Cleaning and Maintaining Your Work Boots

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Your Safety Boots or Workboots are there to protect your feet from hazards in the workplace, the elements, and likewise to keep your feet comfortable during a long workday. Therefore they need to be treated with respect and the utmost care, as they are an essential element in your daily life.

how to clean work boots

Cleaning and maintaining your workboots is an imperative procedure that should be practiced frequently to keep your workboots in the best shape for the long run.
Here we have all the necessary steps in cleaning and maintaining your workboots meticulously;

Cleaning the Outside of Your Workboots

Different types of workboots, whether leather, suede, nubuck or synthetic need different types of care methods. Caring for your workboots on a regular basis is essential in prolonging their life, as well as to protect the leather, or synthetic materials.

Leather Workboots

  • Brush with a soft polishing brush to remove all solid dirt and debris.
  • Use saddle soap or leather soap and a damp sponge to remove stains by rubbing the stain in a circular motion.
  • Wipe the soap off with a wet cloth.
  • Let the workboot air dry further.

Suede or Nubuck Workboots

  • Scrub the boot with a dry suede brush to remove dirt and debris.
  • You can pour some baking soda on wet or oily stains and leave it on overnight to absorb the moisture.
  • Brush the baking soda off the next morning using the suede brush.
  • Clean with a cloth and suede or nubuck leather cleaner, do not use saddle soap on nubuck.
  • Use a solvent-based cleaner and dry cloth, or a medium abrasive piece of sandpaper if you need to remove stains from nubuck.
  • You can spray the boots with a weather resistant spray for suede or nubuck.

Synthetic Materail

  • Brush off any excess dirt and rubble.
  • Use saddle soap or detergent for the specific synthetic material and a wet sponge to clean the boot.
  • Wipe the soap off with a wet cloth.
  • Allow the boot to air dry.

Treating Different Stains

Scuffed Boots
You can use a cloth dipped in water and baking soda to remove scuff marks by gently rubbing them. Wipe off the baking soda with a wet cloth and dry the boot with a dry cloth.

Grease Stains
Blot the oil stains and grease with a microfiber cloth to remove the excess oils, cover the stain with talcum powder or any other absorbent powder type. You can leave your workboots to stand overnight, and remove the powder with a brush the next morning.

Other Stain Types
For general and more waterbased stains or dirt, lemon juice and cream of tartar mixed with water should make a strong enough solvent. Mix the two in equal parts and apply it to the stain with a cloth, remove the excess with a damp, clean cloth.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Workboots

Just as the outside of your work boots can become soiled and grimy, so the inside of your work boots can likewise absorb sweat and dust, in addition, become a breeding ground for bacteria. Getting rid of dirt and odors from the inside of your workboot is a quick and easy process.

  • Remove the insoles from your shoes and wash them in the washing machine or by hand with laundry detergent and let them dry.
  • Use a few drops of baby shampoo or any mild shampoo with water and clean the inside of your shoes with a rag. Rinse the inside of the boot by filling it with water, and immediately dry with a cloth, and leave them to air dry further.
  • To remove odor you can fill two socks with baking soda, tie the ends and place them in your boots overnight. The baking soda will remove the odor and freshen the inside of your workboots.
  • Placing your workboots inside a zipper bag, inside your freezer overnight is a sure way to kill nasty germs and bacteria.

Cleaning the Soles of Workboots

The soles of your work boots can become clogged with solid dirt such as mud and stones, as well as oil, paint, and other wet substances. This, in turn, can decrease the effectiveness and traction on your shoes, which can cause injury risks in the workplace. Therefore, cleaning the soles of your shoes is just as, if not more, important as cleaning the inside and outside.

  • Use a hard brush to remove solid dirt from the soles and use a pair of tongs, or tweezers to pull out any piece of stone or debris stuck in the grooves.
  • Use a medium brush and detergent to thoroughly wash the entire sole of the shoe, taking care not to damage the leather.
  • Rinse the sole under a tap or with a jug of water.
  • Dry the sole with a dry cloth or towel and leave to air dry further.

Polishing and Conditioning Your Workboots

Cleaning and conditioning your workboots directly improves their durability and functionality, equally prolonging their life.


After you have cleaned and dried your workboots on the outside you should always use a conditioning oil such as mink oil to rehydrate your work boot. Apply the oil with a clean cloth and remove the excess with a soft rag.


You can obtain a polish suitable for your specific workboot leather type from most convenience stores. Apply the polish with a cloth or rag, and gently buff with a soft polishing brush.


There are products available that you can apply to, or spray on the outside of your workboots that protect them against water and other elements.

In Conclusion

Your work boots protect your feet and keep them comfortable throughout your workday, if they are in bad condition you will not be able to perform properly at work.

Keep this in mind when they start to get dirty and to develop an odor!

A clean and well-maintained workboot will perform at its peak and last you a very long time, similarly keeping your feet fresh, comfortable and odor free.

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