Can I Clean Ugg Boots in a Washing Machine?

By M.H. Dyer

Say what you want about UGG boots, but they're considered both a luxury and a staple because they're high-quality and insanely comfortable for everyday wear. Some even love them for their style (but hey, they're not for everyone). The sheepskin they're made of has a nice suede-like look and feel, but it can look really dingy when it gets dirty.

Washing UGGs in the washing machine may seem like an easy way to brighten a pair of soiled boots, but it's not recommended because the boots should never be fully saturated with water. The harsh agitation of the machine could also cause irreparable harm to the suede and sheepskin. The proper way to clean the boots is to carefully handwash.

Remove Scuffs and Smudges

A light cleaning may be all you need to remove minor scuffs and marks. Rub the scuffed areas very gently with a white rubber eraser. Don't use harsh rubbing motions, and avoid colored erasers, which may discolor the sheepskin. After removing the scuffs, brush the boots gently in one direction with a soft-bristled suede brush.

Clean the Boots

Moisten the entire surface of the boots with cold water so they're evenly damp. Avoid wetting only small areas because this may create visible water lines. You can use a cleaner made specifically for UGG boots or a gentle soap formulated for handwashing wool garments, but never apply the soap directly to the boots. Apply a small amount of cleaner to a moist sponge, then scrub the boots gently. Rinse the sponge in fresh water, and then wipe away the soap from the boots.

Dry Them Slowly

Stuff the moist boots with paper towels to help them maintain their shape, then let the boots dry slowly in a well-ventilated area at room temperature. UGG boots can be damaged by direct heat and sunlight, so place them away from heating vents, fireplaces or bright windows. When the boots are dry, brush them lightly with a suede brush to restore the nap. They may feel slightly snug when you put them on again, but with wear, they'll stretch to fit your feet.

Condition the Boots

Properly conditioning clean, dry UGGs with a sheepskin conditioner can help the boots resist soiling and water damage. Apply conditioner evenly over the surface so the skin is damp but not dripping. Stuff the boots with paper towels and set them in a cool place. Let them dry for at least 24 hours. Before you wear the boots, brush the surface lightly with a suede brush. To avoid breathing any harsh fumes, apply the conditioner outdoors.