Stay Safe with Proper Care – Cleaning Work Boots

Safety shoes are considered a tool of the trade and yet, they’re rarely taken care of. Regular cleaning doesn’t just prevent unpleasant odours from forming, it also offers improved protection.

Whether you’re working in construction, restaurants or laboratories, work shoes are often a required part of the uniform. Some countries even have laws demanding employers provide their staff with suitable and well-maintained safety shoes. But it’s also in your own best interest to keep your work shoes clean and in tip-top shape.

Four Good Reasons to Clean Your Work Shoes

Clean and well-maintained work shoes offer you numerous benefits:

  • No unpleasant odours
  • Improved wearing comfort
  • Ensured safety
  • Longer shoe life

Work boots or shoes are often exposed to a wide range of stressors. If you don’t keep them in good shape, they will wear down faster, which also threatens their level of safety. Here are some easily tips that can help you keep them in proper shape.


They are many reasons to care for your work boots.

Smelly Work Boots – What To Do?

Despite your best efforts to shower daily and always wear fresh socks, your shoes will still likely develop unpleasant odours over time. These occur when bacteria start breaking down the sweat left behind in shoes. Please don’t make any rash decisions like soaking your work boots in a strong disinfectant solution or tossing them into the washing machine! Both of these methods can seriously damage the shoe material. There are a limited number of shoe types that are truly machine washable and they will be clearly labelled by the manufacturer.

If sweaty odours have already taken hold in your safety shoes, try cleaning their interiors with INSIDE FRESH & CLEAN. Repeat this treatment on a regular basis. To keep things even fresher, spray your shoes with BREEZE after every wear. This spray isn’t simply a shoe deodorant, it actually binds with the odour-causing molecules and prevents them from smelling.

Avoid Odours With Thorough Drying

One very easy and effective odour-fighting measure is properly airing out your work boots. Despite the fact that many shoes are made of breathable materials, moisture can easily start to gather inside frequently-worn work shoes. Freshly-removed work shoes do not belong in the wardrobe, nor do they belong next to powerful heat sources like radiators or direct sunlight. Ideally, you should air out your shoes for at least 24 hours in a warm and dry environment after each wear. The best way to do this is to have two pairs so you can alternate each day.

Loosen your laces after taking off your work boots and pull the tongue forward so the interior has a fair chance to dry out. Also, don’t forget to remove any insoles. Shoe trees, such as the FORMA, are also useful for keeping shoes open and airy, which allows them to dry and helps maintain their shape.


Unpleasant odours are a result of moisture and bacteria building up in your shoes. It’s important to regularly clean the inside of your shoes and…


…let them air out between wears. Consider getting two pairs to alternate if you use your shoes every day.


Shoe horns are the best way to air shoes and maintain their shape.

Comfortable Work Shoes – Interior Care

The interiors of your work shoes don’t only appreciate a good cleaning, they also require regular upkeep. This is especially true if you wear leather work boots. Leather interiors can become rough and brittle from repeated exposure to moisture and dirt. The result: The leather rubs and eventually splits. Properly caring for your work shoes with products like ORGANIC CREAM helps nourish the smooth leather, which in turn offers a higher level of wearing comfort.

Unfortunately, replacing insoles for hygienic or comfort purposes is not always advisable for work boots. Many safety shoes shouldn’t be altered as this could impair their safety functions. Risk of injury could increase if your shoes have different levels of insulation/conductivity or if you alter the distance between your toes and the steel cap, for example.

How to Clean Leather and Fabric Work Shoes

Brush leather work shoes with a CLEANING BRUSH after each wear. Fabric shoes can be brushed with a TEXTILE CLEANING BRUSH. If your shoes aren’t just dusty, but really dirty, you should really do a wet clean.

Some shoes are treated with a coloured outer coating. This layer may be more easily removed than other finishes and thus, you should proceed with caution when cleaning your shoes with moisture and coloured polishes. Apply any polish as thinly as possible and use very little pressure. It’s best to test new products on less visible parts of the shoe first.

Leather and fabric safety shoes can be cleaned with CLEAN & CARE CLASSIC. Smooth leather, synthetic materials and rubber shoes are best treated with LEATHER SOAP CLASSIC, which has lipid replenishing properties. This means that nourishing oils are returned to and rebalanced in the shoes materials. You can even clean the sole of your work shoes with this product.

Do you work in an environment where oil and grease is constantly landing on your shoes? Our REINIGER special cleaner was developed specifically with you in mind!


Use CLEAN & CARE to clean textile, suede and smooth leather.


For smooth leather, synthetics and rubber is LEATHER SOAP Ideal.


Our REINIGER removes stubborn stains.

Maintaining Waterproof Work Shoes

To protect your shoes from moisture and dirt, you should treat them with CARBON PRO waterproofing spray before your first wear and after each wash. Afterwards, you can start looking at other care products.

When choosing shoe care products, it’s important to remember that some oils and creams will make leather shoes softer. This could cause safety shoes to lose some of their necessary stability. Wax-based products are an alternative in this case. (Please note: If your shoes have a special membrane like Gore-Tex, for example, you should avoid both oils and waxes because they will impair the material’s breathability.)
1909 LEATHER CREAM is ideal for nourishing smooth leather shoes.
It’s important that shoes made of smooth leather, nubuk or suede are kept supple in order to protect them from tears or splits. RUSTICAL CLASSIC cream is well suited for use on this type of work shoe.

Regular Care = Safe Work Boots

You may think the biggest advantage of caring for your work shoes is that they stay looking presentable. However, it’s even more important that you immediately notice any signs of damage that could hinder your level of foot protection. Regular cleaning and care will help you do this.

When you clean the outside of your shoes, take the opportunity to also wash your laces. Check to see if there are any tears or worn spots and exchange them if necessary. Damaged laces can impede the safety functions of your shoes.

If you notice extreme signs of wear like the toe pulling away or stitching coming loose, it’s really time for a new pair. But until it comes to that, you can keep your work shoes clean, comfortable and safe with relatively little effort.