I have a pair of Whites Boots that I've had for a couple of years now. I have kept the outside very clean and oil it often. But, the inside has become very dirty, 5 minutes of walking turns white socks brown. I've tried wiping it out with a wet rag, but thats not very effective and there isn't a whole lot of maneuvering room in there, and I would like to avoid spraying them out with the hose :P

Whats the best thing to do here?


1 Answer 1


This is a suggestion from someone who has never had this problem, so no guarantees!

You don't say anything about the source of the soil inside your boots. For example, it is dried mud? Or is it perhaps the soil from years of wear, that is buildup from sock gunk and dirt marinated in sweat and then naturally dried, repeatedly?

Either way, I would experiment with warm soapy water and a toothbrush. Do one boot at a time. Use a mild hand soap to start, or if you are impatient, try one of the dishwashing soaps that specialize in attacking grease. I use Ajax Ultra Super Degreaser on my dishes -- it is a liquid and I often spill a bit on my hands, with no adverse effects. Use several drops mixed with warm water. If the handle of the toothbrush is too short, attach the handle to a longer rod or stick with strapping tape. Let the soapy mixture stand for say 15 minutes to soften the dirt and dissolve the oils.

For myself, I would not worry about getting the boots wet. My boots get wet frequently, from fording streams, plowing through wet snow, and splashing through mud puddles. It is what a hiking boot is made for.

Finally, I myself would not worry too much about getting my socks dirty: they can be washed. I would worry only if the boots were smelly.

  • 2
    Regarding the last paragraph I concur (though good prompt drying after use may help with appearance as well as smell). The solution is not to wear white socks with them! Hiking socks (the outer pair in my case, often thicker where padding is useful, thinner in between) are commonly in dark or dull colours, which don't show grime or mud splashes as badly as pale ones
    – Chris H
    Mar 3 at 9:21
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    I would add that if you do soak the inside of the boot, don't force dry it. Stuff them with newspaper and stand in a well ventilated space, changing the newspaper frequently. After a day or so stop stuffing them and allow them to dry naturally. Mar 3 at 12:11
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    @WeatherVane blowing cold (or very slightly warm - just above room temperature) air in is good, after 1 or 2 rounds of newspaper. Otherwise they can stay damp for long enough to develop mould, which is well worth avoiding. Or socks filled with silica gel, which you dry in the oven and allow to cool before putting in the boots.
    – Chris H
    Mar 3 at 15:40
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    I suggest either Weather Vane or @Chris H post the above info in answer form. It adds enough to my answer to qualify as an answer itself.
    – ab2
    Mar 3 at 16:08
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    I'm not sure how the dirt got in, as the top of the boot is pretty tight against my leg, but nevertheless it has gotten filthy in there. I will try out your toothbrush method it sounds like it has promise :) Mar 3 at 23:02

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