Can You Wash Rugby Boots In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Rugby Boots In The Washing Machine

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No, you should not wash rugby boots in the washing machine. Using a washing machine to clean rugby boots can result in detrimental effects on the boots’ condition.

When it comes to the care and maintenance of your rugby boots, there are some dos and don’ts that every player should be aware of. One common question that arises is whether it’s safe to toss your rugby boots into the washing machine for a quick and easy clean.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why machine washing is not recommended and provide alternative methods for keeping your boots in top shape.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Rugby Boots In The Washing Machine


  • Wipe with a damp cloth: After a rigorous game on the field, it’s common for your boots to be covered in mud and dirt. The first step in cleaning them is to use a damp cloth to wipe off the surface debris. Be sure to use cool water for this, as hot water can stiffen leather boots and cause them to crack.
  • Use a soft brush or toothbrush: For deeper cleaning, use a softer brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the top of the boots. Lukewarm water and a mild detergent can be used, but avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as this can lead to damage.
  • Clean laces separately: If the laces on your rugby boots are dirty, remove them from the boots and soak them in a mixture of laundry detergent and hot water for about an hour. After soaking, you can choose to machine wash them separately if needed.


  • Avoid machine washing: The primary reason for avoiding machine washing is that the mechanical agitation in the machine can be harsh on your rugby boots. The boots may get tossed around, leading to damage, especially to the stitching and adhesives that hold the boots together.
  • Say no to hot water: Hot water can be detrimental to leather rugby boots. It can cause the leather to dry out, crack, and lose its flexibility. Stick to cool or lukewarm water when cleaning your boots.
  • Steer clear of harsh chemicals: While a mild detergent is generally safe for cleaning rugby boots, it’s essential to avoid harsh chemicals or bleach. These can strip the natural oils from the leather and damage the material.
  • Don’t use excessive force: Whether you’re scrubbing with a brush or wiping with a cloth, be gentle. Excessive force can cause abrasions or remove the protective finish on your boots.

Steps To Wash Rugby Boots In The Washing Machine (Not Recommended):

While it’s strongly advised against, if you still contemplate washing your rugby boots in the machine, here’s how you can go about it. Keep in mind that this method may damage your boots, so proceed with caution:

Step 1

Remove loose dirt: Start by knocking off any loose mud or dirt from your boots by tapping them together or using a soft brush.

Step 2

Remove the laces: Take off the laces and wash them separately if needed. As mentioned earlier, you can soak them in a mixture of laundry detergent and hot water for an hour before machine washing.

Step 3

Place boots in a pillowcase: To protect your boots from the agitating drum of the washing machine, place them in a pillowcase or a laundry bag. This will help reduce the impact they experience during the wash.

Step 4

Use a gentle cycle: Select the gentlest cycle available on your washing machine. This usually means using cold water and a slow spin cycle. Avoid using any additional detergents or bleach.

Step 5

Air dry only: After the washing machine cycle is complete, resist the urge to use a dryer. Instead, let your boots air dry naturally. Stuff them with newspaper to help maintain their shape while drying.

Note: Remember that machine washing rugby boots is not recommended, and it should only be considered as a last resort if all other cleaning methods have failed.

Alternative Washing Methods For Rugby Boots:

Now that we’ve established that machine washing is a no-go, let’s explore alternative methods to keep your rugby boots clean and in great condition:

  • Hand Washing: The most effective way to clean rugby boots is by hand. Use a damp cloth and lukewarm water with a mild detergent to gently scrub away dirt and stains. Be sure to rinse off any detergent residue.
  • Toothbrush Detailing: For stubborn spots and intricate areas, a soft toothbrush can be a valuable tool. It allows you to get into crevices and clean them without damaging the material.
  • Saddle Soap for Leather Boots: If you have leather rugby boots, invest in a good quality saddle soap. This specialized cleaner is designed to clean and condition leather without causing damage. Follow the product’s instructions for the best results.
  • Conditioning: After cleaning, it’s essential to condition your leather boots to keep them supple. Leather conditioner helps prevent drying and cracking. Apply it sparingly and follow the product recommendations.
  • Suede Care: If your rugby boots are made of suede, use a suede brush to gently restore the nap of the suede after cleaning. Avoid getting suede boots excessively wet, as this can cause staining and damage.


Can I use a washing machine for synthetic rugby boots?

Answer: It’s still not recommended. While synthetic materials are generally more durable than leather, the mechanical agitation in a washing machine can still cause damage. Stick to hand cleaning for synthetic boots.

How often should I clean my rugby boots?

Answer: The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use them. After every game or practice, remove loose dirt and wipe them down. A more thorough cleaning can be done when they become visibly soiled.

Can I use a regular shoe cleaner for my rugby boots?

Answer: Yes, you can use a mild shoe cleaner, but ensure it’s suitable for the material of your boots. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Are there any specific care tips for rubber studs on rugby boots?

Answer: Rubber studs are durable but can accumulate dirt. After each use, clean them with a damp cloth to prevent mud and debris buildup. Replace damaged studs promptly.

Can I waterproof my rugby boots?

Answer: Yes, you can use a waterproofing spray or wax designed for your boot’s material. This will help protect your boots from moisture and extend their lifespan.

Final Words:

In the world of rugby, your boots are your trusted companions on the field. Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure they perform at their best. While the washing machine might seem like a convenient solution, it’s crucial to avoid it as it can cause damage to your prized rugby boots. Instead, opt for the gentle hand-cleaning methods mentioned above and follow the dos and don’ts to keep your boots in excellent condition. With the right care, your rugby boots will continue to support you through many victorious games to come.

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