How to clean walking boots

Learn how to clean your dirty walking boots with our simple step-by-step guide

Leather hiking boots walking on mountain trail

After a good day’s walking in the British countryside there’s every chance your boots will be covered in mud and dirt.

This accumulation of muck can dry and crack leather, and can break down fibres, reducing the waterproofing and breathability of the material.

Giving them a quick clean will keep your trusty walking boots in tiptop condition, improving their longevity, saving you money while helping the planet.

Learn how to clean your walking boots with this quick and easy guide.

Looking for more inspiring home projects? Learn how to darn a sock, how to fix a zipper, how to make beeswax wraps and how to sharpen a knife.


You Will Need

  • Stiff hand brush
  • Warm water (or a specialist boot cleaning product)
  • Soft hand brush or sponge

Step 1

Use a stiff brush to remove the worst of the mud or dirt from the upper and outsole (tread or grip) of the boot. To avoid getting your house messy, it’s best to do this outside once the mud has dried.

Walking boots being cleaned


Step 2

Remove the laces and insoles then use the brush to get rid of any dirt in the folds of the tongue and around the lace eyelets. You can use an old toothbrush to get in the hard-to-reach spots.

Walking boots being cleaned

Step 3

Use a soft brush or sponge and a small amount of warm water to gently wash away the remaining mud, dirt and stains from the boot. Be as sparing with the water as possible, you don’t want them to get too wet.

Walking boots being cleaned

Step 4

Leave your shoes to dry at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and radiators. Once dry, re-thread the laces and insert the insoles. Your boots can now be stored away, ready for your next walk.

Walking boots being cleaned

Illustrations: Liz Pepperell