How To Clean And Store Your Winter Boots Without Destroying Them

Clean Winter Boots
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. Please read our Disclosure for more info.

If you have weathered the winter storms like a Viking, you are indestructible. However, give some credit to your winter boots as well: they are the reason your feet survived the harsh climate and ensured that your style isn’t outdated. Now, as the spring has sprung, you no longer need your boots. Before you break out the flip-flops, ensure that your faithful boots are cleaned, stored, and ready for the next season. Please note that your winter boots are an investment – they are designed to be used for years to come. By taking care of them, you increase their longevity and make sure that they provide quality wear for seasons to come.

If this is your first time cleaning your boots, it can be a little overwhelming because there is always a fear that anything you do will ruin your expensive boots. If you have no idea about leather boot repair, you are advised to let a professional look after it.

While there are many tried and tested solutions for cleaning and storing winter boots, we have listed a few DIY options that might work very well for you.

Consider the Type of Winter Boots You Are Dealing With

Winter boots come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no universal way to clean and store them. Each type demands different care and maintenance. Let’s take a quick look at the most popular winter boots and how to clean them.

1. Leather Boots

Leather boots are a lot of work, and maintenance after a nice, snowy day might cause you not to wear them in such conditions. But, if you have a dedicated cleaning ritual, there is nothing stopping you from looking dashing in those boots. Here is what you need to know.

Clean Winter Boots
Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

How To Clean?

Start with removing the dirt and salt from your leather boots. Prepare a mixture of water and white vinegar (equal parts), fill it in a spray bottle, and spray it directly all over the footwear. Use a damp cloth to wipe clean the surface. If there are stains, cover them with baking soda and directly apply 99% rubbing alcohol to the spot using a cotton tip. After a while, wipe it clean.

How To Treat and Condition Leather Boots?

Next, take some olive oil, use a cotton ball, and dab it on the boots. It will keep the leather conditioned and soft. Finally, use a quality leather boot polish to polish the footwear.

Deodorize Leather Boots

To prevent any odor, take two teaspoons of bicarbonate soda, put each teaspoon in a thin cotton cloth, knot it, and place them in each boot. Keep the knots inside the shoes until you wear them next time.

Tarrago Shoe Deodorizer

Where To Store?

Invest in a quality boot rack to store your winter boots. Also, if you plan to store the boots for any length of time, put acid-free paper inside the boots to hold their shape.

2. Rain Boots

Rubber boots or rain boots are the easiest to clean and maintain. Rubber is a flexible and durable material, so keeping the boots neat and clean shouldn’t be a problem.

Clean Winter Boots
Image by NickyPe from Pixabay

How To Clean?

Rinse away any mud or wet debris with plain water. Use a medium bristle brush to remove hardened dirt or mud from the treads on the sole. And to remove winter salts, prepare a mixture of warm water and detergent in a bucket and dip the boots for a while. Finally, rinse it off using normal water and wipe down using a clean cloth.

How To Treat and Condition Rain Boots?

Always allow your rain boots to air dry naturally. Once dried, use a rubber conditioner to give your rubber boots a nice shine and newness.

GEAR AID Rubber Boot Treatment

Deodorize Rain Boots

Sprinkle some baking soda inside each boot and leave it overnight or longer. Empty it before wearing the boots.

Where To Store?

Keep your rain boots in an insulated area like a closet or a finished basement.

3. Fabric Boots

Fabric boots get dirty easily because of the material. You will be encouraged to toss your fabric boots in a washer. Please refrain from doing that.

Clean Winter Boots
Image by lisa runnels from Pixabay

How To Clean?

Take a dry paper towel and wipe clean the surface to remove dry dirt and soil. Prepare a mixture of warm water and liquid detergent. Take a toothbrush and start working on one small section at a time. Make sure to not over-wet the fabric with the soapy solution. Use dampened paper towels to wipe clean the surface until the soapy residue is completely removed.

How To Treat and Condition Fabric Boots?

Allow your fabric boots to air dry (not under direct sunlight). Spray the fabric with an aerosol reproofer, particularly made for fabric footwear. It will keep the boots waterproof.

Oxford Mint Wax Reproofer

Deodorize Fabric Boots

Lightly sprinkle shoe deodorizer inside your fabric shoes and put them aside overnight.

Where To Store?

Store the boots in a closet or a dedicated boot rack.

4. Faux Boots

Faux boots are not as sturdy as leather boots. So, special care must be taken.

Clean Winter Boots
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

How To Clean?

Spray the boots with a solution of white vinegar and water and gently scrub the boot surface with a soft bristle brush. You can also use a toothbrush. Finally, wipe the surface with a clean cloth.

How To Treat and Condition Faux Boots?

Allow the boots to air dry. To condition and protect this fake leather, gently rub some baby oil all over the boots’ surface – it will keep the boots looking new. You are advised not to put any polish on faux boots.

Johnson's Baby Oil

Deodorize Faux Boots

Sprinkle both the inside and outside of boots with baking soda and leave it overnight. Brush it off the next day.

Where To Store?

Store the boots in a cool, dry place with enough light to prevent molding.

5. Shearling Boots

Uggs or shearling boots can be tough to clean because of their design and material. The biggest problem with them is they begin to smell unpleasantly even after one use.

ECCO Women's Ankle Boot

How To Clean?

Certain brands of shearling boots can be machine-washed. However, we advise you to hand clean them, particularly when they are made of true sheepskin or animal hide. Simply brush the boots to soften the soil and dirt. Then use a shearling cleaner that is made for cleaning leather.

How To Treat and Condition Shearling Boots?

Spray the inside and outside of the shearling boots with pine oil. It will kill the fungus and prevent mold growth. Also, remove the scuff marks using a brush.

Deodorize Shearling Boots

Cover the shearling boots with a layer of baby powder and let it sit overnight. Use a toothbrush to brush away the powdery residue.

Where To Store?

Stuff the shearling boots with rolled towels to hold their shape. Store them in a boot rack.

Rack'Em Boot Rack

6. Suede Boots

Suede boots are typically a little difficult to clean because they stain quite easily.

Clean Winter Boots
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

How To Clean?

Never use water to clean your suede boots – it can cause staining. Pour some rubbing alcohol on a washcloth and rub it onto all over its surface. Let it dry.

How To Treat and Condition Suede Boots?

Once cleaned, let the boots air dry. Do not put them under direct sunlight. Suede shoes don’t need much conditioning apart from regular cleaning.

Deodorize Suede Boots

Spray the suede boots with some white vinegar from the inside and outside to kill any odor.

Where To Store?

When not using them, store your suede boots in a quality shoe bag. And always use shoe trees to maintain their shape.

How To Tell if Your Winter Boots Need a Repair?

  1. Wear signs on the soles
  2. General wear and tear like frayed laces, broken eyelets, etc.
  3. They feel painful, or feet feel itchy every time you wear them
  4. They are leaking – having wet, cold, and soggy feet after use
  5. No cushioning in the midsole

This is everything you need to know about cleaning, maintaining, and storing your winter boots. These are some of the easiest and most accessible ways to look after your winter footwear. However, if you feel like it is a lot of work, you can always hire a professional to do the job. Also, if you have any questions or queries regarding the topics discussed, feel free to ask – we are here to help.

Author: Tony Kantzavelos is the owner of Love Your Shoes, a Canadian company dedicated to restoring and extending the life of the footwear. Tony’s passion is making shoes look like new for as long as possible by offering shoe repair, cleaning, and restoration services in Toronto Canada. Tony takes pride in his work since it is helping to reduce the throw-away society that is plaguing the world’s natural resources, by extending the life of the footwear.

Scroll to Top