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How To Clean Hiking Boots Inside? Both Insoles & Linings

Weekends are times that we use to catch up with friends, take a break from the stress of the workweek, and clean up our living space. Imagine cleaning your house and instead of it smelling fresh and dirt-free, it still has an unpleasant smell.

Where could that be coming from? Possibly your hiking boots!

Hiking boots are used for a variety of functions, which are mostly outdoor activities. And things like sweat and grime being in your shoes are unavoidable.

There are many advantages to cleaning the insides of your boots as often as you clean the exterior.

These include:

  • Getting rid of foul smells, mold, and other kinds of bacteria.
  • Maintaining your foot health.
  • Keeping the insole and the internal part of hiking boots unharmed.
  • Maintaining the excellence of the footwear.
  • Making the hiking boots soft and dirt-free, delivering long-term convenience for your feet.

In this article, we cover:

  • How to clean the insoles of your hiking boots.
  • How to get rid of the dirt inside hiking boot’s linings.
  • How often you should clean your hiking boots.

Let’s dive in!

Cowboy Boots 1

How To Clean The Insoles of Your Hiking Boots?

hiking boots with worn out insoles

How to tidy up the insoles of hiking boots? The first thing you should do is pull them out.

Check your shoe’s care instructions to see if your insoles can be cleaned in the washing machine. If it can, then toss them in the machine and let the appliance do its work.

However, if your insoles do not go well with machine washing and have to be washed by hand, you can use the steps below. Remember, there are various ways to clean different insole materials.

For fabric insoles 

a pair of light colored hiking boots

Tools needed

  • A brush with soft bristles
  • A clean cloth

It is sometimes tough to clean insoles made of fabrics and other synthetic materials. However, with a little time and patience, you can get a fresh and clean insole.

Steps to follow

  1. First, take out the insole from your hiking boots.
  2. Carefully scrub the insole with the brush.
  3. When you see that all the dirt is scrubbed off, use a neat piece of fabric to mop it clean.

For Leather Insoles

full grain leather hiking boots

Tools needed

  • Leather cleaner
  • A shoe brush
  • A clean rag or cloth
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To clean an insole made of leather, you will require a good leather cleaner.

Steps to follow

  1. Scrub the leather insole with a brush first and then saturate it with water.
  2. Sprinkle the leather cleaner over the exterior and employ the brush to thoroughly rub the boots.
  3. Once that is finished, use a tidy rag to rub off all the extra foam.

If you can not remove the insole of your hiking boots, then you will have to clean the insides of your shoes. Following the below step-by-step guide will help you get boots with a clean interior in no time.

How To Remove Dirt From The Insides of Hiking Boots?

dirty hiking boots with mildew smell

You should discard all the laces from the hiking boots first. If your boots have zippers, unzip them. This will make it simple to wipe the inside of the shoes, as opening the laces and zippers of the footwear would make the opening wider and aid easy access.

Hiking boots come with a variety of inner materials. There are boots made with synthetic inner linings and others with leather linings. Each of them comes with a varied number of techniques and equipment.

Before you start with the cleaning process, try to identify which material or combination of substances was used to manufacture the insides of the boots.

Doing this will help you formulate the right instruments and method of cleaning for your shoes. The most common elements used to create the internal lining of boots are Nylon fabric, Suede, and Leather.

 For fabric lining

a pair of nubuck hiking boots needs conditioning

Tools needed

  • Vacuum
  • A soft bristle brush
  • Fabric cleaner
  • Water spray bottle
  • A clean rag/cloth
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Steps to follow

  1. Wield a brush with soft bristles or a clean rag to thoroughly wipe off all the dirt stuck inside the footwear. Then operate a vacuum to suck all the grime out.
  2. Moisten the interior of your hiking boots with a little drizzle of water. Then sprinkle fabric cleaner on the soft bristle brush. Use the brush to rub the insides of the boots.
  3. After the scrubbing is done, clean the excess fabric cleaner with a piece of clean cloth.

 For leather lining

dark leather hiking boots

Tools needed

  • Vacuum
  • A horsehair brush
  • Leather cleaner
  • Spray bottle
  • A clean rag/cloth
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Steps to follow

  1. Pick a horsehair brush or a clean rag and use it to thoroughly wipe off all the dirt stuck inside the footwear. Then operate a vacuum to suck all the grime out.
  2. Sprinkle a slim coating of water on the interior of the boots. Obtain a leather cleaner to spray directly onto the inner part of the hiking boots.
  3. After the scrubbing is done, clean the excess fabric cleaner with a piece of clean cloth.

For suede lining 

brown suede hiking boots on mountain

Tools needed

  • Special suede brush
  • Suede eraser
  • Suede cleaner
  • Suede conditioner
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Footwear manufactured with suede is popular with a lot of people because suede is smoother, softer, easier to walk with, and it has a more elegant look than leather. They also take less time to soften and break-in.

However, cleaning suede hiking boots can be hard work. The first thing to remember about suede shoes is that you should not use water to rid them of dirt. Instead, use cleaning products made specifically for suede.

Steps to follow

  1. Use a suede-dedicated brush to eliminate dirt. Ensure that all large smudges are scrubbed off.
  2. To clean the hard-to-reach areas where the bristles of the brush cannot reach, use a suede eraser.(These erasers serve to clean dry stains, refurbish the unique texture of suede and brighten the material).
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the hiking boots are clean and all stains are gone.
  4. Evenly apply a suede cleaner to the exterior of your suede hiking boots.
  5. After applying, take the special suede brush to gently rub the surface and extract all the persisting dirt smears.
  6. To complete this procedure, pick a dry piece of fabric to wipe the boots. This will guarantee that the suede boots do not get musty, making the suede softer and smoother.
  7. After cleaning your hiking boots, immediately apply suede conditioner.Do not neglect to apply conditioner, as this is an important step.

Suede conditioner enables the boots to preserve their bright colors and keeps the suede strong, soft, silky, moisturized, and waterproof. Apply a thin coating of conditioner to the exterior of the suede and you are done!

How Often Should You Clean The Inside Of Hiking Boots?

man wearing grey blue suede hiking boots

You should simultaneously clean the interior of the boots at the same time you clean the exterior. How often you clean your hiking boots depends on how often you make use of them.

If you regularly wear your boots, then you should rid them of dirt every 2 – 3 months. Though this is not recommended, in cases of emergency, certain household items help with the cleaning of leather hiking boots.


Knowing that the exterior of your hiking boots is dirty is pretty easy. The problem is usually recognizing when the insides are starting to accumulate dirt.

Always endeavor to remember that the inside of your hiking boots is as significant as the outside. Hiking boots manufactured with different materials will be cleaned in various ways, and you must pay attention to this.

For fabric hiking boots, use a soft bristle brush and cleaning foam. Whereas for suede, a cleaner and a special suede brush are all you need.

To clean leather shoes, pick a horsehair brush and cleaner. Do not forget to remove the insoles of the boots and clean them separately.

Soap can be dangerous to the leather and damage the waterproofing, so you should avoid using it to clean your hiking shoes. Hopefully, this easy manual has motivated you to give your hiking boots some tender loving care.

Good luck!

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