How to Clean Sheepskin Boots and Slippers
I received my first (and only!) pair of UGG sheepskin boots in high school. This was the time when it was popular in Southern California to pair sheepskin UGG boots with denim mini skirts and spaghetti strap tanks (anyone else remember that time?). I wore those boots to the ground and I was gifted a second pair my senior year of college.
It was around this time that I learned how to clean sheepskin boots. The combination of caring for them properly and wearing them less frequently (UGG boots are now reserved for mountain weekends only!) has enabled that same pair to last me well over a decade.
If you have some well loved sheepskin boots or slippers in need of a clean, keep reading for the exact products and methods to try.
How to Remove Stains from Sheepskin Boots
Before doing a general cleaning, check your boots for stains. We will start by treating stains, then we will do an overall cleaning of your sheepskin boots.
Remove Dirt Stains
If you have concentrated scuffs or dirt stains, there are a few methods worth trying for removal. I recommend starting with tape.
TAPE – My mother-in-law was excited to share this tip with me when she discovered it on a pair of suede shoes. Grab some painters tape first (it’s gentler than packing tape) and press it over the scuff mark. Really dig your nail in there to make sure the tape grabs ahold of all of the dirt, then lift the tape from your boot. Works like magic!
SUEDE BRUSH – If tape wasn’t enough, grab a suede brush. I use one to care for all of my suede clothing (suede jackets, shoes, etc.). Brush the scuffed area to loosen the dirt. You might want to follow this step up with another piece of tape to fully remove the dirt stain!
ERASER – Matted stains can be loosened with a pencil eraser. Gently rub the eraser against the matted stain on your boot until it has regained its original texture.
Remove Oil and Grease Stains from Sheepskin Boots
When it comes to oil stains of any kind, you want to act as quickly as possible to increase your odds of fully removing the oil stain. Oil stains on clothes and on sheepskin boots are treated very similarly. You want to start by soaking up the stain with a fine, powdered substance.
CHALK: If you have white chalk at your house (or school), grab a stick and color over the oil stain on your sheepskin boots. Let this sit for several hours, then grab a suede brush and gently brush away the excess chalk dust. You will be left with a light colored spot where the chalk mark was left, but that will come out completely after you clean your sheepskin boots.
CORNSTARCH: Don’t have a stick of chalk on hand? No problem, grab some cornstarch and pile it over the oil stain. Leave this overnight and the next day gently brush away any excess powder with a suede brush. Any lingering white color from the powder will be washed away after you learn how to clean sheepskin boots below.
Remove Water Stains from Sheepskin Boots
If your boots are showing water damage from being worn in the rain or snow, it’s easy to remove. Grab the other sheepskin boot and rub it against the water stain. Suede on suede will loosen and remove water stains!
How to Clean Sheepskin Boots
Before getting started, make sure you have all of the proper cleaning materials on hand.
Start by brushing the suede exterior of your sheepskin boots from top to toe. Loosen the nap of the suede and brush away any loose dirt. This will help prep the suede for deeper cleaning in the next steps.
Wet your boots with water first to prep the suede for cleaning products. Do this by taking a wet cleaning rag or soft sponge and dampening your suede boots.
Grab your suede cleaner and follow product instructions before using to clean your boots.
If you do not own suede cleaner, in a pinch you can use distilled white vinegar diluted with water (about ½ and ½) as a cleaning solution. Apply using a cleaning cloth or soft sponge to the suede.
Follow up another round of clean water to remove any cleaning products that were applied to the suede.
When your sheepskin boots are wet, they are prone to re-shaping. Make sure they dry properly by shaping the boots. Stuff the toes and ankles and calves with dry cleaning cloths or newspaper so your boots stand up properly to dry.
Do not leave wet boots to dry in the sun or next to a heat source. Doing so can warp the leather.
Once your sheepskin boots are fully dry, grab your suede brush one last time to loosen the nap. Now they’re clean and ready to wear once again!
Smelly Sheepskin Boots
To remove smells, pour baking soda and cornstarch in each shoe and give them a shake. Let the baking soda and cornstarch sit in your boots overnight, then shake out loose powder the next day.
Now that your sheepskin boots smell better, maybe commit to wearing thin socks with your boots going forward. Regardless, make sure you’re exfoliating your feet EVERY time you shower. Those gross smells are often caused by dead skin that sheds from your feet into your boots. Gross…
If you struggle with smelly sandals in the summer, here is how to deodorize them!
What to Avoid When Cleaning Sheepskin Boots
Now that you know how to clean your sheepskin boots, these warnings might go without saying. Either way, make sure you avoid the following techniques when cleaning sheepskin boots (or suede in general!).
- Dry Cleaning
- Cleaning in a Washing Machine
- Drying in the sun
- Drying by a heat source
- Completely soaking with water
Avoid these mistakes and follow the instructions detailed above an you will be sure to end up with clean sheepskin boots – good as new!
Kait is the founder and editor of A Clean Bee. She is passionate about discovering natural, eco-friendly, and sustainable ways to clean and organize her home. Kait has been featured in online publications such as NBC News, Oprah Magazine, BuzzFeed and PopSugar for her expertise in natural cleaning techniques. She enjoys spending her off-time outside in her garden with her husband and their two small boys.