How (and Why) to Clean Your Hiking Boots

Posted by Kirsten on 2022 May 2nd

How (and Why) to Clean Your Hiking Boots

Our wallet and the environment benefits greatly when we take care of our hiking boots. Regular cleaning extends their life so you can enjoy many years with your hiking footwear. Our hiking boots are built for use but can prematurely wear down when not taken care of.

Ideally we are allowing our boots to dry completely between uses or we are cleaning our boots after every muddy trek. We understand that life is busy and that’s not always easy to do! Do your best and clean when you can to keep your boots in action for as long as possible.

Let’s get into the cleaning.


  • A Soft Brush (such as an old vegetable brush and/or toothbrush)
  • Specialized Footwear Cleaner or DIY Cleaning Solution (Mild Dishwashing Soap and Water works great)
  • Running Water or Bucket


  1. Remove Shoelaces and Insoles to clean separately.
  2. Brush off loose dirt or debris.


  1. For any stubborn, stuck-on dirt, you can soak the outsoles and spray off with water. We don’t recommend soaking the entire boot or putting them in the washing machine as this can damage them.
  2. With a specialized footwear cleaner, like Granger’s Footwear and Gear cleaner, spray directly onto the shoe. Check out the How-To video below from Granger’s.
  3. With a mild soap and water solution, clean the boots with the soft brush.
  4. Wipe off with a wet, clean cloth and allow them to dry naturally. Drying by high heat can weaken adhesives. You can help accelerate the drying process by stuffing the boots with newspaper.


  1. Before the boots dry, you can reinforce their waterproofness with Footwear Repel.
  2. Make sure everything is completely dry before re-inserting the insoles and lacing up your boots.
  3. If your boots are smelly, you can also spray with an Odor Eliminator like this one from Granger’s.

To see the step by step process, take a look at the How-To video below from Salomon.