How to Safely Clean Kids Boots

How to Safely Clean Kids Boots

Keeping your kids' boots clean may seem impossible, with their tendencies to target mud and the ever-changing weather. However, not cleaning them may lead to damage and increased wear over time, reducing the longevity of their boots.

We’ve curated our top easy and affordable tips below for keeping your kids boots clean this autumn and winter.

How often should you clean kids' boots?

How often you clean your kids’ boots depends on how much they wear them. If they are very hard on their boots and love wearing them most days of the week, you may need to do a full deep clean every 1-2 months.

However, if your kids wear their boots more casually through the autumn months as the seasons change, you may only need to clean them once every few months.

There is no strict rule, and how often you clean their boots will depend on how dirty they get.

Can you put children’s boots in the washing machine?

Yes, you can put your boots in the washing machine but you should be mindful of the materials on the boots.

If your kids’ boots are made from PU leather, PVC or other split leathers, they are suitable for throwing in the washing machine and are more likely to withstand a short cycle.

We recommend removing any large pieces of dirt first before putting in the washing machine, and always washing boots with soft fabrics of a similar colour to prevent any damage to the drum of the washing machine.

You can also choose to wash on a “hand wash” setting in order to reduce any chance of damage to the boot.

We don’t recommend machine washing boots which have details of suede, fur or wool linings as this can damage the overall texture and appearance.

Photo of a washing machine door

How to dry children’s boots

There are a few different methods you could use to dry your kids boots after they’ve been in the washing machine:

    • - Use newspapers or paper towels:

Roll up your newspaper or paper towels into balls and stuff the boot all the way to the top, but try not to overstuff as the paper will need extra room to expand as it soaks up the water.

Once the boot is full, tightly wrap it with more paper. This may take a good few hours to fully dry out, but for extra effectiveness, change the paper every so often.

    • - Use a fan:

Make sure the boots are completely clean, remove the insoles and laces, and then place them in front of a fan.

Make sure to change positions of the boots every so often to ensure the whole boot is dried.

    • - Blotting with a towel:

If your boots aren’t too wet, blotting with a towel to remove the excess water and then leaving them to air dry may do the trick just fine.

How to clean kids leather boots

Just like any leather boot, there are a few basic steps to take in order to clean them:

    1. Remove the laces - Start off by removing the laces and adding them to either a wash load or some warm soapy water to remove the dirt.

    1. Remove dried mud and dirt - Before you begin to clean the leather boots, you should ensure that the dirt is dry so it is easy to brush away. Use a soft cloth or bristle brush to do so.

    1. Apply soap and water - Mix a solution of warm water and dish soap together in a small bowl. Dip a soft cloth into it, wring out and wipe down the exterior of the boot to remove any dried residue.

    1. Rinse the boot - With a fresh cloth and clean water, wipe down the boot to remove the soap and water mixture.

    1. Dry the boots - Remove as much moisture from the exterior as possible with a soft towel and then allow the boots to dry slowly. Make sure to avoid direct sunlight or heat as this can cause the leather to crack and fade.

  1. Condition the leather - To protect the boot from wear and tear as your kids wear them, apply a boot sealant, oil, wax or leather conditioner. Allow to sit on the boot for the recommended time and then polish with a soft cloth until the boots shine.

How to clean kids boots with diamantes

If your kids boots have diamantes on them, it can be a bit harder to clean them and not damage the details.

We don’t suggest putting this type of boot in the washing machine as the hot water may cause the glue to melt, resulting in the diamantes falling off. Instead, we recommend hand washing them using gentle techniques.

For the diamante sections of the boot, we suggest using a toothbrush with warm soapy water, and gently brushing the area.

Try not to brush too rigorously as this may loosen the diamantes.

Once clean, use a damp cloth with warm water to remove the soap solution.

Silver Glitter Unicorn Baby Baseball Boots

How to clean kids boots that smell

Bacteria is the culprit of smelly boots, and if your kids are wearing their boots daily due to the weather, this can cause a build up of bacteria.

There are a few inexpensive techniques you can use in order to remove the smell from your kids boots.

Bicarbonate of soda

Bicarbonate of soda is a natural deodoriser that absorbs smells and bacteria. Simply sprinkle it directly into the boot and leave to sit for at least 24 hours.


Vinegar neutralises odour and fights bacteria at the same time. Just mix equal parts white wine vinegar and water into a spray bottle, and spray the mixture inside the boot and allow to dry. Doing this after every wear will keep your boots smelling fresher for longer. Don’t worry, the smell of vinegar won't linger.

Essential oils

Tea tree, clove and cedarwood oils are popular natural deodorisers with antifungal properties. Put a few drops directly in the boots and leave to dry before wearing. You could also mix the oils with bicarbonate of soda or in a vinegar and water mixture.

How to weatherproof kids boots over Winter

The UK weather can be unpredictable, and ensuring your kids' feet stay warm and dry is a must this autumn and winter. Depending on what kind of boot your kids have, there are several methods you could take to weatherproof them.

Kid standing in snow with red boots on

Full Grain Leather Boots

Leather is a naturally water repellent material, but there are still techniques you can use to boost this property.

There are special waxes available which are formulated to restore waterproofness and the condition of the leather. Since leather is made from animal material, it can dry out and crack. Keeping the leather moisturised and shiny will keep your kids' feet warm and dry on those wet and cold days.

Nubuck Leather and Suede Boots

Nubuck leather and suede require a different treatment from full grain leather boots.

To weatherproof these boots, you could use a waterproofing spray designed to restore the waterproofness to the materials as well as protecting it. Don’t use the same wax you would use for leather as it will destroy the “fuzzy” feel of the nubuck and suede.

Fabric Boots

Fabric boots are generally more challenging to clean compared to other materials as the fabric is less durable.

We suggest using a soap and water mixture to remove the first and finishing with a waterproofing spray to protect the boot in the future.

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