How to Clean Timberlands in Under 20 Minutes

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Oct 26, 2020
How to Clean Timberlands  Image of Microfiber towel cleaning a pair of Timberland Earthkeepers

It’s Timberland season, so bust those beautiful puppies out of the closet and get ready to rock them all fall and winter long. 

One of the greatest things about Timberlands is that they’re waterproof. The only problem? After a few days of wearing them in the rain and snow, they get dirty quick. 

No worries—Timbs are resilient boots and it’s going to take a lot more than a little mud and water to keep them down. 

In our comprehensive guide, we’ll show you exactly how to clean your Timberlands. We’ll cover what you need to get started, how to do it, and what to do if you’re missing one or two cleaning products. Let’s dive in.

What You Need to Clean Timberland Boots

Timberland Earthkeepers side-on sitting on rock close

We’ll go into detail on how to clean your Timberlands in a moment, but before we dive in, there are a few different methods you can use. 

When you’re planning out how you’ll clean your Timbs up, first identify what material they’re made from. 

This article will focus mainly on the classic Timberland 6” waterproof boot. It’s the iconic boot known around the world. This boot is made with a leather called nubuck. 

Timberland Men's 6-inch Premium Waterproof Boot

The original Timberland rain boot. Chances are, if you're thinking of Timberlands, these are what come to mind.

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Nubuck leather has a velvety texture like suede, but it’s made with the outside of the hide, so it’s more sturdy and holds up better in rough weather. 

Timberland offers their own suede and nubuck cleaning kit, which is a great buy if Timberland boots are your primary set of footwear and you’re looking to keep them fresh looking. 

Timberland Travel Kit Plus Balm Proofer
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You can always use the Timberland kit on your other suede and nubuck shoes, boots, and bags. And the opposite is true, too. We’ll list out some generic supplies for cleaning nubuck that work well for Timberlands. 

The basics are:

  • Microfiber towel
  • Horsehair brush
  • Suede and Nubuck Cleaner
  • Suede and Nubuck Protector

Because classic Timberlands are waterproof, you’ll want to add a weather resistant spray to keep that crucial winter feature strong.

If you don’t have any of these products, we recommend picking up the Timberland all-in-one pack. 

If you have one or more items already, just check out the boxes below and pick up anything you’re missing.

Sof Sole Suede and Nubuck Cleaning Brush Kit
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Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector, 7 Ounces
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Otter Wax Suede & Nubuck Cleaner
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Buff™ Microfiber Cleaning Cloth | Black (12 Pack)
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How to Clean Timberland Boots

This is the same process if you’re wearing black or wheat Timberlands, so follow the steps in order and you’ll learn how to get your Timberlands looking squeaky fresh. 

Step 1: Brush off dirt and mud

Using your microfiber towel, brush as much dirt and mud off of your boots as you can. You’ll also remove your shoelaces in this step. 

If you’ve let your Timbs go for a while and they’re seriously caked with mud, smack your boots together to loosen up the stiff stuff. 

Once you’ve removed the top layer of dirt and grime, you’re ready for the next step. 

Step 2: Use a Suede Eraser to Remove Stubborn Stains

Sof Sole Suede and Nubuck Cleaning Brush Kit
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Use a suede and nubuck eraser to rub out any oil or deep dirt stains. In the third step, you’ll be washing the entire boot, but this is where you’ll go in and spot-treat any area that needs extra attention. 

A suede eraser is a piece of crepe rubber that picks up dirt like nobody’s business. Check around the toe as that’s where most scratches and stains end up. Don’t worry if you see some discoloration after using the eraser. You’ll buff it out later. 

Step 3: Use Suede and Nubuck Cleaner On the Entire Boot

Otter Wax Suede & Nubuck Cleaner
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Depending on what suede and nubuck cleaner you get, this will look different. But the idea is the same. 

You’ll apply the cleaner to your horsehair brush or rag (the brush is a better tool than the rag). Working in a circular motion, apply the cleaner to the entire boot. 

Don’t spot clean your Timberlands. They lighten up after you clean them, so if you spot clean, you’ll end up with splotchy boots. 

Scrub in the welt and along the eyelets to clean the nubuck evenly. If you’d like to clean the sole, you can get a stiffer brush or use an old toothbrush to clean in between the lugs. 

Step 4: Wipe off Cleaner and Let Timberlands Dry

Wipe your Timberlands down to remove as much cleaner as you can. You may notice some dirt leftover if your boots seriously needed some love. 

If that’s the case, just repeat step two until all dirt is gone. 

Let your Timberlands dry for 24 hours. They’ll look lighter and more refreshed. But you’re not done yet. 

Step 5: Apply Suede and Nubuck Protector

Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector, 7 Ounces
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Part of what makes Timberlands so great is that they’re waterproof. Keep them that way and apply nubuck protector. 

There are several varieties, but the one we want to use is an oil-based spray. With smooth leather boots, we’ll use a cream or wax, but for nubuck, we prefer a spray to keep the distribution even. 

Spray your boot as evenly as you can. You’ll see the leather darken significantly wherever you spray. Don’t worry, you’ll even the color out in the next step. 

Cover the entire boot and move on to the next step.

Step 6: Use a Suede and Nubuck Brush to Restore the Knap

Sof Sole Suede and Nubuck Cleaning Brush Kit
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To get those Timbs creamy smooth like when you first opened the box, you’ll need a suede and nubuck brush to restore the knap. 

This step is also critical to even out the suede protector you applied in the previous step. 

Once you’ve finished this step, let your Timberlands rest for another 12-24 hours. All that’s left is to step out looking like a boss. 

How to Clean Timberlands Without a Kit

If you don’t have a cleaning kit (whether it’s Timberland or your own), you can still get a good cleaning on your boots. 

Before I go any further, I’ll say this: I highly recommend getting a shoe-cleaning kit. You lower the risk of damaging the leather on this cleaning round, and you’ll have something for all of your shoes, boots, and bags. 

Timberland Travel Kit Plus Balm Proofer
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It’s a small investment and makes an enormous difference. 

That said, let’s dive into how to clean your Timberlands even if you don’t have a cleaning kit. 

To lift unsightly dirt marks, use a pencil eraser. It’s not as effective as the suede eraser, but it’ll help. 

Because Timberlands are waterproof, wet down a rag and rub your entire boot, removing as much dirt as you can. Keep rinsing the towel and repeating this step until all the dirt is gone. 

Let your Timberlands dry for 24 hours. If they still look dirty, spray a little vinegar onto any tough stains and repeat the entire process. 

This method isn’t nearly as effective as using suede cleaner and protector. 

Do not use soap and water to clean your Timbs. That method is plastered all over the internet and it’s a great way to ruin the leather. If you paid $100+ for your boots, you can spend $20 on the proper care materials. Plus, when you use proper cleaner and finish with a protector, your old boots will look like new. 

Get Cleaning

Timberland Earthkeepers side-on sitting on rock far

What are you waiting for? It’s time to get cleaning.

With Timberland season upon us, there’s no better time to put some care and attention into your favorite pair of waterproof boots and go stomp in some puddles. 

As I mentioned earlier, investing in a care kit will pay dividends for years. You can also use the same products to clean up your other shoes and bags. 

For more cleaning tutorials, boot reviews, and style guides, check out the BootSpy YouTube channel

And if you’ve got a different method for cleaning your Timberlands, let me know in the comments below.

FAQs

Can you clean your Timberlands with soap and water?

We don’t recommend you clean your Timberlands with soap and water. Soap will extract the oils that make Timberland nubuck leather waterproof. And by finishing with water, you’ll most likely stain the leather permanently. Instead, use a Timberland cleaning kit and follow the instructions.

Are Timberland boots machine washable?

Timberland boots aren’t machine washable. The cleaning process is simple, though. Use a Timberland cleaning kit and follow the instructions.

How do you clean black Timberland boots?

Cleaning black Timberland boots is just as easy as cleaning the wheat colored Timberlands. Brush off the dirt, use a suede cleaner to wash, and finish with a suede protector and a suede brush.

Should I spray my Timberland boots?

Spraying your Timberland boots with a suede and nubuck protector is the best way of getting an even coating of waterproofing. To keep your Timberlands as close to “new” as you can, finding a good suede protector spray is a fantastic choice.

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