How to Clean Your Work Boots

Are You Cleaning Your Work Boots Correctly?
Are Your Work Boots Dirty & in Need of a Thorough Clean? Discover the Best Cleaning Hacks So That Your Work Boots Can Stay Fresh & Clean for Longer. Read On…
How to Clean Your Work Boots

There are several methods to clean your work boots from dirt and odor, including using soap and water and other substances like vinegar and baking soda.

Dirty work boots are filled with harmful bacteria that could leave you vulnerable to frightening stomach bugs like diarrhea.

Rather than have your name dragged through the dirt because of your dirty work boots, learn these tips on keeping your work boots clean for your health and well-being.

Through this article, you’ll discover:

    Our editorial body at MyBestWorkBoots works tirelessly to bring you the cutting edge in work boot news.

    That’s why we’ve assembled this expert manual of how to keep your work boots clean.

    Let’s get rolling.

    How Often Should You Clean Your Work Boots?

    You should clean your work boots as often as is required, depending on how often they are used and how much dirt they contact in your work environment. 

    When you see your boots becoming dirty after months of regular use or a day working outside, it’s time to clean them thoroughly. 

    Essential Preparation

    Essential preparation before cleaning your work boots involves removing the detachable parts of your work boots and removing any loose dirt or debris.

    To begin

    Remove the laces, soles, and inserts, each of which you should wash separately.

    This ensures no hindrances to cleaning your work boots and that these separate parts will be cleaned thoroughly. 


    Use a horsehair brush, a soft-bristled toothbrush, or a soft, lint-free cotton towel to clean your work boots. 

    Brush/wipe off the loose dirt from your boots using firm strokes. 

    Remember to penetrate deep into the pores and other areas of the boots where dirt may have gathered.

    Cleaning Various Parts of Your Work Boots

    Cleaning the various parts of your work boots is necessary after removing them from your work boot.

    To clean your work boots using soap-water solution, take the following steps:

    1. Combine a few tablespoons of soap in a bowl of water and mix this into a lather. 
    2. Now, immerse a soft-bristled toothbrush or a lint-free cotton cloth into the soap water solution. Slowly work your way around your work boot fibers in circular motions. 
    3. Don’t forget to look after the sides and edges and the heels and outsoles. 
    4. Using the toothbrush, get deep into the pores.
    5. Remove the soap solution by rinsing your boots.
    6. Wipe the soap off the boots with a clean damp cloth once again.

    Following these steps, make sure to allow your boots to dry thoroughly.

    You can dry your work boots in the sun with a fan or dryer. 

    Cleaning the Outside of Your Work Boots

    There are several approaches to cleaning the outside of your work boots, including cleaning detergents, liquid spray, and saddle soap1.

    A moderately moist brush or cloth will effectively remove dust and filth for mild cleaning.

    It’s also good to put an old toothbrush on the welt2 to make it easier to reach.

    However, you’ll need a little more cleaning force for extremely unclean boots.

    This is where a leather cleaner comes in handy.

    Leather Cleaning Agent

    Before applying a leather cleaning agent, try to remove as much caked-on filth and grime as possible.

    This will make the procedure go more smoothly.

    Petroleum-based leather cleaning chemicals should be avoided because they can harm the leather.

    Instead, use a plant oil-based leather cleaner or, even better, saddle soap.

    Liquid Spray

    Liquid spray leather cleaners3 are applied in the same manner as any other cleaning solutions, but if you have any doubts about the steps to take, read the liquid spray container’s instructions. 

    Spray the liquid onto your work boots, then wipe or brush any dirt or grime away until the leather is completely clean. 

    Spray it on and let it soak for a minute or two if you have caked-on filth.

    Saddle Soap

    Saddle soap is a mild natural soap combined with leather nourishing substances such as beeswax or lanolin.

    It comes in the form of a soft, waxy puck, commonly in the form of a shoe polish container. 

    To clean your work boots using saddle soap, use the following procedure:

    1. Wet a brush or cloth and work up a frothy lather on the surface of the saddle soap in a circular motion.
    2. Then, apply it in a circular motion using a brush or cloth. Work the lather into the boot’s surface, adding more as needed. Wipe the lather away with a clean cloth. 
    3. As with a leather cleaner, it may take several applications to clean your boots completely.
    4. Wipe away any residual lather or cleaner after they’re clean. 
    5. Allow your work boots to air dry because heating them might cause the leather to dehydrate and crack.

    Saddle soap has the added benefit of nourishing and moisturizing the leather and washing it, making it an excellent product for boot care. 

    Cleaning Your Work Boot Insides

    Cleaning your work boot insides is the most vital aspect of cleaning your work boots as this is where dirt and bacteria can build up, which may lead to unwanted foot conditions.

    This is also where moisture builds up, leading to a bad odor.

    Be mindful of how much water you use because excessive water might deteriorate the material inside your boots!

    You’ve already removed and cleaned your laces and the other detachable parts of your work boots, so now we’re ready to roll!

    To clean the inside of your work boots, follow these steps:

    1. Make a bucket of warm water and add a mild detergent to it.
    2. Create a soap water solution using a gentle cleaning detergent.
    3. Soak a lint-free cloth in the soap-water solution.
    4. Rub the interior of the boots with the cloth to remove dirt. Remember to clean the back of the tongue.
    5. Wipe off the inside of your boots with a clean towel to remove any soapy residue.
    6. Then dry your work boots thoroughly. Turn the tongue of your boots towards the back to keep them beneath the fan. This will allow the interior of the boots to dry quickly and efficiently. 

    How to Clean Leather Work Boots

    You clean leather work boots using household items like baking soda, toothpaste, and dishwashing soap.

    It’s quite a simple and effective procedure.

    Let’s get into each of these cleaning methods right away.

    Baking Soda

    Baking soda is a common and multifunctional home ingredient with various properties. 

    To use baking soda to clean your work boots, take the following steps: 

    1. Pour a generous amount of baking soda into each boot.
    2. Gently brush a piece of cloth all over the surface of both boots and inside the boots.
    3. Leave the soda on and in your boots overnight for the desired outcomes the next morning. 


    Using toothpaste to clean your leather work boots is the easiest way to remove scuff marks off the surface of your boots, which seems odd, but it’s true. 

    Toothpaste is a common household item that is easily accessible.

    To use toothpaste to clean your work boots, follow this procedure:

    1. Spread the toothpaste paste all over the boot surface. You can use gloves to disperse the toothpaste evenly.
    2. Then rub the surface with any cloth or towel to erase the scuff marks and wait a few hours to see results.

    Dishwashing Soap

    Dishwashing soap is another inexpensive home item that works well to clean your leather work boots. 

    Unlike other materials, leather is water sustainable, and using dish soap and water solutions can quickly solve your problem without damaging the surface of your boot.

    To clean your work boots with dish soap, use the following procedure:

    1. Wipe away any filth and grime from the boot surface to prevent the soap solution from working well and remove the dust.
    2. Wipe each pair of boots with a cloth dipped in dish soap mix.
    3. Remove the dish soap from the boot surface with a clean towel.
    4. To dry the boot, take a dry cloth and, wipe it firmly, leave it near a fan or in sunlight to dry completely.

    That was lightning fast. You’re finished

    How to Clean Smelly Work Boots

    You can clean smelly work boots with baking soda and lemon peels. 

    If you are bothered by the odor of your work boots, these methods will make them smell fresh and clean.

    The odor inside the work boots is caused by sweat, bacteria, and improper boot maintenance.

    This is an unpleasant condition, and tolerating the nasty smell of shoes can be embarrassing.

    Let’s get into the methods of removing the odor from your boots.

    Baking Soda

    Using baking soda to get rid of the odor in your work boots is the easiest way to get rid of the stench of frustration.

    Baking soda has a strong ability to absorb odors.

    Baking soda absorbs both outer and inner odors. This is the most effective and economical way to remove work boot odor.

    To use baking soda to remove work boot odor, follow these steps:

    1. First, you’ll need about 1.2 tablespoons of baking soda, depending on the size of your boots.
    2. If the boot is large enough, you may want more baking soda.
    3. Place the baking soda on the heel of the shoes.
    4. Shake the baking soda to cover the entire insole of the shoe. Shake well to distribute the baking soda evenly.
    5. Let the baking soda rest in your boots overnight.
    6. When you wake up in the morning, remove the baking soda from your boot. Use a brush to get into the far reaches of your boots. The bad odor will have completely cleared.

    Lemon Peels

    Lemon peels are another viable option for getting rid of foul boot odors and cleaning your work boots. 

    Lemon is an anti-bacterial citrus fruit. It has a knack for making your boots seem new and completely eradicating odor.

    To use lemon peels to remove your work boot odor, follow this procedure:

    1. Simply cut small slices of lemon and insert them into the boots, evenly distributing them across the insole. 
    2. Let the lemon rest in your work boots overnight.
    3. Remove the peels in the morning; you will note the excellent result.

    How to Get Difficult Stains off Work Boots

    Using rubbing alcohol, cornstarch, baking soda, and lemon juice, you can get difficult stains off your work boots.

    These methods are great for removing ink, oils, and other stains from your work boots.

    Let’s explore these stain removing methods below.

    Remove Ink Stains off Your Work Boots

    To remove ink stains off your work boots, follow this procedure: 

    1. You’ll need a nail polish remover or a bottle of rubbing alcohol for this.
    2. Apply one of the two to the ink spot on your work boot. 
    3. Don’t rub the solution right into your work boots because the ink may spread to other areas.
    4. Rub the discoloration with a dry towel once the alcohol has been partially absorbed.
    5. Using a rag, gently rub the area with a soap solution.
    6. Then allow your boots to dry.

    Remove Grease or Oil Stains off Your Work Boots

    Grease or oil leaves extremely tenacious stains on leather. But don’t worry, we have some simple solutions for you.

    To remove grease or oil stains off your work boots, follow this procedure:

    1. Sprinkle some cornstarch or baking soda over the oiled surface.
    2. Gently rub the leather with a moist cotton cloth.
    3. Allow your boots to remain this way overnight.
    4. All of the oil or fat will be absorbed by the starch.
    5. Wipe down the surface with a moist towel.
    6. Allow your boots to dry.

    Remove Other Stains off Your Work Boots

    Removing the stains off your work boots is necessary; your dinner could fall on your boots, or your child could spill paint on them.

    There is, however, a solution for these and any other unexpected stains on your work boots.

    To remove unexpected stains from your work boots, simply follow these steps:

    1. Combine lemon juice and tartar cream in equal portions.
    2. Apply it to the stain and leave it on your work boots for an hour.
    3. Remove the paste with a moist towel.
    4. Allow your boots to dry.

    And there you have it!

    How to Clean Tar off Your Work Boots

    You clean tar off your work boots using a stainless steel knife, conditioner, or solvents. 

    Let’s delve into these in more detail.

    A Stainless Steel Knife

    To remove hard tar from your work boots using a stainless steel knife, follow these steps:

    1. With your boots in hand, scrape off the hard tar from your boot bottoms. 
    2. Don’t be too harsh during this process, be mindful not to cause any damage to your boot material. 
    3. Scrape the tar off gently with the knife; otherwise, you may remove sections of your shoes’ bottoms.
    4. If there’s still tar in between the gaps of the outer soles, leave it alone. Don’t try to scrape these bits out with a knife. 
    5. In the following section, we shall address removing these concealed bits of tar.


    Using conditioner is an alternative method of removing tar from your work boots, especially when tar is trapped in the deep crevices of your boots’ sole.

    When using conditioner to remove tar from your work boots, use the following procedure:

    1. Get a boot conditioner, like olive oil, eucalyptus oil, vegetable oil, and butter. All of these are fantastic options for this process.
    2. Apply a thick layer of either one of the above conditioners to the remaining tar on your boot and allow the conditioner to soak into the tar overnight.
    3. The next morning, gently clean the softened tar from your boots with a toothbrush.


    Using solvents4 to remove tar from your work boots is another effective method.

    To use solvents to remove tar from your work boots, follow this procedure: 

    1. Get a solvent of your choice, like petrol (fuel), lamp oil, turpentine oil, WD-40, or rubbing alcohol.
    2. Soak a piece of cloth in any of the liquids listed above. 
    3. Blotch or massage it over the stain in circular motions until it disappears.

    How to Clean Rubber Work Boots

    You clean rubber work boots with a moist cloth, and the sole can be cleaned with a brush and water. 

    When cleaning your rubber work boots, follow these steps:

    1. Simply remove the insoles of rubber boots, clean them with a soap-water solution, then allow them to dry before replacing them in your boots.
    2. Remove the dirt and debris from your work boots with a moist cloth.
    3. Clean the sole of your work boot with water and a brush. 
    4. Make sure to pay attention to the area around the boot stitching. As with our leather boots, clean them with a little soft-bristled brush.

    4 Hacks to Clean Your Suede Work Boots at Home

    The 4 hacks to clean your suede work boots at home are proven methods, such as soft bristle brushes, white vinegar, suede eraser, and mild shampoo, to ensure that you retain their appearance over time. 

    Let’s explore these hacks below.

    Soft Bristle Brushes

    You can clean your boots with soft bristle brushes, like a toothbrush or a decent suede brush. 

    Whatever you do, don’t use a rough brush as this could damage the fragile suede fibers of your work boots.

    When rubbing your boots with the brush, always remember to go in the direction of the suede fibers; otherwise, they will fall off or appear deformed. 

    Another thing to keep in mind is that your boots must be entirely dry before brushing.

    White Vinegar

    Brushing alone will not suffice to clean your suede work boots, you’ll need some chemicals to clean the stains off your boots. The simplest available solution to use is white vinegar.

    Apply a generous amount of white vinegar on a clean cloth, preferably a towel-like material. 

    Then gently rub the spotted suede in the direction of the suede fibers.

    The stains should vanish.

    After that, dry your boots and brush them with a suede brush or a toothbrush.

    Suede Eraser

    You can also use a suede eraser to clean your suede work boots. 

    A suede eraser can remove minor grease stains and stubborn spots of dirt. 

    These are little pieces of crepe rubber that you rub against the suede and then finish your cleaning process using a brush. 

    Remember to brush your suede work boots in the direction of the boot fibers. 

    Mild Shampoo

    A mild shampoo is a fantastic way to remove the dirt from your suede work boots. 

    When using mild shampoo to remove dirt from suede work boots, simply follow this procedure:

    1. Using water alone will not suffice to get your boots clean. Instead, froth up water and mild shampoo solution. 
    2. Take a clean cloth and dip it into the mixture.
    3. Apply this solution to your work boots with the towel in the direction of the fibers and allow it to sit on the boots for ten minutes. 
    4. Once your boots are clean, wipe them down with water and allow your boots to dry completely.

    How to Clean Various Substances off Your Work Boots

    Now it’s time to get into how to clean various substances off your work boots, like: 

    • Sand
    • Debris
    • Mud
    • Rain
    • Snow
    • Salt/Grit
    • Diesel
    • Scratches & Scuffs 

    Let’s dive deeper into removing each of these mucky substances that you want off your boots as soon as possible.


    The simplest method for removing sand from your work boots is to remove the insoles and then beat the shoes together.

    Rinse them completely with water, then allow them to dry naturally.

    Make sure to remove any sand lodged on the inside of your work boots by turning them upside down and shaking them out.

    Use a brush to brush the inside of your work boots while they are upside down to ensure that every last grain of sand is removed.


    To remove debris from your work boots, you’ll need a brush, a washcloth, mild dish soap, and water. 

    Follow these steps to remove debris from your work boots:

    1. Brush any excess dirt from your boot first.
    2. Then apply the dish soap to your boots with a washcloth. 
    3. After that, remove any debris from your work boots
    4. Rinse your work boots thoroughly. 
    5. Allow your boots to dry completely.


    To remove mud from your work boots, either fully rinse it with water or scrape it away using a brush or towel dipped in mild soap. 

    Ensure your boots are properly cleaned and dry before wearing them again.


    Wet boots are no good for anyone.

    When it rains, you should let your boots dry as quickly as possible for your health and the longevity of your boots. 

    Place your boots in a warm location and allow them to do their thing; sunshine is a great option for drying your boots naturally, but this method is dependent on the weather, so it’s not completely reliable all the time.

    Alternatively, use a fan to dry your boots.

    But don’t rush the process because it could destroy the boots by placing them in direct heat.

    Don’t make this mistake!


    To remove snow from your work boots, simply allow the snow to melt off your boots and then repeat the cleaning process for removing rain from your work boots.


    To clean salt and grit off your work boots, using a brush or washcloth and light soap is your best choice. 

    Apply the soap to the brush or cloth, then scrape the residue of the salt/grit away carefully. 

    Make sure to rinse your work boots completely and let them dry thoroughly.


    To get rid of diesel from your work boots, apply a little baking soda or cornstarch to the problem areas. 

    Rub it in with a moist towel and let it absorb the residue of the diesel. 

    Wipe your boots clean, rinse them thoroughly, and allow your boots to dry.

    Scratches & Scuffs 

    To remove these scratches and scuffs from your work boots, you can use a specific oil or an eraser. 

    Keep in mind that some materials, such as leather, require specialized oil, so confirm your boot material and get a suitable oil.

    Apply the appropriate oil to your work boot material using a cloth using your hands, rubbing the oil into the boot in gentle circular motions.


    Take your eraser and rub the boots’ surface to remove the scratches or scuffs, remembering to use a brush to brush your boots in the direction of your boot fibers.

    Both of these will function well as long as you double-check their instructions.

    How to Clean Sticky Dirt off Your Work Boot Soles 

    You clean sticky dirt off your work boot soles using painter’s duck tape and WD40 spray.

    When using painters duck tape to remove sticky dirt off your wok boots, simply follow this procedure:

    1. Tape the edges of your boots with painter’s duck tape. This will preserve your shoes’ leather from the harsher chemicals used later in the procedure.
    2. Spray the tarred areas of your work boots with WD40.
    3. Apply three applications of WD40 to the sticky stains. 
    4. The chemical pours off, effortlessly removing sticky substances from the bottoms of your boots.

    How to Maintain Your Work Boots After Cleaning

    You maintain your work boots after cleaning by making sure that they dry thoroughly after cleaning and that you condition them to keep them in good shape.

    After you’ve cleaned your boots, ensure that you store them in a place where they won’t be affected by the elements, especially moisture.

    The optimal location is a warm, dry area. 

    Also, apply your desired conditioner to your work boot material; this not only lengthens your work boot lifespan but also often serves to waterproof it, which helps to defend you against the water damage to your boots and foot conditions associated with having wet work boots or wet feet for prolonged periods.

    All of these items will make cleaning easier and more likely to last.

    Common Questions

    How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Boots?

    How Do You Wash & Dry Work Boots?

    How Do You Clean Suede Work Boots?

    In Conclusion

    Remember to only use the precise cleaning method for the specific stain on your boots, matching your cleaning method to your work boot material.

    A leather boot and a suede boot cannot be handled with the same substance or procedure, or you may destroy your entire boot.

    Pro tips

    Always remember to dry your boots after cleaning them properly.

    Always condition your boots after washing them to restore their moisture.

    That’s all for now!

    Keep walking.

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