How to Clean Muddy Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Muddy shoes can be a nuisance, tracking dirt and mess all over the house. While it may be tempting to just hose them off outside, this often pushes the mud further into the material. For a deep clean, follow these 5 easy steps to get your shoes looking fresh and new again.

What You’ll Need:

  • An old toothbrush or shoebrush
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Clean rags or paper towels
  • Old towel
  • Baking soda
  • Stiff brush

Now let’s go through the 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Remove Excess Mud and Grime

Before soaking your shoes, use a stiff brush outside to remove as much loose mud and dirt as possible. Knock shoes together to dislodge clumps. Don’t be afraid to scrub at this stage.

Step 2: Create a Cleaning Solution

Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap. Too much soap may damage the shoe material, so use sparingly.

Step 3: Soak the Shoes

Place the shoes in the bucket and allow them to soak for 15-20 minutes. This gives the soap time to penetrate the material and lift the remaining mud and soil.

Step 4: Scrub with a Toothbrush

Once done soaking, use an old toothbrush or shoe brush to gently scrub away at the shoes. Get into crevices, underneath stitches, and over the tread. The toothbrush allows precise cleaning. Rinse the brush often in clean water.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry

Rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water, inside and out. Remove shoelaces and clean those too. Stuff shoes with an old towel to help them retain shape as they dry. Allow shoes to air dry completely before wearing them again.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Muddy Shoes:

  • No bleach or harsh chemicals – These can damage and discolor shoe materials. Avoid products with these ingredients.
  • Don’t machine wash shoes – The agitation and spinning can warp shoes. Handwashing is best.
  • Don’t put shoes in the dryer – High heat from dryers can cause shoes to shrink or come apart at the seams. Air dry only.
  • Don’t use hot water – Stick to lukewarm or cold water to prevent damage to adhesives and stitching.
  • Don’t scrub too aggressively – Light, gentle scrubbing is safest for shoe materials. Let the soap do most of the work.


With a few basic supplies and these easy steps, you can get your muddy shoes looking like new again. Proper cleaning right after use can add life to your footwear. Just take care to avoid harsh chemicals or heat that could potentially damage the shoes. With some elbow grease and care, you’ll have fresh, clean shoes again.

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