Wellington boots, more affectionately known as ‘wellies’, are the perfect rainy-day companion. Whether you’re going for a long country walk, doing some gardening or just quickly popping to the shops in a downpour, wellies prevent that wet, squidgy sock feeling.
Wellies have evolved from classic, plain knee-high boots and now come in a variety of colours, patterns, and styles. They’ve even gone designer with Hunter wellies becoming somewhat of a staple at music festivals throughout the summer.
Whatever you’re doing in your wellies, they’re bound to get dirty. They can get very mucky, very quickly. Mud, grass, sand, and even sleet and grit if you decide to use them in the snow, can build up on your boots.
Washing your wellies is essential, but can you put them through the washing machine? Even though they’re designed to resist water, the answer may surprise you.
Read on to find out whether you can put your wellies in the washing machine and the best way to clean them inside and out.
What Happens if You Machine-Wash Wellies?
You may think that a quick spin in the washing machine would be fine for your wellies. After all, they are waterproof. However, wellies are best cleaned by hand rather than bumping around in the washing machine.
A washing machine cycle can damage the rubber and plastic coating, which is what makes them waterproof.
If you put your wellies in the washing machine, they will eventually lose their waterproof seal and start to let water in, giving you that wet sock feeling you were trying to avoid.
How to Clean Wellies Safely
The best approach to cleaning wellies is to get on top of it as soon as possible and clean them up as soon as you get home. Here are some tips to get your wellies looking spic and span in no time:
- Hose them down as soon as possible. This will remove dirt and mud and prevent it from drying onto the wellies. If you don’t have a hose, a bucket of water or wet cloth will work just as well.
- Clean leftover marks with a cloth soaked in warm (not hot) water, by wiping from the top down. If these marks won’t budge, add a drop of dish soap to your water and try wiping them with the cloth again.
- Remove dirt build-up from the soles of the shoes by hosing it off or using a soft bristle brush, such as a toothbrush.
- Leave them to dry naturally, either outside, out of direct sunlight, or in a warm room. Avoid placing them directly on, or in front of, any heat sources.
These quick steps will get your wellies looking clean and prevent you from having to do a deep clean the next time you want to throw them on and head out.
Welly Cleaning Tips
We don’t always have time to give our boots a once over as soon as we get home, so it’s understandable that they can develop stains, unpleasant smells or dirt build-up. Luckily, it’s easy to get them looking clean and fresh again with a few simple steps.
Removing dirt stains from the outside of the boots
Mix a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with around half a cup of water and apply the mixture to the stain with a cloth soaked in the solution. Leave for up to 30 minutes and rinse off.
Removing caked-on dirt on the soles
Scrub any dried-on dirt from the soles with a large, soft bristle brush and rinse with water. For smaller crevices, try a small brush such as a toothbrush and a little elbow grease.
Cleaning the interior of the boot
Mix a teaspoon of washing-up liquid with half a cup of water and soak a cloth in the solution. Be sure to wring out the cloth so that it’s damp but not ringing wet. Otherwise, the interior will get too wet and take a long time to dry, leading to unpleasant odours.
Wipe the interior down with the soapy cloth, getting to all of the surfaces. Then rinse the cloth and soak it in water (again, not too much) and wipe off the soapy solution.
How to eliminate mould or bad smells
Make up a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water and spray it into your wellies.
What to Do About Blooming
Blooming is an issue for high-end wellies as it affects high-quality rubber. In warmer conditions, the rubber particles can rise to the surface and give the wellies a waxy, worn-out appearance.
No need to buy new ones, you can just wipe them down using a damp cloth. If the waxy appearance won’t budge, you can try polishing them with a dedicated rubber cleaner or by applying a few drops of olive oil to a cloth and polishing them in circular motions.
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