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Best Ways To Clean Wet And Smelly Hiking Boots

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Are your hiking boots wet and smelling less than fresh after your latest outdoor adventure? Don't fret! In this article, we will explore the best ways to clean your damp and smelly hiking boots, so you can hit the trails with confidence once again. Taking care of your hiking boots is essential for their longevity and performance. Wet and smelly boots not only feel uncomfortable but can also breed bacteria and mold, leading to potential foot problems. That's why it's crucial to address this issue promptly and effectively. From drying out your boots properly to removing stubborn dirt and odor, we will guide you through step-by-step instructions on how to restore your hiking boots to their pristine state. We will also provide you with tips on preventing future moisture buildup and odors to keep your boots fresh and ready for your next adventure. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your hiking boots remain clean, comfortable, and odor-free, allowing you to fully enjoy your outdoor experiences. Let's dive in and discover the best methods to clean wet and smelly hiking boots.

Importance of Proper Boot Maintenance

Taking care of your hiking boots is essential for their longevity and performance. Wet and smelly boots not only feel uncomfortable but can also breed bacteria and mold, leading to potential foot problems. That's why it's crucial to address this issue promptly and effectively.

Signs of Wet and Smelly Hiking Boots

Before we dive into the cleaning methods, let's first identify the signs that indicate your hiking boots are wet and smelly. One obvious sign is a strong, unpleasant odor emanating from your boots. Additionally, if your boots feel damp or moist to the touch, it's a clear indication that they need cleaning.

Common Causes of Wet and Smelly Hiking Boots

Understanding the common causes of wet and smelly hiking boots can help you prevent these issues in the future. One of the main causes is moisture buildup due to hiking in wet or rainy conditions. This moisture can seep into the boots, leading to a damp and unpleasant odor. Another cause is wearing boots without proper ventilation, which can trap sweat and moisture inside.

Wet and Smelly Boots

Preparing Your Boots for Cleaning

Before you start the cleaning process, it's important to prepare your boots properly. Begin by removing the laces and any inserts or insoles. This will allow you to clean every nook and cranny of your boots effectively. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any loose dirt or debris from the surface.

Cleaning Supplies and Techniques for Wet Boots

To clean wet hiking boots, you'll need a mild detergent or boot cleaner, warm water, and a soft brush. Fill a basin with warm water and add the detergent or boot cleaner according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dip the brush into the soapy water and gently scrub the exterior of the boots, paying extra attention to the areas with stubborn dirt or stains. Rinse the boots thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Cleaning Supplies and Techniques for Smelly Boots

To tackle the unpleasant odor in your hiking boots, you'll need baking soda and a clean cloth. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside the boots, ensuring that it covers the entire interior. Leave the baking soda in the boots overnight to absorb the odor. The next day, use the clean cloth to wipe away the baking soda from the interior.

Cleaning Hiking Boots

Drying Wet Hiking Boots Properly

After cleaning your wet hiking boots, it's crucial to dry them properly to prevent any further moisture buildup. Start by removing excess water from the surface using a clean, dry cloth. Avoid using direct heat sources like heaters or hairdryers, as they can damage the boots. Instead, stuff the boots with newspaper or use boot dryers to absorb the remaining moisture. Allow the boots to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Wet and Smelly Boots

Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding wet and smelly hiking boots. One preventive measure is to invest in waterproof boots or apply a waterproofing spray to your existing boots. This will help repel water and keep your feet dry. Additionally, wearing moisture-wicking socks can help absorb sweat and prevent excessive moisture buildup inside the boots.

Storing and Maintaining Clean Boots

Once your hiking boots are clean and dry, it's important to store them properly to maintain their cleanliness and shape. Store your boots in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in airtight containers, as this can lead to moisture buildup. Regularly inspect your boots for any signs of wear or damage, and address them promptly to prolong the lifespan of your boots.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics

Hitting the trails is a fantastic way to connect with nature and challenge yourself physically. But for those with foot issues, a seemingly harmless hike can quickly turn into a journey of discomfort. Here's where Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics step in as a game-changer for your hiking boots.


Unlike generic insoles that offer a one-size-fits-all approach, Bilt Labs orthotics are meticulously crafted from personalized molds of your feet. This ensures a perfect fit that addresses your unique biomechanics, providing a foundation of comfort and support you can rely on, mile after rugged mile.


Imagine your hiking boots transformed into personalized comfort zones. Here's how Bilt Labs custom orthotics elevate your hiking experience:


  • Enhanced Arch Support: Generic insoles often lack proper arch support, leading to fatigue and potential pain on long hikes. Bilt Labs tailors the arch shape and height to perfectly cradle your feet, promoting proper alignment and reducing strain on your arches, ankles, and knees. This translates to less fatigue and a more enjoyable trek.
  • Targeted Pressure Relief: Uneven terrain can put a strain on specific areas of your foot. Bilt Labs incorporates strategic cushioning or padding in areas prone to pressure points, like your heels or balls of your feet. This personalized approach minimizes discomfort and keeps your focus on the adventure, not foot pain.
  • Improved Stability: Unpredictable terrain demands confident footing. Bilt Labs orthotics can incorporate features like a polypropylene shell or strategically placed reinforcements to enhance stability and control within your hiking boots. This reduces stress on your joints and allows you to navigate challenging terrain with more confidence, whether scrambling over rocks or traversing loose scree.

By addressing these key biomechanical factors, Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics go beyond comfort. They actively promote foot health, reduce fatigue, and help prevent injuries. So, the next time you lace up your hiking boots, consider adding Bilt Labs custom orthotics as your invisible partner on the trail. They'll help you conquer every step with renewed comfort and confidence, allowing you to fully embrace the beauty and challenge of the outdoors.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics

Conclusion: Keeping Your Hiking Boots Fresh and Ready for the Next Adventure

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your hiking boots remain clean, comfortable, and odor-free, allowing you to fully enjoy your outdoor experiences. Proper boot maintenance, including regular cleaning and drying, is essential for the longevity and performance of your hiking boots. Remember to take preventive measures to avoid wet and smelly boots in the first place. With the right care and attention, your hiking boots will stay fresh and ready for your next adventure. Happy hiking!


In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the best ways to clean wet and smelly hiking boots. From preparing your boots for cleaning to using the right supplies and techniques, you now have all the information you need to restore your boots to their pristine state. Remember to dry your boots properly and take preventive measures to avoid future moisture buildup and odors. With proper care, your hiking boots will continue to serve you well on all your outdoor adventures. Take our free quiz today to find out which orthotic type is best for your feet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.