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How to clean boots and shoes at home – is not an uncommon doubt in the minds of professionals.

We’ve all been there. You want to wear those awesome boots, but they are so dirty you don’t know what to do with them. Don’t worry! We have the perfect solution for you.

Did you know that nearly one-third of all people will have to wear work boots at some point in their life? If not, then I’m sure you’re aware of the unappealing state your work boots can get into after a day on the job.

There are many ways to clean and maintain your boots and shoes correctly, but today we’ll be focusing on how best to clean your work boots at home so they stay looking fresh. 

Be with us and find out how easy it is to clean your boots at home with just a few simple items.

How to clean boots and shoes at home

What are the Items Required to Clean Boots at Home?

Keeping shoes clean is the ultimate way if you want them to last for as long as possible and look good too! One thing that’s often overlooked by shoe lovers is the importance of cleaning our shoes regularly. All it takes is a little bit of time each week.

Irrespective of the type of your pair of work boots or shoes, some basic items are required to kick-start the cleaning process. They are:

  • A bucket or a tub of warm water
  • Mild soap or shampoo, like dishwashing liquid or detergent diluted in the water. If you have leather boots that are not waterproofed then avoid using soaps with bleach because it can cause damage to your shoes when combined together
  • Baking Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate – for cleaning suede boots
  • Talcum Powder – to clean stains caused by grease
  • Lime Juice, vinegar, or Tartar Cream – to clean common dirt stains
  • Cleaning brush for scrubbing off mud and dirt from soles, heels, and inside the shoe upper; this will help restore natural traction on slippery surfaces such as wet floors. To clean laces use an old toothbrush instead which is easy to find around the home and won’t scratch exposed areas of laces where metal eyelets connect them together at the boot’s opening near the ankle.
  • Microfiber Cloth, Towel, or Lint-free cloth – dry work boots well by patting down excess moisture and removing excess water with a towel, just be sure not to rub too hard as this will cause scuff marks on leather’s surface.
  • Shoe polish – you can use it to add a protective layer of shine to the upper leather or newer work boots that have had little exposure from job site wear and tear like scratches, salt stains, oil spills, etc. You are also able to apply shoe wax on new shoes if you want them to look shiny without having any contaminants sticking onto their surface for too long before being cleaned off again.
  • Leather conditioner – it’s important when caring for your expensive investment piece that is your good lookin’ pair of work boots! A lot of people skip this step but leather needs conditioning just as much as regular skin does in order to stay supple and strong over time. Use gentle silicone oils while rubbing it all over the shoe in a circular motion.
  • Laces – it is recommended to replace these every six months because they can become brittle and break down more quickly than you might expect!

How to Clean Boots: The Main Process

Preparatory Steps Before Main Cleaning Process

  1. Remove Laces.
  2. Get rid of excessive loose dirt, if any.
  3. Are you embarrassed by the smell coming from your work boots? don’t worry, it’s common. Remove the insoles for cleaning and follow our post for cleaning insoles.

Method 1: Low-Intensity Soap-water Based Regular Cleaning for Most Boots


  1. Start by adding mild shampoo, soap, or dishwashing liquid in a bucket of warm water. Mix until it’s dissolved and then soak your shoes for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Make sure that the mixture is not too thick – it should be diluted to the point where it barely soaks your hand when submerged in it and you can still feel the wetness between your fingers.
  3. Now take a microfiber cloth or towel and dip it in the bowl.
  4. Use the microfiber cloth or towel to rub off the extra dirt, common stains from the boots.
  5. Pull the boots out of the bowl and clean them under runny water for a minute or two. Get rid of the soap by tipping one boot up so that all the water flows out while giving it a firm shake every so often to help intensify this process.
  6. After removing excess water from your work boots as much as you can with an old towel or rag nearby, give them a gentle scrubbing to remove any leftover dirt, grime, or oil.
  7. To dry them off you can simply turn on a fan nearby or keep them by a window open for natural sunlight with closed curtains to protect the leather’s surface against extreme sunlight damage.
  8. If you are using an appliance like a hairdryer for emergency situations, then be sure to use low heat so as not to burn your shoes.
  9. Keep them under the sun or in front of a fan or lay them by the fireplace, if outdoor drying is not suitable until it is completely dry.
  10. Dryer Sheet – not just for laundry, use these to remove smells off work boots too (this is especially great if you are working with smelly materials all day long). Don’t forget about airing out your shoe either because once it’s dry, spray some odor eliminator such as Febreeze on them before storing them away again. This way they’ll be ready next time you need ’em!
Well, there you have it! Your work boots will stay new and clean-looking with the occasional use of a hairdryer or fan to keep them from getting wet on a rainy day or for cleaning their exterior surface. Using shoe polish occasionally will also help extend the life of your leather as long as you take care of it properly.

Method 2: High-Intensity Cleaning for Stained Work Boots


  1. Start by brushing and cleaning off the extra loose dirt.
  2. If the work boots (e.g. Steel-toe boots) have grease stains, sprinkle a handful of talcum powder on the stains, rub it gently and keep them overnight in a cool and dry place.
  3. If the work boots have regular-use-causing dirt stains, make a solution of lime juice/white vinegar and baking soda and put the solution on the stains, rub gently and keep in a cool and dry place for an hour.
  4. After the waiting period in step 2 or step 3 is over, take a wet microfiber cloth and gently rub off the talcum powder or the cleaning solution.
  5. You can use the regular low-intensity cleaning process at this stage to ensure max cleaning.
  6. Dry the boots off under the sun outdoor, or using air/heat indoor.
  7. Put some deodorant inside the boots before using it next time to feel fresh.

Why Should You Keep Your Boots Clean?

how to clean boots
  • Well, firstly it’s just common sense. Nobody wants to walk around in dirty clothes whether it be your work boots or any other shoe/cloth that you are wearing.
  • Secondly, they will last longer if you take care of them properly.
  • Thirdly, they’ll be more hygienic for next time too because nobody likes smelling sweaty feet if you catch my drift.
  • Fourthly and lastly; Your work performance will increase significantly because your brain doesn’t waste any time on bad smells that might be affecting you. All the focus is then put into completing the job well and this leads to a happier customer (if you’re doing your job right) and also leads to a better salary for you!
  • The best thing about this method is that it also doubles as the shoe cleaner/shiner and it’s very easy to make too. You can either use baking soda or talcum powder (or both) to get rid of stains and will keep your work boots looking new for much longer. The deodorizing step is also for freshness next time you wear them so they’re clean, very clean.

Final Words

The most important thing in working is having the right mindset and being ready to work your ass off, but just in case you need a little boost—that’ll do it.

And remember; No matter what shoes you wear (e.g. Steel-toe boots/work boots) if they’ve been given proper care and repairs when needed, they will be able to last you at least 2-3 years if not more. This will help save money in the long run, so it’s a win-win situation for both you and your wallet.

I hope this article helped you find some ways to keep your work boots clean and smelling fresh! If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Cheers!

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Lance 'LeatherMan' Hackney

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