Work boots and/or safety shoes are essential pieces of personal protective equipment used in workplaces to mitigate physical safety hazards. Although they’re used to protect our feet, they also require regular maintenance to keep feet safe and healthy. Regular cleaning and care are crucial to avoid compromising their effectiveness in performance and protection. Read on to learn about the best methods to clean your work boots and safety shoes, based on the material that has been used.
Leather is one of the most popular materials used on the outside of a safety shoe. Some of the reasons that it is so commonly used is its ability to resist wear and tear, and the flexibility of movement that it offers. Leather is also breathable and absorbs moisture, helping keep feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.
To care for leather, first make sure your shoes are dry. Then use a shoe brush to remove salt or dirt. Using a cleaner that is suited for leather, proceed by rubbing the leather with a soft, clean cloth. Rub until dirt and tough stains have been removed. Next, dab the shoes with a clean, dry cloth and then leave them to air dry. Use mink oil, which is an oil with similar properties to vaseline, to help the leather retain its shine. Finally, apply a protective waterproofing spray, to prevent staining caused by rain and snow and to help the shoes remain water-resistant.
Synthetic materials are also used in the production of safety footwear, and are composed of materials that have been manmade, rather than are natural. Synthetic materials can be treated to prevent staining, wrinkling, improve water-resistance and so forth, but how should you clean it?
Before cleaning the material with a mild soap and cold water, we recommend removing any excess dirt with a stiff brush or a soft cloth. Once cleaned, leave to air dry, as heat will impact the construction of the material.
Suede is a type of leather that features a napped finish. It is softer than regular leather and less durable. While it does fall under the leather category, it does require additional maintenance.
To start, use a shoe brush, specific to suede shoes, to brush off any form of dirt or salt. Then, apply sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, on stubborn stains and leave it to absorb overnight. Clean the shoes with a cloth and dust off the baking soda. Finally, protect your shoes by using the waterproofing spray, as it will help them to remain weather-resistant.
Rubber is another material typically used in safety shoe construction. Rubber is an excellent insulator, provides electrical resistance, and has many shock-absorbing features. While it is durable, it is not breathable and it can limit movement, causing discomfort. However, rubber is water-resistant, allowing for those working in wet environments to remain dry throughout the day. It is also relatively easy to clean.
To clean your rubber shoe, use pressurized water and baking soda to remove stubborn dirt. The pressure from the water will help loosen the dirt, while the baking soda will remove any stains. Be careful not to let any water inside the shoe as it could damage the interior. Follow this by using a brush to remove grime from the sole and sides of the shoe. The rubber is strong enough to withstand harsh brushing. You can then erase scuff marks with olive oil. Finally, let your shoes air-dry overnight.
A Tip from our Pros!
If you are cleaning work boots or safety shoes with water, be mindful of the amount of water that is used, especially if they are comprised of leather. Repeatedly soaking the material with water will cause the leather to dry and crack. If you do expose the boots or shoes to too much water, simply remove the insoles and stuff them with newspaper. This will help to draw out the water quickly and safely.
Looking to buy a new pair of safety shoes? We’ve got you covered! Contact us today and we will help you find the perfect safety shoe based on material, fit, construction, and more! If you are looking for care products designed for your specific shoe, visit our online store.