How to Clean Mud Off Shoes and Boots

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Non-waterproof shoes require a bit of scrubbing to prevent mud stains.
Non-waterproof shoes require a bit of scrubbing to prevent mud stains. (Image: nok6716/iStock/Getty Images)

A stroll along your favorite trail leaves you refreshed and energized, but it doesn't always come without a bit of cleanup. One step into the dirt on a drizzly day coats your shoes or boots with a layer of mud. Unlike rain and snow, mud refuses drip from your boots onto the foyer mat when you take them off. Clean the mud off your shoes or boots to preserve their condition and get them ready for your next outing.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Fabric brush
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Bowl
  • Sponge
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Saddle soap
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • Suede brush

Fabric

Set your shoes or boots on a sheet of newspaper and allow them to dry. A thin layer of mud takes up to an hour to dry.

Use a fabric brush or old toothbrush to sweep the mud off the shoes. The top layer will fall off, leaving only a residue.

Pour 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap into a bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water.

Dip a sponge into the water and wring it out well. Rub the mud stains with the sponge, using small circular motions. Reapply water to the sponge as necessary, until you have coated both shoes.

Wipe the shoes down with a dry microfiber cloth to absorb the solution and mud. Reapply the dish soap if mud remains on the shoes.

Run the sponge under cold water, and wipe the shoes down to remove the soap and any excess debris. Allow them to air dry.

Leather

Place leather boots on a sheet of newspaper. Use a microfiber cloth to sweep thick chunks of mud and debris from the shoes.

Apply a quarter-size amount of saddle soap to a clean microfiber cloth. Work it into the leather using small circular motions. Saddle soap thoroughly cleans leather while conditioning it.

Soak the same cloth in warm water, and wring it out well. Use large circular motions to wipe the saddle soap from the shoes, along with all mud. Allow them to dry completely, away from sunlight.

Suede

Place your suede shoes on a sheet of newspaper. Gently wipe away large chunks of mud with a microfiber cloth, using a downward sweeping motion. Do not rub suede, because it can push the mud farther into the nap. Allow the remaining mud to dry completely.

Soak a clean cloth in warm water and wring it out well. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar onto the cloth. Gently rub the mud stains with the cloth. Vinegar will remove stains without altering the suede.

Rub remaining stains with a suede eraser using a back and forth motion.

Brush the shoes with a suede brush, working in the direction of the nap in short strokes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once dry, coat your boots or shoes in a protective spray designed for their fabric type. This will prevent mud from soaking through or adhering to them in the future.

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