Spring Cleaning: Dr. Martens Debunks 6 TikTok Boot Cleaning Hacks

With the arrival of spring, the urge to clean and refresh is upon us, and that includes giving our footwear some well-deserved attention.

The boot experts at Dr. Martens have scoured TikTok to see what the most popular boot-cleaning tips and tricks are and whether we should be following them or if they could indeed be doing more damage than good.

1. Sprinkle stain with baking soda

To get fresh stains out of suede boots, this TikTok video suggests blotting the stain with a paper towel, sprinkling baking soda over it and letting it settle overnight. The next day, buff away any excess residue with a brush. With this hack, baking soda is used to kill odour-causing bacteria and absorb any odours remaining.

Dr. Martens debunks: Although this hack may work at partly removing tough stains, the team at Dr. Martens does not advocate using baking soda to avoid any extra damage to boots or shoes.

2. Lather beeswax on Suede or leather boots 

With British spring showers, protecting our footwear can save on additional cleaning. In this TikTok video, the user suggests vigorously rubbing on a layer of beeswax to waterproof suede or leather boots. Once you have a good coat on the boot, use a hairdryer to heat the beeswax so that it melts into the material. Because beeswax does not dissolve in water, working it into leather blocks moisture from being able to get through. It repels water and will prevent it from absorbing into your boots during wet weather.

Dr. Martens debunks: Beeswax is a great way to protect and restore your leather footwear, which is why it’s one of the ingredients in Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam, but the experts at Dr. Martens do not recommend applying it to suede boots. Check out the Dr. Martens guide on how to properly apply balm to your boots and shoes. 

3. Spritz with white vinegar 

When cleaning mud off your boots, this TikTok video suggests using white vinegar. Leather boots shouldn’t be completely soaked in water and should be spot-cleaned. Dip a soft cloth in a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water, then use it to blot dirty spots. This will melt the residue away within seconds, leaving you with fresh and clean shoes. 

Dr. Martens debunks: The team of experts at Dr. Martens does not advocate using white vinegar to avoid any damage to boots.

4. Polish with banana peel 

This TikTok video suggests using a banana peel to polish the upper part of the leather. This is meant to clean the leather and make it last longer.

Dr. Martens debunks: Bananas are a healthy snack but the team at Dr. Martens would avoid using a banana peel for cleaning and recommend using a balm to prevent any future stains instead.

5. Brush with micellar water

Typically, micellar water is used to remove makeup, but in this this TikTok video the user suggests using micellar water to clean your suede boots. Without soaking the shoe, lightly massage the micellar water with a brush in a side-to-side motion and allow the suede to dry. Suede has a fuzzy finish, which is referred to as “napped.” Unlike leather shoes, which can be easily wiped clean, it is best to wait until any mud or dirt has fully dried on the suede before cleaning.

Dr. Martens debunks: Dr. Martens recommends using their Ultra Protector Spray and Suede Cleaner for the best finish.

6. Bicarbonate of soda with a sock

In this TikTok video the user suggests using an old sock and sprinkling bicarbonate of soda inside it. Leave the sock in the boot overnight to absorb moisture and odours, leaving the boots smelling fresh. Bicarbonate of soda is an alkaline substance, and when it comes into contact with acidic odours, it reacts to neutralise them producing less odour.

Dr. Martens debunks: Although this hack is shared for neutralising odours, the team at Dr. Martens recommends using a shoe freshener spray to keep boots smelling fresh for longer.