How to wash work boots

How to wash work boots?

If you’re driving through wetter regions of the country like me, the interior of the boot may become stinky or even wet. Likewise, your leather work boots will get filthy if you’re doing your job in the open air. Hiking, hunting, and other outdoor activities will all require good-quality leather boots, and eventually, those boots will become stained with dirt.

However, in reality, work boots should not be washed. It is a bad idea to “wash” the leather because it will dry it out and maybe harm it. On the other hand, you have to “clean” your work boots to prolong their life.

In the coming sections, I shall share some of the best ways, how to “wash” work boots!

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How to wash work boots

How to wash work boots?

Are you wondering what is the best way to clean your leather work boots? I’m going to show you three different methods for cleaning your work boots that I use. Whether you use one or the other is mostly determined by your level of boot care, the amount of work you’re prepared to put in, and other factors.

So, this is how I wash my work boots, and hopefully, it will be helpful to you.

Method 1: Use the washing machine to clean your work boots

Work boots can be damaged if you do this, according to some people. And it’s possible. However, all I know is that I’ve washed my work boots in the washing machine for years with no issues.

Step 1: Preparing the work boots for cleaning

You’ll need to use the correct brush to get rid of all the dirt. I bought a cleaning kit from Amazon and it is all I need to keep my work boots in top shape.

Soil, dirt, and muck can build up on the uppers and soles of your boots if you operate in a construction or industrial setting, so this is especially crucial.

In addition to improving the cleaning process, it is also beneficial to the washing machine. You don’t want the machine’s system to be ruined by all that filth.

Tip: How to clean boots inside?

Remove the insoles for a more thorough cleaning, and don’t forget to do so.

Step 2: Get the washing machine ready.

To avoid any damage to my washing machine, I’ve discovered that, along with the boots, I should throw in a few extra old towels or bed sheets (or anything similar). As a result, not only will the machine’s noise level be reduced, but the drum and its paddles will be safeguarded as well.

My work boots get a quick wash in the dishwasher with a 15 or 30-minute cycle in cold water.


When it comes to washing your work boots in the laundry, avoid using hot water. Boots with cemented soles and other parts that rely on adhesives to keep them together will be severely damaged by this. Long-term exposure to hot water might deactivate the adhesives in your boot, causing it to come apart.

Step 3: Drying the work boots

Using a dryer to dry your work boots isn’t a good idea in my opinion. The adhesives holding your footwear together can be weakened by heat.

Step 4: Moisturize your work boot (Optional)

Apply some mink oil or boot oil or whatever leather treatment that you prefer to re-moisturize and waterproof the leather once they’ve dried naturally.

Method 2: Soak your work boots in rubbing alcohol-laced distilled water.

Work boots being soaked will probably be nothing new to you. A few times I’ve done this. Once to shrink my work boots and once to stretch my leather work boots, I used this method.

By the way, it worked both times.

This is the best option if you don’t want to harm the washing machine or if you just want more control over the washing process.

Step 1: Prepare the alcohol solution

Add some rubbing alcohol to a tub of warm water (not hot) and let it sit for a few minutes. Alcohol is a disinfectant and a cleanser.

Step 2: Washing the work boots

Now, completely submerge your work boots into the water and keep them there for at least an hour or more.

Pro tip:

Using a brush and some detergent on the inside of your boot will help it smell better.

Step 3: Dry and moisturize your work boots

Once the boots have been rinsed, they can be left out to dry on their own. Apply leather conditioner and seal the boots with mink paste or silicon or anything similar after you’re done.

Leather work boots, especially those made of genuine leather, should not be soaked in water or alcohol, as this will soften and mold the leather.

To ensure that your boots dry properly and maintain their shape, stuff them with paper or towels or even a boot stretcher.

Method 3: Cleaning it with a dryer (wash it without soaking the boots)

It’s safer to wash your work boots in this manner if you’re worried about the leather being damaged throughout the cleaning process.

Step 1: Remove any debris using a brush.

We don’t want to start scrubbing all that dirt over the boots again, so this will help us with the next stage.

So use a hard brush for the soles and a soft brush for the upper of the boot.

Step 2. Spray the boots with water mixed with either alcohol or a dishwashing liquid.

Spray the boot with a solution of water and either alcohol or detergent. Make certain that the footwear is damp.

The inside of the boot should be disinfected with the water/alcohol mix, and the rest of the boot should be cleaned with the water/detergent mix.

You can clean the entire boot with one or the other mix. It’s your decision. Both aren’t necessary.

Step 3: Clean the filth using a microfibre cloth.

This phase may necessitate the use of more than one piece of clothing or the rinsing of the cloth between swipes. This will prevent the dirt from being distributed around the boot instead of being cleaned.

Step 4: Moisturize the work boots.

After washing the boots, I let them air dry before applying mink oil or leather conditioner to restore the leather’s suppleness and waterproofness, as I did in the prior techniques.

Pro Tip:

Never wash leather products in the same way you would wash your other clothing. Use “saddle soap” instead of regular dishwashing liquid. Essentially, it’s a soap made of natural waxes, oils, and cleaning ingredients, which remove filth and grime. Moreover, it also moisturizes and provides nourishment to leather to maintain suppleness. Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, this is the best leather cleaning for leather work boots.

How to Clean Steel-Toed Boots in the Washer?

If your shoes include zippers or metal buckles, take care when washing them in the dishwasher:

  1. Use cold water to fill the washing machine tub about three-quarters of the way.
  2. To the water, add 2 tbsp. of liquid laundry soap.
  3. Insoles should be removed from the boots, and both ends of the insoles should be tightly fastened.
  4. Start the timer on your phone or watch and close the lid. Washing a pair of work boots of this size should take no more than 30 minutes.
  5. Pick the boots after they’ve been in the laundry for roughly half a cycle.
  6. Remove any soap residue from the tub by rinsing the washer once you’ve finished using it.
  7. Remove any remaining unclean water from the boots.
  8. Dry your boots on a rack, taking care to re(l)ace them on your feet regularly to maintain their shape.

Hack: How to clean the inside of leather boots?
Using a spray or powder to clean the inside of a boot is the finest hack. Dust or spray the inside of your boots with an antibacterial boot powder or spray. It is best to do this daily to prevent bacterial growth.

How to Clean Nubuck Steel Toe Boots?

  1. A bucket of water and dish soap should be prepared. Stir the bucket carefully with a spoon or stir bar after adding the boots. Keep your boots free of metal things.
  2. Soak the boots in water using a sponge. Keep swirling the water while you wash the boots.
  3. The bucket should be left open overnight for the water to drain out of it.
  4. Afterward, use a blower to help dry the boots. To speed up the drying process, use a towel and pull it gently.
  5. When the boots are completely dry, hang them up on a clothesline. Make sure there is no moisture or dampness left on the boots after using them. A fan over the table will help dry the rest of the boots.
  6. Use an old toothbrush to fluff up your work boots, then dish soap and lint-free cloths to thoroughly dry them. Every two weeks, it’s a good idea to clean your work boots. Regular cleaning of your work boot will keep it supple for a longer period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I clean my steel-toe boots regularly?

Work boots with steel toes protect the toes from being damaged by flying or kicking things. Steel-toed boots can be cleaned with foot deodorant sprayed on and let to air dry, a moist cloth wiped over them, or mild soap. Keeping your steel toes clean and dry will keep any odor-inducing germs out of your footwear!

How to clean smelly work boots?

Fortunately, the solution is simple! Soap and water in the sink can assist you to save your family from almost certain disasters if you have dirty work boots. To avoid unpleasant odors, I recommend washing the bottoms of your shoes with soap. Alternatively, you can use a hot water solution, soaking each pair of boots for 15 minutes in boiling water and then rinsing them thoroughly. Remove laces and unlace dirty boots while you’re at it, or unlace them completely for easier cleaning access.

How to clean water-based stains from steel toe work boots?

Lemon juice can be used to remove water-based grime and stains. Mixing some tarter with water can also produce a powerful solvent. Apply the mixture with a piece of clean cloth after mixing them thoroughly. If your boots are dirty, the mixture will not adhere.

Final Words

Finally, I have shown you how you can clean your different work boots with/without using a washing machine. The above methods are helpful if you are wondering how to clean oily boots! Washing your work boots is an important consideration because they not only keep you warm and dry but also help to keep you safe from harm.

Even though the task doesn’t sound all that exciting, it’s crucial. You should wash your boots before they begin to smell bad.