Can You Put Wellies In The Washing Machine?

You might consider tossing your Wellington boots, affectionately known as ‘wellies’, into the washing machine because they are waterproof. But, it is not advisable to clean them in the washer.

The plastic coating and rubber that make wellies waterproof can be damaged by a washing machine cycle, causing them to lose their seal and potentially let water in, resulting in wet socks. 

However, there’s more to caring for your wellies than just avoiding the washing machine. Want to know how to get rid of bad smells, dry your boots properly, or deal with that strange white powder that appears sometimes? 

Keep reading to learn all the essential wellies care that will make your boots last for years to come.

Why Shouldn’t You Put Wellies In The Washing Machine?

Even using a cold setting in the washing machine is not recommended. Manufacturers advise against it as the spinning action can damage the wellies, leading to scuffs and reducing their waterproof quality.

Moreover, using a washing machine for your boots can be loud, so hand washing remains the best option to keep them in good condition and spare you the noise.

How To Hand Wash Wellies


To keep your wellies in top condition, it’s best to clean them right after use. If you haven’t been in very muddy places, it’s likely you don’t need to wash your boots each time they’re used. Depending on how much you wear them, cleaning them every 2 to 3 weeks or so may be sufficient.

Here’s a quick and effective method:

  1. Clean your wellies by tapping them outside to drop off any wet mud or rinse them using a hose or a cloth dipped in water to prevent dirt and mud from setting. If a hose isn’t available, use a bucket of water or a wet cloth. 
  2. If you’re indoors, it’s a good idea to lay down newspaper to catch any mud and bits that fall.
  3. Wipe away tough spots from the top down with a cloth soaked in warm water. For stubborn stains, a little washing up liquid might help.
  4. To get rid of hard mud on the soles, scrub off the dried mud with a soft, large brush and wash them under the tap. Use a small brush like a toothbrush for tight spots.
  5. Allow them to air dry naturally, preferably out of direct sunlight or in a warm indoor area, but keep them away from any heat sources.

Pro-tip: You can scrub off dirt from the outside of the wellies by mixing a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with half a cup of water and applying the mix to the stains using a cloth soaked in this solution. Allow it to sit for up to 30 minutes, then rinse.

How To Clean The Interior Of Wellies

Cleaning the inside of your wellies is just as important as cleaning the outside. A clean interior not only keeps your boots smelling fresh but also helps prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. 

Here’s how to effectively clean the inside of your wellies:

  1. Mix a teaspoon of washing-up liquid into half a cup of water.
  2. Soak a cloth in the solution, then wring it until damp. Avoid making it too wet to prevent the interior from becoming overly damp and smelly due to slow drying.
  3. Wipe down all the interior surfaces with this cloth.
  4. Rinse the cloth, dampen it slightly, and wipe off any leftover soap.
  5. For wellies with jersey or polyester lining, you can use the same method as for the exterior.

How To Dry Wellies Properly


After cleaning, dry your boots with a towel to remove excess water, then let them air dry naturally. 

Never put your wellies in a tumble dryer, as the heat can severely damage the rubber and destroy the waterproofing. Keep them away from direct heat sources like radiators, fireplaces, or direct sunlight. Heat can damage the rubber and cause the boots to fade or crack.

To aid in drying, stuff the boots with balled-up old newspapers, which help absorb moisture from the inside.

How To Remove Blooming From Wellies

High-end wellies often face ‘blooming’, where they develop a white powder or film. Although this doesn’t affect their performance or durability and is actually a mark of quality rubber, it may be unappealing.

To tackle blooming, wiping with a damp cloth usually works. If the layer persists, consider polishing with a rubber cleaner or olive oil on a cloth using circular motions. Using a buffer spray can effectively extend the lifespan of wellies made from natural rubber. 

How To Eliminate Bad Smells From Wellies

For mould or persistent bad smells, create a deodorising spray by combining equal measures of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the inside of your boots and let them dry thoroughly before use. Don’t use this on leather-lined wellies as it could damage the leather.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Wellies In A Tumble Dryer?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wash Wellington boots in the washing machine?

No, you cannot wash Wellington boots in the washing machine as it can damage the rubber and waterproof coating, leading to leaks.

How do you clean rubber wellies?

To clean rubber wellies, tap off any dirt outside, then rinse them using a hose or wipe them with a cloth dipped in water. For tougher stains, use warm water mixed with a little washing up liquid. After scrubbing, rinse and allow them to air dry naturally.

Can you put wellies in a tumble dryer?

No, you should never put wellies in a tumble dryer as the heat can severely damage the rubber and compromise their waterproofing.

How to dry out wet wellies?

To dry out wet wellies, towel dry the exteriors, stuff them with balled-up newspapers to absorb internal moisture, and let them air dry away from direct heat sources.

Why do wellies smell?

Wellies smell due to the buildup of bacteria and fungi inside them, especially when they are left damp or not cleaned properly after use.

How do you cure smelly wellies?

To cure smelly wellies, create a deodorising spray with equal parts white vinegar and water, lightly mist the inside of the boots, and allow them to dry completely before wearing them again. Avoid this method for leather-lined wellies as it could damage the leather.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *