How to clean muddy walking boots

Muddy boots are a badge of honour for explorers – here's how to stop the great outdoors from exploring your carpets too

Kind strikt de veters van zijn wandelschoenen buiten

There’s something quite special about heading out for a walk in the countryside – and if you’ve done it right, you’re probably going to bring back plenty of mud with you. To help your boots last as long as possible, you’ll want to deal with that properly. Here’s how to clean hiking boots quickly and efficiently so that they’re ready for your next long walk.

How to clean walking boots, step-by-step

If you’re trying to figure out how to clean hiking boots covered in mud, let us take you through a few more steps. At first glance, you might think that your boots are so filthy you’ll never get them clean. But once you know how to clean muddy shoes and boots, they’ll be fresh and cared-for in no time. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get rid of as much mud as you can before cleaning. Walking boots will undoubtedly pick up a lot of mud, so before you get on with the task of cleaning them it’s important to remove as much of the excess as you can. You can wipe them in the grass, or use some strong kitchen towel soaked in water to clean it off.
  2. Remove laces and insoles. If you’ve got really muddy shoes or boots, the best way to clean them is to remove the laces and inners. Set them to the side while you get on with cleaning the outside, without anything in the way.
  3. Take a brush and dip it in soapy warm water. Whether it’s boots or muddy trainers, a soft brush is always best so you don’t damage the material. Scrub at the dirty areas with a gentle pressure, then use a clean sheet of strong kitchen paper to wipe off leftover residue.
  4. Deal with your laces and insoles. Soak the laces in hot soapy water and ring them out – plenty of mud will come out. Then, you can scrub the rest away with your brush. Scrub off any excess mud on your insole. If a lot of mud has got its way into the inside of your boots, that could be a sign that you need a new pair.
  5. Apply a specialist waterproofing treatment, after cleaning, before letting them dry.


Plenty The Original One is strong enough for the task of cleaning hiking boots covered in mud. You can even wring it out and re-use to avoid waste.

That’s how to clean leather boots quickly after your walk, but what about how to clean walking boots when the mud’s dried on?

How to clean leather boots with dried-on mud

Whether you’re cleaning hiking boots, muddy shoes or muddy trainers, the sooner you act, the better. However, there’s still plenty you can do if the mud and grime has dried on:

  • Once it’s started to harden, wait until the mud has completely dried to start cleaning.
  • Use a sheet of strong kitchen paper to gently brush off chunks of dried mud. You can use a blunt instrument, such as a spoon, to get stubborn deposits off.
  • Wipe off the remaining dry dusty patches and then give your boots a final wipe-down with warm water, as per the method above.
  • If you uncover stubborn stains like salt marks, try removing them with a combination of white vinegar and water. Then, wipe them over with a damp kitchen towel and buff dry with another clean, dry sheet of kitchen towel.

From acting quickly and cleaning walking boots when the mud is still fresh to learning how to clean muddy shoes and boots with dried-on grime, you’ve now got a clear method to look after them properly. It’s easy when you know how!

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