It is that time of the year again! You can finally trade in those winter boots and grab your flip flops. But wait, did you clean and store your winter boots for next year? If you are anything like the old me that would have to be a hard no. I used to think giving them a quick wipe and shoving them back in the box was sufficient. Until I opened the box the following year only to find a creased, smelly and salty pair of boots. Well, after a couple of years (yes, it took me that long!) of that terrible and costly cycle, I noticed that I had to change. Not only for the sake of my bank account but for the poor soul behind the retail store counter who year after year helped me find a brand new pair. Below are some tips I’ve learned to ensure my boots remain like new for the next winter.
Please keep in mind that depending on the material of the boot, cleaning methods are different.
1. Clean, Clean, Clean
I know this might be obvious but before storing your boots, it’s important to clean them first.
To remove dirt and salt fill a spray bottle with water and white vinegar (50/50 solution). Spray directly on the boot and gently scrub with a brush. For boots with less dirt and salt stains, you can wipe with a cloth.
To clean the outsoles of the boot, put about 2 inches of water in a wide bucket and place your boot inside. After a few minutes, you will notice all of the dirt, rocks and filth will loosen. Feel free to scrub any remaining filth with a brush until clean.
Your outer boot is clean, let’s tackle the inside!
2. Eliminate Odour
You can skip this step if you do not have an odour in your boots but for those of us who are less fortunate, keep on reading.
To eliminate odour inside of your boot, start with the insoles. Some insoles are machine washable which makes this process so much easier. If your insoles are not machine washable, you can combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar and 5 drops of tea tree oil (or your favourite essential oil). Put this mixture directly on your insole and scrub with a sponge or brush. Hang your insole out to dry and put them in the dryer.
For the inside of the boot, I recommend baking soda! Sprinkle baking soda all over the inside of the boot and leave overnight. Be sure to shake out the excess baking soda the day after.
Now that the inside and outside of your winter boot is clean, it is important to let the boot dry thoroughly before moving on to the next steps.
3. Check for Tears and Damages
After cleaning your boots the tears and damages become much more noticeable. Check for damaged outer soles and tears on the boot. If any repairs need to be done, take it to your nearest cobbler to get fixed.
As mentioned above, each shoe is different but you do want to treat and condition your boot before storing it away.
For synthetic (such as woven nylon or polyester) apply a protector.
For synthetic and rubber boots, the material allows most of them to be waterproof or water-resistant. If that isn't the case with your winter boots, you can waterproof them.
5. Boot Shapers
The last step before placing your winter boots back into their box is to stick a plastic boot shaper or tree in it to keep the shape. If you do not have a plastic boot shaper or tree, you can stuff the boots with tissue paper. You want the boot to keep its shape and not look deformed. This method also works to prevent creasing.
Once you have finished cleaning it is time to store your winter boots! You can choose to put your winter boots back into their original box or invest in a plastic box for long term.
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks.