How to Clean Uggs

Ugg boots displayed in a retail store.

Uggs sheepskin boots just may be the epitome of foot comfort in today’s world. And you, like so many sheep farmers before you, have learned to appreciate the soft, warm embrace of sheepskin and wool enveloping your eager appendages. Aside from being soft and warm (yet cool enough to wear in the summer), Uggs are comfortable as all get out and stylish to boot. It’s no wonder people develop such intense fetishes for them.

The only problem with wearing Uggs sheepskin boots is that sheepskin is very delicate. This means that you have to be extremely careful when it comes time to clean Uggs boots or shoes. As tempting as it may be, throwing your Uggs in the washing machine, and then the dryer, is generally considered to be a huge no-no. This treatment has been reported to cause irreparable damage. And since the last thing you want to do is cause damage to that which brings you such contentment, I strongly recommend that you read this article. By doing so, you will learn how to safely and easily clean Uggs, as well as other sheepskin boot brands, from home.

Steps to Cleaning Uggs

  1. Suede BrushGetting started cleaning Ugg boots. First things first—find a suede brush. If you don’t have one, go buy one. Any shoe store should sell them, and it will only set you back about five bucks. Once you’ve got your brush, use it to gently go over one of the boots. This first brushing will help to remove some of the dust and dried-on dirt. Make sure to brush in one direction only. Next, pour some cold distilled water in a bowl, dip a new clean sponge into it, and lightly dampen the entire outer surface of your boot.
  2. jug of vinegar and jug of waterMake and apply cleaner. In a second bowl, combine one cup of your cold distilled water with one cup of white vinegar, and that’s it. You’ve got your Ugg cleaner. Grab a new clean sponge, dip it into the cleaner, squeeze a little of it out so it’s not too wet, and apply it to the boot. Work your way from the top of the boot to the bottom, and scrub very gently in a circular motion. Refresh your sponge frequently with fresh cleaner. If the stuff in the bowl starts to get extra nasty looking, make a fresh batch. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush dipped in your cleaner to get the area where the boot meets the sole.
  3. bucket of water and spongeRinse off your Uggs. Alright, it’s now time to dirty yet another bowl. This time, though, you’ll probably want to use a decent-sized mixing bowl. Once you’ve found your bowl of choice, pour about 3 or 4 cups of the cold distilled water into it. Excellent. Now grab yet another fresh clean sponge, dip it into the bowl, wring out most of the excess, and gently wipe your boots down. Again, start from the top and work your way down. Rinse your sponge in the bowl often so that you’re actually removing the cleaner and the last remaining dirt instead of just spreading it around.
  4. Blank newspaper and shoe shaperDry your Uggs properly. Now that you have nice clean Ugg boots, the last thing you want to do is ruin them through improper drying. The first thing you’ll need to do is stuff them with something so that they’ll retain their shape. Most people choose to use old newspaper. Don’t. Ink can and will transfer to the inside of your boots. I would recommend going to a craft or art supply store and getting yourself some blank newsprint instead. That, or use plain white paper towels. Let your boots dry slowly and away from heat sources like radiators, fireplaces, and even sunlight. If Uggs dry too quickly, they can pucker and crack. After your Uggs have dried, they will probably be a little snug. It’s OK. A little shrinkage is normal (just ask any man after he gets out of the pool), and they will stretch back out.
  5. Box of Baking SodaDeodorize Ugg boots. This is perhaps the easiest thing you can do for the happiness of your Uggs. Once your sheepskin boots are dry, sprinkle two teaspoons of baking soda and two teaspoons of corn starch into the top opening. Hold the tops of the boots closed, and shake the hell out of ’em to coat the entire insides of the boots. Let them sit like this overnight, shake them out, and continue on to the final step for how to clean sheepskin Uggs.
  6. Hand held suede brushMake your Uggs pretty again. Once your Uggs are clean, they’re going to be a little flat and crunchy-looking. All you have to do to fix this is to take that suede brush you hopefully bought earlier and give your boots a good brushing. Being gentle (sheepskin is delicate), brush the entire surface of your Uggs. Brush in only one direction. This will restore the nap and make your Uggs soft and purdy once again.

More Tips for Cleaning Uggs

  • To make your Uggs look better, last longer, and require fewer cleanings, apply a leather/suede protector immediately upon purchasing and/or after cleaning.
  • When wearing Uggs, avoid doing things that will harm them. Don’t wear them on hiking trips where they might get scratched, don’t wear them when it’s raining or snowing, and try not to wear them in any situation where they might get muddy.
  • If your Uggs have a grease stain, try applying chalk or talcum powder to the stain and let them sit overnight. The chalk powder will absorb much of the grease and often makes the stain unnoticeable.
  • For scratches and stains that you can’t remove, use a very fine grain sandpaper to gently buff them out. Be aware that this may leave a permanent mark on your Uggs. However, sometimes a sandpaper mark is preferable to a big ugly stain.
  • If your Uggs get water spots, simply rubbing them together, suede on suede, will often make the water spots unnoticeable.

How to Clean Uggs without Scary Chemicals

suede eraserSuede eraser.Suede erasers are great for buffing away small scratches on Uggs without leaving big nasty marks. They also work well for spot cleaning. By gently rubbing the suede eraser against your Uggs, dirt and stains, even if deeply set, can easily be lifted away and transferred to the eraser.

bag of wonderbreadWhite bread. For removing smudges and stains from your Uggs without having to clean the entire boot, try using a piece of white bread. Remove the crusts, roll the bread into a dense mass, and use it to rub the spot clean. The dirt and grime will transfer to the bread.

castile soapCastile soap. It sounds fancy, but Castile soap is nothing more than soap made from olive oil. While these soaps are generally marketed for cleaning your hands and body, I have frequently seen them recommended for cleaning sheepskin. I suggest Dr. Bronner’s. They are not only certified by the USDA National Organic Program, they’re also certified fair trade. You can get Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soap from Amazon.

About the Author

Eric D. Ronning

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