Can You Wash Hiking Boots in the Washing Machine?

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, it’s important to look after your hiking boots. Keeping them clean and in good condition will ensure they last longer, so it’s only natural that you’d want to give them a good wash from time to time. But can you wash hiking boots in the washing machine?

The short answer is yes – but it’s not as straightforward as popping your boots in with a load of laundry. If done incorrectly, the washing machine can damage or even ruin your hiking boots, so it’s important to take the right precautions.

What kind of washing machine is suitable? Firstly, make sure you use a top-loading washing machine, as these are gentler on clothing and footwear than front-loading models. When choosing a cycle, opt for a gentle cycle with cold water only – never hot – and avoid any harsh spin cycles.

Cleaning your boots before putting them in the washer To get the most out of your wash, start by cleaning off any mud or dirt from your boots using an old toothbrush and some warm water. This will help to remove any excess dirt before going into the washer, which will prevent it from transferring onto other items in the wash.

What detergent should I use? It’s important to use a mild detergent when washing your hiking boots – this means avoiding any fabric softeners or bleach-based products. Stick with either detergents specifically designed for outdoor wear or regular laundry detergents. Also avoid using too much detergent – a little goes a long way!

Drying your boots Once you’ve finished washing them, don’t put them straight into the dryer! Instead lay them flat on a towel and stuff each boot with newspaper to help absorb moisture and keep their shape. Allow them to air dry completely before wearing again – this can take up to 48 hours depending on the conditions outside.


Washing machines can be used to clean hiking boots – however it is important that they are placed in top-loading washers on gentle cycles with cold water only and no harsh spin cycles. Additionally, make sure you use mild detergent and air dry your boots completely before wearing again for best results!

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Jennifer Watson