a pair of army boots on the floor ready to be washed

Can You Wash Army Boots in the Washer?

For many, army boots are not just a piece of footwear but a testament to durability, style, and rugged functionality. Crafted to withstand tough conditions, it’s essential that these boots are taken care of properly to ensure they last. While the washer might seem like an obvious solution to a muddy boot problem, there are a few considerations and methods to understand before diving in.

Washing army boots in the washer can potentially damage them. It’s best to use gentler methods or machine wash with caution.

We’ll start off with a method on how to carefully wash army boots in the washer, and then move on to the other safer methods.

Machine Washing Army Boots with Precision

Machine washing can be an efficient way to clean your army boots when done with care. Though less gentle than hand washing or spot cleaning, with the right precautions, this method can work. If you do go ahead and wash army boots in the washer, be prepared that it is possible to damage them without this extra care.


  1. Prepare the Boots: Start by removing insoles and laces from the army boots to allow for an even wash. Remove any loose dirt or mud.
  2. Secure in a Bag: Place the army boots in a laundry bag or pillowcase to minimize potential damage during the cycle.
  3. Select the Right Washer Cycle: Opt for a gentle wash cycle using cold water to protect the boots’ material.
  4. Balancing the Load: Position the boots in the washer among softer items such as towels, which act as cushions during the wash.
  5. Add Mild Detergent: Use only a small amount to prevent any residue on the army boots post-wash.
  6. Remove Promptly: Once the cycle finishes, extract the boots from the washer immediately to maintain their shape.
  7. Shape and Dry: Stuff the army boots with newspaper or shoe trees to retain their shape while drying.
  8. Ventilate: Place the army boots in a shaded, breezy spot for optimal drying conditions.
  9. Inspect and Store: After drying, check the boots for any lingering dirt or stains. Once satisfied, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Machine washing, when approached with precision, can be a convenient way to achieve a clean pair of army boots without a significant investment in time or effort.

Hand Washing Army Boots for a Comprehensive Clean

Hand washing your army boots provides a detailed approach to a manual and thorough clean. Hand washing avoids being harsh on the materials that can happen when putting army boots in the washer. This method allows for targeted treatment of stains, ensuring your army boots remain in top condition.


  1. Preparation: Start by removing the laces and insoles.
  2. Brush Off Loose Dirt: Before wetting the boots, gently remove any dirt or debris with a soft-bristle brush.
  3. Prepare Lukewarm Soapy Solution: Fill a basin with lukewarm water, adding a few drops of mild detergent. Mix until you get a smooth solution.
  4. Submerge the Boots: Place the boots in the water, ensuring they are fully covered. Let them soak for a few minutes.
  5. Gentle Scrubbing: Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the boots, paying attention to any stains or heavily soiled areas.
  6. Rinse Thoroughly: Lift the boots from the soapy water and rinse with clean water to remove all soap residues.
  7. Drying: Position the boots in an airy space, avoiding direct sunlight, and let them air dry.
  8. Re-lacing: Once the boots are completely dry, re-lace them and ensure the insoles are placed back correctly.
  9. Condition: After drying, apply a suitable conditioner or waterproofing treatment to keep the leather supple and maintain the boot’s durability.

With hand washing, your army boots will stay clean and well-maintained, ensuring they serve you effectively for longer periods.

Spot Cleaning Army Boots for Targeted Treatment

Spot cleaning is ideal when your army boots have minor marks or stains that don’t warrant a full wash by hand or in the washer. This approach saves time while addressing specific areas, ensuring your boots always look their best.


  1. Inspect the Boots: Begin by identifying the areas that need attention.
  2. Dust Off: Before applying any liquid, brush away loose dirt using a soft-bristle brush.
  3. Mix a Cleaning Solution: Combine water and a drop of mild detergent in a small bowl.
  4. Dab and Clean: Wet a cloth with the solution, wring out excess water, and gently dab the stained area.
  5. Wipe Clean: Using another cloth dampened with plain water, wipe off the soapy mixture from the boots.
  6. Drying: Set the boots in a well-ventilated area, ensuring they’re not exposed to harsh sunlight, allowing them to air dry.
  7. Check the Boots: After drying, inspect the boots again to make sure all stains have been removed.
  8. Protect: Apply a protective spray or treatment if you have one, especially if the boots have been exposed to a significant amount of moisture during spot cleaning.

Spot cleaning ensures specific problem areas are addressed without subjecting the entire army boot to the cleaning process, maintaining the overall quality and longevity of your army boots.


Will washing army boots in the washer damage them?

While many army boots are built to endure rigorous conditions, regular machine washing might hasten wear and tear. It’s wise to use this method occasionally and always on a gentle cycle.

Should you remove the laces before washing army boots?

Absolutely, removing laces ensures that both the boots and the laces get cleaned thoroughly without causing potential damage.

Can you dry army boots in the dryer?

Using a machine dryer for army boots isn’t recommended. The intense heat can warp their shape and degrade the material. Letting them air dry is the best approach.

How long does it take for army boots to dry after washing?

The drying time can vary based on environmental factors and the boot’s material. Typically, it ranges between 12-48 hours. Ensure they’re completely dry before wearing to keep them in top shape.

Will washing army boots in the washer affect their waterproofing?

Machine washing can potentially strip some army boots of their waterproof layers. After a machine wash, it might be beneficial to apply a waterproofing treatment to ensure they remain water-resistant.

Is it safe to use bleach or other strong detergents on army boots?

It’s best to avoid bleach or any harsh detergents as they can damage the boot’s material and color. Opt for a mild detergent when cleaning.

How often should army boots be cleaned?

It depends on usage. If worn regularly in muddy or dusty areas, consider cleaning them once every two weeks. For less frequent wearers, a monthly clean might suffice.

Can cleaning the boots too often affect their lifespan?

Excessive cleaning, especially with harsh methods or products, can decrease the boots’ lifespan. It’s essential to find a balance based on how dirty they get and the cleaning method chosen.

Are there specific products recommended for army boot care?

It’s always recommended to use products specifically designed for boot or leather care. These often provide the necessary cleaning without damaging the material.


While washing army boots in the washer is an option, to prolong the life and maintain the quality of your army boots, hand washing or spot cleaning is often the better choice. Remember, these boots are built to last, but they rely on you to give them the proper care they deserve. And if ever in doubt, consulting the manufacturer’s care instructions can provide further clarity.