How to Clean Timberland Boots With Vinegar – Step by Step Process

Last Updated on February 11, 2021 by Jack Sanders

Timberland is known around the world for being one of the best brands of work boots. Their superior durability, safety, and comfort features are what sets their work boots apart from the rest. Due to this, lots of tradesmen (i.e. linemen) don’t think twice to spend hundreds of dollars to acquire these boots.

But sadly, things aren’t that easy when it comes to cleaning and maintaining Timberland boots.

These boots are manufactured with different materials that require specific procedures to be cleaned and maintained. I mean, you’ve got Timberland work boots entirely or partially made with:

Luckily, there is one easy-to-follow process to clean any pair of Timberland boots.

What is it, you may ask? You guessed it! Cleaning Timberland boots with vinegar.

So, to make things easier for our readers, I made sure to research and build a simple guide on how to clean Timberland boots with vinegar that everybody could follow.

Why Vinegar?

Acetic acid (a.k.a. white vinegar) is a substance with powerful cleaning and disinfecting capabilities. Given its properties, it can dissolve:

  • grease
  • dirt
  • mineral deposits
  • grime

As a result, after cleaning a surface with white vinegar, one can expect to bring it back to life, keeping it as good as new.

Moreover, white vinegar is known for being very cheap. In fact, you could easily get 1 gallon of white vinegar for around 10 bucks. With a gallon, you’ll have enough vinegar to clean hundreds of work boots!

It doesn’t stop there. Given that acetic acid is a very mild chemical, it can be applied to leather, suede, rubber, even mesh surfaces without hurting them. That’s how white vinegar becomes a perfect cleaning substance for Timberland work boots.

What Do You Need to Clean Timberland Boots With Vinegar?

These are the materials needed to clean Timberland boots with vinegar:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1 boot brush
  • 1 soft-bristled brush
  • 1 cotton cloth

For alternative methods (which are later explained) you might wanna get:

  • 4 baby wipes (bread and talcum method)
  • 4 bread slices (bread and talcum method)
  • 1 tbsp of talcum powder (bread and talcum method)
  • 1 toothbrush (Aggressive method)

How to Clean Timberland Boots With Vinegar: The Step by Step Process

There are three different methods one can follow to clean Timberland boots with vinegar. I’m gonna explain them one by one.

Preparation

Before choosing any of the following methods to clean Timberland boots with white vinegar, one must follow a preparation process to make sure the boots are ready for cleaning.

First, one must wipe the dust and external dirt with a brush or with a clean towel.

Then, remove the laces and clean them separately with soapy water. Rinse them until they’re completely clean and let them dry in a warm environment.

Last but not least, the exterior part of the outsoles must be completely clean. To do this, one must scrub all the dirt in the outsoles with a soft-bristled brush.

Now that the Timberland boots are prepared, let’s explain the white vinegar cleaning methods.

Method 1: Traditional method

To follow this method you have to:

  1. Mix one cup of warm water with one tablespoon of white vinegar to make the cleaning solution
  2. Grab a clean (very important!) cotton cloth and dip it into the solution
  3. Apply the vinegar solution rubbing the soaked cotton cloth onto the entire surface of the Timberland boots
  4. Leave the boots to rest for about 10 minutes letting the vinegar solution work its magic
  5. Gently scrub the stains on the Timberland boots with the soaked cotton cloth until these are completely gone
  6. Leave the boots to dry in a warm environment for about an hour
  7. Brush the boots with a boot brush to give them the finishing touch 

You can repeat this process as many times as you want until your Timberland boots are completely clean. As explained before, acetic acid (also known as white vinegar) is a mild chemical with powerful cleaning and disinfecting attributes perfect for washing leather, suede, and mesh Timberland work boots.

Method 2: Use vinegar, bread, and talcum powder

This might be the craziest sounding method to clean Timberland boots with vinegar. The good news is that, similarly to the previous one, it can be done with domestic items!

It consists of:

  1. Mixing a tbsp of pure vinegar with one cup of warm water
  2. Grabbing the baby wipes and cleaning the entire surface of the boots, except for the outsoles. Aim for removing as many stains as you can
  3. Get the bread slices and scrub the stubborn stains out of your Timberland boots. Yes, you heard it right, bread slices. They will lightly sand the dirt spots without leaving marks which is what we’re trying to avoid
  4. Next, sprinkle talcum powder on the stubborn stains smudges still present and let the boots rest for about 24 hours. The idea here is to let the powder soak the stains so they’re easily removed in the next step
  5. Soak the cotton cloth on the vinegar solution made in step 1
  6. Gently rub the cotton cloth on those areas where there is talcum powder. Repeat this step until the talcum powder is completely gone
  7. Let the boots dry for about an hour
  8. Last but not least, brush the boots with a brush to bring up the shine

I know this method sounds crazy at first, but it definitely worked for me. I’d even tell you that, in some cases, it can work better than the traditional method. And the best part, you only need household items!

Method 3: Aggressive method

Warning: This method gives an aggressive twist to the traditional method. It’s only recommended if you have tried everything and the stains are still present in your Timberland boots.

To follow it, you must:

  1. Grab a toothbrush and dip it in pure vinegar
  2. Scrub the stains with the soaked toothbrush for about 90 seconds. Try to be as gentle as possible, otherwise, you might risk leaving marks on your Timberland work boots
  3. After removing all stains, let the boots dry for about an hour
  4. Brush the boots to give them a good shine

Again, this method is a bit riskier than the previous ones. So, try as many times as possible to clean all the stains with previous cleaning methods and only end up trying the aggressive cleaning process if you don’t have any other choice.

Time to Shine: How to Buff Your Timberland Boots With Vinegar

Yes, vinegar works both for cleaning and polishing your Timberland boots. However, there’s a specific process you must follow to make sure of this.

What you’ll need

  • 1 tbsp of pure vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of linseed oil
  • 2 cotton cloths
  • 1 leather conditioner bottle
  • 1 boot brush

How to Make your Timberland Boots Shine With White Vinegar

What makes this shining method stand out from the rest is its unique solution. Vinegar acts as a cleansing substance that dissolves the dirt present on the surface of the boots and the linseed oil and leather conditioner work together to nourish the leather back to its original shiny state.

To shine Timberland boots with vinegar you must follow these steps:

  1. Mix 1 tbsp of vinegar, 2 tbsp of linseed oil, and 1/3 of the leather conditioner bottle
  2. Dip the cotton cloth into this solution and let it soak for about 2 minutes
  3. Rub the soaked cotton cloth on every surface of the Timberland boots
  4. Let the leather absorb the solution for about 10 to 15 minutes
  5. Remove excess solution with a second cotton cloth
  6. Buff the work boots with a boot brush to bring up the shine
  7. Done. Your Timberland boots will look as good as new!

Pro Tip: Do Not Apply Direct Heat to the Timberland Boots

People tend to be impatient.

This is why I frequently hear that when following any of the previous cleaning methods they can’t wait for the vinegar to naturally dry and they decide to put their Timberland boots right next to a heater. As some of you may already know, this is a big NO-NO.

When heat is directly applied to work boots one of two things may happen:

  • The boots get too dry and the leather (or suede) starts to crack
  • Due to the direct heat, some parts of the boots slowly burn leaving burnt marks all over the boots

The only way to avoid these consequences is to TAKE YOUR TIME and wait an hour for your Timberland boots to naturally dry. That way, you’ll make sure that you won’t end up with a burnt pair of Timberland work boots.

Can You Throw Timberland Boots in the Washing Machine?

This is a question a lot of people tend to ask.

I mean, on paper, it should be OK, why wouldn’t you put Timberland boots in the washing machine, it does clean regular clothing, right? You can even throw your sneakers there and they’ll come out with that brand new shine we all miss in our used Timberland boots!

However, I wouldn’t recommend throwing Timberland boots in the washing machine.

There are various reasons to avoid doing this, such as:

  • Timberland boots are solid (and sometimes bulky and heavy) boots that could damage your watching machine’s drum if put inside to wash. This part costs a few hundred dollars to repair, so take that in mind
  • The main material of the Timberland boots (whether it be leather or suede) is very delicate and could easily get ruined by regular laundry detergent
  • The centripetal force the mashing machine makes when in operation might push the Timberland boots with enough force to weaken (and sometimes break) the adhesive that binds the uppers, outsoles, and midsoles together

Knowing this, I’d recommend you to go for other alternative cleaning methods to use with Timberland boots. Cleaning them with vinegar, as previously explained, is a very safe method to disinfect and bring the shine back to your Timberland boots, so I’d definitely give it a try.

Author: Jack Sanders
Hey there, I’m Jack, founder and editor in chief here at WorkBootsGuru.com. After my best friend spent hundreds of hours trying to convince me, I decided to take control of my life and finally got to make this site. I’m on a mission to share my insider tips with every man who has a skilled trade job.

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