Can You Put Doc Martens In The Washing Machine?

No, you can’t put Doc Martens in the washing machine, whether they are shoes or boots. Doc Martens are made of leather, which does not handle water, heat, or the tumbling action from the spin cycle very well. The same goes for the fabric versions.

Putting Doc Martens in the washing machine can damage the glue holding the shoes together. The agitation and heat in the machine can weaken this glue, causing the shoe parts to separate.

But if you can’t wash Doc Martens in the machine, what is the right way to clean them? 

Read on to learn the proper handwashing techniques for Doc Martens, mistakes to avoid, and extra care tips to extend the life of your shoes. 

How to Properly Clean Doc Martens

Doc Martens

Now that you know how to put them in a washing machine to clean them, let’s look at the correct way to clean them, and then how to dry them and keep them in good condition.

Hand Washing

When cleaning Doc Martens, it’s best to wash them by hand. Start by removing the laces and placing them in a bowl with warm water and a small amount of washing up liquid.

Take the boots outside and knock them together to remove any loose dirt or debris. You can also use a stiff bristle brush to brush off dirt, especially from the soles.

Wet a cloth in clean water, wringing out any excess. Gently wipe the boots in a circular motion with the damp cloth to remove surface dirt.

In another bowl, mix warm water and washing up liquid to create bubbly water. Dip the cloth in this mixture, wring out excess water, and continue wiping the boots in circles. Use a toothbrush to scrub small gaps around stitches and grooves. Clean the soles last.

Pro tip: Avoid using harsh materials like bleach that could damage the shoe material. Also avoid hard brushes or anything that could scratch the surface.


Do not put Doc Martens in the dryer or use other heat sources to speed up drying. Heat can damage leather and fabric shoes by warping them or melting glue. Always allow shoes to air dry naturally after washing.

After washing, let the boots air dry completely for about an hour before applying polish or conditioner. 


Follow washing with leather conditioner to prevent the leather cracking. Washing strips natural oils so it’s important to moisturise leather boots and shoes after cleaning. 

Choose a conditioner suitable for the material of your Doc Martens. Always follow product instructions for best results.

Alternatively, use a leather cream instead of conditioner or polish to moisturise the boots. Finish with a protective spray.

How Do You Keep Your Doc Martens Smelling Fresh?

table salt

Place Doc Martens in an airtight bag and freeze for 3-4 hours to freshen between washes. Ensure boots are completely dry first and the bag is properly sealed. Use caution as extreme cold could potentially damage leather.

Sprinkling 2 teaspoons of salt in each boot and leaving for two hours before brushing out can also help remove odours. Be careful if your shoes are made of materials other than leather, as the salt might not be suitable for them. It’s a good idea to check a small spot inside the shoe first to make sure the salt won’t harm them.

How Often Should You Wash Doc Martens?

Wash Doc Martens regularly, especially if wearing them often. Once a month is a good guideline, but wash more frequently if they are exposed to dirt. 

Clean your Doc Martens regularly to keep them looking their best and they will last for years.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Converse Trainers In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put my leather Doc Martens in the washing machine? 

No, you can’t put your leather Doc Martens in the washing machine. The leather material does not handle water, heat, or the tumbling action from the spin cycle well, and it can damage the glue holding the shoes together.

Can you wash Doc Martens with water? 

Yes, you can wash Doc Martens with water but it should be done by hand. Use a damp cloth to gently wipe the boots in a circular motion to remove surface dirt. Avoid immersing them in water and never use a washing machine.

How do you wash Doc Martens? 

To wash Doc Martens, start by removing the laces and hand washing them separately. Then, knock the boots together outside to remove loose dirt. Use a stiff bristle brush for dirt on the soles. Clean the boots with a damp cloth dipped in a mixture of warm water and washing-up liquid. Use a toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas. Always let them air dry and apply a conditioner or polish afterwards.

What is the best way to care for Doc Martens? 

The best way to care for Doc Martens is to regularly clean them by hand using a damp cloth and a mild soap solution, let them air dry, and condition them to prevent the leather from cracking. Additionally, use a protective spray to guard against water and stains. Regular care extends the life and maintains the appearance of your Doc Martens.

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