How To Clean Football Boots: Step By Step Guide

If you're trying to figure out how to clean football boots, you've come to the right place.

Using our step-by-step guide, you can have your best football boots looking like new again with just a small amount of preparation and effort so they're ready for your next match.

We'd recommend cleaning your boots regularly as any buildup of mud can damage the uppers, cause the studs to rust, and perhaps, most importantly of all, reduce your grip on the pitch.

That being said, here are our top tips to get your boots looking pristine, plus a few top tips to ensure they stay looking great thereafter.

Whether you're looking to clean a classic pair of adidas Predators, or you're wanting to keep your new Tiempo Legend 9s looking fresh, we've got you covered right here.

How To Clean Football Boots?

Similar to our guide on how to clean football cleats, the following method is what we believe to be the most effective way to clean a modern pair of football boots made from synthetic materials.

Stick around though because we'll also discuss any major differences to note when cleaning boots made from other materials.

What You'll Need:

  • Bowl
  • Mild Soap
  • Shoe Cleaner
  • Microfibre Cloth
  • Newspaper
  • Old Toothbrush

Step 1: Before you start cleaning, remove the laces and place them in a bowl of warm water with a small amount of mild soap. Leave them in there to soak as you continue with the rest of the cleaning.

Step 2: Next, take your boots outside and begin to bang the soles together to remove any large chunks of dirt

Step 3: Once the excess mud is removed, take a soft-bristled brush, dip it in another mixture of warm water and mild soap, then gently begin to work off any ingrained dirt. You can purchase a dedicated shoe cleaner such as Angelus Easy Cleaner if you'd prefer.

How to clean football boots image of orange Nike Mercurial boots being cleaned with a toothbrush.
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Credit: Footy Boots

Top Tip: An old toothbrush works well for cleaning around the studs and inside any grooves. Metal studs should be removed completely and cleaned separately.

Step 4: Next, wipe clean with a microfibre cloth. If there are any leftover scuffs, you should be able to remove them by simply working away at the area with the cloth.

Step 5: Once you're happy all the mud is removed, stuff the boots with newspaper and leave them to dry naturally. You can also remove the laces from the water to dry also at this point.

How to clean football boots cartoon image of red boots filled with newspaper.
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Credit: Wiki How

Top Tip: You may need to replace the newspaper if you're boots are particularly wet, so we'd advise keeping some spare just in case.

Step 6: When your boots are dry, remove the newspaper, relace them, and reattach the studs if applicable so they're ready to pack in your best gym bag for your next fixture.

What About Other Materials?

Nowadays, the majority of football boots are made from synthetic materials rather than leather; however, there are still some that adhere to the classic construction, and some even that are made from knitted fabric instead.

Here are some of our top tips for when you encounter an alternative material.


Fortunately, leather boots will most likely be even tougher than synthetic ones, so you can pretty much use the exact same technique as mentioned above for the best results.

You could even take the cleaning process a step further and apply boot polish, like Kiwi Shoe Polish, or oil for a little extra shine.

For example, you could apply black polish to these adidas Copa Mundial's featured in our list of the best football boots under 100 and it will, not only help them retain their colour, but it will also 'feed' the leather.

How to clean football boots product image of black adidas Copa Mundial boots.
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Credit: Pro:Direct Soccer

To find out more, check out our guide to cleaning leather shoes and the highly popular Crep Protect right here to ensure your boots stay in excellent condition for longer.


While not necessarily entirely knitted, most boots these days come with some knitted aspects, most notably around the collars.

For example, the adidas Copa 20+'s come with knitted collars for a comfortable lock-in, while these Nike Mercurial Vapor 14 Elite's are made from a stripped-back version of its Flyknit material.

Nike Mercurial Vapor 14 Elite product image of a pair of blue and fluorescent yellow boots.
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Credit: Nike

With knitted boots, we'd advise using slightly less water as the knitted aspect of them can result in the water being retained a bit more compared to synthetic boots. This is something we cover in more detail in our guide to cleaning canvas and mesh shoes right here.

Also, you may want to avoid using soap in the cleaning process as the chemicals might wear away any coating or finish applied to the uppers.

Moreover, if you notice any loose threads, we'd recommend not cutting them off as this can speed up the fraying process and could even lead to your boots tearing.

What Should You Avoid Doing When Cleaning Football Boots?

There are several dos and don'ts when it comes to cleaning football boots, so it's important you know what you should avoid doing in order to prevent any irreversible damage.

Firstly, avoid wire brushes for cleaning, particularly with leather boots, as this can cause you to scratch the surfaces, leaving permanent marks which are irremovable.

Also, although bleach can clean your boots faster, we'd advise against using it as it can damage your boots in the long run and even stain them in some cases.

Furthermore, unless the label says otherwise, most football boots are not machine washable, so make sure you avoid this quick fix if you want your boots to keep their shape.

Finally, try and clean mud off your boots as soon as possible as leaving dirt on them to dry can lead to surface cracking, thus making sure they look great when paired with your best retro football kit.

Read More: Best Footballs Available Now

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