How to Clean Army Boots

Maintaining the condition of your army boots not only reflects discipline but also ensures their longevity, providing vital support and protection in various terrains and conditions. Proper care involves regular cleaning, conditioning, and drying, which can significantly extend the life of your boots and enhance comfort during wear.

How to Clean Army Boots

This guide on how to clean army boots will introduce the essential steps to clean your army boots effectively, using simple tools and techniques that can be performed at home. Whether you’re in the military, enjoy outdoor activities, or simply appreciate the durability of army boots for daily wear, knowing how to keep them in prime condition is key.

What is the Best Way to Clean Army Boots?

The best way to clean your army boots will depend on the material they are made of. Different materials, such as leather and suede, require different cleaning methods to prevent damage or deterioration. It is essential to identify the type of material your boots are made of before starting the cleaning process.

You can typically find this information on the label or packaging, but if not, you can consult a professional or do some research to determine the material. Once you have identified the material, follow these general steps to clean army boots effectively.

Pros and Cons


  • Simple and cost-effective method
  • This can be done at home with minimal tools
  • Helps maintain the condition and longevity of your army boots


  • Requires knowledge of the material to avoid damage or deterioration
  • It may take some time and effort to achieve desired results
  • Certain materials, such as suede, may require additional products or techniques for optimal cleaning

11 Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Clean Army Boots

Step 1: Gather Necessary Supplies

To effectively clean your army boots, you will need a few simple tools and materials that are easily available at home or in a military supply store. These include:

A Soft-bristled Brush:

This will be used to remove dirt and debris from the surface of your boots. A toothbrush or a shoebrush can also work well.

Shoebrush Can Also Work Well

Mild Soap or Detergent:

Choose a mild soap or detergent without harsh chemicals. Avoid using bleach or any products containing bleach as they can cause discoloration and damage to the material.

Clean Cloths:

You will need at least two clean, lint-free cloths for cleaning and drying your boots. Microfiber cloths work best, but old t-shirts or towels can also be used.


You will need water to dampen your boots and rinse off soap or detergent residue.

Step 2: Remove Dirt and Debris

Before starting the cleaning process, it is essential to remove any dirt and debris from the surface of your army boots. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently brush off any loose dirt or debris. The brush should be used in a back-and-forth motion, following the grain of the material to avoid causing damage. You can also use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas.

Step 3: Dampen Boots

After removing the loose dirt and debris, the next step is to dampen your army boots slightly before applying any cleaning solution. It’s important not to soak the boots, as excessive water can damage the material, especially if your boots are made of leather or suede.

Using a clean cloth, lightly dampen it with water and gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your boots. This will prepare the material for a deeper cleaning without fully saturating it, ensuring the boots remain in good condition throughout the cleaning process.

Step 4: Apply Mild Soap or Detergent

Once your boots are slightly damp, it’s time to apply a mild soap or detergent. Use a small amount of the chosen cleaner on one of your clean clothes. You don’t need much; a dime-sized amount should suffice for each boot. Gently apply the soap in a circular motion over the surface of the boots, ensuring you cover all areas evenly.

This gentle circular motion helps to lift dirt and stains without damaging the material. If you encounter stubborn stains or dirt, you may use a toothbrush to apply the soap directly and scrub gently. Remember to keep the application light to prevent the material from becoming too wet or damaged.

Remember to Keep the Application Light

Step 5: Rinse Thoroughly

After applying the soap and gently scrubbing to remove dirt and stains, it’s time to rinse off the soap thoroughly. Use a clean cloth dampened with water to wipe away any remaining soap residue. Ensure you remove all traces of soap as it can cause discoloration or damage if left on the material for too long. The water used for rinsing should be clear, and no soap suds should be visible.

Step 6: Clean the Soles

The soles of your army boots are just as essential to clean as the exterior surfaces. Use a stiff-bristled brush or a toothbrush to scrub the soles with soap and water. This will remove dirt, mud, and other debris that can get stuck in the treads, affecting traction and overall performance. Rinse off the soap and dry thoroughly.

Step 7: Dry Boots

After rinsing your boots, it’s vital to dry them thoroughly to prevent mold or mildew from forming. You can either air-dry your boots by placing them in a well-ventilated area or use a clean cloth to dry off any excess water. Avoid using a hairdryer or placing them near a heat source as it can cause the material to shrink or become brittle.

Step 8: Stuff Boots with Newspaper

To help your boots maintain their shape and absorb excess moisture, stuff them with newspaper after cleaning and drying. This will also help reduce the time it takes for your boots to dry completely. You can also use shoe trees if you have them. The newspaper should be changed and replaced every few hours until the boots are completely dry.

Step 9: Apply Conditioner (For Leather Boots)

If your army boots are made of leather, it’s essential to condition them after cleaning to keep the material supple and prevent cracking or drying out. Choose a leather conditioner specifically designed for boots and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help protect the leather from water, salt, and other elements that can cause damage.

Step 10: Buff Boots

After conditioning (if applicable) and drying your boots completely, it’s time to give them a final touch-up. Use a clean cloth to buff the exterior surfaces of your army boots, giving them a shine and removing any remaining residue. This will also help restore the original color and appearance of your boots. It’s best to use a cloth different from the one used for conditioning to prevent any leftover conditioner from transferring onto the boot surface.

Use a Clean Cloth to Buff the Exterior Surfaces

Step 11: Store Boots Properly

To maintain the condition of your army boots, it’s essential to store them properly when not in use. Make sure they are completely dry before storing them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in plastic bags or airtight containers as they can trap moisture, leading to mold and mildew growth. Additionally, if you have leather boots, use shoe trees or stuff them with newspaper to help maintain their shape while in storage.

Following these steps on how to clean army boots and properly care for your army boots will ensure they not only look great but also last longer and perform at their best. Remember to clean them regularly, especially after use in harsh conditions, to keep them in top condition and ready for any mission or adventure.  So, make sure to include these steps in your regular boot care routine. Happy cleaning! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Use Any Type of Soap or Detergent to Clean My Army Boots?

A: It is best to use a mild soap or detergent specifically designed for cleaning shoes. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the material of your boots. 

Q: How Often Should I Clean My Army Boots?

A: It is recommended to clean your army boots after each use in harsh conditions and at least once a month for regular use. However, the frequency of cleaning may vary depending on usage and environmental factors.

Q: Can I Machine-Wash My Army Boots?

A: No, machine-washing can damage the material and shape of your army boots. It is best to handwash them following the steps mentioned above.

Q: Can I Use a Hairdryer to Dry My Army Boots?

A: It is not recommended to use a hairdryer or any direct heat source to dry your boots as it can cause shrinkage or damage the material. Air drying is the best method.

Air Drying is the Best Method


Properly cleaning and maintaining your army boots is crucial for their longevity and performance. By following these steps on how to clean army boots, you can keep your boots in top condition and ensure they last through all your missions and adventures. Remember to regularly clean and care for your boots to keep them looking great and performing at their best. Happy cleaning!

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Jennifer Branett

I am Jennifer, a passionate blogger since 2016. I like to write informative articles to help peoples in my free time. I am a family person. I have two kids who keep me busy all the time. I always try to give importance to my family. Sometimes it becomes challenging for me to maintain the time along with my family. But I never lose hope. I hope my articles are helping you in some way. If so, You can give me a thumbs up to my inbox, which means a lot to me. Thank you. You can email me at

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