Can You Put Walking Boots In The Washing Machine?

Putting your walking boots in the washing machine could potentially spoil them. The heat and intense washing process of the machine can damage your boots or make them wear out faster. It is much better to wash them by hand.

While cleaning walking boots by hand is recommended, the process doesn’t end there. Keep reading to learn the best practices for cleaning your walking boots but also about the crucial dos and don’ts that could save you from unnecessary expenses and discomfort.

Is It Safe To Machine Wash Walking Boots?

open washing machine door

Always check the care label inside the boots, usually found on the inside of the tongue, to see if they can be washed in the machine. 

For instance, boots with synthetic fibres might handle the machine well, but the detergent and washing action could damage delicate areas or strip off protective coatings. 

Boots with leather or suede should never be placed in the machine due to the risk of damaging their texture and finish. Moreover, the type of waterproofing—like GORE-TEX—is safe for machine wash, but other types may degrade.

Additionally, the material used for the soles plays a role – rubber soles may not withstand hot water well.

How To Clean Your Walking Boots

walking boots

Considering all these variables, hand washing your walking boots is often the safest and simplest option to avoid potential damage or premature wear and tear.

To effectively clean your walking boots:

  1. Start by knocking the boots together or scrubbing them with a stiff brush to remove as much dirt as possible.
  2. Use a soft brush and water to clean the upper sections. If needed, apply a shoe cleaning solution or a small amount of washing up liquid.
  3. Avoid soaking your boots completely to prevent misshaping; a swift rinse is enough.
  4. To tackle mould or odours, mix vinegar with water (1:4 ratio), spray it on, let it sit for five minutes, then clean off.
  5. After washing, allow the boots to air dry completely before applying a protective spray to maintain waterproof qualities.

How To Properly Dry Walking Boots

Ensure your walking boots are dried properly to avoid damage and odour:

  • Remove insoles and laces to enhance air circulation inside the boots.
  • Avoid direct heat sources like radiators or direct sunlight. Instead, leave boots in a warm, well-ventilated area.
  • To speed up drying, you can remove the laces, take out the insoles, and loosely stuff the boots with newspaper.

How To Remove Odours From Walking Boots

bicarbonate of soda

Even after giving your boots a good clean, bacteria may still remain. This is what leads to the bad odour. 

Take out the insole and wash it well, then let it air dry fully. If you find the smell is still there, it could be from your insoles, and you might think about getting new ones. 

For any remaining smells, try putting some bicarbonate of soda between the boot’s midsole and toe area. Bicarbonate of soda soaks up and neutralises odours, rather than just masking them.

How Often Should You Clean and Re-Waterproof Your Walking Boots?

Cleaning and re-waterproofing your boots should be done at least once a month if frequently used, or immediately after each use if they get very dirty or wet. 

This helps maintain their effectiveness and extends their lifespan, especially before storing them for an extended period.

Regular cleaning not only keeps your boots looking good but also prevents damage to the water-resistant layer. This is essential as accumulated dirt can wear down the material and reduce effectiveness against moisture, including sweat or external water.

Can Walking Boots Cause Foot Problems If Not Properly Maintained?

Poorly maintained boots can lead to several foot issues. Continuous exposure to dirt and moisture not only damages the boots but also increases the risk of developing foot ailments. 

Keeping your boots clean prevents such issues and ensures ongoing comfort and support for your feet.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Football Boots In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash my walking boots in the washing machine?

 It’s generally not advisable to wash your walking boots in the washing machine. The process can damage the material and structure of the boots. Always check the care label for specific instructions.

What is the best method to clean walking boots?

The best method to clean walking boots is by hand washing them. This minimises the risk of damage and ensures that the boots last longer.

How do I hand wash walking boots?

To hand wash your walking boots, start by removing loose dirt with a stiff brush. Use a soft brush and water, possibly with a gentle cleaning solution, to clean the upper parts of the boots. Be careful not to soak the boots completely; a quick rinse should suffice. Let them air dry thoroughly after washing.

How to clean smelly walking boots?

To clean smelly walking boots, remove the insoles and wash them separately. Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda inside the boots, focusing on the midsole and toe area, to neutralise odours. Allow the bicarbonate of soda to sit overnight if possible, then remove it and let the boots air out fully.

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