How to Clean and Care for UGG Sheepskin Boots

Illustration on how to clean sheepskin boots.

The Spruce

Sheepskin and suede boots, such as 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 unpleasant.

While there are certain brands of boots that can be machine-washed, they are made of synthetic materials that look quite similar to sheepskin. True sheepskin and UGG brand boots are made from a real animal hide that has been tanned to create the soft finish. They should be hand-cleaned and never tossed in a washer.

How to Clean Sheepskin UGG 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

Project Metrics

Working Time: Varies based on the type of stain

Total Time: Varies based on the type of stain

Skill Level: Beginner

What You Need

Supplies

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

Tools

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

Instructions for Overall Cleaning

  1. Brush the Boots

    Sheepskin boots should be brushed with a suede brush after every wearing to remove dust and loose soil. Start at the top and brush down following the nap of the hide.

  2. Use a Suede Cleaner

For overall cleaning, there are detergents made for cleaning leather. Follow the directions carefully and shampoo your boots starting at the top and working down with gentle circular motions. Do not over-saturate the boots and allow the boots to slowly air-dry.

Instructions for Removing Water Stains

If your boots get wet in a rainstorm, just letting them dry without cleaning can cause streaking or water stains.

  1. Wipe Down With a Wet Cloth

    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 watermarks.

  2. Stuff the Boots With a Rolled Towel

    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.

  3. Air-Dry the Boots

Allow the boots to air-dry away from full sun or direct heat. Do not put the boots in the dryer or use a hair dryer directly on the boots. High heat can damage the skin.

Instructions for Removing Salt Stains

  1. Create a Water and Vinegar Solution

    Mix 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar.

  2. Blot the Salt Stained Areas

    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.

  3. Wet Boots Evenly

Follow the water stains procedure so that the entire boot dries without watermarks.

Instructions for Removing Scuff Marks

  1. Brush Away the Scuff Mark

    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.

  2. Brush the Finish

Use a suede or soft-bristled brush to brush the suede to return the napped surface to the proper direction.

Instructions for Removing Oil Stains

  1. Absorb the Oil

    Cover the oily 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.

  2. Brush Away the Powder

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.

Instructions for Cleaning the Interior of UGG Boots

  1. Eliminate Fungus and Bacteria

    Wipe down the inside 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.

  2. Allow Plenty of Time for Air-Drying

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

  3. Control Odor

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.

Tips for Cleaning and Caring for Sheepskin 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 to help prevent odors.
  • 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.

Storing Sheepskin UGG Boots

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 them away. Use boot trees, rolled up white towels, or white tissue paper to stuff boots to help them hold their shape when not wearing.

Repairs

If a seam has come undone, use a heavy-duty needle and buttonhole thread to repair it. Double-stitch the seam so that it doesn't come undone easily.

If there's a tear, you can also cover it with a suede patch found at fabric and craft stores. It might not look as good as new, but it will keep your feet warm and dry.