How to Clean Steel Toe Boots?: Materials, Methods, and More

Learn how to clean steel toe boots using household items, regardless of the materials. You’ll also get to know if you can put steel toe shoes in the dryer.

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Steel-toed boots are an essential item for people in the construction industry. They are long-lasting, protective, and quite comfortable to be in. The steel toe caps protect the toes against significant injuries caused by falling heavy items, sharp objects, and tripping.

Quality footwear is an important aspect of the protective clothing worn by workers in construction, mining, oil and gas, and other industrial areas. Professional industrial workers should focus on the care and maintenance of their shoes, just as athletes invest hundreds of hours researching and selecting the perfect pair of shoes.

However, steel toe boots require specific attention and maintenance to have a longer life. 

Depending on the material of the boots and how many stains and filth are on them, there are a variety of techniques to clean them. 

In this article, we will go over all of the different ways on how to clean steel toe boots in detail. To learn more, keep on reading!

How to Clean Steel Toe Boots?

In general, you can clean steel toe boots with a soapy water solution and a clean microfiber towel. Moreover, you can also use talcum powder to clean grease stains from the boots, lime juice or tartar cream to clean water-based stains, and sodium bicarbonate to clean suede boots.

Clean steel toe boots with soap and water 

Dish soap is an excellent cleaning chemical that we use in our homes to clean various appliances. Dish soap and water solutions can readily solve the problem of cleaning your steel toe boots without causing damage to the boot’s surface.

To start this cleaning process, you should remove your shoelaces first. Then, continue by wiping away all filth and grime from the boot’s surface, as this will prevent the soap solution from working correctly.

Afterward, take a washcloth and dip it into the soap and water solution and start cleaning your steel toe boots with it in circular motions. Wipe off the soap from the boot’s surface with a clean towel.

Finally, to dry the boot, use a dry cloth and wipe it firmly or let it air dry. And like that, following a few simple steps and using simple ingredients, you have as good as work boots.

Clean leather steel toe boots 

Your leather steel toe boots require routine maintenance as well as prepping before the actual cleaning process.

Start the cleaning process by wiping out any dirt that has accumulated with a nylon brush. Then wipe the leather clean with a damp cloth. Do not use a blow dryer to dry your boots, and allow them to air dry because heat will cause the leather to dry out and break.

However, if your boots are filthy all over, clean them thoroughly with saddle soap (or soap explicitly developed for leather work boots) and a wet towel.

Moreover, remove the insoles from your boots every two to three months and wash them in the washing machine or by hand with a gentle shampoo. Every few months, you should also clean the inside of your boots with a damp cloth and mild shampoo.

Clean suede steel toe boots

If you have suede steel toe boots, you first need to let the mud dry up completely. Afterward, use a suede brush or even a toothbrush to brush off stubborn stains. Then it would be best if you worked according to your needs.

When the boots contain oil, grease, or other stubborn stains, it is recommended that you use white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. In other cases, warm soapy water is helpful for food, drinks, and other typical stains.

If you have food stains on your shoes that have been there for a few days or road salt stains on the suede, you can clean them with vinegar. Soak a piece of white cloth in vinegar and rub softly but firmly on the stain until it disappears.

Clean stained steel toe boots 

Professional-grade leather stain removers are available to clean stained steel toe boots, or you can clean your work boots with everyday home items. You should be able to use anything you have on hand, depending on the severity of the stain.

For watermarks, re-moisten the area with a bit of water and let it dry naturally.

For unidentified dark areas, combine one part lemon juice and one part cream of tartar to make a paste. Then, apply the paste to the affected region and wipe it clean with a soft cloth. If the stain persists after using the tartar/lemon juice paste, try dabbing rubbing alcohol over the area with a cotton ball.

Road salt stains are typically difficult to remove, so try blotting them with a clean cloth soaked in a solution of white vinegar and water.

Clean steel toe boots in the washer

Cleaning your work boots in the washing machine is a risky move. A simple mistake might quickly escalate into a significant issue, such as the washing machine stopping the spins due to incorrect boot placement inside the machine. To avoid any damage, there are a few steps you should follow.

Start by removing your shoelaces. To keep them from getting twisted together, put them in a washing bag. Then, sprinkle enough baking soda on each pair of leather boots the night before you plan to wash them.

Using at least two towels, tangle the boots and place them in the washing machine. Towels are used to keep the boots from crashing around inside the washer. After adding liquid detergent, run the washing on a cold (never hot) cycle. The time it takes depends on your washer; it could take anything from 30 to 40 minutes. Finally, take your leather boots out of the washer and let them air dry in the sun.

Can you put steel toe shoes in the dryer?

After you have finished cleaning your boots, you will probably ask if you can put steel toe shoes in the dryer for a faster solution. The answer to your question is definitely no!

You are not supposed to put your steel toe boots in the dryer machine. The dryer’s excessively hot air will damage the leather’s natural fibers. As a result, your boots will become dehydrated, and the upper layer of leather will begin to shrink and crack, giving them a dirty, worn-out appearance.

However, there are several other methods you can use to dry your steel toe boots. You can either let them dry naturally, use a fan, pack newspaper inside your boots, dab and wrap dry with a towel, or even use a boot dryer. 

How To Clean Inside Of Boots?

Another frequently asked question is how to clean the inside of boots? Of course, you’ll want to pay special care to your insoles and footbeds as this will keep them from smelling unpleasant.

To clean the inside of your boots, first, you need to remove the insoles. Wash them with a moderate detergent in the washing machine or, better yet, by hand with a gentle, low-pH shampoo.

Use a moist towel and a low-pH shampoo to clean the interior of the boot. After any possible odor has gone away, blot up any shampoo residue with a cloth wet just with water. Wipe away as much moisture as possible with a dry cloth. Finally, air-dry your work boots upside down.

Additional Maintenance Tips

We decided to add additional tips we found helpful for you. To prolong the life of your steel toe boots, you should:

  • Use deodorant sprays or powder in your boots. A daily application can help reduce salt and acid accumulation from sweat, and dead skin, which lead to unpleasant smells.
  • Use moisturizing oils such as mink oil, or coconut oil in your boots to condition them and prevent them from cracking and creasing.
  • To remove odor from your boots, put a little baking soda inside them and let it work as a deodorizer.

Final thoughts 

Ultimately, the cleaning process is a vital step in maintaining your boots and making them last longer. Different boot materials require different approaches; therefore, you’ll know which road to take using our tips.


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