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How To Easily Clean Leather Boots In The Washing Machine or By Hand

Updated on October 5, 2015

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How To Clean Your Stinky Leather Boots At Home

You may be tired of having smelly boots and you don't know what to do or you may have gotten them from a second hand shop and want to disinfect them? What ever the reason dirty is what dirty does and if you can smell it, it is most definitely dirty.

You can only wipe them off so many times before it becomes necessary to just throw them away or to throw them in the wash. Washing them not only gives them a fresh start but cleans bacteria from perspiration.

Trying to hang on to your old leather boots may seem useless when they are so stained and dirty. Some things we hate to give up on but when we have hard working people that just can't let go we have to step in and help by learning how to clean those leather boots.

How To Clean Those Old Leather Boots

You may have found some work boots in a second hand store or may have a job that requires you to get dirty. The washing machine is the perfect way to have you feeling good about those old boots again.

Take those smelly leather boots and wash them in the washing machine. This may sound far-fetched but this can work. If your tired of looking and feeling grimy in your work boots give this a try. What do you have to lose? Those boots are ugly anyway (in a beautiful way)!

6 Steps To Cleaning Your Leather Boots In The Washing Machine

  1. Take the shoestrings out of your boots before washing.
  2. Use detergent and a wet toothbrush to remove stains.
  3. Place boots in the washing machine together in a front washer and on opposite sides on a top loading washer.
  4. Have your setting on cold or warm water (never use hot) . Use a short wash cycle no more than 10 minutes.
  5. Use only enough detergent for a small load or less. Too much detergent is not good.
  6. When cycle completes allow boots to air dry in the sun. (Never put leather in the dryer!)

Warning: Don't use a longer cycle for your boots, this will cause the leather to continue to absorb the water and become hard and useless. Taking a chance and putting another item in the washer with the boots is not advisable, the boots have been treated with stain and can ruin other items. You may want to sit on your washing machine to cut down on the turbulence it will go through in the wash or spin cycle.

How To Clean Leather Boots By Hand

Scrub boot (make bubbles) with suede cleaner.
Scrub boot (make bubbles) with suede cleaner.
Gently blot to absorb cleanser without removing color.
Gently blot to absorb cleanser without removing color.
Scrub soles with soap and water.
Scrub soles with soap and water.

Afraid to put your boots in the washing machine? No Problem. Clean them by hand along with the tips to keep your boots fresh. See right Instructions>>>>>>>

Now that you have clean machine washed boots...

How To Soften and Waterproof Your Leather Boots

I just wanted to add this in for your nicely cleaned boots. Your boots will take a couple of days to dry and this next process will take another 48 hours if you choose to do it.

  1. Warm your boots with a hair dryer or heat vent to assist in oil application.
  2. Apply mink oil with an old tee shirt or soft fabric such as flannel wrapped on your hand onto boots until all of the boot is covered and the oil becomes clear.
  3. Set out overnight to dry.
  4. Reapply mink oil and repeat the drying process.

You can condition your boots every couple of months to keep them nice and soft. Mink oil will not damage your laces.

5 Tips To Keeping Your Clean Boots Fresh

  • Alternate boots
  • Sprinkle baking soda
  • Spray feet with apple cider vinegar and dry after bath.
  • Soak feet with apple cider vinegar and Listerine for 15 minutes.
  • Spray vinegar and let it dry

I hope that you found this hub useful and find the tip eventful. Keeping your boots fresh and clean will save you money and keep you in your favorite boots longer. I suggest washing the more rugged boots made for work.

Here is a hub I found about How To Clean and Care For Washable Suede it has video showing you how to clean the shoes.

Remember the nice leather boots today may be the dirty favorites tomorrow. Now you know what to do to give it a second chance. If you have found this hub useful please pass it along.

If you have any other suggestions about how to clean your leather boots or other items please share below:)


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have been washing my stacy adams madison laceup boots in the front load washer for a long time and they come out clean from being in mud and water.

    • Elearn4Life profile imageAUTHOR

      Darlene Matthews 

      8 years ago

      I did wash my daughter timberland boots when she wouldn't wear them anymore. They came out great, I just wish I knew about the mink oil then.Thanks for your comment DexisView.Happy Holidays

    • DexisView profile image


      8 years ago from New England

      Hmmmm.....worth a try if you don't won't to toss out a nicely broken in leather pair. Thanks for sharing!


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