How to Clean Work Boots : Step By Step Guide

How to Clean Work Boots Step By Step Guide

Want to learn how to clean work boots? You’re in the right place as we have here a detailed guide that explains the different methods at your disposal. All of these methods are for work boots, so they may not be suitable for ordinary leather shoes.

When Do You Need to Clean Your Work Boots?

Boots need to be cleaned preferably after heavy use. Don’t let dirt build up because that will make cleaning harder.

Ways of Cleaning Work Boots

If you want to know to clean leather work boots like diabetic boots with household items, here’s a quick list.

  • Toothpaste: put a little toothpaste on a clean piece of cloth and wipe on the boots. When you’re done, wipe with a damp cloth until all toothpaste residues are gone.
  • Nail polish remover: apply a small amount of nail polish on a cotton ball. Wipe the boots gently. Apply petroleum jelly or baby powder on the boots after cleaning.
  • Petroleum jelly or Vaseline: if the boots aren’t that dirty, a little bit of Vaseline will do. Apply some on a piece of cloth, wipe, wash and let it dry.
  • Rubber eraser: for light scuff marks, wipe with a rubber eraser. You can use those on pencils.
  • Cloth and water: sometimes work boots just need a piece of cloth and dip it in water.


if you study how to clean suede work boots, make sure to use a rubber tipped or plastic brush to remove dirt. Take as much time as necessary to remove the dirt and then use a boot protector spray. Use only a spray designed for suede boots.

Step by Step Guide to Clean Work Boots

  1. ​If the boots are caked with dirt and mud, use a brush to get rid of the dirt and mud. Dip the brush in water if necessary.
  2. Buy polish or oil to clean your boots. Use a piece of cloth or foam applicator to remove dirt and provide extra protection.
  3. Apply leather polish, following the label instructions.
  4. Repeat the process above for the other boot.
  5. Most work boots have water repellent features, but they’re only temporary, hence the need for regular waterproofing. Some work boots have waterproof liners which shield your foot from moisture and provide ventilation for the boot. However, this doesn’t prevent water logging under certain weather conditions.
  6. For the best protection you should also apply spray protection in the boots. Take out the insole and spray the interior. Make sure to spray along the lace section and let it dry prior to wearing it.

​Special Note

Work boots whatever be the toes are made of unfinished leather, while most walking boots are made from finished leather. To find out, apply a bit of oil cleaner on the boot. If the oil absorbed quickly, it’s unfinished leather. On the other hand, If it takes a minute or more, it is finished leather.

Cleaning Inside of a Work Boots 


  • Mild shampoo
  • Damp washcloth
  • Dry cloth
  • Baking soda


This is very much important for people who have feet sweating problem. Cleaning leather work boots from the inside is easy if you follow these steps. 

  1. Shampoo the insides of the boots and scrub with the damp cloth.
  2. Wash the boots and use a dry cloth to wipe the insides.
  3. Let the boot dry naturally.
  4. Repeat these steps for the other boot.

Cleaning Outside of a Work Boots 

The best way to clean outside of work boots is similar to the process described in the step by step process earlier. There are different types of leather and as we have pointed out, you should use the appropriate cleaning solution. However, the basic four step process for leather work boots is the same.


  1. Clean: Use a piece of dry cloth and leather cleaner. Wipe as much of the dirt as you can.
  2. Conditioning: Allow the boots to dry before applying the conditioner. Rub the oil in all areas with a dry cloth. Let the boots dry and use another piece of cloth to remove the excess oil.
  3. Polish: Use the cloth you used to remove the excess oil to polish it. Use a circular stroke when buffing.
  4. Weatherproofing: Purchase weatherproofing product and apply on the boots.

​Frequently Asked Questions

Question: ​How many times do you need to follow the steps to get best results?

​Answer: ​It depends on how dirty the boots are. Most of the time you just need to do the steps once.

Question: ​Can I use the same cleaners for all my leather boots?

​Answer: ​No.  You have to use sprays and conditioners for that particular leather.

Question: ​Can I use nubuck conditioner for suede work boots?

​Answer: ​No, use one that’s specific for suede. Some spray protectors are compatible with suede and nubuck, but conditioners have to be specific.

Question: ​How do I remove stains?

​Answer: ​Remove the stain with a solvent based cleaner. You can also use fine grade sandpaper to get rid of the stain. Scrub the sandpaper gently in a circular motion.

Question: ​How do I maintain the waterproofing on my work boots?

​Answer: ​There are a lot of protective sprays can be used to waterproof your boots. The best ones are based on mink oil and beeswax. However you need to be careful because it might be too powerful and lead to discoloration.

Question: ​How often should I waterproof my work boots?

​Answer: ​Spray your boots with water once a month. If the water doesn’t bead, it’s time to waterproof the boots again.


Knowing to clean work boots inside and outside is necessary to prolong their lifespan. The various methods outlined here show how many options are available, and you just need to pick one. Give it a try and if it doesn’t work, use the other methods given here.

Related Post:

1. Work Boot Repair : How Can You Do it Easily at Home

2. Techniques to Break In New Work Boots