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How to Clean Dry Mud From the Soles of Shoes

by Erica Loop, studioD

Dried mud tracked across your clean carpets or wonderfully pristine wood floors creates a hassle and can ruin your day. Whether your hiking boots are caked with dried crud, you walked through the construction site across from the office or your soles are simply streaked with a muddy mess leftover from yesterday's rain, you'll need to get the gunk off and stop the outdoors from coming in.

Re-wet the dried mud on your soles with a running garden hose. Scrape the water-soaked mud from the soles of your shoes with a stick or similar tool before it dries again. Scrub the remaining large chunks of mud with a coarse brush.

Dry any remaining stuck-on mud by setting your shoes in a warm -- not hot or heated -- or sunny place. Place the shoes on a piece of newspaper with the bottoms up or to the sides to allow the gunk to dry.

Keep your shoes over the newspaper or bring them outdoors to scrape the remaining dried mud off. Use your stick or other scraper to loosen chunks of the dried mud. Dislodge bigger areas, letting them fall onto the paper or the ground.

Clap the soles of the shoes together over the newspaper or outdoors to loosen any remaining mud. Hold the shoes below eye level to avoid dust and pieces of mud. Repeat the process until no more mud comes off when you clap the soles together.

Wipe remaining mud off with a wet washcloth or moist baby wipe. Wipe over the entire sole area. Push the cloth into the grooves of the soles, getting out all the pieces of mud. Continue wiping until all the mud is gone.

Swipe a dry paper towel or dry washcloth across the soles. Place the shoes, soles up, in a warm area to fully dry.

Items you will need
  •  Newspaper
  •  Stick
  •  Coarse cleaning brush
  •  Washcloth or baby wipes
  •  Garden hose


  • Use a cotton swab to wipe away pieces of mud that are too small to remove with a cloth.
  • If your shoes get wet inside, fill them with newspapers to dry them from the inside out.
  • If you have waterproof shoes, or your shoes won't sustain damage when you submerge them, soak them in warm water to loosen stuck-on mud.


  • Don't place your shoes in direct heat, such as in front of a heater vent, to dry the mud. This may damage the rest of the shoe.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images