Clarks Desert Boots are a style staple for a lot of men.
They were inspired by the boots worn by British soldiers in WWII that were made out of suede and featured a crepe sole that is both stylish and comfortable.
And while they go great with a variety of outfits and are comfortable enough to be worn every day, a lot of times, these boots are cleaned and maintained right, which leads to them having a pretty worn-out look.
To avoid that, it’s best to clean your boots whenever they seem worn out and dirty.
But how exactly do you clean Clarks Desert Boots?
To clean suede chukka boots like the ones made by Clarks, you will need a suede brush and/or a suede eraser. Simply use the brush to remove whatever dirt is visible on the boot, then use the eraser to remove any hard-to-get scuff marks and damage.
In this article, we get into detail on the ways you can clean your suede desert boots, as well as some tips on how to properly maintain them.
Read on to learn more.
What Materials Do I Need To Clean A Clarks Desert Boot?
If it’s your first time attempting to clean suede, you might feel like you need a wide range of different tools and materials to get the job done.
But actually, all you’re going to need is a suede brush, a butter knife, and some newspaper.
This is for general cleaning, but if you want to deep clean the shoes and remove all scuff marks, then you might need a suede eraser.
Additionally, you can also use a leather conditioner and a waterproof spray after cleaning to give your shoes an added layer of protection.
That’s about all you’re going to need when cleaning Clarks Desert Boots, and if you don’t have any of these tools at hand, don’t worry they are pretty easy to find in any local shoe shop.
On top of that, the Clarks brand also sells shoe cleaning kits with tools that are specifically designed to handle Clarks boots, it isn’t necessary that you use these kits for your shoes, but it can make things a whole lot easier for you since the kits are high-quality and tailored for these boots.
How To Clean Clarks Desert Boots
Step 1: Prepare Your Cleaning Area
Before you even start cleaning, it’s always best to find the right place to do it.
Make sure the area you choose gives you ample space to move around, and you don’t mind getting the area a bit dirty.
Start by laying out a newspaper flat over the area, and this will serve as a catcher for any loose dirt that falls when you’re brushing.
And once you’ve done that and have all your tools ready, you can now begin cleaning your desert boots.
Step 2: Brush Off The Dirt
Once you have everything in place, it’s time to start cleaning the shoe.
Hold the brush with your dominant hand, and hold the shoe with your non-dominant hand.
From there, simply use the brush to remove any dirt that is on the shoe (if you have the right kind of suede brush, this will be very easy).
It’s best to use brushes with horse hair, as they respond to suede very well and can be a quick and easy way to get a clean finish on your boots.
That being said, there will still be some dirt and scratches that the brush won’t be able to handle, and that is when you take out the butter knife.
For the extra-persistent marks, you can use a butter knife to gently scrape it off, then once you’ve lifted the grain, simply remove anything left with the brush.
It’s very important to remember to be gentle when brushing, as it isn’t uncommon for people to brush their desert boots too hard resulting in them actually damaging the shoes instead of cleaning them.
Step 3: Remove Scuff Marks
Even with the suede brush and butter knife combo, there still might be some leftover marks, especially if you haven’t cleaned the boots in a while.
This is when taking out a suede eraser would be very beneficial.
These erasers work like a spot cleaner for your shoes, so all you have to do is rub the eraser on the troubled areas and watch the marks slowly disappear.
There might be some residuals leftover after using the eraser, which is easily removed by the brush.
And once that is done, your boots are fully cleaned and ready to be worn, but if you want to add an extra layer of protection for your shoes, there are some optional finishing touches that you can do.
Step 4: The Finishing Touches
There are a couple of optional finishing touches that you can do to your desert boots to give them an added layer of protection.
For starters, after giving it a proper cleaning, you could spray shoe sole cleaner on the bottom of the boots and brush off the dirt.
You can also consider spraying it with a waterproof spray so that it will be a bit more durable when you’re wearing them out in public.
You can buy these cleaners at about any local shoe shop near you, but Clarks also sells a full kit with a brush, cleaner, and waterproof spray that you can conveniently get on their website.
On top of that, it might also help if you put in a shoe tree in the boots whenever you aren’t wearing them.
This can help maintain and restore the original silhouette of the shoes and even extend its life.
Can I Use Soap To Clean Them?
One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning desert boots is using soap.
Soap is great for cleaning a whole bunch of different things, but if you use them for leather-based products such as suede boots or beeswax leather boots, you might actually risk ruining the leather.
This is because leather is a porous material, which makes them very likely to absorb cleaning agents like soap.
On top of that, leather contains a lot of natural oils that give it a unique look, color, and texture.
Cleaning the material with soap will remove these oils and make the leather look dry and discolored, which is not something you would want to happen to your boots.
So if you want to give your desert boots a deep clean, make sure to take the time and put in the effort to clean them properly, using a brush and cleaning materials designed specifically for leather and suede.
And remember that soap and leather do NOT mix well together.
How To Waterproof My Clarks Desert?
One thing that a lot of people want to do when they have a pair of chukkas is to waterproof them.
After all, since the boots are already so comfortable and stylish, making them waterproof makes them so much more functional.
That being said, while you can make them a little water-resistant, you can’t exactly make them waterproof as desert boots have crepe soles that cannot be made waterproof.
To make your desert boots water-resistant, you can add Sno Seal to them after cleaning.
Sno Seal is a combination of oils and beeswax which nourishes leather and serves as a protective layer that can resist water.
Take note, however, that while Sno Seal can make your shoes more resilient to water, it does give your shoes a darker finish, so before using it, try testing it on a small and invisible part of the boot to see if you like the darker finish.
An alternative to Sno Seal is a waterproof spray.
There are a lot of these sprays available on the market, but it’s always best to use the tried and tested brands such as Scotchguard.
And while it’s very easy to apply these sprays if you spray them on dirty boots, you risk sealing the stain, so make sure to only spray on clean boots.
How Often Should I Clean Them?
This will all depend on you.
Some people prefer having a worn-out look on their boots, so that will require less cleaning.
But if you want to maintain the original and clean look of your desert boots, then we recommend cleaning them at least every 4-8 weeks.
Once you notice that your boots don’t look as clean as you would like, then that’s when you know that it’s time to clean it.
And with that, our comprehensive guide to cleaning your Clarks Desert Boots comes to an end.
Some people like having their boots looking brand new, while others prefer a more rugged and scuffed-up look.
But regardless of how you would like your boots to look, they will eventually need a cleaning every now and then.
When cleaning your boots, make sure that you brush them gently and use the right tools and materials to prevent damaging them.
And if you do that right, then you’re surely going to have a stylish and functional pair of boots designed to last you a long time.
Steve Oddvar Vicantas is a professional electrician and building inspector who loves writing about work boots, work safety, and everything in between. He is also a part-time blogger when he has spare time.