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How to clean football boots (step-by-step guide)

Look after your boots and they’ll look after you. This is the ultimate guide on how to clean your football boots.
Author Image of Kevan Thorpe


one year ago


how to clean and dry football boots

Caring for your football boots is more important than you think. It’s vital to your game.

Remember the warm and fuzzy feeling you had when you first pulled those fresh boots out of their box?

And now think of how they feel when you’ve left them cold and wet, caked in mud. Poor things.

Your boots are going to take a battering out on the pitch, which is even more reason to clean and dry them properly. That means every time the final whistle is blown.

This step-by-step guide is here to give you all the information for keeping your favourite boots squeaky clean and ready for action.

It’s true what they say you know, look after your boots and they’ll look after you.

Get your Marigolds on, it’s scrubbing time.

How to clean football boots (leather or synthetic)

When it comes to washing smelly and dirty football boots, we’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps.

Step 1: Remove debris

muddy football boots with cleaning tool
Image from Amazon.

We know you're tired, but as soon as you’re back from your game, it’s time to take action.

Knock off any excess mud by clapping the boots together by their soles, or against solid ground.

Take a boot cleaning tool, lollipop stick, screwdriver or a putty knife (anything that works, really) to dig out any stubborn dirt.

Note: it's easier to remove mud when it's dried a little.

Step 2: Wash and wipe

dirty football boots being cleaned with a sponge
Image from FOOTY.COM.

Head to the sink, whilst reminding yourself not to splatter the kitchen! Or maybe take a washing up bowl outside instead? Yeah.

Fill it with mild washing detergent and warm water (not too hot). Take an old sponge, flannel or rag and begin to scrub the boots clean.

For more stubborn chunks of mud, use an old toothbrush to finish the job off.

Step 3: Rinse off

football boots being rinsed off with water
Image from Pro:Direct Sport.

Use clean water to rinse the boots clear of any sticky pieces of dirt.

It’s important to clear the boots of any remaining soap and suds, ready for the all-important drying process.

Step 4: Wash the laces and insoles

washing bag being placed in washing machine
Image from Amazon.

Remove the laces (if they aren’t laceless boots of course, duh) and insoles from the boots.

Put them in a washing bag or pillowcase, then start your machine on a delicate / cold wash using mild detergent.

Step 5: Dry them

gold football boots drying indoors
Image from adidas.

The final step in the process is to dry your boots naturally, indoors.

Avoid tumble drying, direct sunlight and radiators for this step, as they’ll all damage the boots.

Finally, always store your boots in a cool, dry place to avoid any unwanted moisture and smells.

If you're finding that your boots are a little tight after washing, try our guide on how to break in football boots.

Boot care: FAQs

How do you stop football boots from smelling?

Cat pee, sweat, mud. Whatever it is, we’ve all had one of them stinking up our kit bag.

There are few simple things you can do to ease the stench from your football boots though. Try these:

  • Immediately change the original insoles for Odour Eaters
  • Hang them outside on a dry, breezy day to air out
  • Spray inside and out with probiotic deodoriser
  • Chuck a few tea bags into each boot for 24hrs
  • Stuff newspaper into each boot for 24hrs
  • Fill old tights with cat litter and stuff into each boot for 24hrs
  • Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda inside them and leave for 15 minutes before removing

How do you dry football boots?

Moist boots are the most common cause of bad smells in the kit bag. That’s why it’s best to follow these tips to dry them off:

  • Always dry naturally, never in direct sunlight or by dryer / radiator
  • Indoor in a warm room is the best option
  • Loosen the laces and tongue to allow air to circulate
  • Remove the insoles and dry them aside
  • Use paper towels and dry cloths to gather any excess moisture
  • Stuff the boots with loosely-packed newspaper (change every 3hrs)
  • Sit them near a fan or use a hairdryer (ONLY on a cool setting)

That’s it! Hopefully you’ve worshipped your boots and kept them sparkling since their arrival. After all, they’re your personal tools for ultimate turf dominance!

Shop all football boots >

If you’ve slipped a little in the boot care lately, don’t worry, you can pick up 100s of deals on football boots with us.

We compare leading boot retailers such as Pro:Direct, Nike, Sports Direct, adidas, Lovell Soccer, Puma and more to bring you the lowest prices, every day.

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Author Image of Kevan Thorpe
Quintessential grassroots journeyman. I've had more "you look like Gareth Barry" comments than I have career goals.
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