How to Clean/Wash Steel Toe Work Boots | Step by Step Guide

If you are working in hard jobs, where there is a higher chance of foot injury, then you must know about steel toe work boots or probably already have one. These are special boots that protect your toes in case of injury or mishaps. In this article, we will explain how to clean/wash steel toe work boots in detail.

If you are working in a construction site, or warehouse, then you must have one. They are very good at protecting your feet but there is a big issue while using them. Since they use steel in the fabric, over time, it develops a strong smell.

The unpleasant odor of steel toe work boots will be difficult to ignore over time. Since they are a bit expensive than other shoes, you can’t just throw them away because of the smell. You must wash them so that there is no smell left. Washing the steel toe work boots is not simple and here we will learn about how to wash them efficiently.

If you haven’t bought your work boots till now, then don’t worry as we have published a detailed guide on the Best Steel toe work boots.

Washing The Outer Part

There are different details for washing the outer as well as the inner part of your steel-toe shoes. So, we will first explain how to wash the outer part of your shoes followed by the inner part. The outer one is a bit simpler, and you can it easily. There are various methods for each shoe type, and we will discuss some of them here.

Leather Steel Boots

When you are washing the leather steel boots, make sure to take the insoles out. You must wash them separately. You can either make a soap-water solution or use shampoo with a lower pH value.

After creating the solution, take a piece of cloth and clean the outside of your shoes using this solution. To clean the leather fibers, you must move your fingers gently in circular motions. The drying is a bit simpler, where you will first use a dryer, followed by placing the shoes in the sunlight.

A quick tip is to add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the sock. Keep them separately overnight in the baking soda and it will remove all the smell from your boots. Thus, your boots will be refreshing again.

How to Clean/Wash Steel Toe Work Boots

Stained Steel Toe Boots

If you work in a greasy area, then there is a separate way to clean your shoes. You will need to use talcum powder to do the complete cleansing. The first step of which will be to use a microfiber cloth and blot the oil in the boots. You will have to take out as much stain as possible with the help of the microfiber cloth.

Make sure you don’t rub the cloth harshly which may damage the fibers in your boots. Once you finish the job, take talcum powder, and sprinkle them wherever you find grease or stain. You must keep the boots, with the talcum powder on them, for overnight.

In the morning, you will take a microfiber again and try to rub the powder off your steel boots. When you are removing the powder, you will realize that all the remaining stains will be removed from your boots.

Suede Steel Toe Boots

When washing the suede steel boots, make sure you always wash them using your hands. You should never use the washer for cleaning these shoes in any case. All you need is a scrub shoe brush, sodium bicarbonate, and a rag.

You will follow the same process as we had for stains, but this time, more gently. First, use the special scrub shoe brush and rub the stains from your boot. Do it carefully and on the stains, you will then have to pour drops of sodium bicarbonate. Leave your steel toe boots overnight.

In the morning, you will need a rag to clean your boots by rubbing off sodium bicarbonate gently from the boots. When you are removing the sodium bicarbonate, you will realize that the stains also went off. Just place them under the sun and let the boots dry. You will see that they are clean now, condition them, and your boots are again fresh.

Suede Steel Toe Boots

Nubuck Steel Toe Boots

To clean these shoes, all you need is a soap-water solution, with a toothbrush and a lint-free cloth piece. First, you have to rub off the dirt that you can easily remove using the toothbrush.

Then you will take a bowl and make a soap-water solution in it. Keep dipping the cloth inside this solution and clean the outer of your nubuck boots using this cloth. Take off the insoles as you have to wash them separately.

Once you finish washing the boots, keep them in an open area so the air will dry them. You can also use a good conditioner which will return the nourishment and shine to your nubuck steel boots. After wash and dry the boots, you must spray them to return their waterproof coating.

Nubuck Steel Toe Boots

Inner Part Washing

Washing the inner part of your steel toe boots is a bit more crucial to some while easier for others. There are various ways, and we can try any of them at our convenience. I will explain here in a simple way and explain that how to wash the inner part that is, the insole of your steel boots.

Method 1

The first and most simple method to clean the insoles of your shoes is to hand wash them. You can apply this method if the insoles are removable. Mix a mild laundry detergent in warm water, and then hand washes the insoles in this water.

Once washed, rinse your shoes well so no soap is left on them. We know that smell-causing bacteria are often trapped inside the insoles. So, washing the insoles using soap will clean the insole and remove all the smell.

Method 2

You can also use baby shampoo or any other mild shampoo which has a lower pH value. Mix the shampoo in warm water and use a rag to clean your boots from the inside. You should apply the rag gently and make sure that the surface doesn’t damage.

Once you clean the boots with a rag, fill the boots with water from inside. Rinse them out so you know that the shoes are clean now. You can also use a clean rag to dry the shoes. Once they are dry, leave them in an open place so the shoes get completely dry in the air.

Method 3

While for some people it is unusual, indeed leaving your shoes in the freezer will also bring benefits. Use this method if the shoes are clean from the inside, and you only want to remove the smell.

You should insert your shoes in a large plastic bag and put them in your freezer. Leave them for overnight or 8+ hours and take them out after this duration. The cold temperature in your freezer will kill the smell causing bacteria. Thus, your shoes won’t smell. If there is dirt, then this method won’t work.

We have also written an article on how often should you replace work shoes? Give it a read for sure.

Final Thoughts

Steel toe work boots are a necessity in various jobs. However, these shoes require special care as they may smell or get dirty, and you can’t just simply clean them. In this article, we discussed how to clean your steel-toe work boots in detail.

There are separate ways for each shoe type and stains type. You must be careful when selecting them as even a slight mistake in the washing may damage the material of your shoes and create issues. Hence, the shoes will turn useless.

Some frequently asked questions regarding cleaning and washing

1) Is it okay to wash my Steel Toe Work Boot in the washer?

Clean them in the washer with a mild soap or by hand with a gentle, low-pH shampoo, if possible. In either particular instance, allow to air dry.

After the smell has subsided, blot up whatever shampoo stains with such a cloth dampened just with water. However, you must be mindful of the fabric of your boots; if they are made of suede, they should never be washed in a washer.

2) How do you thoroughly clean work boots?

If your boots are dirtied all over, clean them deeply with saddle soap (or soap specifically designed for leather work boots) as well as a damp cloth. Every 2-3 months, you must change them.

3) Can steel-toed boots be dried in the spinner?

The question remains: can steel toe shoes be dried in the spinner? The answer is absolutely no. You’ll have to deal with some issues. Leather shoes may not survive in good condition in a low-heat dryer.

4) Why does my Steel Toe Work Boots smell really bad?

Definitely, the primary cause of Steel Toe Work Boots smelling is perspiration on the feet. Cleaning your feet with antiseptic solution regularly will kill the bacteria and the odor that comes with it.

5) How do you remove the foul smell from work boots?

Baking soda including some cornstarch applies and leaves it overnight. Spill everything out in the morning or right before you put them on.

Hi, I am Carl! A shoe enthusiast and a passionate writer. I love to share information related to Shoes in order to help people. I have tried shoes from almost all the brands around the globe.

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