Hiking Gear

Cleaning Your Merrell Hiking Shoes: Can They Be Washed?

Merrell Hiking Shoes on a Sink

Merrell Hiking shoes are built to take a beating when you’re out on the hiking trail. You can cross rivers, step onto muddy trails, and walk all over loose gravel with no issues. However, once you get back home they might be caked in mud and dirt, so can they be washed?

Merrell hiking shoes should not be machine washed as the leather and adhesive can be damaged in the washing machine. Merrell officially recommends you to clean them with a brush and mild soap and to be dried at room temperature. This will help extend the life of the materials of the boots.

I’ve hiking in my Merrell Moab hiking shoes for years. I’ve taken them on dry desert landscapes, stepped across rivers, and went into ankle deep mud. My Merrell hiking shoes have stood the beating on the trail, but lasted longer because of the careful steps I’ve taken in cleaning them. There are a few key things you can do when you are cleaning your hiking shoes to help them last longer.

How to Clean Your Merrell Hiking Shoes

Merrell Hiking Boots in the Sink

When it comes to cleaning your hiking shoes, less is more. It is easy to want to toss your hiking shoes into the washing machine, but this can damage and shorten the life of your hiking shoes.

The first thing you want to do is use a soft brush such as an old tooth brush to brush away any dirt. Next you want to remove any lodged gravel or rocks from the bottom of your shoes. Once you have brushed the shoes, the next step is to remove the laces.

Once the dirt and laces are gone, the next step is to rinse your hiking shoes with water. Use a mild soap mixed with water to brush the outer layer of your shoes. This should help remove almost all of the dirt and grime from your shoes.

Our Favorite Merrell Hiking Boots:

What kind of Soap Should I use to Clean My Merrell Hiking Shoes?

One thing to keep in mind is what type of soap or cleaner to use for your Merrell hiking shoes. You want to avoid using soaps with too many additives or things that have strong chemicals as it can damage the leather and other materials of the shoes.

The first and main choice for me is Dr. Bronner’s Soap. This soap is very mild and is made of organic ingredients. This soap will be very gentle on your hiking shoes and help extend their life since it does not have any harmful chemicals.

An alternative to Dr. Bronner’s Soap is Gear Aid Boot and Shoe Cleaner. This cleaner helps clean leather and suede shoes with a concentrated gel cleaner that helps remove dirt and grime without harming the underlying fabric.

An added bonus of this cleaner is it will help prep your hiking shoes for waterproof treatment. This spray will help ensure that the fabric is ready to be treated for waterproofing. As your shoes age they will need to have their waterproofing protection reapplied after common wear and tear.

How Should I dry my Merrell Hiking Shoes After Cleaning Them?

Letting Merrell Hiking Shoes Dry

Once you are done washing your Merrell shoes, you want to shake off excess water. You might be tempted to place them in the dryer, but this is not a great idea. The excess eat from the dryer can ruin any adhesive and age any leather in your shoes. You also want to keep your shoes away from direct sunlight or campfires as this too can damage the shoes. Merrell officially recommends you dry your boots at room temperature.

Before drying, the first thing you want to do is remove your insole and set it aside. Sweat builds up as you hike and soaks in the inner fabric and insole of your shoe, so its best to remove it so it can air out.

The next step you want to do is place newspaper or paper towels inside of the shoe. This will help absorb any excess moisture that is trapped inside the shoe.

Drying your hiking shoes can take a day or two. Once your shoes are completely dried you can put the laces back on and put the insole back into the shoe. Now your shoes are clean like-new and the soles of your shoes have improved traction as they are not covered in dirt and mud.

Why Do My Merrell Hiking Shoes Stink?

After tackling the trails and taking off your hiking shoes, you may notice they may have a slight stench, or maybe after cleaning your hiking shoes there is a lingering smell. As you are hiking, your legs and feet are generating sweat. This sweat gets trapped in the shoes and can create a breeding ground for bacteria.

Before we get into what you can do to your shoes after you return from your hike, you can prevent a lot of the sweat from ever getting to the fabric of your hiking shoes. You can do this by purchasing wool hiking socks. If you are wearing cotton socks or regular gym socks, this is not enough to wick away the sweat from your hiking shoes. Wool hiking socks will help absorb the sweat and keep them away from your feet and your hiking shoes. This will severely reduce the source of the stench in your hiking shoes.

Our Favorite Hiking Socks:

Once you return from the trail you need to give your shoes some time to dry out. If a stench remains even after cleaning them then you can apply an odor eliminator. This will help remove the stench from your hiking shoes. Allow the shoes to dry in room temperature after you have applied the odor eliminator.

Our Favorite Hiking Shoe Odor Eliminator:
Lumi Outdoors Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray and Odor Eliminator on Amazon

How Can I Waterproof My Merrell Hiking Shoes?

As you hike and as time goes on the water proof layer on your hiking shoes will wear off. After thoroughly cleaning your hiking shoes, you may consider applying a waterproof coating. The best time to apply this waterproof coating is immediately after you have washed the soap off of your shoes.

Make sure your laces are off. If you have leather hiking shoes then you want to get them to soak in water. Wet a towel and wrap it around your boots so the leather can absorb the water. Follow the waterproofing treatment steps to thoroughly apply the waterproof treatment. Your shoe’s waterproofing should be fully restored once they are completely dry.

Our Favorite Hiking Shoe Waterproofing Treatment:
GEAR AID Revivex Suede Nubuck and Fabric Boot and Shoe Care Kit

How Should I Store My Merrell Hiking Shoes

Women's Merrell Hiking Boots

When you are done cleaning your hiking shoes you might be wondering what the best way to store them. The best way to store your Merrell hiking shoes is to let them completely dry out in your house away from the sun. Once they are dry then you should store them in a cool, dark, and dry location.

The reason why you want to store them in a cool and dry location is that any kind of heat or humidity can negatively impact the materials of the Merrell hiking shoes. Any sun can pull natural oils and moisture from the leather in the shoes. It can also dry out any rubber or adhesive on your shoes. If the place you store your hiking shoes has humidity than you can possibly get mold or keep a stench in your shoes.

If you are wary of any odors in your shoe you can also store them with de-odorizing products. These will help remove any stench and keep your merrel hiking shoes smelling fresh.

Our Favorite Shoe De-odorizer:
Lumi Outdoors Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray and Odor Eliminator on Amazon

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your hiking boots is probably one of the last things you want to do after returning from a hiking trip. The easiest thing to do is to toss them in the washing machine, however this can damage the shoes and shorten the lifespan. By handwashing your shoes and letting them airdry you will have clean shoes, improved traction, and extend the life if your Merrell hiking shoes.

Cleaning your Merrell hiking shoes is important, but its also important how you store then. Storing them in a cool and dry location will help keep odors away, mold out, and make sure theyre fresh for your next hike.

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