How to Clean and Care for Ugg Sheepskin Boots

Tan Ugg boots in a doorway

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Sheepskin boots, such as those made by Ugg, are both stylish and comfortable. However, the suede outside can easily become scuffed, and the fleece-lined interior can begin to smell unpleasant. While there are certain brands of boots that can be machine-washed, they're made of synthetic materials that look similar to sheepskin. But true sheepskin shoes, like Ugg boots or Deckers X Lab comfort shoes and slippers, are made from real animal hide that has been tanned to create a soft finish. So, they should be hand-cleaned and never tossed in a washer.

How Often to Clean Ugg Sheepskin Boots

Ugg boots should have an overall cleaning, or at least a brushing, after every wear if it's wet or snowy outdoors. Prevent odors inside your Ugg boots by cleaning them after every few wears or more frequently if you wear them in wet weather.

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Click Play to Learn How to Properly Care for Ugg Sheepskin Boots

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • White cloth or sponge
  • Towels
  • Suede or soft-bristled brush
  • Cotton ball
  • Toothbrush (optional)

Materials

  • Cold water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Suede and nubuck cleaner
  • Baby powder or cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Phenolic spray disinfectant, such as Lysol
  • Anti-fungal spray

Instructions

Various containers of materials for cleaning Ugg boots
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
How to Clean Ugg Sheepskin Boots
Detergent Gentle leather soap
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Do not machine-wash
Drying Cycle Type Do not machine-dry
Special Treatments Spot-clean stains
Iron Settings Do not iron

How to Give Ugg Boots an Overall Cleaning

  1. Brush the Boots

    Run a suede brush over the boots after every wear to remove dust and loose soil. It's best to brush the boots outdoors. Start at the top, and brush downward, following the nap of the hide.

    Someone brushing brown Ugg boots
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  
  2. Use a Suede Cleaner

    For overall cleaning, use a detergent made for cleaning leather. Follow the directions carefully, and shampoo your boots starting at the top and working downward with gentle circular motions, being careful not to over-saturate the boots. Allow to air-dry.

    Someone applying suede cleaner to a white cloth
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

How to Remove Water Stains

If your boots get wet in a rainstorm, just letting them dry without cleaning can cause streaking or water stains. Here's how to remove water stains from your Ugg boots.

  1. Wipe Down With a Wet Cloth

    Using a white cloth or a sponge dipped in cold water, wet the boots all over until evenly wet. Do not soak them. This step will help them dry evenly and without watermarks.

    Someone wiping down Ugg boots with a damp cloth
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  
  2. Stuff the Boots With Rolled Towels

    To help the boots hold their shape while drying, stuff each damp boot with a rolled white towel. Don't use a dark-colored towel because dye could transfer to the boots. Skip the newsprint as well, or your feet and socks will be ink-stained.

    Rolled up towels in a pair of Ugg boots
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
  3. Air-Dry the Boots

    Allow the boots to air-dry away from full sun or direct heat. Don't put the boots in the dryer or use a hair dryer directly on the boots. High heat can damage the exterior.

    Ugg boots air drying
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

How to Remove Salt Stains

Salt stains can appear on Ugg boots after you've walked in salted roads following a snowfall. Salt used in the tanning process may also rise to the surface of the skin and appear as stains when the boots are wet. However, they can be removed with a little TLC.

  1. Create a Water and Vinegar Solution

    Mix 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar.

    Someone dipping a cotton ball in a vinegar and water mixture
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  
  2. Blot the Salt-Stained Areas

    Wipe the salt-stained area with the vinegar solution using a white cloth or a cotton ball. The acetic acid in the vinegar will gently dissolve the salt.

    Someone dabbing an Ugg boot with vinegar solution
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  
  3. Wet the Boots Evenly

    Use a white cloth or a sponge dipped in cold water to wet the boots all over until evenly wet. Do not soak them. Allow the boots to air-dry.

    Someone dabbing Ugg boots with a vinegar solution
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

How to Remove Scuff Marks

If you wear your Ugg boots enough, they're sure to get an unsightly scuff or two. Here's how to remove scuff marks, which can make boots look aged.

  1. Brush Away the Scuff Marks

    Use an old toothbrush or a clean white towel to brush away the scuff marks. Take care not to rub too hard, and follow the nap of the suede. For tough scuffs and stains, you'll need a suede and nubuck cleaner.

    Someone brushing away scuff marks on Ugg boots
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
  2. Brush the Finish

    After the scuff is gone, use a suede or soft-bristled brush to brush the suede to return the napped surface to the proper direction.

    Someone brushing Ugg boots
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

How to Remove Oil Stains

You can pick up oil or grease stains on your Ugg boots simply by walking around outdoors. Before using the following method, wash your hands so you don't transfer more oil to the boots.

  1. Absorb the Oil

    Cover the oil stain with a layer of baby powder or cornstarch, and let it sit for at least 24 hours (though 48 hours is better). The powder will absorb the oil from the boots.

    Someone sprinkling a boot with baby powder
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  
  2. Brush Away the Powder

    Brush away the powder with an old toothbrush. You may need to repeat the procedure to get all the oil stains off the suede.

    Someone brushing baby powder off an Ugg boot
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

How to Clean the Insides of Ugg Boots

When the fleece inside your Ugg boots becomes moist from sweat or water, bacteria begins to grow and causes odor. Take care to maintain the insides of the boots so they stay smelling fresh.

  1. Eliminate Fungus and Bacteria

    Wipe down the inside of each boot with a solution of disinfecting cleaner and water. Choose a pine oil or phenolic disinfectant, such as Lysol; never use chlorine bleach, which will cause the sheepskin hide to stiffen. Follow the label directions for mixing instructions. The best way to kill fungus in the boots is to use an anti-fungal spray.

    Someone using fungal spray inside an Ugg boot
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  
  2. Allow Plenty of Time for Air-Drying

    Once you've wiped down the interior of the boots, allow at least 24 hours for the interior to air-dry before wearing again.

    Air drying Ugg boots
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
  3. Control Odor

    To help combat odor, sprinkle 1/2 cup baking soda into each boot, and allow them to sit overnight. The next morning, empty the boot, and vacuum out the baking soda to prevent leaving white tracks everywhere.

    Someone spooning baking soda into an Ugg boot
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

How to Store Ugg Sheepskin Boots

Never immediately store damp boots in an enclosed space or container. Even if the weather is dry, allow the boots to air-dry at least 24 hours after wearing to allow foot and body moisture to evaporate. Use boot trees, rolled white towels, or white tissue paper to stuff boots and help them hold their shape when they're not being worn.

Repairs

If a seam comes undone, use a heavy-duty needle and buttonhole thread to repair it. Double-stitch the seam so that it doesn't come undone easily again. If there's a tear in the boot, cover it with a suede patch, which can be found at fabric and craft stores. It might not look as good as new, but it will keep your feet warm and dry.

Tips for Cleaning and Caring for Ugg Boots

  • To help prevent excessive staining, sheepskin boots can be waterproofed using a special spray. Test it on an inside area first, as it may change the texture and color of the leather.
  • Always wear socks or tights with your boots to prevent interior soiling and odors.
  • Never let your boots soak in water or stay wet for too long. This loosens adhesives and causes the exterior to become misshapen.