How to clean military boots: a guide
Boots are an essential part of the equipment on duty and provide protection, support, and comfort even in difficult situations.
Tactical boots often encounter challenging conditions: they may come into contact with sand, mud, and water; they may be exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods; they may have to bear enormous weight; or they may be subject to abrasions and shocks.
To prolong the life of your tactical boots, it is important to follow a proper cleaning and maintenance routine that can prevent material deterioration.
How to clean suede military bootsSuede boots are among the most popular military boots and are extremely durable and protective. The main threats to suede leather are dirt and sand that accumulate on the upper and dry out, causing it to stiffen and crack. If the boots are equipped with a waterproof membrane, you must also clean the inside of the boots well, as sand and stones can damage the inner lining.
What you needYou don't need much to clean tactical boots:
- A soft-bristled brush or a cloth
- Neutral soap
- An old toothbrush
- Waterproofing spray for membranes
5 steps to clean your suede military bootsTo clean your suede boots follow these simple steps:
- Start from the outside by removing mud and dirt from the upper and sole. You can use a soft brush or a cloth, and if there are parts that are difficult to clean, such as the eyelets, you can use an old toothbrush. If the boots are waterproof, you can use water but do not use chemical cleaners.
- Remove the footbed, and then remove any stones and sand from the inside of the boots. Debris inside the boots can cause cuts and holes in the inner lining and can also damage the waterproof membrane.
- Unlace the boots completely and rub the inside with a cloth to remove sweat from the lining. If necessary, you can apply neutral soap to the inner lining but avoid using detergents or aggressive agents.
- Leave the boots unlaced and let them dry in a well-ventilated place. Never dry the boots near heat sources (stoves, heaters, or hairdryers) or in direct contact with sunlight as the sole materials and glues may dry out and deteriorate. Let the boots dry even if you have not used water as the inner lining may have absorbed sweat.
- When your boots have dried remember to store them in a dry place. If you are not going to use them, it is best to store them in their original box, where you will also find printed best practices for cleaning Garmont products. If your boots have a waterproof membrane, we recommend applying a waterproofing spray to protect the waterproof layer and prolong the life of the membrane. When you apply a waterproofing spray, make sure to allow your boots to dry again before putting them in storage.
Tip and warnings
- Never put your boots in the washing machine, you risk damaging them irreparably.
- Brush your boots after each use.
- Never use a wire brush as it may ruin the suede.
- You can wash the laces in the washing machine, or you can soak them in a basin with soap and water and wash by hand.
- If the inner lining is very wet, you can fill the boots with newspaper sheets so that all the water inside can be absorbed.
- You can also apply waterproofing spray to suede boots that do not have a waterproof membrane, this will make your shoes water-repellent for a short time.
How to clean full grain leather bootsFull-grain leather is more valuable than suede, but at the same time it is much more delicate and requires more care.
To clean full-grain leather tactical boots you can follow the same procedure presented for boots with suede uppers, the main difference in care is the type of product that should be applied after the boots have been washed and dried. Full-grain leather is a material that needs to be nourished, specifically we recommend using full-grain leather wax. This type of product protects the leather, covers abrasions and scuffs, and revives the color of the upper. After applying the wax, the full grain leather may darken, so you might want to test a small part of the boot in an inconspicuous area before applying to the entire boot.
To apply the wax, simply use a cloth and spread the product well on the full grain leather parts. We recommend consulting the instructions provided by the wax manufacturer for how frequently you should apply wax to your boots.
How to clean synthetic bootsSynthetic tactical boots are very light and durable but need the right care to last. The procedure for cleaning boots with synthetic uppers is the same as we have described for suede boots and does not involve any additional precautions.
One of the benefits of synthetic boots is that they dry very quickly and therefore can be ready for use as early as a few hours after washing. However, we recommend removing the insoles and unlacing the boots to allow the accumulated sweat on the inside to dry.