Taking proper care of your gear can extend its lifespan. Cleaning your hiking boots after every use is a crucial part of that.
Merrell’s Associate Product Line Manager, Jon Sanregret, shares his step-by-step boot cleaning routine to help you get the most miles from your boots:
- Remove laces and insoles to air out separately. Insoles collect bacteria and odors, so giving them time to breathe reduces this.
- Wipe away surface dirt and debris with a damp cloth. Don’t force it if some dirt or mud doesn’t come off right away. That’s what a good cleaner is for!
- Apply your preferred cleaner and give them a good scrub. Brush your boots with a suede brush so you don’t damage any leather areas. Then wipe the boot clean with a damp cloth. Repeat the process until dirt is gone.
- Sprinkle some water on the upper of your boot to test to see if water still beads down the outside of the boot. If not, it’s time to apply a waterproofing agent. Waterproofing wears off over time. This is totally normal! Checking every once in a while, and reapplying when needed, ensures your feet will stay dryer on wet or muddy trails.
- Apply Leather Lotion to keep your boots hydrated.
- Allow boots to air dry. Don’t put them near a heater or else leather areas can dry out and crack!
- Replace dry insoles and laces.
- Store your boots in a dry space at room temperature.
While your boots seem as tough as nails, the material can still crack, stain, dry and warp if not cared for properly. Following this step-by-step cleaning process gives your boots the durability to last. More importantly, it keeps them prepped and ready for your next hike or outdoor excursion.