How to Wash Work Boots in 2022: Clean Boots Everyday Keep the Expensive Replacement Away

Follow this guide to learn how to wash work boots if you want cleaner, comfortable, and lasting boots. In addition, we provide some maintenance tips.

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Have you purchased a really good pair of work boots and want them to look good for as long as possible? Or maybe, you’ve always wanted to learn how to wash footwear, especially your work boots, which seem to get dirty really quickly. Either way, we applaud you for wanting to be more independent and invite you to keep on reading to learn more about how to maintain and wash your work boots.

Why Is It Important to Keep Your Work Boots Clean?


Keeping your work boots clean is important beyond making them look clean and removing the unpleasant smell. If you don’t keep your work boots clean, nails and other objects lying around your workplace might get stuck in them and will therefore get damaged quicker. 

In addition, when you wash your work boots, they will feel lighter, which is always a good thing. If you allow dirt and debris to gather in your boots, they will feel bulkier and not as comfortable as they would if they were clean. Providing maintenance to your work boots when needed is an important task to learn; not only is it empowering, but it is also very easy if you follow our instructions.

How to Wash Your Work Boots


Learning how to wash your work boots is the first step to saving a lot of money. Better care means that you won’t need to get another pair soon due to being damaged from dirt and moisture. There are simple steps you can take to clean your boots effortlessly. Keep on reading to learn how to clean the outside and inside of your boots, how to polish them, and how to provide some extra maintenance.  If you own steel-toe work boots, follow this guide to learn how to keep steel-toe boots clean.

How to clean the outside of your work boots

Cleaning the outside of your work boots is crucial especially if you work in a hazardous environment. Little objects, like rocks and nails, can get stuck in the sole of your boots, and if not removed regularly, can cause a lot of damage to your work boots. So first, remove any kind of debris with either a brush or cloth. 

To clean the outside of your work boots you will need a bucket of warm water, shampoo, a nylon brush, a cloth, and tap water to rinse them off in the end. You begin by rinsing the outside of the boots with warm water, then, scrub them in a circular motion with your nylon brush and shampoo until foam is created. Repeat this process and continue using the warm water as it removes dirt and smell easier than cold water. When you think you’ve scrubbed enough (depending on how dirty they were), it’s time to rinse them off. You do so by lightly removing the shampoo with the cloth and tap water until you notice that it is fully off your boots. 

You’re all done! All you need to do now is leave them to air-dry upside down either in your yard or in a warm room of your home on some cloth that won’t let the moisture get on the floor. They should be fully dry in just a few days depending on how warm the place you’re leaving them to soak off is.

How to clean inside your work boots

Cleaning the inside of your work boots is necessary every once in a while since the smell can get really unbearable from all the dirt and sweat that is trapped inside. But, not to worry, it takes two easy steps to scrub them fresh and clean. 

Step 1: 

First, remove the insole. Then, you can either wash them in the washing machine with soap detergent or handwash them. To handwash your insoles you will need to gently scrub them with a low-pH shampoo. Do not scrub them too hard as they can get worn out if you put too much pressure on them. After you’ve successfully cleaned the insoles, let them air-dry and move on to the next step.

Step 2:

After cleaning the insoles, it’s time to clean the inside of your work boots, which is usually the part that needs the most attention. If the inside of the boots is not too dirty, you can just simply use a damp cloth and some low-pH shampoo to scrub it. However, if they have not been cleaned in a while or they just get dirty quickly due to your workplace’s demands, then you will need more than a damp cloth. 

Take a nylon brush and thoroughly scrub and wash the inside of your boots with warm water and shampoo. After you’ve successfully cleaned the inside of the boots, make sure to leave them to air-dry (always upside down) in your garden, where the sun usually hits, or in a warm room of your home. Do not put them in the dryer since that can damage the boots.

How to polish your work boots


Polishing your work boots is another cleaning method you can use to keep your work boots fresh and clean. You start by simply brushing off with a horsehair brush any dirt or debris that might be stuck or attached to your boots. Even if they look clean, you should still do this before starting to polish them since there might always be some dirt that isn’t noticeable. After you’ve brushed them off, it’s time to start the polishing process.

Take a lint-free cloth and a wax-based polish, dip the cloth into the polish but only take a light coat of the wax. Then, start working it in your boots in a circular motion, slowly and cautiously, making sure you’re not missing any spots. After this, remember to also polish the welts of the boots (the leather strip that connects your boots’ insole and outsole). You do this by taking a small brush and working the wax around the welt until you see it’s done. 

After you’re done with the wax polish, leave them to dry per the instructions of the polishing product you used. After they’re dry, take the horsehair brush and start buffing them gently; if they start to shine, you’ve done a good job. Then, take a cloth and start wiping them to remove any excess product that might be on the boots. If you still have some rougher parts that have not been polished, no worries, just start this process again after you see that they’re completely dry from the first time as to not mess up your previous work.

Can you wash your work boots in the washing machine?

It is generally recommended that you hand-wash your boots to ensure maximum protection. However, many people also wash their work boots in the washing machine and have the same pleasant results as the ones who hand-wash them. You just need to make sure that the material of your boots is machine washable; the one material that is absolutely not appropriate for the washing machine is suede. After you’ve machine washed your work boots, make sure to air-dry them only because as mentioned before, putting them in the dryer could damage your work boots heavily. 

Maintenance Tips

Besides washing them when needed, there are other smaller steps you can take to maintain your work boots so they can last as long as possible. Here are some maintenance tips we’ve compiled for you to practice every few days:

  • Polishing your shoes regularly takes very little time and it’s very important because they become more water, dirt, and dust resistant. 
  • Wash your work boot laces; they are usually the first part of your boots to get dirty and removing them and washing them can make your boots look fresher and you’ll be removing dirt that gets stuck in your boots.
  • Use a shoehorn when putting on your work boots in order to prevent stretching the heel shape of the boots and wearing them out.
  • Wear antibacterial socks, they prevent odors and are highly breathable, this way, you won’t have to wash the insoles of your work boots that often.
  • Wipe off the dust and any debris that might be stuck in your boots on a daily basis; if you do this often, you will not only prevent your work boots from damaging but you won’t need to wash them as often.


Cleaning and maintaining your work boots may feel like a tedious task, but try to see the end in the beginning: they will contribute to your comfort at work and will prolong their life. Grab your boots and cleaning tools and try out our cleaning instructions and maintenance tips. They will not disappoint! 


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