Hiking and work boots protect your feet on rough terrains and job sites. However, while they stand up to dirt, mud and scuffs better than your sneakers, they still lock in unpleasant sweat, smells and bacteria.
Therefore, learning how to clean hiking boots and work boots is important to keep your feet healthy.
To make things easier, here at FootFitter we broke down which irritants linger on your boots and how to kick them to the curb. Keep reading to learn how to clean hiking boots and work boots effectively.
Bacteria lurking on your dirty boots
In addition to the everyday dirt and grime that sticks to your boots, sweat and smells can be signals of more serious foot health issues and bacteria build-up.
Find out what follows your boots home from a job site or camping trip.
Dirt and environmental irritants
Wearing boots in a warehouse or on a construction site is sure to accumulate dust and dirt. In addition, hiking quickly acquires its fair-share of sticks and pebbles.
And while your boots likely saved you from a swift poke to the foot during your activities, they will also likely hold on to environmental souvenirs as you trek back into the house.
While this is bad news for clean carpets and surfaces, unseen specimens lurking in these irritants can be even more dangerous for your health.
The leftover grime on your boots can carry harmful germs like E.coli, meningitis, diarrheal disease and bloodstream or respiratory infections.
Sweat and smells
It’s easy to consider the rough-and-tumble damage your boots undergo in the wintertime, when they must stand up to rain, mud and snow.
However, summertime is often when your boots and your feet face a worse predicament: sweat.
Your feet naturally sweat more when you wear hiking or work boots because they are designed with tight-insulation to better protect your feet. Unfortunately as a result, this reduces airflow and locks in heat that causes sweat and unpleasant smells.
Even worse, smelly sweat provides the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. With tight-fitting insulated boots, issues like Athlete’s Foot and nail fungus commonly develop.
How to clean hiking boots and work boots
At this point, you’re probably vehemently searching for shoe care products that will rid your boots of dirt, sweat and all the disgusting germs lurking behind.
Look no further. With these three easy steps, learning how to clean hiking boots and work boots will be a breeze.
Step 1: Brush to dislodge irritants.
The first step in your journey to clean boots is dislodging the dirt and pebbles jammed in the outer parts of your boots.
Horsehair bristles are the ideal material for the job. While they are stiff and able to dislodge stubborn irritants, the hairs are still gentle on sensitive leather materials.
However, while you may already have a shoe shining brush in your collection, it’s best to get a separate brush for your dirty boots. This ensures you don’t contaminate your fancier dress shoes with environmental irritants or varying leather conditioners or creams.
It is also best to stay outside for the brushing portion of the process.
While shining your dress shoes only requires a few newspapers to protect your floors, work and hiking boots are often much dirtier. Brushing your boots off over grass or a planter keeps the dirt outside where it belongs.
Step 2: Condition leather to maintain quality.
Once the leftover dirt and debris are gone from your boots, it becomes time to head back inside to address scuffs and discoloration.
While leather is one of the longest-lasting materials for shoes, leather takes the most abuse when it’s on your work or hiking boots. This makes the conditioning process necessary to keep up their appearance.
Step 3: Use cedar boot trees to eliminate foul odors.
Finally, cedar boot trees help solve the issue of unwanted sweat and unpleasant smells.
After you take off your boots or finish cleaning them, slip cedar boot trees into their soles.
In addition to the pleasant natural fragrance cedar provides, its absorption properties help to soak up sweat and restore freshness.
Also useful for your hiking boots, cedar wood has properties that work as a natural insect repellant.
Other useful tips for maintaining foot health
While cedar boot trees target sweat and smells in your boots, you may still have the problem on your feet.
Staying aware of your foot health and cleanliness helps ensure you avoid the effects of lingering germs.
In addition to washing your feet after a long work day or hike, spraying a foot solution on your feet after a bath or shower keeps sweat and odors away longer.
Now that you have all the tips to know how to clean hiking boots and work boots, it will be much easier to keep their dirt and foul smells out of your home.