Hunter boots have been popular and loved by millions for pretty much forever now, or at least since 1856 when the first boots were made. These boots have always been super practical, dependable, and tough enough to hold up to some of the harshest conditions. Lately, with Pinterest being such a big part of everyone’s lives, these boots seems to be even more popular, but usually as a part of a cute rainy-day outfit or something like that.
Since we get so much rain, pretty much all year round here in Southwestern Ontario, I thought I’d try out a pair of these boots for myself about 6 months ago. I thought they’d come in handy for those slushy late-winter days and maybe an April shower or two. As it turns out, I’ve been wearing them for pretty much everything, all the time, always, and they’ve been really great to have for walking the dog through the muddy fields around our house, for gardening, for early mornings when the grass is still soaked with dew. Basically so many of the rural lifestyle scenarios that we face out here everyday. But that gets messy. My hunter boots aren’t the perfect, shiny, Pinteresty outfit boots anymore, but I do need to keep them clean so I can run into town when I need to without looking like a crazy mud-monster.
So here’s how I clean them!
First start out with some hunter boots that have seen a nice afternoon of weed-pulling, or toddler-chasing just after a rain storm. OK, so these weren’t that caked in mud at the time that I took these pictures, but trust me, there are times when I’m pretty sure there’s about 10 lbs of mud stuck to the bottom of each boot.
Look how ridgy those boots are! So great for unslipperyness, but also really great for holding onto way too much mud.
If I ever run into that problem, and I frequently do, I like to use my favorite new mud scraping tool!
Does anyone recognize what that is?
It’s a paint can opener!
It’s just the best because you can use it to either push the mud off, or you can use the little curve on the end to pull the mud if that’s easier for the angle you’re working from. It really speeds the whole process up and allows you to get large amounts of mud off your boots really quickly.
It’s the perfect tool for this job and I’m so glad I figured this out by semi-accident one day. It really makes a difference in my life. 🙂
Once most of the gooey mud has been removed, if you had any, it’s time to clean the tops of the boots, mostly just to make them look appropriate for wearing in public places again.
First of all, it’s supposed to be bad luck to put your shoes on a table or a counter, so if you’re superstitious, don’t do that. I’m not, obviously. 🙂
I like to use one of my “rag towels” for something like this to keep from getting my countertops dirty and to make cleanup afterwards super quick. So place your boots on a an old tea towel, then begin wiping them down with a soft cloth soaked in warm soapy water.
This will remove most of the mud and gunk from the surface of your boots. This is also a great time to use a soft brush like an old toothbrush on some of the ridges where mud may collect because it will all be nicely loosened up at this point from the warm water. The brush step is really only necessary if you’re going for a really perfectly clean look. Since I know that my boots are just going to get dirty again the next day, I don’t worry about it too much most of the time. 🙂
Next, grab some olive oil and another clean soft cloth. Put a few dribbles of olive oil on the cloth.
Rub the olive oil evenly all over your boots. This will polish them up nicely but will also help clean anything that wasn’t easily removed with the soapy water and it’s kind of a nice protective coating for your boots too.
From time to time you may start to see a powdery white substance appear on your boots. This is called blooming and happens naturally to high-quality rubber when solids rise to the surface. This is something that you’ll mostly see if your boots are subject to really warm temperatures. Kind of like what happens to good chocolate. 🙂 The olive oil will remove the white “bloom” from your boots too, so don’t even start to worry one bit if you see this happening to your boots this summer!
If you think you may have overdone it with the oil, don’t worry. It will soak in and your boots will be left with a subtle sheen instead of a greasy appearance.
So that’s how I clean my boots! Whether you use your boots occasionally for keeping your feet comfortably dry on a rainy day, or in messy muddy conditions everyday like I do, you should be totally ready to keep your boots in tip top shape!
Check out these easy tips too!
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- The Creek Line House Homekeeping Archives
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.