22 November 2007 09:36
How do I keep my fabric walking boots clean?
You've just spent a wodge of notes on your new fabric boots, and like a spotless four wheel drive, you're not sure you can afford to get them mucky. Here's how to keep them sparkly, even after an altercation with a springtime mud bath.
• Dirt gets into boot seams and eats away at the stitching (delicious I'm sure) so if they're truly crusted, scrub them under a running tap. An old toothbrush is good for getting in all the cavities.
• Clean the inside too as bits of grit can puncture the waterproof liner – remove the insole, tip the boots up and shake.
• Sweat can also be a problem – not just whiffy, but full of acidic compounds which damage the liner. So with insole removed, run some water into the boot, swill it around and tip out. Rinse every couple of months for flowery fresh feet.
• Always let your boots dry naturally – no radiators, fires or microwaves (?!) as the heat can crack the materials. And like a pet dog don’t leave them in a car on a hot day, as the glue will melt...
• Stuff the boots with newspaper to absorb moisture, but replace with fresh paper once it’s wet – otherwise you've just got a bootful of papier mache.
• Dry the insoles separately, and loosen the laces and pull the tongue forward for maximum air circulation.
• Boots just a dried clod of mud? Bang the soles together to get rid of the worst and use a stiff brush to remove the rest – and as teacher would say, remember to clean them next time!
• Cleaning is a great opportunity to check your boots over for minor damage – and repair it. After all a stitch in time saves nine (excuse me while I rock wisely in my chair)…
• After a while the water-repellent finish on your boots wears off and the rain soaks in rather than 'beading off'. To restore repellency, super-clean your boots by removing the laces and scrubbing everything thoroughly. Or use a fabric boot cleaner from Nikwax or Grangers to really dig the dirt out – then dry.
• Then apply a waterproofing treatment – again Nikwax and Grangers both make fabric treatments. Apply as directed, dry, then go skip through some puddles. See www.nikwax.co.uk or www.grangers.co.uk.