How To Clean Combat Boots? [Expert’s Complete Guide]


Combat boots are more than just footwear; they’re a symbol of strength, resilience, and readiness. Whether you’re serving in the military, law enforcement, or simply enjoy their rugged appeal, keeping your combat boots clean is crucial for maintaining their durability and appearance. How to clean combat boots? 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the proper techniques for cleaning combat boots, including suede, full-grain leather, and synthetic varieties.

How to Clean Suede Military Boots?

What You Need?

Before embarking on the cleaning process, gather the following supplies:

  • Soft brush (suede brush or a soft-bristled brush)
  • Damp cloth
  • Baby powder (for oil stains)
  • Suede protector (optional)

Steps to Clean Your Suede Military Boots

Cleaning suede military boots requires a delicate touch to preserve the material’s texture and appearance. Follow these steps:

  1. Begin by removing excess dirt and debris from the boots using a soft brush. Gently brush the entire boot to dislodge dirt from the suede uppers.
  2. For stubborn oil stains, sprinkle baby powder over the affected areas and leave it overnight. The powder will help absorb the oil from the suede.
  3. The following day, use a soft-bristled brush to lightly brush away the baby powder and oil stains.
  4. Dampen a clean cloth with a mixture of warm water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid. Be cautious not to saturate the suede; instead, lightly blot the surface to remove remaining stains or dirt.
  5. Allow the boots to air dry naturally, away from excessive heat or direct sunlight. Stuffing the boots with paper towels can help maintain their shape as they dry.
  6. Once dry, gently brush the suede again with a soft brush to restore its nap and remove any lingering dirt.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using boot polish or products containing wax on suede boots, as they can damage the delicate material.
  • Consider applying a suede protector spray after cleaning to help repel water and stains, prolonging the boots’ lifespan.
  • Never attempt to speed up the drying process by exposing suede boots to excessive heat, as it can cause the material to stiffen or become discolored.

By following these steps and precautions, you can effectively clean your suede military boots and keep them looking sharp for years to come.

How to Clean Full Grain Leather Boots?

Full grain leather boots are not only durable but also classic in appearance. Here’s how to effectively clean them to maintain their quality:

Day-to-Day Maintenance: Regularly brushing off dirt and dust from your leather boots with a soft bristle brush or a dry cloth can prevent buildup and keep them looking their best.

Remove Stains: For tougher stains, mix a small amount of dish soap with warm water to create a mild cleaning solution. Dampen a cloth with the solution and gently scrub the stained areas.

Old Toothbrush and Baking Soda: For particularly stubborn stains or areas with grime buildup, you can create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stained areas and gently scrub with an old toothbrush.

Dry Thoroughly: After cleaning, ensure your boots are completely dry before wearing them again. Stuff them with newspaper or a dry cloth to help absorb moisture and maintain their shape.

Conditioning: Consider applying a leather conditioner after cleaning to keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out or cracking. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

How to Clean Synthetic Boots?

Synthetic boots are known for their durability and versatility. Here’s how to clean them effectively:

Remove Dust and Dirt: Use a dry cloth to wipe away any dust or dirt from the surface of the boots. For tougher dirt, you can use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub the boots.

Dish Soap Solution: Mix a small amount of dish soap with warm water to create a mild cleaning solution. Dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe down the entire surface of the boots to remove any stains or grime.

Dry Cloth: After cleaning, use a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture from the boots. Allow them to air dry completely before wearing them again.

Day-to-Day Maintenance: To prolong the life of your synthetic boots, make it a habit to clean them regularly, especially after exposure to dirt, mud, or water. This will prevent stains from setting in and keep your boots looking new for longer.

By following these cleaning tips, you can ensure that both your full grain leather and synthetic boots remain in top condition, allowing you to enjoy them for years to come.


In conclusion, proper maintenance of your combat boots is essential for their longevity and performance. Whether you own suede, full grain leather, or synthetic boots, regular cleaning and care routines can help preserve their quality and appearance.

Remember to brush off dirt and debris regularly, especially after outdoor activities or exposure to harsh conditions. For suede boots, be gentle with your cleaning methods to avoid damaging the delicate material. Use mild cleaning solutions and avoid excessive heat when drying to prevent any adverse effects on the boots.

Investing in quality cleaning products, such as suede protectors for suede boots or leather conditioners for full grain leather boots, can further enhance their durability and resistance to stains. By incorporating these practices into your day-to-day maintenance routine, you can ensure that your combat boots remain reliable companions for all your adventures.


How often should I clean my combat boots?

The frequency of cleaning depends on usage and exposure to dirt. As a general rule, aim to clean them whenever they become visibly dirty or stained. Regular maintenance can help prevent stains from setting in and prolong the life of your boots.

Can I use household cleaners to clean my combat boots?

It’s best to avoid using harsh household cleaners or chemicals on your boots, as they can damage the material. Stick to mild cleaning solutions, such as dish soap mixed with warm water, to ensure safe and effective cleaning.

Can I machine wash my combat boots?

It’s generally not recommended to machine wash combat boots, as the agitation and heat from the washing machine can damage the materials. Instead, opt for gentle hand cleaning methods to preserve the integrity of your boots.

How do I remove salt stains from my combat boots?

To remove salt stains from your boots, mix equal parts water and vinegar and dampen a cloth with the solution. Gently wipe down the affected areas and allow the boots to air dry. Follow up with a conditioning treatment to restore moisture to the leather and prevent cracking.

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