How to Wash Steel Toe Boots in the Washer

If you have a pair of steel toe boots, you know how important it is to wash them regularly. When these shoes are dirty, they often smell very bad. Wearing dirty, smelly boots is not only uncomfortable but also unhealthy. But how can you wash them?

In most cases, steel toe boots are not washed in the washer. But if do not have any other option, you can use a washer to wash your shoes. In this post, we will show you how to wash steel toe boots in the washer.

Read the label

You will find a care label on your steel toe boots. Before you dive into action, read the care label carefully. By reading it you will know whether the boots can be machine washed. The best way to wash your boots is suggested depending on the type of material the boots are made from.

If there is a warning and the label says that the boots can not be washed in the washer, you have to take a different approach to wash them. For example, to remove the surface dirt, you can use an old toothbrush. You can also use a damp cloth to clean your boots.

Prepare the boots

Preparation mainly involves scrubbing loose dirt and removing or loosening the laces. To clean the smaller areas, an old toothbrush can be handy. And clean the surface of your boots; you can use a stiff-bristled brush. To know how to wash steel toe boots in the washer, you must know how to prepare them.

If there is still some dirt on the boots, you can use water to remove the dirt. To remove excess stains and debris, hold the boots beneath a running tap. This preparation is important, because it makes the job of the washing machine easier.

Protect your boots

Take an empty pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag. Pop your boots and the laces inside the bag. It will prevent them from becoming snagged. Shoes or boots make some noise in the washing machine, and this is a simple way to reduce the noise.

You can also use towels that can act as a buffer. During the wash, your boots will not bang against the drum. This simple act can not only protect your boots but also reduce the noise inside the washing machine.

Prepare the machine

If the temperature of the water is more than 30 degrees, the colors of your water may run or fade. That is why you should not opt for warm water. If you are washing PVC or PU, this is even more important. Preparing the machine is also important if you want to figure out how to wash steel toe boots in the washer.

Cool water does not damage the coating of the shoes. You also have to be choosy when picking the detergent. Make sure it is a good colored detergent. Before you add your towels and shoes, pop the detergent into the drum.

Air dry

Tumble drying your boots is one of the worst things you can do. So you should air dry them. Some of the glue in your boots will melt due to the high heat of the tumble dryer. And if that happens, your boots will be vulnerable to breaking. Find a warm place in your house and keep your shoes there.

Putting some scrunched newspaper into the boots is also a very good idea. It is two benefits: the excess moisture gets absorbed, and the boot remains in the correct shape. As a result you find the boots more comfortable to wear.

Alternative way

If your steel toe boots are not machine washable, you must learn an easy way to wash them without using the washer. If it is not possible to wash your steel toe boots in the washer, you can wash the boots according to the following steps:

Step 1

If your boots have removable insoles, remove them. Hand wash the insoles with some warm water and detergent. To remove soap residue, rinse the insoles well. The insoles often contain odor-causing bacteria. So the odor may be removed altogether if you clean the insoles.

Step 2

Mix a few drops of mild shampoo with water. Dip a rag into the soapy water and clean your boots, both the inside and outside. If needed, pour some water into the boots and then rinse them. Make sure that no suds are present there. Then use a clean rag to dry the inside. Air dry your boots completely.

Step 3

Take 2 tablespoons of baking soda and fill your socks with it. Then place the socks inside the boots and leave them overnight. Baking soda will drive away the odor and make your boots smell fresh.

This is a very effective way to remove unbearable odor from your boots. It is not always enough to learn how to wash steel toe boots in the washer. You should also learn other ways to clean them.

Step 4

Place your boots in a plastic bag and keep the bag in the freezer. Keep the boots in the freezer for the whole night. Take out the boots in the morning. The extremely low temperature in the freezer can kill the bacteria, and reduce the odor in your boots.

Treating different stains

You need to be a bit strategic to treat different types of stains.

For example, to treat grease stains, you need to use a microfiber cloth. Use a piece of microfiber cloth to blot the oil. To cover the stain, use absorbent powder such as talcum powder. Leave the boots overnight. In the morning, use a brush to remove the powder.

To treat waterbased dirt and stains, you can use some lemon juice. You can also make a strong solvent by mixing some tarter with water. Mix them well and then use a piece of clean cloth to apply the mixture. Make sure that there is no dirt on the boots when you apply the mixture.

Cleaning the inside

Bacteria can grow very rapidly in the inside of your boots, partly due to sweat and dust. So if want to get rid of odor and dirt, you have to pay special attention to the inside of your boots.

As we have mentioned earlier, you must wash the insoles separately. Let them dry properly before you place them back in place. To clean the inside, use a mile shampoo and some warm water. Rinse them properly before you place them outside to dry in the sun.

The soles may get clogged with stones, mud and solid dirt. Wet substances such as paint and oil can also cause some problems. As a result, your boots may gradually lose their traction, which can result in injuries. Besides learning how to wash steel toe boots in the washer, you should also learn how to address the issue of losing traction.

To remove solid dirt, you can use a hard brush. If needed, use tweezers and tongues to pull out debris and stone. To wash the soles thoroughly, use a brush and some detergent. But be careful. Do not end up damaging the leather.


Besides discussing how to wash steel toe boots in the washer, we have also shown you how to clean them without the machine. No matter how you wash them, you should take the issue seriously because your work boots not only provide you with comfort but also protect your from injuries.

The task may not sound interesting, but it is important. It is even better to wash your boots before they start developing an odor. Try to maintain cleanliness as much as you can.