How To Clean And Preserve Your Hunting Boots

How To Clean And Preserve Your Hunting Boots

Many of us have been conditioned to view our hunting boots as a short term piece of gear that may only last a year or two. While there are certainly some who enjoy purchasing new boots every season, there’s nothing like keeping a good pair of hunting boots in your inventory that you can rely upon for years.

For those of you who are used to hunting boots cracking, shrinking, and falling apart, keeping your boots in pristine condition is easier than you may think — and it has nothing to do with keeping them as clean and dry as possible during the hunt.

In fact, it’s all about what you do to them after. Read on to find out how to clean hunting boots, and how I’ve kept some of my favorite boots around for years.

Cleaning Leather Hunting Boots

Cleaning Leather Boot

We’ll start with leather hunting boots, as these are still the most popular for many of you.

  • If you’ve got mud caked on the outside, begin by using a damp cloth to knock off as much as you can, while wiping off the bottom and sides as well. You may want to do this part outside, as doing it in your sink or bathtub could cause a mess, and clog your drains
  • After you get all the big chunks off, use a soft nylon brush to carefully scrub the rest of the mud and dirt off, and then use an old toothbrush to reach any crevices, such as the traction on the soles and anywhere around the lace holes
  • Remove the footbed inserts, and gently clean them using a cloth, mild soap, and warm water. If the inside of your boots are a mess, fill the boots with some warm water, and quickly use a toothbrush to scrub mud and dirt off, before promptly draining them
  • Leave the boots out to dry upside down, and keep them out of direct sunlight. Never use a hair dryer or heat source to dry them, as this will shrink the leather and cause it to crack and break

Cleaning Non-Leather Hunting Boots

Cleaning Non Leather Boot

Rubber and neoprene are a lot easier to care for, but there are still a few steps to follow for proper cleaning.

  • Begin by removing dirt and mud from the outside. If possible use a water hose outside to save some time and avoid a mess
  • Rub the boots with a cloth to dry them, and then apply a small amount of baking soda and rub it in using a small nylon brush. This will help remove any remaining dirt, while also removing your scent so animals won’t smell them next time you’re out. Once you’re done, add a little bit of baking soda to the insides and set them aside to fully dry

Storing Your Hunting Boots

Hunting Boots On Shelf

The storage aspect is equally important. If you have leather, consider conditioning your boots with specialized products, as this will keep them moisturized, flexible, and more waterproof.

For full leather, use conditioners made from animal oils and beeswax. For Gore-Tex and nylon, use synthetic products.

Always keep your boots stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. This will prevent mildew, cracking, and other common issues that can shorten their life.


Cleaning hunting boots doesn’t have to be a long process. With just a few small steps and some common sense, you can ensure your boots will last for many years and hunts to come, regardless of how dirty they get during your outing.

Make it just as much of a part of your routine as your gun and other gear maintenance, and you’ll be all set, while saving quite a bit of money in the process.

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