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How to Clean Tactical Boots

Keeping your tactical boots nice and clean is something you should do on a regular basis and you need to do it right, if only to extend the lifespan of your tactical boots. If you’re not in the military, cleaning them regularly is going to make all that initial investment worth for longer time.

As tactical boots are quite diverse, let’s take a closer look at how to clean them properly, depending on their type.

The tan suede desert boots

This type of tactical boots is a bit more challenging to clean. They need both patience and time from you as soft suede does soak up oils and dirt a lot easier. Therefore, they stain easier than waterproof boots.

Nevertheless, you can still keep them clean and pretty for quite some time. Here’s how to do it:

  • The daily cleaning of your tan suede desert boots starts with letting the mud dry. You don’t want to scrub the damp mud deeper into the shoe, which is why the drying is so important. Once the mud is completely dry, simply knock your boots together to get rid of the mud as much as you can. Use a coarse brush and scrub your boots for removing all the dirt you can.
  • Use a Dawn dish detergent if your boots are stained. It’s going to be a lot easier to pull out the stains like this.
  • If your boots are oil stained, use a mix between half a box of baking soda, two quarts of hydrogen peroxide and a cup of Dawn dish detergent. Soak your boots into the mix in a sink full of hot water and scrub them with a good nylon brush. Your boots may need a couple of days to fully dry, but the results are impressive.

Here's how to clean a pair of USMC boots:

The waterproof leather boots

Most of the tactical boots out there are waterproof, which comes with a twist. Dampness from waterproofness may cause athlete’s foot, increased discomfort and even ulcers. This is why you always need to have clean and dry tactical boots. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Let your boots completely dry and start by hitting the heels of the boots together
  • Remove the dirt and mud with a horsehair brush
  • If any dirt and debris are still on your boots, use a damp cloth to get rid of them
  • Use the waterproofing conditioner and use a soft cloth for buffing it
  • Let your boots completely dry until putting them back on

The boots made with synthetic fibers

This type of tactical boots is, by far, the easiest to take care of boots as most synthetic materials do repel water and stains. A simple and easy wipe is going to be enough most of the time. This doesn’t eliminate the need for a deep cleaning, every now and then. What’s to keep in mind for the thorough cleaning:

  • As always, you should let the mud dry completely. Try to knock off as much as you can by hitting the heels of your boots together.
  • If your boots are stained, use some water and vinegar for remove the stains from the rock salt.
  • If you need to get rid of some lodged-in dirt, get an old toothbrush dipped in a mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

Side note

As in everything else, it’s better to be safe than sorry so you need to prevent as much as you can your tactical boots to get awfully dirt and impossible to clean. Here are some of the things to do for easier cleaning later on:

  • Get rid of dirt on regular basis
  • No matter how rugged or durable your tactical boots may be, keeping them clean on daily basis is going to extend their lifespan. Once sand and dirt get into the fabric and stitching (or the seams, in the case of all-leather boots), the small particles within dirt and sand are going to abrade things in your boots.
  • Always keep them dry
  • Never in the history of tactical boots moisture wasn’t bad for them. It’s important to leave your tactical boots damp for a good amount of time, so that you don’t end up with some unpleasant bacteria growing in them.
  • Have your Plan B always ready.

As tactical boots do need more than a couple of minutes for a complete drying, you should always have prepared a second pair of tactical boots. Even though you’re going to have to pay the extra buck, go the extra mile and get two pairs of tactical boots that have the same quality (preferably, the same high quality). Get the tactical boots that don’t empty your pockets and keep in mind to break them in and rotate them from time to time. Last thing you want when out on the field is to get some blisters from your tactical boots.


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