How to Clean Doc Martens

Since skyrocketing to popularity in the 90s, Doc Martens have remained a favorite footwear choice amongst the fashion-forward and the practical alike. Not only do they have an iconic look with their lace front opening and famous yellow stitching, but they’re also designed with high-quality leather that makes them both comfortable and durable.

When you’ve got boots crafted with high-quality material, it’s important to take care of them the right way. To help you keep your boots looking as fresh as they did when they first came out of the box, we’ve put together a guide for how to clean your Doc Martens.

A Basic Guide to Cleaning Doc Martens

To keep your Doc Martens in tip-top shape, it’s important to wash them routinely. Washing them once a month is perfect for regular wear, but if you wear them daily or in environments where there’s lots of dirt and mud, you might need to clean them more often.

Here are some basic steps you should take when cleaning a pair of boots:

1. Remove the Laces – Taking the laces off your boots will help you access and clean the interior of your shoes. To clean the laces themselves, stick them in the washing machine or soak them in warm soapy water mixed with a mild detergent.

2. Wipe Boots with a Damp Cloth – Before you start washing your shoes with a cleanser, it’s important to remove any dirt or debris on the outside. Take a damp clean rag and work it around the outside of your boots and the sole. Additionally, remove any clumps of dirt or pebbles stuck in the grooves of the sole (using a tweezer).

  • Pro tip: To make the yellow stitching of your boots stand out, use an old toothbrush to scrub away dirt from the hard-to-reach crevices.

3. Wash All Over with Soap – After your boots have been cleaned, wash them using Bick 1 Leather Cleaner. To use this cleaner:

  • Apply a dime-sized amount on a cloth or boot brush, then begin working into the shoe in a circular motion.

  • Keep working the soap into the boot until there’s a light foam all over.

  • Wash the soap off using a damp cloth.

4. Air Dry Boots – Leave the boots in a sunny place to dry off. Do not put your boots in the dryer as that could melt the glue and damage your shoes.

5. Apply a Leather Conditioner – Use a leather conditioner on your boots to help extend their longevity and keep them from drying out.

The Importance of Using a Leather Conditioner

Every time you use some form of a cleaner on your boots, it’s important to follow up with a leather conditioner. Just how washing your hands too much can dry out your skin, washing your leather boots can strip them of their natural oils and cause them to crack.

Applying a leather conditioner after a thorough wash can help extend the life of your boots. Before you start conditioning your Dr Martens, it’s important to pick the conditioner based on your leather profile (the leather used on your specific boots).

Smooth Leather

Smooth leather is the classic, shiny material that the original Doc Martens were crafted from. When conditioning smooth leather, you’ll want to use Bick 4 Leather Conditioner to help restore its natural oils and extend its longevity.

To use this conditioner: