Hiking Shoes

How to Clean Your Hiking Boots? (Without Destroying Them)

Boots are a must have hiking gear for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. They provide support, stability and protection while walking on rough terrain. As with any outdoor gear, proper and regular maintenance is essential to extend their life and ensure they perform well on the trails. 

In this article, I will show you the steps to clean your hiking boots, I’ve made sure they’re ready for countless steps on many hiking trails.

Step 1: Gather your belongings

Before you start cleaning, it is important to have the right tools on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

Soft Brush: A soft brush or toothbrush is good for loose dirt and grime on the outside of the boot.

Clean soap: Choose a mild, biodegradable soap or one that is specially used to clean your boots. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the interior of the boot.

Hot water: Fill a tub or bucket with hot water for cleaning.

Sponge or cloth: Use a sponge or soft cloth to clean sensitive areas such as the interior of the boots.

Leather conditioner (for leather boots): If you have leather hiking boots, invest in a good quality leather conditioner to keep them soft and moisturized.

Step 2: Remove the Laces and Insoles

Start cleaning up by removing the laces and soles from your hiking boots. This gives you better access to all areas of the boot, allowing for more efficient cleaning. If the laces are very dirty, it is advisable to replace it to maintain proper and adequate support.

Step 3: Brush off Loose Dirt and Debris

Use a soft brush to gently remove dirt, mud, or debris from the outside of the boot. Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices where dirt accumulates.

Step 4: Clean the Boots

Dip a tablecloth or soft cloth in warm, soapy water and carefully clean the outside of the hiking boots. Avoid using too much water, as soaking the boots can damage the material. For stubborn stains, gently rub the affected area with a sponge until the dirt loosens. Remember to wash the tongue and eyelets  thoroughly as well.

Step 5: Clean the Insoles and Laces

When the boots are dry, take the opportunity to clean the insoles and laces separately. Thoroughly clean these items with the same warm, soapy water and a cloth or sponge. If the insoles are particularly smelly, you can sprinkle some baking soda on them before washing them up.

Step 6: Rinse and dry

After cleaning, rinse the hiking boots with clean water to remove any soap or detergent residue. Avoid soaking the boots during this time. After rinsing, gently pat with a clean, dry cloth to remove excess moisture.

Step 7: Conditioning (for leather boots)

If you have leather hiking boots, the maintenance is key to maintaining their quality. Once your boots are completely dry, put a soft cloth over them with a little leather conditioner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the conditioner. The material used in the leather helps it retain its moisture and prevents it from drying out and fading.

Additional tips for cleaning your boots:

Hiking Shoes

To remove stubborn stains

You can take extra steps to clean your hiking boots properly, especially in the case of stubborn stains or mud. Consider making a solution with a basic shoe cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and water. Apply the product to the stained areas and scrub gently with a brush or soft cloth. This method is particularly useful for textiles or materials.

Odor prevention

If your hiking boots have been smelly for a long time, don’t worry – there are many ways to deal with this issue. After cleaning and drying the boots, rub some baking soda in each shoe and let it sit overnight. The baking soda will help absorb odors and keep your boots smelling fresh. In addition, you can use odor-resistant insoles or inserts to make your boots smell nice while you travel.

Video Tutorial:

While surfing youtube, i found this awesome video tutorial on how to clean hiking boots by Little Adventure Shop. You can understand the full process by watching this tutorial.


Properly cleaning and maintaining your hiking boots is a simple but effective way to ensure they remain in excellent condition for many trips ahead. Regular maintenance not only extends their life, but also ensures they perform well on the roads, providing the comfort and support you need. 

If you follow these steps and put in some time and effort, you will be well prepared with your all travel gear to hit the trails with clean, well-maintained boots, ready to conquer the great outdoors. Happy hiking!

Logan Smith

I'm a wanderer rooted in California, USA. My love for traversing the globe fuels my mission: crafting travel guides and tips that empower fellow explorers. Drawing from my personal escapades, I aim to equip readers with practical advice for seamless journeys. Let's embark on transformative adventures together.

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