How to Clean Hunting Boots

How to clean hunting bootsThe most popular concern among boot wearers is “how to clean hunting boots?”. After a while of use, hunting boots become old and vulnerable to scratches and oil stains. That’s the reason why your boots need an effective cleaning inside out and good care afterward. While there are many different techniques, we would go into detail about the most effective and common one, suitable for work boots, leather shoes, combat boots, brown leather, and things to notice.

How To Clean Hunting Boots?

Cleaning your hunting boots is crucial to maintain the appearance and functionality of these boots. A properly maintained pair will last longer, prevent them from becoming stiff and creased and keep them clean and comfortable. A thorough cleaning should remove dirt and mud from the leather and the sole and should also include washing them with saddle soap. You may also want to try using a scouring pad to remove tough spots.

Cleaning non-leather boots

If you hunt in non-leather hunting boots, you’ll want to follow a few basic cleaning steps. These steps will keep your boots looking new for longer and will make them more comfortable to wear. These steps will also prevent them from becoming smelly and less comfortable when they’re not in use.

First, you should clean your boots as often as possible. A good way to do this is to apply a waxy shoe paste or creme to them. The wax will help protect them from rain. If you don’t have a waxy shoe paste, you can use a water-based cleaning solution.

When cleaning your non-leather hunting boots, you should always begin by removing any gunk or dirt that is embedded into them. Then, use a wet rag to clean the uppers and toe guards. Avoid using the same cloth as you used before, as this can cause the leather to become too dry. Next, you can apply saddle or leather soap to your boots. Make sure to rub the bar against the leather, as it will help you create a lather.

Cleaning rubber boots

The first step in cleaning rubber hunting boots is rinsing them. Use a mild cleaning solution like water and vinegar. This mixture will remove dirt and mud from inside the boot. Then, use a cleaning rag to wipe the inside of the boot. If the boots have retained odors, sprinkle baking soda on them.

Rubber boots need special care and maintenance to stay in top condition. Dirt and mud can build up inside, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and Athlete’s foot fungus. You can easily clean your hunting boots by soaking them in a solution of liquid heavy-duty detergent and two cups of warm water. Alternatively, you can spray them with a water-and-vinegar mixture. Allow the solution to work for about five to ten minutes, then rinse them.

For added protection and comfort, you can also use olive oil. This solution is affordable and convenient and won’t damage the boots. It will also prevent them from getting stained with color. However, make sure you apply it only to the upper part of the boots. Don’t rub it into the rubber sole, as this might ruin the resistant properties of the material.

Cleaning synthetic boots

Cleaning synthetic hunting boots is not as difficult as it may seem. The first step is to remove the insoles and laces from your boots. You can then fill the interior with water and use a brush to scrub out dirt and mud. Afterward, allow them to dry. Then, use a mild soap to remove any remaining odors.

You can also use baking soda to get rid of stubborn grit and smell. The baking soda acts as a light abrasive and will also remove body odor from the boots. Afterward, you can use a commercial scent blocker to get rid of the smell. This step should be repeated every few weeks.

It is also a good idea to clean your hunting boots after each hunt. The first step is removing the laces and cleaning the boots in lukewarm water. You can use a utility sink or a kitchen sink. However, if you clean your boots in a kitchen sink, make sure to clean the area thoroughly. If you have synthetic hunting boots, you can use a footwear cleaning gel, such as Nikwax. It is effective for getting rid of dirt and grime while leaving your boots feeling comfortable and smelling great.

How to Clean Hunting Boots (Step by step Instruction)

Step 1: Remove the laces


The first thing to do is to remove the laces from your boots. This makes it easier for you to clean and condition the nooks as well as the crevices of the shoes.

Then wash the laces to rinse off dirt and grime. Once they are cleaned, set them aside to avoid getting lost or tangled. If your shoes come with zippers, you should open the zippers and clean the leather behind them too.

Step 2: Cleaning loose dirt and debris


To prevent the leather from getting scratched, gently clean the boot’s feather surface with a soft-bristled brush or a soft cloth. This helps to remove debris, dirt, and oil stains from the shoes.

Step 3: Apply soap


Most leather cleaners have soap forms such as saddle soap. To clean with this cleaner, use a damp cloth and rub it over the soap. Then rub the sides of the cloth together to create a light lather.

One thing you need to remember is to lift the tongues or flaps to approach the little crevices, ensuring all the remaining grime is removed.

Pay extra stress on areas that need more scrubbing. Keep in mind that you just have to do this for stubborn stains only. Also, wearing plastic gloves is essential if your skin is sensitive. This way, you can prevent the lather from affecting your hands.

Step 4: Wipe off the soap


After rubbing your boots with soap, use another clean, damp cloth or soft-bristled brush to wipe off the soap. Move across the leather surface of your shoes in circular motions.

When it comes to cleaning leather hunting boots, one of the best ways to protect them is to regularly reapply Nikwax. This treatment will protect the boots and make them a bit more water-resistant, so they can withstand the elements. Nikwax is a water-based wax that can be applied to dry or wet leather. You can either spread it with your hands or a cloth or sponge.

Cleaning leather hunting boots with Nikwax is a great way to protect them from the elements and keep them looking new for many years. The water-based formula feeds the leather and helps create a protective coating that repels moisture and other elements. Nikwax waterproofing treatment also works well on stitching and hardware to keep your footwear looking great. After applying Nikwax, it’s important to let the shoes dry completely, for at least 24 hours.

Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather is a water-based wax that gives your leather boots a shiny finish. The product contains no harmful fluorocarbons or solvents and is easy to apply. You should apply the product on all the exposed areas of the boot, including the bellowed tongue and lace hooks.

Step 5: Condition


Conditioning leather is an important step that keeps your boots from being dried out and adding shine. You can either get a leather conditioner or DIY by creating a mixture of white vinegar and linseed oil with a portion of 1:2 respectively.

As soon as you’ve finished cleaning your shoes, put some liquid leather conditioner on a dry cloth. Then rub the leather conditioner onto the leather surface until it’s shiny. The process may take around 15 minutes.

In addition, this step is not suitable for suede shoes. This is because they can’t handle normal leather cleaners, including leather conditioners. You can resolve this problem by using a protector spray instead, which is designed for suede footwear.

Step 6: Dry


Leave your boots in the open air to get dried. Don’t put them in direct sun or near the heater as this will result in fading or cracking leather.

Cleaning Tips:  Clean hunting boots with household items

Grease or Oil Stain: Use Baking Soda

Baking soda

Baking soda is famous for its cleaning functions, which are applied to household items, clothes, and even the human body. And hunting boots are not an exception, especially for stains in the form of grease or oil. To do this, you just have to sprinkle it onto stained and dirty areas of your shoes. After that, dip a cloth into the water to get wet. Use it to rub the surface where you sprinkled the soda in circular motions.

Remember that you shouldn’t rub too hard as it can damage the leather material. The final thing to do is leave it to sit overnight. In this way, the soda can have enough time to absorb grease, or stain, therefore bringing the boots a thorough cleaning experience.

To do this, first, you should sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda onto the stain. Then rub it gently with a damp, cleaning cloth, and leave it for a few hours. Soda, as well as starch, are useful for absorbing the oil. Finally, use a dry, soft cloth to wipe off the powder.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the following:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon hydrogen peroxide
  • ½ tablespoon warm water (double to 1 tablespoon if you do not have peroxide)

Stir until a paste is formed.

Now follow these steps:

  1. Using a scrub brush or an old toothbrush, dip into the baking soda paste and apply to the boots, directly onto the stains.
  2. Scrub in a circular motion, working the paste into the leather.
  3. Let the baking soda solution dry on the boots for at least 40 minutes.
  4. Once dried, clap off any excess and rinse the boots thoroughly with cleaning water. You can use a wet rag or cleaning sponge.
  5. Repeat if needed until the stains are gone.

More stubborn stains, such as coffee or paint may require multiple applications.

Ink Stain: Use Nail Polish Remover


To remove ink, you need to dip a swab in the nail polish remover or rub alcohol and blot the spot.

And keep in mind this:

Rubbing is not allowed as it causes the ink to spread. Be patient and blot gently till the stain is faded and gone. Finish by wiping with a damp cloth and drying with a dry-on.

Scuff Marks: Use Toothpaste


Scuff marks on hunting boots come in different types. Fortunately, most of them are easy to clean by using household items and some specialty cleansers.

So, how can we do it?

Grab the toothpaste and squirt a dab on the scuffed spot. Leave it for a few minutes and rub it with a towel. This technique is perfect for stubborn scuff marks due to the high abrasiveness of toothpaste.

You can use less abrasive methods such as a shoe brush, pencil eraser, or magic eraser to protect your boots from damage for an easier scuff.

Other stains: Use lemon juice and tartar


A combination of lemon juice and tartar would be amazing for other types of stains. Put that mixture into a paste and then apply it to the stained spot. Let it sit for half an hour and remove it with a cloth.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • ½ cup of cream of tartar

You could polish them up with a bit of olive oil if you want them to have a shinier finish, a non-commercial polish, pour a small amount circle of olive oil onto a dry, soft cloth, and rub that onto the surface of your hunting boots.

Olive oil just like hair conditioners does a great job of protecting the leather.

Other stains: Use Saddle soap


Besides baking soda, saddle soap is also a popular household item considered an effective cleaning agent. This is especially useful when your boots come with a lot of soil.

It can be used after every shift. One important you need to keep in mind is that the accumulated dirt should only be wiped with a nylon brush or a damp cloth. This helps to minimize the effects and damage on the leather surface.

That being said, allowing the boots to dry naturally after cleaning is highly recommended. Additionally, if you plan to clean your boots with the aid of the washing machine, consider using mild shampoo as an alternative. It has the same functions as soap and can be used for washing hands as well.

Other stains: Use Hair conditioner

Hair conditioner

A hair conditioner is another powerful cleaning agent that you can use for your boots. Same as how it benefits your hair, the condition will also do a wonderful job when treating your boots.

This is because it includes great wax properties that provide you with great assistance, giving your boots a quick clean. More important, a hair conditioner is beneficial for retaining the condition of the leather surface for a long time.

Fortunately, using an expensive conditioner is not necessary. Just expensive ones can do your boots wonders. That’s why it’s widely considered a cost-effective method for making your boots shiny and durable.

Other stains: Use Dish soap

Dish soap

Dish soap may sound strange to you, but it’s a possible solution that you can consider to treat your boots. You need to be careful with biogenic because the material is not compatible with water.

Before applying the dish soap, you have to take the laces out to make it easier to clean. Then rub the dish soap directly on the leather surface gently with the aid of a towel or cloth. After that, wash the remaining areas with water to remove residues and prevent them from coming inside the boots.


Can you wash the leather hunting boots?

Obviously yes. You can clean either the outsides or insides of your boots as long as you follow the instructions carefully. Many techniques range from household items to specific soaps that you can apply.

Most of them help to remove dirt, and bacteria and kill the fungus that causes foot odor. However, if not used in the right way, they may result in some counter effects, including damaging the leather surface and fading its color.

Can you wash the cowboy boots with soap and water?

The combination of soap and water is a recommended solution when it comes to cleaning the inside areas of hunting boots. As long as you wash and dry them in the right way, they will not cause any harm.

Also, you need to take into account some important factors to avoid any unexpected issues with your boots. Those factors include detergents, the way you wash your boots, soap, and even water. Wisely taking advantage of these factors and following the directions will bring your boots an effective clean, making them shiny and durable.

What is the best leather hunting boots cleaner?

Regarding the household items that play as cleaning agents, baking soda is our all-time favorite.

Not to mention how amazing it is for removing dirt from your shoes, it’s also known for fighting against bacteria between washes. The soda absorbs odor which is the main cause of bacteria.

Besides great features, there are still some setbacks with this method. The most significant one is its effect on the leather color, making it fade over time.

Speaking of commercial boots cleaners, our top pick is ShoeAnew Cleaner Kit. This is because the cleanser can remove the bacteria inside your boots without damaging the leather. Additionally, it can be used for any type of leather, including hard, soft, split, suede, and top-grain Nubuck. What more can you ask for?

Final Thoughts

Besides going through several ways to clean hunting boots, this article also provides you with some recommended household items as effective cleaning agents for your shoes, making cleaning much easier.

Also, we have a FAQ section with some common questions that you may ask. If you have any further considerations about this topic, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below. We will be in touch soon!

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Alex D. Bowen

Hi folks. I’m Alex D. Bowen and I’m a professional hunting boots researcher and hunting enthusiast. You’re probably on my website in search of hunting boots that can help make your experience a lot easier and more productive. Even if you are seeking hunting equipment that can provide you with the best comfort during a long hunt, or maybe you are gleaning useful information to understand what hunting boots are and why they are necessary for hunting. No matter which purpose you are, here is the right place for you. Follow me on: Twitter, Facebook,, Pinterest, Tumblr, Plurk, Linkedin

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