How to Clean Your Football Boots

Life’s getting a little bit more like normal, and you know what that means? 

Football’s back in business!

Muddy boots, aching muscles – after a year stuck inside, what could be better? Although for most of us (myself included), our football boots have been stuck in a kitbag, needing some attention.

So, for those of you who have got mud-ingrained football boots, here is a handy guide on how to clean your football boots. Whether they’ve come out of a dusty cupboard or off of a muddy pitch.

How to Clean Your Football Boots

1. Before you even start cleaning them, make sure you take them off properly. Undo the laces, rather than just slipping them off with the laces tied. 

2. Ideally, you should remove the laces completely and right away. This stops any mud drying in the shoelace holes. The laces can be put in the washing machine.

3.  If the mud on your boots is dry, bang the soles together to remove any loose mud.

If the mud on your boots is wet, get a damp cloth or towel and rub the large clumps of mud off with cold water.

TIP: Wipe wet mud off over a sink, or outside, then you don’t have to worry about clearing up so much mess afterwards.

4.  Once the excess mud is off, use a stiff brush to get any ingrained dirt off. Be careful if you have leather boots – they can be scratched if you apply too much pressure. Wire brushes are a big no, no.

TIP: Use a toothbrush to clean around the studs and inside any grooves.

5. Once all the mud is off, stuff your boots with newspaper to help absorb any excess water. Place the boots on newspaper and leave them in natural light to dry.

TIP: Depending on how wet your boots are, you may have to change the newspaper several times. Keep some aside so you always have some ready for the wet and muddy days.

Cleaning Football Boot Studs

Screw-in studs can be difficult to manage. If you don’t take care of them, they can rust in wet conditions, which can lead to damage.

You can also be injured whilst wearing your boots if your studs don’t offer the proper support.

If you have screw-in studs, make sure you take them out after playing in wet weather. Dry them separately to your boots – you can either use a towel or leave them to dry on newspaper.

Wait until your boots are completely dry before screwing them back in. 

Make sure to grease your studs with a lubricant when putting them back in and don’t screw them in too tightly. Most sports shops sell lubricants, and you can find some online just as easily. 

If all else fails, Vaseline will do a job. It also stops mud from sticking to the studs.

Make sure your studs are always in good condition. There are strict guidelines on football boot studs – if they are burred or have sharp edges, you may not be allowed to play.

Cleaning Football Boot Laces

Your bootlaces are the easiest bit to wash. They can be put in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry. Just put them in a washing bag to prevent them from getting tangled up!

Cleaning Smelly Football Boots

Okay, maybe not everyone will care, but there does come a point when boots smell… bad. 

You can’t blame them. 

Running around on a pitch for several hours – mud and sweat do not age well. But spending a huge amount of money just to make your boots smell nice? 

Well, sometimes, it’s just better to deal with the smell.

The bacteria that causes the smells, though, can do significant damage to both your feet and your boots. So, in the interests of saving you from dealing with yucky boots, and your teammates from dealing with the smell radiating off of them, here are four things you can use to make your boots smell utterly fragrant without ever having to leave the house.

1. Bicarbonate of Soda.

Sprinkle one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into each of your boots. 

Shake it around to make sure it gets into all the nooks and crannies then leave it overnight. 

Tip it out in the morning and they should be fabulous.

2. The freezer and a sealable bag.

Make sure to check that this is okay with the owner of the freezer before doing this one… 

Put your boots into the bag and pop them in the freezer overnight. 

Make sure the bag is properly sealed and your boots are dry first. 

Take them out the next day, and the smelly bacteria will have gone away.

3. Salt.

Put two teaspoons of salt in each boot and shake it around to disperse it. Wait a few hours and they’ll be smelling better.

4. Charcoal.

If you have a barbecue, break any leftover charcoal into small pieces and push it into a pair of tights. 

Stuff the tights into your boots overnight and voila –  no more sweaty smell.

Dos and Don’ts When Cleaning Your Football Boots:

The Dos & Dont’s



Check what your boots are made of. Football boots are made in a variety of materials, and what is good for one might not be good for another.


Check the care instructions. Most retailers will include information on products you can use to help clean them.


Clean them on a regular basis. Leaving them covered in mud is fine once in a while, but doing it on a regular basis will shorten their lifespan.


Find a good boot oil. If you have leather boots, investing in a good boot oil or Dubbin is a must.


Check metal studs on a regular basis to ensure they aren’t rusting.


If the football boots are leather, they can be polished to retain the colour. The polish also helps to ‘feed’ the leather.


Use a kitchen or bathroom cleaning agent, such as bleach. It will clean your boots faster, but it will damage them in the long run.

Put them in the washing machine. Unless the label says otherwise, most football boots aren’t machine washable. Putting them in the wash may be an easy clean, but it will also damage the entire boot.

Put your boots and studs in the tumble dryer. It will dry them quickly, but the heat will damage both the leather and any stitching or adhesives used in your boot.

Use a wire brush when cleaning your boots. It will scratch the leather, especially if you press too hard. Instead, try one made with natural fibres.

Leave muddy boots to dry in the sun. Dry mud may be easier to remove than wet mud, but leaving mud to dry will damage the leather.

Use Dubbin on synthetic boots. It is for use on leather boots only, and will damage synthetics.

I hope this guide and information has helped you figure out how to keep your footy boots in tip-top condition.

The uses shown and described for cleaning your football boots were provided to by users themselves. These uses haven’t been tested by and do not constitute a recommendation of suggestion for use by Common sense should be exercised whenever using cleaning your football boots. Always follow the instructions from the football boot manufacturer and take heed of any warnings printed on the packaging.

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    1. says: wadzy

      I use Kelme dubin its about £5 a pot but you wont beat it ,It comes with a small sponge, My sons boots have lasted about games using kelme dubin after every game You wont beat it

  1. says: Michael


    I’m not sure about vaseline, but I personally use mink oil. It’s really easy to find, and it waterproofs the leather and also makes it more supple.

    However, some websites say that mink oil can ruin the football boot by becoming rancid, but so far I haven’t had any problems. If you have a specialty soccer store close by, you could try Chelsea Leather Food instead, I’ve heard really good things about it.

  2. says: bradin

    this has nothing to do with caring for boots but i really would mind some input – i was going to buy a pair of football boots for hardground – i didnt know whether it would be better to buy moulded blades or or moulded studs – is any one beter than the other or is it up to personal preference ! thanks

  3. says: El Tray

    oh but cleaning them – give up!! The material is impossible to clean. Also the fact i’ve never washd mine may have improved the life span as they ahven been dunkde in water.

  4. says: S Walker

    Has anyone noticed a distinct smell of cat pee after cleaning the new synthetic boots. We only clean them with water and then allow them to dry out naturally and still the smell persists, so much so that they have to be relegated to the garage.

    1. says: Blake

      really need some help

      bought some F50’s a while back – the black and yellow ones with synthetic upper – havent a clue what to clean them with articles say dont use oils, dubbin, nourishment, detergent or polish – what’s left????

      Dont want them falling apart after a month

      Any help or product would be appreciated?

    2. says: MrNilsen

      I have the same distinct smell of cat pee on my son’s Nike Vapor IV shoes. It happend after he played several games in heavy rain. We left the shoes to dry by themselves, but soon noticed the nasty smell.

      Have you found a cure?

      1. says: jordan

        It’s nothing to do with you or how you clean them. It’s a defect present in Nike football boots. Send them back to Nike if you can and they will replace them. I remember seein this complaint of watchdog and it happened to ALOT of people.

    3. says: Nicila

      Thought it was the bubbles on my 15yr olds air max trainers all I could smell was cats pea even hiding them in a bag in the cupboard doesn’t hide smell , have hand washed them but still can’t get smell out and not shelling out another £160 for a new pair only 8 moths old

  5. says: markki

    I have both sewn and glued 1/4″wide strips of black elastic underneath the tongues. After lacing, slip the elastic over toe and under sole.

  6. says: Rachael

    just wondering if anyone knows how to get rid of the smell of mould from my boots. I Played football washed them on the day after, but i forgot and left my boots in my bag for approximatly a week. Now my leather boots absolutly stink, i have cleaned them out again etc but they stink of mould. Anyone have any ideas for leather boots

  7. says: jamie

    i have just got a bear of nike vapors the new ones the red gold and black how can i clean them in case thay get markt

  8. says: Andy W

    Please Help…. I’ve recently brought a new pair of vapours & trained in them day after, then i hit the ball akwardly & it left a black mark off the ball at the back of the boot….. Does anyone know how to get it of?…. I would really appriciate it if anyone knows how get it off… Thanks

  9. says: neil maddison

    hi can any one help me ,got my son some screw in reeboks of ebay,
    went to replace the studs witch were all different makes and sizes
    2 stapped off,do you now were i can get some replacement threads.
    thanks neil m

  10. says: dan

    I’m looking to buy the new nike Vapours V the black, white with the orange ticks. How would i keep them clean and looking brand new after every game? I have read all the comments, but what is the golden rule to keep that type and material of boots in excellent condition? Thanks

    1. says: seshwar sharma

      hi! i just bought the nike mercurial vappor 9 but i have problem wearing them…because they cause blisters….can i wash them with hotwater?????to break em in

    1. says: Rob D

      After every use get a hot damp cloth and wipe the boots all over, apart from underneath. If they are really muddy then id use a wet colth and rub gently till the mud comes off. Then for the bottom of the boots get a old tooth brush and soapy water and scrub away.. once they have dryed rub in some chelsea dubbin with a clean cloth all over the leather parts of the boots. Then youll be good.

  11. says: tom q

    I have recently brought the pink nike vapours and have got a few black marks on them. Any ideas on how to get rid of them? Want to get rid of them asap

  12. says: the boss

    a few days ago i bought some nike vapor IV’s in orange and ive used them once and they’ve already been scratched is there anyway to prevent or get rid of it ?

  13. says: adam

    Some tips to keeping you boots clean and extending their life.
    1 knock most of the large lumps off after a game,
    2 when you get home take them out of the bag,
    3 clean the mud off using a nail brush and a old tooth brush,
    4 Dry the water off using a kitchen towel,leave them to dry further
    5, now apply some dubbing any type, into the whole upper of the boot
    6, clean out your boot bag as most players for get to do this and end up putting their clean boots in a dirty boot bag.
    For removing scuff from synthetic boots i put a small ammount of cif on the boots and leave it to stand for a few min the rub it off using a cloth.
    hope this helps

  14. says: Matthew CJ Wilcox

    I have Adi Nova (same boots as Xavi Alonso in 09/10 season) and i use dubben on my boots, after 24 hrs i wipe off the excess and stuff them with news paper, i then put them in my cubord, so dust dosnt stick to the dubben :D…

  15. says: Bob

    Scratches? You want to get rid of scratches on football boots? Easy, don’t play! Boots are supposed to get scratched, that’s the idea. They save your foot from being scratched to hell. If you’ve got no scratch marks it means you’re not playing competitively enough and need to “get in” more. Think of them as old war wounds… You want to show them off, not cover them up!

    1. says: Riley

      wow you must rely on  people liking u and must show off heaps. WHy because u have scratches on ur boots?????? This guy obviously cares for the stuff he likes and is helping others to aswell. Dont be a tosser and respect people for caring for their stuff instead of showing off their scratches

  16. says: andrew

    i have got some new puma boots in gold . iv only played in them about 5 times but the gold on the leather at the front of the boot is fading. any ideas why? and how to stop it? can gold dubbing?

  17. says: ryan

    i have some nike murcurial flash boots and everytime i get black marks on them, and now im starting to get pink and yellow marks, does anyone know how to get rid of these marks as they are doing my head in as i only bought them recently? so please can anyone find the best way 🙂

  18. says: EnzoM

    For players with black leather boots (copas or kings etc), once they are cleaned and dry I have always used good old Kiwi black shoe polish. Better than Dubbin (which apparently can seal the leather and not allow it to ‘breath’) and nourishes and waterproofs just the same as Dubbin.

    Polish at least twice inbetween each game.

    And they look brand spankin new every week!

  19. says: Andresin

    i bought some adidas f 50 adizeros (the synthetic ones) about 3 months ago and have played / trained with them well over 40 times now. iv’e played in all sorts of conditions rain, muddy ect. everytime after i train i loosen the laces and take out the insoles to let the shoe breath. the next day i get a bucket of soapy water and clean upper and studs with a cleaning brush, then rinse with clean damp towel. finally i dry with clean dry towel following with polishing upper and lubricating sole/studs so dirt dosent stick. i must say my cleats are in really good condition. but im geting little scuffs and scraches on them from fouls and stepping. some little red smears and some are black. how do i get those off?

  20. says: EnzoM

    You guys with synthetic boots and the scuffs and smears of colour that you want to remove – your prolly well out of luck.

    The colour is part of the upper and i think its literally smeared over the boot from the colouring itself within the upper (prolly cos of how soft it is).

    If you tried to remove the scuffs you will end up taking off the colour and discolouring the boot,

    I’d leave well alone and treat them as scars of battle!

    Recommend leather boots all day long over these synthetic upper stuff – if only the leather protects the bones in your feet much better…..metatarsal injury anybody???

  21. says: city dan

    i got a pair of nike tiempo’s for christmas but im not sure how to protect them cause they are kangeroo leather. do i jut treat them the same as normal leather?

  22. says: Alex

    For those of you talking about marks, one really effective way to get them off is nail polish remover…dab some cotton in it and rub at the spot…this should only be done on synthetic as it can ruin leather: Vapours, some AdiZeros, some parts of adipures and so on

  23. says: Andremartinez33

    i have an adi Questra IV with apple green stripes and black colors on it since it has been exposed to water,the boots are smelly,VERY dirty and dirty… 🙂 help pls

  24. says: Jtbell

    I was taught to remove the studs and laces after each use. This allows the boot to dry quickly. I’m well past playing age now but my boots never rotted and lasted many seasons

  25. says: James d

    i have half leather half synthetic boots. how to i care for both substances if a product for leather is bad for synthetic material and vice versa? 

    1. says: AnnieB

      Presume you mean chewing gum. If so, put the boots in the freezer, this will make the gum very hard and it can be chipped off.

  26. says: aled morgan

    I have the new adidas nitrocharge 1.0 and at the back they this mesh and when dirt gets in it its really hard to get the dirt out can someone plz help me thanks.

  27. says: rushil abrar

    i did not understand point no. 7. what type of grease or vaseline can be used ? where will i find this in bangladesh , a country of south asia.

  28. says: rushil abrar

    a little amount of white vinegar could help to remove any type of smell….after applying it, let it dry itself naturally

  29. says: yobi

    I just got a pair of mercurial vapor ix neptune blue colorway last week and then I noticed that the mud is penetrating through the perferation(holes in the insole) it’s so hard clean do you have any suggestion on cleaning it thanks

  30. says: VR

    I thought my son had walked where a cat had sprayed because the odor is on the outside of the shoe. I have tried washing them with bleach, and spraying them with Woolite pet odor removal carpet spray and then washing them with detergent and bleach. I even tried some hunter product to neutralize all odors. Nothing works! I think it is a manufacturers problem. Nike in this case!

  31. says: Reaney

    My son has just got the new CR boots. Very expensive but impossible to clean. When totally clean the back sparkly boots dry looking muddy? Any suggestions ?

  32. says: sue

    my son has new cr7 boots. Theyve lost their sparkle immediately but how can we clean them? everytime they dry, they look muddy again. Just want them looking clean again.

  33. says: Whitey

    You all must be playing on the Taj Mahal of pitches if youre complaining about marks on your boots instead of muck. I understand wanting to take good cre of your gear so it will last, but keep in mind boots are “equipment”, and sporting equipment will always display signs of wear and tear (unless your sitting on the bench)

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