This post looks at some simple tips and tricks to help you clean hiking boots after your hikes.
I was out hiking last weekend in some pretty wet and nasty weather and through some pretty boggy and marshy terrain. That kind of weather mixed with the dirt and debris on the ground can be tough on your hiking boots.
It got me to thinking about some immediate steps you can take to care for your hiking boots just after you use them on a day hike.
This post is not intended to be a fully exhaustive treatise on how to best look after your hiking boots over the long term as there is much to consider for that depending on the type of boots you have, the material, etc. I will compile all that information into a more complete post in the future. For now I wanted to review some basic tips for cleaning your hiking boots that you can easily follow and implement immediately.
The first crucial point is to clean your boots regularly and always after every hike where you get them very dirty. This is mainly to protect them from any erosive effects that may arise from the type of ground you were hiking in. For example, as I mentioned above, I was hiking in bog and marsh last weekend in mountains I know pretty well. I also know that the bog and marsh there is particularly acidic and therefore can eat away at your hiking boots over time if not cleaned properly.
So, below are a few basic steps on how I go about cleaning and drying my boots just after a day hike.
To clean my hiking boots properly, I first run them under my outside tap and use a tooth brush, any small brush will do, to brush off any dirt. I pay particular attention to the areas that connect one part of my hiking boots to another to ensure no acidic bits of marsh or nasty dirt are left to eat away at any glue or material.
After I've completed step one above, I then take the boots indoors and remove the insoles. Removing your insoles won't be an option in many hiking boots. Don't worry about it if they're fixed inside you're boots, just skip onto the next step.
If your hiking boots are wet, get some old newspaper and wrap it up into loose balls. Then stuff the paper inside your hiking boots loosely filling them from the toe to the top of the boot. I also like to make a few rips and tears in the newspaper (in my head I think this makes the paper more absorbent especially if it's lightly gloss coated paper).
Leave the hiking boots and insoles overnight in a warm room to dry out. In the morning if your hiking boots are still wet, remove the first batch of newspaper, which will be damp and soggy, from your hiking boots and dump. Then repeat step three above until your boots are dry. When your hiking boots are dry, replace your insoles. and you should be good to go for your next hike!
These are just some basic tips but simple care like this can really extend the life of your hiking boots. Even if you're hiking in dry weather and your boots only get a bit dirty on the outside, a light clean is still a good idea every couple of hikes.
Do you have any tips for cleaning your hiking boots? We'd love to hear them in the comments below.