How to Clean Muddy Shoes (Is It The Best Way To Do?)

No matter what kind of shoes you choose, it’s effortless to be caked with mud when you use them for running or hiking on the road especially on rainy days. No one wants to leave a pair of muddy shoes in a long time, and you shouldn’t let that situation happens because it can ruin your shoes’ integrity.

How to Clean Muddy Shoes

How to Clean Muddy Shoes

Follow this article, and I will show you how to clean muddy shoes. You can use a brush to remove caked mud and a damp cloth to wipe dirt and grime down. Finally, let your shoes air dry. Here is the detailed instruction:

Essential Equipment and Products to Complete This Task

Below is what you will need to clean your muddy shoes thoroughly:

  • Warm water: it is used to mix with soap or detergent for a washing mixture or use warm water only to rinse your shoes
  • Clothes or old rag: you can use dry ones to wipe your shoes and damp clothes with the washing mixture to wash
  • Dish soap or detergent: as mentioned, mix these with warm water to clean
  • Washing machine: in the event of canvas and running shoes which are machine-washable, use the washing machine to save time and effort.
  • Soft brush (toothbrush, nail brush or shoe brush): if you don’t want to take a damp cloth, these soft brushes are substitutes
  • Chopsticks or toothpick: these are essential if you need to get rid of mud on sides and the bottom
  • Baking soda: this is a quick and straightforward way to remove lingering smell
  • Newspaper: if putting newspaper inside, your shoes will keep its original shape

Step-by-Step Instruction on How to Clean Muddy Shoes

Get rid of mud on your shoes as much as possible before cleaning:

You can try to wipe or stomp your shoes on grass or on a rug which help you remove a large amount of mud. After taking off the shoes, let the mud dry on the surface that help you brush it off easier without staining the fibers of your shoes.

You had better use toothbrush, nail brush or shoe brush and try to put certain pressure with quick speed. If brushing can’t remove mud on sides and the bottom, the option of chopsticks or toothpick may help by dragging the pointy end through the crevice. The last way to get rid of mud before cleaning is to use pressure from water hose (just spraying directly).

Make the soapy mixture:

When it comes to sneakers and canvas shoes, you just need a light soapy mixture so pour a small amount of detergent into warm water. Meanwhile, the leather material can’t accept both soaps and detergents so only apply water or boot cleaner.

Use a cloth to wipe your shoes and a damp cloth to rinse:

If the material of your shoes can accept soap and detergent, take the cloth, a soft toothbrush, nail brush or a shoe polishing brush with the soapy mixture to clean the muddy areas. On the contrary, if that is leather which can’t touch soap and detergent, use warm water only. Lastly, use another dampened cloth to rinse excess soap on the surface away.

Air-dry your shoes:

Put crumpled newspaper inside can help you keep your shoes in the best shape when they dry completely. Moreover, don’t speed up the drying process by using dryer, radiator or placing them under the direct sunlight because these features may harm your shoes (misshapenness, fadedness or disintegrated glue). Keep in mind to replace newspaper inside regular as it soaks up water from the wet shoes very fast.

Remove lingering smell:

At this phase, your shoes may look good but lingering smell is still there. Removing lingering smell is also one of necessary steps on how to clean muddy shoes so don’t skip it. Adding a little baking soda and sitting it in a while, the problem will be gone quickly. Before wearing your shoes, you must take all baking soda out by banging them against each other or using a vacuum attached to hose.

Special Notes

  • In case you are driving, put your muddy shoes into a plastic bag. If not, you may have to clean your shoes and car at the same time.
  • Soak your muddy shoes in lukewarm water. Just apply, if your muddy shoes in serious case. This method is more useful for sneakers. What you need to do is only to submerge your shoes on a bin of lukewarm water.
  • Wash your insoles and shoelaces separate. After removing them away from your shoes, wash them by hand in the mixture of lukewarm water and detergent. This method creates the opportunity to wash the whole shoe cleaner by pulling the tongue up and opening the shoes more extensive (you can clean areas which are hard to reach). The last step is just to air dry. In case your insoles are muddy too much, change other ones.
  • Some types of shoes (canvas and running shoes) are machine-washable, so you can save time and effort on your end by throwing your shoes packed in a mesh bag into the washer. Don’t forget to wash them with sturdy clothes such as towels and jeans to keep them away from the clash.
  • Don’t leave your shoes overnight outside or they will be wet and dirty lightly again.


In sum, if you are a regular runner, it’s hard to avoid muddy shoes, especially on rainy days. Thus, you have to know how to clean muddy shoes to keep your long-term investment in the best condition always.

Do you love my post? Do you think it is helpful? Let me know by leaving your comment in the section below. What’s more, don’t forget to share it with your loved ones because this is the primary need of many runners for sure.

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