can you put wellies in the dishwasher

Can You Put Wellies in the Dishwasher?

The classic welly, also known as the Wellington boot, is a staple in many households. Wellies keep our feet dry in wet conditions. They help us wade through muddy fields, and even make a fashion statement. Despite their utility, wellies can be quite difficult to clean. So, the question stands – can you put wellies in the dishwasher?

Yes, you can put wellies in the dishwasher for cleaning. This method should be used sparingly and with care to avoid potential damage to the boots.

Let’s look at the methods to clean your wellies efficiently.

Dishwasher Cleaning Wellies

Dishwasher cleaning wellies can be a convenient and effective cleaning method. But it shouldn’t be the go-to option, as repeated cleaning this way will eventually damage the wellie. Here’s an extended, step-by-step guide on how to clean your wellies in the dishwasher:

  1. Pre-clean: Before placing your wellies in the dishwasher, ensure to remove any large pieces of dirt or mud. You can use a dry brush or cloth to do this. This step prevents the dishwasher from getting clogged and ensures a thorough cleaning.
  2. Remove Insoles: If your wellies have removable insoles, take them out before washing. This allows for a more thorough cleaning and helps to prevent potential damage to the insoles.
  3. Set up Dishwasher: Clear out the dishwasher and make sure no dishes or utensils are inside. You want to prevent cross-contamination and also ensure your wellies have enough space. Position the wellies upside down on the top rack. This will help water to drain out of the boots during the wash cycle.
  4. Select the Right Settings: When it comes to the settings, select a gentle or eco-friendly cycle without a drying phase. Excessive heat can damage your wellies, so you want to avoid any high-heat settings. Use a mild dishwasher detergent.
  5. Wash: Run the selected wash cycle. Remember not to use heat-dry or sanitizing options as these can damage the boots.
  6. Post-wash Rinse: After the dishwasher cycle, you may want to rinse the boots under cold water to remove any residual detergent.
  7. Dry: Once you’ve completed the wash, let the wellies air dry naturally. Ensure to place them in a well-ventilated area away from direct heat or sunlight. Leaving the boots upside down can help any residual water to drain out.
  8. Check and Care: After the boots have dried thoroughly, check them for any signs of damage or wear. You might want to apply a rubber care product to keep the material in good condition and extend its lifespan.

Remember, while this method is handy, it shouldn’t replace regular hand cleaning. It’s a quick solution that can be used occasionally when your wellies are heavily soiled or for an intensive seasonal clean-up.

Hand Cleaning Wellies

Hand cleaning is the most gentle yet effective method for maintaining the lifespan of your wellies. It might require a bit more effort, but it’s worth it considering the results you can achieve. Here’s an extended, step-by-step guide on how to hand-clean your wellies:

  1. Prepare your Cleaning Supplies: You’ll need a soft cloth or sponge, warm water, a mild detergent, a soft brush, and a towel. These are common household items, so you likely already have everything you need.
  2. Wipe Excess Dirt: Before getting your boots wet, use a dry cloth or brush to remove any loose mud or dirt. The goal is to make the subsequent steps easier by getting rid of large dirt particles that could scratch the surface of your wellies.
  3. Create a Cleaning Solution: Mix a small amount of mild detergent in warm water. A gentle soap is preferred over a harsh detergent, as it will be less likely to cause damage to the rubber.
  4. Clean: Dip the cloth or sponge in the soapy water and gently scrub the entire surface of your boots. Be sure to clean the sole as well as the upper portion of the wellies. If there are tougher stains or mud stuck in the crevices, use a soft brush to scrub these areas.
  5. Rinse and Dry: Rinse off the soap with clean water. Be careful not to soak the inside of the boots. After rinsing, use a towel to dry off the outside of the wellies.
  6. Air Dry: Once the majority of the water is removed, let your wellies air dry naturally. Avoid placing them near heat sources or in direct sunlight, as this can warp or crack the rubber. Instead, choose a cool, dry place with good air circulation.
  7. Additional Care: Once your wellies are dry, consider using a silicone-based product to give them a nice shine and additional protection against future dirt and stains. Just apply a small amount of the product on a cloth and buff the boots until they’re shiny.

With these steps, you’ll not only clean your wellies but also ensure they stay in good condition for a longer period. This thorough cleaning process will also help to prevent unpleasant odors and maintain the vibrant colors of your boots.

Power Washing Wellies

For heavily soiled wellies, power washing can be an effective cleaning method. However, it requires special equipment and a cautious approach to avoid damaging your boots. Here’s an extended guide on how to power wash your wellies:

  1. Prepare Your Equipment: Make sure your power washer is in good working order. You’ll need a power washer with adjustable pressure settings. High-pressure settings can damage your boots, so it’s essential to be able to lower the pressure.
  2. Pre-clean: Before power washing, remove as much loose dirt or mud as possible manually. This will allow the power washer to focus on the stubborn stains and deeply embedded dirt.
  3. Prepare the Boots: Put the boots on a stable, outdoor surface where they can’t easily be knocked over by the force of the power washer. You might want to fill the boots with water to weigh them down or have someone hold them steady.
  4. Adjust Pressure: Set your power washer to a low or medium pressure setting. A high pressure could potentially damage the material of your wellies. Start with a lower pressure and increase it only if necessary.
  5. Power Wash: Aim the power washer at your wellies and start cleaning. Keep the nozzle a reasonable distance away to prevent damage. Move the spray back and forth, making sure to clean all areas, including the soles.
  6. Rinse: After you’ve removed all the dirt, switch your power washer to a lower pressure setting or use a garden hose to rinse off any remaining dirt or soap residue.
  7. Dry: After washing, let the wellies air dry naturally. Do not place them near a heater or in direct sunlight as it could cause the rubber to crack. Instead, find a cool, dry place with good air circulation.
  8. Additional Care: Once the wellies are fully dry, consider applying a protective spray or a silicone-based product to restore the shine and add an extra layer of protection against future dirt and stains.

Using a power washer can be an efficient and satisfying way to clean your wellies. However, remember that the intense pressure can be harsh on the material of your boots. Use this method sparingly, especially if your wellies are made of more delicate materials or have decorative elements.

A tip we discovered is that a steam cleaner (with a small wand attachment) can be really effective at removing any lingering odors on the inside of the wellies.

Does It Wash Team


Will Putting Wellies in the Dishwasher Damage Them?

Frequent dishwasher cleaning can damage wellies over time. The heat and harsh dishwasher detergents can break down the rubber and adhesives, which can shorten the life of the boots and compromise their waterproof capabilities. For this reason, it’s better to hand-clean wellies most of the time and use the dishwasher method sparingly.

What Type of Wellies Can be Put in the Dishwasher?

Most wellies are made from rubber or synthetic material, both of which can usually withstand occasional dishwasher cleaning. However, wellies with embellishments, decorative prints, or made from more sensitive materials should not be put in the dishwasher. Always check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions before machine washing any footwear.

Should You Clean Wellies Before Putting Them in the Dishwasher?

Definitely. It’s crucial to remove any larger pieces of mud or dirt from your boots manually before putting them in the dishwasher. Large dirt clumps can clog your dishwasher, and excess mud can circulate in the water, preventing your boots from getting fully cleaned.

Will Putting Wellies in the Dishwasher Affect Their Waterproofing?

Over time, regular dishwasher cleaning can deteriorate the rubber, which can potentially affect the waterproofing of your wellies. The heat and strong detergents in the dishwasher can cause the rubber to become brittle and more prone to cracks and leaks.

Will Putting Wellies in the Dishwasher Remove Any Odors?

Yes, a thorough dishwasher cleaning can help remove odors, especially those caused by bacteria. However, it’s also important to let the wellies dry thoroughly after washing to prevent new odors from forming. Moist environments promote bacterial growth, which can lead to odors.

How Often Should You Clean Your Wellies?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how often and in what conditions you use your wellies. If you use your wellies daily or walk through muddy conditions often, consider a light cleaning every week and a deep cleaning once a month. If you use your boots less frequently or mainly in clean environments, cleaning them once a season might be enough. Always clean and dry your wellies thoroughly before storing them for a long period.


While dishwasher cleaning can be a quick solution for cleaning wellies, it’s not the most recommended due to potential damage. Hand cleaning and occasional power washing are more effective and safer ways to keep your wellies in top shape.

Regardless of the cleaning method, proper drying is vital to maintaining the longevity of your boots. Following these guidelines, you can extend the life of your wellies and keep them looking fresh and clean.