How to Clean Boots? The Cleaning Process Guide for Every Boot Type

Boots eventually get dirty, especially if you use them every day. Fortunately, there is always a way to clean boots, so you can achieve shoes that look and feel good. Continue reason on below if you want to learn the proper way on how to clean boots.

When I think about dirty boots, I could not help myself but feel stressed out with the thought of cleaning them. Sometimes, I am also tempted to discard the dirty shoes once and for all and get a new pair of boots. However, I realized that I can save money if I simply clean the dirty boots instead of throwing them away.

Below, I will walk you through several ways on how to clean boots. I will also suggest the best method to wash different types of work boots. And if you accidentally spilled oil, ink, or water on your boots, do not worry. I will discuss the most effective ways to remove stains from boots.

So, without any further ado, let us get on with the article!

How to Clean Leather Boots?

Brown Leather boot

Leather boots are often a significant purchase. So if you want to get the most out of your money, it is best to maintain these types of boots regularly. Cleaning and conditioning a pair of worn leather boots every once in a while can help prolong their lifespan.

Start by removing the laces. You can wash them in your washing machine if they are dirty. But if they are worn out, you can measure their length and replace them with new laces.

The second step on how to clean boots with leather material is to brush away loose debris. Do this using a soft cloth or stiff brush. 

If you want to remove more stubborn dirt, you can create your very own cleaning solution. Mix warm water with dish soap or laundry detergent in a small bowl. Then, get a soft cloth and dip it in the water. Gently wipe this wet cloth on the surface of leather boots using the soapy mixture.

After cleaning the dirty leather boots, you need to dry them with a towel. Better yet, allow the boots to dry slowly and overnight. Avoid placing the newly cleaned shoes on direct heat and sunlight to prevent faded or cracked leather.

Once the leather boots are dry, you also have the option to condition them for long-lasting wear. You can use oil, sealant, wax, or leather conditioner to protect your leather boots against stains. Wait for a few minutes until the solution sets in. Then, you can buff them with a clean rug until you achieve your desired shine.

Lastly, remember to follow the directions on the packaging, so you can avoid damaging the shoes accidentally.

How to Clean Suede Boots?

Suede boots

Like leather boots, suede boots also tend to be expensive and high-maintenance. They also absorb water easily, making them prone to dirt and moisture. Hence, they require regular care if you want to ensure their proper shape.

The first thing you need to know when cleaning suede shoes is that they should be kept as dry as possible.

If you notice any stains on the boots, you should treat them quickly. Get a soft-bristled suede brush or pencil eraser. Then, brush the boots gently to restore the nap or fine fibers of the suede material.

For wet stains, blot them using a paper towel or clean cloth. After that, you should allow the suede boots to air dry completely. Just make sure to avoid direct heat and sunlight.

You can also try sprinkling baby powder or cornstarch if the suede shoes were exposed to oil. Wait for at least an hour and let the powder sit on the oil stain. Once dry, you should brush it away to lift the nap. Repeat this method until you are certain that the oil is absorbed. 

Finally, do not forget to wipe down the inside of the boots with a cloth. Dip it on a solution of disinfecting cleaner, such as Lysol, and water. Then, allow the suede shoes to air dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them. This way, you can prevent fungus and foul odor from forming inside the shoes.

How to Clean Cowboy Boots?

Cowboy boot

Cowboy boots usually feature cowhide leather. However, they can also use exotic skins from wildlife animals, such as alligators, buffalos, elephants, elks, lizards, ostriches, and so on. 

Now, you are probably thinking that cowboy boots are relatively tricky to clean and maintain due to these unique materials. But since they are made essentially of leather, you can apply the same rules when you clean leather boots to cowboy shoes.

First, wipe away dirt and debris stuck on the exterior of the cowboy leather boots. You can use a soft cloth or a stiff brush. Regardless of the tool you choose, remember to use a gentle hand as cowboy boots tend to have intricate details and other adornments.

If you want to remove more stubborn dirt, mix warm water with saddle soap. Grab a soft cloth and soak it on this cleaning solution. Then, wipe it over the surface of the cowboy boots.

Once the boots are clean, you can proceed to dry them overnight. Avoid placing them on areas that get direct heat and sunlight. Instead, store them in a cool, dry place to prevent faded or cracked leather.

Finally, apply leather conditioner, sealant, or wax. These products can help protect your leather cowboy boots against stains. Just make sure to wait for a few minutes before wearing the cowboy boots. Doing so will allow the solution to set in and work its way to the leather fibers. Remember to follow the instructions on the packaging. You might also want to check if the preferred leather cleaner formulas are effective on exotic leather.

How to Clean Rain Boots?

Rain boot

Rain boots are usually made of natural rubber or polyvinyl chloride. These materials are relatively easy to clean. All you will need is a cotton towel, a sponge, shoe cleaner or dishwashing liquid, and a scrubbing brush.

The first step on how to clean rain or rubber boots is to apply shoe cleaning solution or dish soap on the exterior. Rub the solution in circular motions until all visible dirt or stains disappear. 

If you still notice stubborn debris, do not be afraid to soak the dirty boots in the water. Rubber shoes can withstand long exposure to moisture. Hence, there is no need to worry about water residue or stains. Just make sure to air dry the newly-cleaned boots after washing them with water.

How to Remove Stains from Boots?

When wearing boots for extended periods, you probably could not help but expose them to various conditions. So, regardless of how careful you are, stains can eventually happen.

Fortunately, stains, no matter how stubborn, are not enough reason to throw away your favorite pair of boots. Follow the tips below on how to remove stains from boots. 

Grease or Oil Stains

Grease or oil produces very stubborn marks on leather and cowboy boots. It is essential to clean the boots right away if you noticed these types of stains.

The first step on how to remove oil stains from boots is to get cornstarch or baking soda. You can sprinkle these basic kitchen ingredients all over the greased surface of the boots. Make sure to rub them in gently.

After that, wait overnight or at least eight hours for the ingredients to sit. Doing so will allow the cornstarch or baking soda to absorb all the oil or grease stuck in the boots. 

Once the waiting period is done, you can now proceed to wipe off the boot exterior using a damp cloth. Make sure that there is no powder residue to avoid bacteria and odor from forming.

Finally, do not forget to dry the boots with a dryer.

Ink Stains

If you want to remove ink stains from your boots, you will need a nail polish remover or a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Pour a small amount of the liquid solution on the exterior of the boots. You can also opt to dip a cotton swab on the nail polish remover or alcohol.

After you apply the solution to the boots, it is essential that you do not rub them in small circles. That is because the ink might spread across the other areas of your boots. Instead, wait for a few seconds or minutes until the alcohol has been semi-absorbed.

Then, you can grab a piece of dry cloth or rag to rub off the ink stains. You can also create a soap solution to eliminate more stubborn stains.

Lastly, leave the boots overnight, so they can dry off completely.

Scuff Marks

Scuff marks are a result of the normal wear and tear of the boots. Some can be quite stubborn, but other marks are relatively easy to clean.

Most of the time, all you need is toothpaste and dry cloth. Squirt a small amount of the toothpaste on the area filled with scruffs. Get the cloth and rub it over the exterior of the boots. After that, you can wipe the toothpaste away using a clean towel.

If you encounter stubborn scuff marks, you can create an abrasive paste to remove them. Simply mix baking soda with warm water, then wipe this solution on the boot exterior.


Tar can be very harsh to the boots. Hence, it is essential to remove them gently or else, you might end up damaging the shoes.

First, try scraping the tar off the exterior and sole of the boots using a knife. Use a gentle hand to avoid taking out portions of the shoe sole.

The next step is to treat the hidden tars. You can do this by applying boot oil conditioners or olive oil with a brush. Doing so can help soften stubborn tars from the shoes.

If there is still a small portion of hidden tar, you can use WD-40 to eliminate these stubborn stains.

How to Clean the Insoles of the Boots?

Besides the exterior of the boots, it is also essential to clean the insoles of the boots.

Start by taking them out from the boots. Now, you can throw them into the laundry or wash them with your hand. Make sure to use a mild detergent to remove any stubborn stains. After, rinse the boots to remove any soapy residue.

The last step on how to clean the insoles of the boots is to dry them using a dryer. Doing so can help prevent bacteria and odors from forming inside the shoes.


Boots eventually get dirty, especially when you use them on a daily basis. But do not let any stains or marks prevent your boots from looking and feeling good.

It is essential to clean them regularly, so they can last longer. Do note, though, that each type of boot requires specific care instructions. That is why I made it a point to write this article on how to clean boots properly. Hopefully, this guide helped you in keeping your footwear clean.