7 Hacks On How To Clean Waterproof Work Boots? (2024)

For dedicated workers, investing in waterproof work boots is a substantial commitment. These boots are meant to be reliable companions that shield your feet through rain, mud, and challenging terrains, and they come at a cost. But the often unspoken truth is that your investment will be worth it if you know how to care for your work boots. 

In order to ensure the long life and performance of your trusted footwear, proper cleaning and maintenance are important. In this guide, we’ll talk about how to clean waterproof work boots to ensure that your boots endure and continue to serve you with unwavering loyalty.

Why Cleaning Waterproof Work Boots is Important?

Preserving Durability:

Imagine your boots as superheroes battling against water, mud, and all sorts of workplace villains. Cleaning them regularly is like giving them a power boost. Dirt and grime can wear down the material over time, but a good cleaning routine helps your boots last longer.

Maintaining Waterproof Abilities:

Waterproof boots are your shield against wet and soggy conditions. Cleaning them prevents dirt and debris from clogging up the waterproof membrane. If the membrane gets clogged, your boots may lose their water resistance. A clean boot is a happy, waterproof boot.

Preventing Bad Odors:

Let’s face it – dirty, smelly boots aren’t pleasant for you or your coworkers. Regular cleaning helps eliminate the sources of bad odors, keeping your work environment more bearable. A fresh-smelling boot is a win for everyone.

Enhancing Comfort:

Clean boots are more comfortable. Dirt and grit can make the inside of your boots abrasive and uncomfortable. By keeping them clean, you ensure a more pleasant experience during those long work hours.

Avoiding Infections:

Dirty boots can harbor bacteria and fungi. These unwanted guests can lead to infections, athlete’s foot, or other skin issues. Regular cleaning minimizes the risk of these uninvited health hazards.

Read on for insights into keeping your favorite waterproof work boots looking as good as new.

How To Clean Waterproof Work Boots?

How to clean waterproof work boots? Begin by removing excess dirt with a soft brush or cloth. Use a mild soap or specialized cleaner to scrub away tougher stains gently. Pay attention to seams and crevices. Rinse thoroughly with water, ensuring all soap is washed away. Allow the boots to air dry naturally; avoid direct UV, or heat sources like radiators to maintain their waterproofing capabilities.

When it comes to maintaining your waterproof work boots, regular cleaning is essential to preserve their performance and longevity. So, let’s focus on the detailed guide:

Materials that we need:

  • Warm Water
  • Mild Soap
  • Soft Brush
  • Sponge or Cloth
  • Waterproofing Spray
  • Towels or Paper Towels
  • Newspaper or Boot Trees
  • Optional: Leather Conditioner or Oil

So once we have the right cleaning tools in our hands, then let’s start the…

Waterproofing Work Boots Cleaning Process:

Step1. Soapy Water

use soapy water

To start cleaning your waterproof work boots, first remove the laces and insoles. Then, you’ll want to create some soapy water. The best way to clean boots is to use a mild soap, such as dish soap, or a specialized boot cleaner. Just add a small amount to warm water and give it a gentle stir.

Once your soapy water is ready, take a soft brush or an old toothbrush. This will be your trusty tool to scrub away any dirt or debris stuck on your boots’ surface. You can begin cleaning your shoes by dipping the brush in the soapy water and using gentle circular motions. Make sure you pay extra attention to areas where dirt or stains are stubborn.

This initial step will help get rid of the surface grime, preparing your boots for a deeper clean.

Step 2. Baking soda

For those stubborn stains that just won’t budge, here’s a trick that works wonders. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a little bit of water. It should have a thick, toothpaste-like consistency.

Once your baking soda paste is ready, apply it generously to the stubborn stains on your work boots. Make sure to cover the stained areas completely. Then, give it some time to work its magic. For best results, let the baking soda paste sit on the stains for a few minutes. Therefore, it can break down hard stains, which makes them easier to remove.

After a brief wait, take your trusty brush, the same one you used earlier, and scrub the stained areas gently. In combination with the baking soda paste, the brush will remove the stains. It’s a simple yet effective way to tackle those challenging spots on your work boots.

Step 3. Dry off

Now that your boots look cleaner and those stubborn stains are a thing of the past, it’s time to ensure they’re completely dry. Start by rinsing the shoes thoroughly with warm water. This rinse helps remove any remaining soap, baking soda, or dirt.

The boots should then be gently patted dry with a clean cloth after they have been rinsed. Moisture must be removed completely in order to avoid mildew growth or any other damage. Your boots should feel just slightly damp but not wet.

Properly drying them off is a crucial step in cleaning, ensuring your waterproof work boots stay in top-notch condition.

Step 4. Use newspaper

use newspapers to clean work boots

To preserve the shape of your work boots while they dry, it’s a good idea to stuff them with newspaper. The newspaper helps maintain the natural form of your shoes and absorbs any remaining moisture from the inside.

After you have stuffed your boots to your satisfaction, put them away in a cool, dry spot. Their materials can fade or crack if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Instead, opt for a shaded area where they can air dry naturally.

Make sure that your boots have ample time to dry completely. Depending on the amount of moisture they retained, this could take several hours or even overnight. Once thoroughly dry, remove the newspaper, reinsert the insoles, lace them up, and your waterproof work boots will be ready to tackle another day’s challenges.

Step5. Apply leather conditioner

apply leather conditioner on boots

Great job! Your work boots are now completely clean and dry, and it’s time to give them some much-needed nourishment to restore their appearance and durability.

To achieve this, it is recommended to use a high-quality leather conditioner. Apply a thin layer of the conditioner onto the leather uppers, ensuring complete coverage. This step aims to replenish the natural oils and nutrients in the leather, bringing it back to its original state.

By doing so, the work boots will regain their brand-new look, and the conditioning process will also enhance their durability. The leather fibers will be revitalized, making them more resistant to wear and tear.

Step6. Apply waterproofing spray and cream

To keep your work boots in good condition, use a waterproofing spray or cream periodically. Regularly clean them with a brush and warm water to remove any dirt and debris that may have accumulated on the surface. This will help extend the life of your boots and keep them looking great.  

Step7. Remove the buff and excess

The final step involves removing any remaining leather conditioner, waxes, or sprays using a humid clean cloth. It’s important to be cautious and keep all the previous work done on the work boots.

After allowing the work boots to rest for approximately an hour, the next step is to clean off any excess material. This can be done using a dry clean cloth to remove residue.

To complete the process, lightly buff the work boots using a soft-bristled brush. By doing so, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how great they will look and feel.

Please note that it is important to follow the instructions carefully to achieve the desired results.

You can easily clean and protect your waterproof work boots with a few simple steps. The best way to ensure they remain in great shape and lengthen their lifespan is to clean them regularly.

Tips for Maintaining Waterproofing

tips for maintaining waterproof work boots

Certainly! Maintaining the waterproofing of your gear is essential for keeping you dry in wet conditions. Here are some practical tips about how to care for waterproof work boots and enhance the waterproofing of your items:

Regular Cleaning

Keep your gear clean. Dirt and grime can compromise the waterproof layer, making it less effective. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, and use a soft brush and mild soap or specialized cleaner.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

It is important to be cautious when using cleaning agents. In the case of waterproof coatings, harsh chemicals can damage them. Make sure that the soap or cleaner you use is mild, based on the gear you own.

Inspect for Damage

Keep an eye on your gear to see if it shows signs of wear, tear, or damage regularly. Check seams, zippers, and any potential weak points. Repair any issues promptly to maintain the waterproofing integrity.

Reapply Waterproofing

Over time, the waterproof coating on your gear may wear off. Reapply waterproofing treatments as needed, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. This could be in the form of sprays, waxes, or specific waterproofing agents.

Use Waterproof Covers

In extremely wet working conditions, consider using extra water-repellency covers or tarps to deliver an extra coating of shield. This is especially useful for backpacks and electronic devices.

Air Dry Properly

Heat sources like heaters should not be used directly on waterproofing materials, as they can damage them. Before storing your equipment, make sure it’s completely dry.

Store Properly

Dry and cool are the best places to store your waterproof gear. The waterproofing materials can be degraded over time if exposed to prolonged sunlight. Proper storage helps maintain the effectiveness of the waterproofing.

Be Mindful of Abrasion

Avoid unnecessary abrasion. Sharp objects or rough surfaces can damage the waterproof layer. Be mindful of where you place and how you handle your gear to minimize wear.

Follow Manufacturer Guidelines

It is always a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding care and maintenance. In order to ensure optimal performance, different materials may require different treatments.

Plan for Reapplication

Depending on usage and conditions, plan to reapply waterproofing treatments periodically. You will be in a better position to prevent any potential loss of waterproofing if you utilize this proactive approach.

Use the Right Insoles

If you work in cold or wet conditions, consider using a pair of insoles designed explicitly for waterproof work boots. These can provide extra insulation and cushioning to keep your feet comfortable as you work.

By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can extend the life of the waterproofing on your gear, ensuring that it continues to shield you from the elements effectively.

What happens if you put work boots in the washing machine?

Putting work boots in the washing machine is not recommended due to the potential damage. The materials that make up most work boots are not designed to be washed in a machine and can tear or deteriorate from the machine’s agitation. Additionally, some components, such as metal eyelets and shanks, could corrode or rust if exposed to moisture.

Putting work boots in the dryer is not recommended, as this can cause further damage to the material or components of the boot. Additionally, high temperatures could cause shrinkage or discolouration of certain materials.

How do I dry my waterproof work boots after cleaning?

How do I dry my waterproof work boots after cleaning?

Drying your waterproof work boots after cleaning them is a simple process. 

Set aside both the laces and insoles of the boots after removing them from them. In order to absorb any remaining moisture, fill the boots with newspaper or paper towels. 

Allow proper air circulation by placing the boots in a well-ventilated and open area. 

Using a fan will also help accelerate the drying process. Once your boots are dry, insert the shoelaces and insoles back into their respective places, and your boots should be ready for use.

It is crucial to remember to clean and dry your waterproof work boots regularly to extend their lifespan and keep them in good condition.

How long do waterproof work boots dry after cleaning?

Waterproof work boots typically take several hours to dry after cleaning. The length of time will depend on the boot’s material and how much water has been used during cleaning.

It usually takes 24-48 hours for leather work boots to air dry completely. 

Synthetic materials may take less time since they are more porous. It would be best if you also were sure to remove any excess water from the boot after cleaning and before it is allowed to air dry. This will help speed up the drying process as well. With proper care, your waterproof work boots should provide you with years of durable service. So remember to clean and care for them when needed.

Can you clean waterproof work boots with vinegar?

Can you clean waterproof work boots with vinegar?

No, using vinegar to clean waterproof work boots is not recommended. Vinegar can be abrasive and could cause damage to the material of the boot. Additionally, vinegar could strip away any waterproofing agents applied to the boots, reducing their effectiveness in keeping your feet dry.

It is best to use mild soap and a damp cloth when cleaning work boots. If necessary, increase agitation by brushing or scrubbing lightly with an old toothbrush. Once finished, rinse off any excess soap and let air dry completely before wearing it again. 

For more stubborn dirt or stains, it is recommended to use a specialized cleaner designed for use on waterproof materials to ensure the best results.

How to make waterproof work boots smell-free?

How to make waterproof work boots smell-free?

  1. One of the best ways to make waterproof work boots smell-free is to clean them regularly. This will prevent dirt and bacteria from building up in your boots, which can cause unpleasant odours.
  2.  Regularly wiping the inside and outside of your boots with a damp cloth or brush can help remove any dirt and grime accumulating over time.
  3.  You can also use a mixture of baking soda and water to create an odour-absorbing paste that you can apply to the inside of your boots.
  4. Another way to keep waterproof work boots smelling fresh is to rotate between multiple pairs of shoes. This prevents sweat from accumulating in one pair, allowing more time to dry out before you wear them again. 
  5. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep your boots in a well-ventilated area so that any dampness can escape and the odour won’t linger. 
  6. You can also use an odour-absorbing or anti-bacterial spray inside your waterproof work boots to help control odours.
  7. Finally, a pair of breathable and waterproof work boots can help keep your feet dry and odor-free. 
  8. Breathable materials, such as mesh or leather, allow air to circulate in the boot, which helps to reduce moisture buildup. At the same time, waterproofing materials like rubber will also help prevent water from entering the shoe. 

By following these simple steps, you can keep your waterproof work boots smelling fresh and clean.

How often should I clean my waterproof work boots?

It is essential to clean your waterproof work boots regularly. Generally, it would help if you aimed to clean them at least once a month. This will help maintain their waterproof properties and keep them looking good for longer. Additionally, if your boots become excessively dirty or muddy, it is recommended that you give them a deeper cleaning as soon as possible.


Ensuring your waterproof work boots stay clean is essential, and a monthly cleaning routine is ideal. Wondering how to clean waterproof work boots without causing damage? Use a gentle approach instead of the washing machine. Cleaning dirt and grime with soft cloths and mild soap is recommended. Your boots will remain intact with this simple and effective method. It is important to completely dry them before going back to work. This how-to guide for cleaning waterproof work boots provides a straightforward solution for maintaining cleanliness and durability. Incorporating these steps regularly keeps your boots in top-notch condition for all your work adventures.


What is the best way to clean waterproof work boots?

A. The best way to clean your waterproof work boots is to use a soft brush or cloth and mild detergent mixed with warm water. Once done, rinse the boots and allow them to air dry. If needed, apply a waterproofing spray or conditioner to help protect the material.

Q. What products are best to use when cleaning waterproof work boots?

A. The best products to use when cleaning your waterproof work boots are a soft brush or cloth and a mild detergent mixed with warm water. You can also apply a waterproofing spray or conditioner to help protect the material. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the fabric and waterproof coating of the boots.

Q. How do I remove stains from my waterproof work boots?

A. The best way to remove stains is to use a soft brush or cloth, mild detergent and warm water. Apply the mixture to the stain and gently scrub in a circular motion. When finished, rinse the boots with clean water and allow them to air-dry. If needed, apply a waterproofing spray or conditioner to help protect the material.

Q. Is it necessary to waterproof my work boots?

A. Yes, it is vital to waterproof your work boots to protect them from the elements. This will help keep the material and waterproof coating of the boots in good condition and improve their durability. You can apply a waterproofing spray or conditioner regularly to keep them protected.