How to Clean UGG Sheepskin Boots Inside and Out

how to clean sheepskin boots

Illustration: © The Spruce, 2018

Sheepskin and suede boots, like those made by UGG, are quite stylish and comfortable. However, the outside can easily become scuffed and look dirty. And for some people, the interior begins to smell pretty rank. While there are boots that say they can be machine-washed, they are made of synthetic materials that look quite similar. True sheepskin and UGG brand boots are made from a real animal hide that has been tanned to create the soft finish and should be hand-cleaned and never tossed in a washer. Here are some ways to tackle different types of stains and keep these boots looking their best longer.

How to Remove Water Stains From UGG Boots

If your boots get wet, just letting them dry without cleaning can cause streaking or water stains. Instead, use a white cloth or sponge dipped in clean, cold water and wet the boots all over until they are evenly wet. Do not soak them! This will help them dry evenly and without water marks.

To help the boots hold their shape, stuff the damp boot with a rolled white towel. Don't use a dark-colored towel because some dye might transfer to the boots. Skip the newsprint as well or your feet and socks will be ink-stained. Allow the boots to air dry away from full sun or direct heat. Do not put in the dryer or use a hair dryer directly on the boots. High heat can damage the skin.

How to Remove Salt Stains on Sheepskin Boots

For winter salt stains, add one more step to the water stain removal process. Before you wet your boots completely, mix one cup of water and one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. Wipe the salt-stained area with the vinegar solution using a white cloth or cotton ball. The acetic acid in the vinegar will gently dissolve the salt. Proceed with the water stain removal steps.

How to Remove Scuff Marks

Use an old toothbrush or a clean white towel to brush away the scuff. Take care not to rub too hard and follow the nap of the suede or sheepskin. For tough scuffs and stains, you'll need a suede and nubuck cleaner. Finish by brushing the suede with a soft bristled brush to return the napped surface to the proper direction.

How to Remove Oily Stains From UGG Boots

Cover the oily stains with a layer of baby powder or cornstarch and let it sit for at least 24 hours, 48 hours is better. The powder will absorb the oil from the boots. After waiting patiently, brush away the powder with an old toothbrush. You may need to repeat the procedure to get all of the oily stains off the suede.

For overall cleaning, there are detergents made for cleaning leather. Follow the directions carefully and shampoo your boots. Allow the boots to slowly air dry. Remember, no high heat!

How to Clean the Inside of UGG Boots

There are usually a couple of issues with the inside of sheepskin boots: fungus and odor. It is nearly impossible to wash the inside of shearling boots thoroughly enough to kill the fungus. Wiping down the inside with a solution of disinfecting cleaner (NOT CHLORINE BLEACH) and water will help. Choose a pine oil or phenolic disinfectant (Lysol) because chlorine bleach will cause the sheepskin hide to stiffen. The best way to kill fungus in the boots is to use an anti-fungal spray.

To help combat odor, sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into each boot and allow them to sit overnight. The next morning, empty and vacuum out the baking soda to prevent leaving white tracks everywhere. It won't hurt anything to leave the baking soda inside except for the mess.

There are replacement insoles from UGG and other brands that may solve the majority of the odor problem.

6 Tips to Keep UGG Boots Looking Great

  • To help prevent excessive staining, sheepskin boots can be waterproofed using a special spray. Be sure to test it on an inside area first as it may change the texture and color of the leather.
  • Never let your boots soak in water or stay wet for too long. This will loosen adhesives and cause the skins to become misshapen.
  • Never dry sheepskin boots under a direct heat source or in the clothes dryer. Slow, gentle drying is best.
  • Never store damp boots. 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 before storing away.
  • Always wear socks or tights with your boots to prevent interior soiling and to help prevent odors.
  • Use boot trees, rolled up white towels or white tissue paper to stuff boots to help them hold their shape when not wearing.