If you have a pair of work boots, you know that they can get rather dirty. You also know how they feel awful after walking through the mud. If your goal is to keep them as clean as possible for as long as possible, you need to wash them often and properly. Follow this guide on how to wash work boots and make sure your feet stay dry and comfortable every day of the week!
Table of Contents
- 9 Ways to Wash Work Boots: Tips & Tricks to Clean
- Washing the Entire (Inside and Outside) of Boots
- Using Talcum Powder
- Cleaning Water-based Dirt Stains Using Lime Juice
- Using Soap-water Solution
- Using Chlorine Bleach Solution
- Washing Steel Toe Boots in the Washer
- Conditioning Your Leather Work Boots
- Washing Suede Steel Toe Boots
- Washing Nubuck Steel Toe Boots
9 Ways to Wash Work Boots: Tips & Tricks to Clean
Washing the Entire (Inside and Outside) of Boots
- The first step is to take off the boots and completely dry the insides and outsides with a towel. Wait for a few minutes for any residual moisture to evaporate before we continue.
- Apply water-resistant boot polish on both surfaces of your shoes while still damp from being washed. Go around the entire surface, paying particular attention to places like the toes, soles, all of which can easily get scuffed if not polished twice as much as the rest of the shoe.
- After allowing the boots to dry for a little while, apply a second coat of polish on all aforementioned areas, including the insides and outer. Allow to dry for another 10 minutes or so before wearing.
- If you use various types of oils in your leather shoes, then again, you have to remove any excess oil with an absorbent “pick-up” towel – it’ll just slip off your shoes. It’s easy if done well.
- If you are using steel toe boots, follow the same steps but also use a thread-like lint roller (or something similar).
- If you use a sponge or a wet cloth, or if you wear steel toe boots and do not use a thread-like lint roller, DO NOT take your shoes out in the rain. The water seep through the cracks, and your feet will get wet. And don’t think it’s OK to wear them for a couple of minutes and wipe them off because the water will still seep into your boots and soak your feet. If you do not take care of the inside of your boots, then there is a high probability that moldy residue can collect inside your shoes, causing an unappealing odor.
- 7. Clean the soles thoroughly by getting rid of any residual dirt using a towel.
Using Talcum Powder
- Place the grease-stained clothing in a plastic bag.
- Hold the open end of the bag over your head, and sprinkle talcum powder over the clothing inside of the bag. The talcum powder will form clumps that are large enough to cover several grease stains at once, so be sure to coat all surfaces with a heavy layer of powder before you seal up the bag again.
- Shake the plastic bags containing your clothes back and forth vigorously for 30 seconds or until all of the clumps have dissolved into a uniform layer on top of your fabric or leather article(s). You should see some light brown-colored moisture in your bags when you’ve done this correctly.
- Wash the clothing as you normally would.
- Launder, as usual, using laundry detergent and warm water, but using no fabric softener. The secret to good results is to keep washing the clothes until all of the talcum powder has been washed out of them, and they appear clean and fresh again. The outcome might be a little greyer than before, but overall it will be worth it: your clothes will smell and feel much better than before you washed them!
- Let dry naturally on a flat surface away from direct sunlight.
Cleaning Water-based Dirt Stains Using Lime Juice
- Pour one tablespoon of lime juice for every cup of water into a bowl. Submerge the soiled shoe in the mixture and let it stand for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing thoroughly with fresh cold water.
- Spread some tartar cream all over the soiled area and let it sit for five to ten minutes before wiping it off with a soft cloth moistened with fresh cold water. Repeat until the stain is removed or no longer visible.
However, you can make your own cleaner with one cup of lime juice and one tablespoon of salt.
- Pour one cup of water into a bowl and mix in the lime juice and salt.
- Soak the soiled area for ten minutes, then rinse thoroughly with fresh cold water. Try scraping off the stain with a metal object like a kitchen spatula before rinsing.
Note: Do not use the mixture to clean leather shoes; instead, clean them using a leather cleaner designed especially for that purpose. Also, avoid using the cleaner on chrome or stove-top surfaces that might scratch them.
Using Soap-water Solution
When washing your rubber boots, you should use a soap-water solution. Many people think this is because the solvents in the dish soaps will eventually break down the rubber, but actually, it’s because soap gives you lots of grit to clean dirt out without damaging the boot.
- Put some cold tap water into a bucket. Add about 2 tablespoons of detergent if needed. More doesn’t make it cleaner.
- Place the boots in the bucket and swish them around to cover with water.
- Use a stiff brush or sponge to get all the dirt out.
- Rinse your boots with more cold tap water, using a hose if you have one available.
- Let the rubber dry in the sun before putting them away. Don’t place them on a heater or radiator because this will soften the rubber and make it more susceptible to damage. Also, keep them out of direct sunlight – that will warp the plastic of which they are made.
Using Chlorine Bleach Solution
You can also use bleach (such as Clorox) and water to clean rubber boots.
- Wash the boots in cold water. You should probably add the chlorine bleach solution to the water first. [see above for what to do with cold tap water.]
- Wash the boots again with soap and cold water. The boots must be completely dry for this part – even better if they’ve been in direct sunlight or on a heater or radiator – so you might want to stand them outside in a drying rack until they’re dry enough.
- Use a stiff brush or sponge to get all the dirt out.
- Rinse your boots with more cold tap water and let them dry in the sun before putting them away. Don’t place them on a heater or radiator because this will soften the rubber and make it more susceptible to damage. Also, keep them out of direct sunlight – that will warp the plastic of which they are made.
Washing Steel Toe Boots in the Washer
Think carefully before using the washer; they can damage your footwear, especially if they have zippers or metal buckles:
- Fill the washer tub 3/4 full with cold water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of regular laundry soap to the water.
- Remove the insoles from the boots and make sure they are closed at both ends securely.
- Place boots in the washer and fill with water, only if it is safe to do so (check washing machine manual for proper amounts of water).
- Close lid and start timer on your phone or watch – 30 minutes should be enough time to wash a pair of work boots this size.
- Remove the boots from the washer, which should be about halfway through the cycle.
- Empty the washer by rinsing it to ensure that no soap residue is left in the tub.
- Take off any extra dirty water that may have seeped into the boots.
- Hang up your boots to dry while periodically stopping to re(l)ace them on your feet to keep their shape.
Conditioning Your Leather Work Boots
- Clean the boots with a damp cloth or sponge, removing any debris or excess oils.
- Use a good leather conditioner to apply a thin coat to the boots, concentrating on the areas that come in contact with your body when you’re wearing them (ankles and soles). Be sure to work it in well for the best results! Allow time for the leather conditioner to fully absorb into your footwear before continuing.
- Carefully wipe away any excess from your boots with a dry cloth or sponge and allow them completely dry before wearing again.
NOTE: You should always clean and condition the leather on your boots regularly. The oils from your skin will build up over time, which can cause discoloration and deterioration of your footwear.
Washing Suede Steel Toe Boots
- Turn on the faucet to get its shower temperature
- Soak the footwear in the water for about five to ten minutes. Make sure that you have pulled out any debris that may be lodged inside of them. They will need to soak for at least ten minutes so that any oils will be broken down by this process. Get rid of dirt or mud or other obstruction with a brush or old toothbrush until it is washed away. You can also use dish soap if you don’t want to buy the trade show soap.
- You can use the brush to give the boots a good scrub. It will help if it is related to construction. If you use normal dish soap, make sure that it is completely rinsed off of your suede work boots, or you could damage them.
- After this, place the boots on a towel and pat them dry with another towel.
- Then simply hang them by their laces for about half an hour to let the Leather breather!
- Your boots are now ready for wear! Make sure that you don’t wear them immediately after they are dried because the excess moisture will cause blisters and unpleasant odors.
Washing Nubuck Steel Toe Boots
- Fill a bucket with water and detergent.
- Add the boots to the bucket and stir gently with a spoon. A stir bar can be used as well. Avoid metal objects that may scratch the boots.
- Use a sponge to soak the boots.
- Rinse the boots with water and keep stirring.
- Allow the bucket to drain overnight.
- After this, use a blower on the boots to help dry them. Use a towel and pull it gently to help the boots dry faster.
- Once the boots are dry, use a clothesline to dry them. Make sure that it does not leave any moisture or wetness on the boots. Put the boots on a table with a fan above the table to dry the rest off.
- Fluff up your work boots with an old toothbrush, clean them with dish soap and dry completely with lint-free cloths. It is recommended to clean your work boot every 2 weeks. Your work boot will stay soft for longer when you clean it regularly.
How do you clean work boots?
The ways how to clean your work boots are mentioned above. Let’s go over a few ground rules:
- Remove debris from the boot before washing. This includes dirt and mud that has collected on the surface of the shoe or at its seams. You can use a wet wipe or damp cloth for this task. It is a good idea to brush off any dirt or dust from the soles of the boots before washing.
- Never use a washing machine to clean your boots. They can damage your footwear, especially if they have zippers or metal buckles.
- Wash work shoes by hand using a soft brush and warm water. You can add soap or detergent if you want. Make sure that the water is nice and warm because it’ll help loosen up caked-on mud or grease from your boots.
- After washing, take your work boots and other footwear outside for a good rinse. If you’re working in an industrial setting, this is even more important. There’s a good chance that stray water and other debris could get into your breathing air if it isn’t filtered before it gets to your lungs.
- If you need to dry work boots, do so either outdoors or in an area where they won’t get caught up in equipment or get worn out from the friction of repeated use.
- Pat dry with a clean cloth right after washing and let them rest for about 15 minutes before wearing them again. This washes off any remaining water and the natural oils that the boots have built up over time.
Can you wash construction boots?
Construction or work boots are made to last, but they will require regular upkeep to stay looking good. For this reason, many people leave their work boots clean and greasy for as long as possible before putting them through the wash.
If you’d prefer to have your boots cleaned regularly, there are a few ways you can do it that won’t take away their appearance or wearability. For instance, if you’re working in an industry where there’s a lot of construction going on around you, you might benefit from washing your work boots once every two weeks or so if they get particularly dirty.
How often do you clean steel toe boots?
Steel toe boots are work shoes that protect the feet from kicking objects and falling objects. You can clean your steel-toed boots by simply spraying foot deodorant on them and allowing it to air dry, wiping them down with a damp cloth, or washing them with mild soap. By keeping your steel toes clean and dry, you’ll be able to avoid getting any smelly bacteria inside the shoe!
How do I get the odor out of my boots?
Yes, work boots are known to stink up your entire house when you start wearing them in the winter months. The answer is easy, though! Washing your work boots in the sink with soap and water can help save your family from almost certain doom. I recommend soap because it will get rid of any bacteria on the soles of your shoes, which will help prevent nasty smells. Additionally, you can make use of a hot water solution by using about 20-30 seconds worth of boiling water to soak each boot for about 15 minutes before rinsing them off entirely. Take this time to remove laces and unlace boots that need cleaning or just unlace completely for easier access.