Ever since I first bought my trusty old Timberland boots, I’ve been wondering how to clean them. From muddy treks in the woods to arduous hikes through riverbeds, these shoes have followed me through it all, and they’re still looking pretty good for their age! 

But as with any investment, a little bit of judicious cleaning can go a long way when it comes to keeping your Timberlands looking their best. That’s why today, I will walk you through how to clean your timberland boots with vinegar.

Just last week, while shuffling around town on an errand-filled day, my pair of Timberlands collected mud and dirt that seemed impossible unless time travel was involved, but I managed to get them looking fresh and new once more!

Preparation - Gathering the Necessary Supplies:

Before diving in, it’s essential to gather all the required supplies. I’ve learned it’s best to have everything on hand before you start to avoid any mid-clean scrambles, which could leave the boots sitting with vinegar for too long, something I learned the hard way can cause damage.

We’ll need:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A small bowl
  • A soft cloth or brush
  • A dry towel
  • Newspaper or shoe trees (for shape)

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Clean Timberland Boots with Vinegar?

Here’s a step-by-step guide I used to help me clean my Timberland boots, and it might help you as well:

Create Your Cleaning Solution:

In my experience, a one-to-one mix of white vinegar and water works best. I mix them in a small bowl, making enough to clean but not so much as to waste the mixture.

Test the Solution:

I once made the mistake of not testing the solution on a small boot area and ended up with a lightened spot. Now, I always try on an inconspicuous area before applying it.

Gentle Application:

I gently clean the boots in a circular motion with a delicate towel immersed in the solution. I discovered not to soak the cloth. Excessive amounts of liquid can seep through and could harm the leather.

Focus on Stains:

When I encounter tougher stains, I dab them gently with more vinegar solution and let them sit for a few minutes. A soft-bristled brush can be used for stubborn spots, but gently, to avoid scuffing the leather.

Wipe and Dry:

I use a dry towel to swiftly wipe the boots after cleaning in order to get rid of any extra moisture. I discovered that leaving watermarks behind, which present their own difficulties, can result from delaying this.

Shape and Air Dry:

I stuff my boots with newspaper to help them maintain their shape while drying. The first pair of Timberlands I cleaned suffered from shrinking and warping because I needed to pay more attention to this step.


Once the boots are dry, I apply a leather conditioner. Vinegar can strip natural oils from the leather, and conditioning helps restore it. This is a step I overlooked initially, which led to my boots drying out.

By sharing my experience, I aim to guide you through an effective and natural cleaning method for your Timberland boots. It’s a technique borne from necessity but perfected through practice, ensuring your boots can face many more winters to come.

Troubleshooting Common Issues - What if My Boots Still Need to Clean?

There was this one time when, despite a diligent cleaning routine, I noticed that my boots still looked lacking. Here’s how I tackled the issue and what I learned from the experience:

Identifying the Stubborn Stains:

I realized that not all dirt is created equal. Mud mixed with certain types of soil or substances can be particularly tenacious. I took a closer look to understand the nature of the stains.

Deep Cleaning:

I prepared a more targeted cleaning paste using baking soda and water. I had read about its efficacy in various cleaning forums and decided to try it. I applied it to the stained areas and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it gently with an old toothbrush.

Rinsing Well:

After scrubbing, I rinsed the boots with clean water. I found that sometimes residue from cleaning agents can make boots appear dirty even when not.

Repeating the Process:

When the first attempt didn’t entirely do the job, I didn’t give up. I repeated the process, understanding that some stains require a couple of rounds of treatment.

Using Specialized Products:

I researched and invested in a cleaner specifically designed for Timberland boots. This product was formulated to tackle tough stains on the nubuck and suede without damaging the material.

Learning From the Pros:

I watched tutorials from professional shoe cleaners. Their techniques, such as using a soft-bristled brush and specific strokes, made a significant difference.

Maintaining Your Boots Post-Cleaning - How to Keep Your Timberland Boots Looking New:

I’ve always taken pride in my Timberland boots, and over the years, I’ve honed a maintenance routine that keeps them looking as fresh as the day I bought them. Here’s the regimen that has kept my boots in excellent condition:

  • Post-cleaning, I always let my boots dry naturally away from direct heat. Early on, I made the mistake of trying to speed up the process by placing them near a heater, which caused the leather to crack. 
  • Leather conditioner is a game-changer. After each cleaning and whenever the leather looks dry, I apply a quality leather conditioner. I learned to use it sparingly, as over-conditioning can saturate the leather and affect its breathability and texture.
  • I used to kick my boots off and leave them wherever, but I’ve since realized that storing them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight keeps the leather from fading and aging.
  • Waterproofing sprays are a staple in my maintenance routine. When I first skipped this step, I got caught in the rain, and water stains became my boots’ unwanted accessories.
  • This might sound simple, but having more than one pair of Timberlands to rotate between has significantly extended their lifespan.
  • Spraying a stain and water repellent on the boot surface forms a protective layer. Initially, I overlooked this step, only to regret it when I dropped coffee on my boots, and it left a spot. Now, I regularly apply a protectant, especially if I know I’ll be in a situation where spills are possible.

From my experiences, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that consistent, proactive care is the key to keeping Timberland boots looking their best. By integrating these simple practices into your routine, you can avoid the pitfalls of neglecting such fine footwear. 


Wonders never cease. After all my experimenting, I have discovered the power of vinegar and how to clean Timberland boots with it. Cleaning leather belongs in a category all its own, as it is often tricky but can offer various unique benefits. Although some additional mixtures did not work well, these experiences taught me that adding other mixtures can yield varying results. This inspired confidence that you, too, can explore multiple cleaning approaches to determine what works best for you. So, experiment to make your shoe-caring journey promise packed with memorable moments!

Sniper Jones
Hi there, I'm Sniper Jones, mastermind of shoesviewer.com. My digital platform is devoted to sharing valuable knowledge about various types of footwear that can help refine your shoe selection process. Shoes have always intrigued me, leading to an impressive collection of over 1000 pairs! shoesviewer.com was launched in 2023 with the objective to provide extensive information that aids you in making well-informed shoe purchases. I've assembled a squad of shoe aficionados who share my enthusiasm for delivering unbiased reviews and thorough buying guides. Our evaluations are rooted in our personal experiences, ensuring the advice we offer is practical and usable. I always welcome feedback and discussions. If you have any questions concerning footwear, feel free to leave a comment. I'm here to assist!