How to Clean Shoes Thoroughly After Burning Man | Step-By-Step Guide

  • By: Christopher
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After nine days of hordes of people’s self-expression, art, self-reliance, playing, creating, connecting, and learning at Burning Man, the most important thing you can do is ensure your shoes get the proper cleaning they deserve. 

Even if you never left your camping spot in Black Rock City, your favorite pair of drab sneakers might be speckled with Playa Dust and potentially harmful bacteria. 

Make sure to rinse off as much dirt and dust outside before scrubbing your shoes inside with water and soap or other shoe cleaners. 

Finally, It’s also essential to dry them entirely inside and out before using them for daily activities. Otherwise, that pesky Playa dust remains embedded in the fibers of your fabric shoes for the next weeks until you clean them thoroughly again.

This article will provide a step-by-step guide to ensure your shoes are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after burning man festivities so you can wear them again at work or home. Read on to learn more!

Five Ways to Effectively Clean Your Boots After Burning Man

You just returned from Burning Man, and your shoes are covered in dust, dirt, and who knows what else. Not only are your shoes a mess, but they’re also probably stinky too.

Thankfully, with simple yet effective cleaning steps that are easy to do at home, you can get your kicks back into shape with minimal effort. In this section, we discuss how to clean your shoes thoroughly after Burning Man so that they make it through another year of festival fun – don’t forget those laces, either!

1. Vinegar and Water Solution

This inexpensive method is recommended for cleaning your shoes after the burning man festival. Vinegar is an acid that neutralizes the playa dust, an alkali, without damaging your delicate shoe color and materials.

For leather boots, soak a clean rag with vinegar and water solution and wipe the entire boot. You can use Q-tip cotton saws or a toothbrush to get to the nooks and crannies that are difficult to get to with a rug. 

Vinegar will also remove stubborn stains and dirt from your shoes and deodorize them. Note that vinegar can cause the leather to fade and dry up, so make sure to condition your leather shoes afterward.

Related: How To Remove Creases From Leather Shoes

2. Fantastik All-Purpose Cleaner

This inexpensive all-purpose cleaner is great at removing dirt, stains, and scuffs accumulated at the festival. The product has bleach, so avoid using it on your leather boots/shoes. 

Steps to Follow:

  1. After spraying the cleaner on your shoes, use paper towels, a sponge, or a toothbrush to scrub your shoes and remove dirt and scuffs. 
  2. Rinse the shoes in clean water after use, and allow them to dry. 

The Fantastic All-Purpose Cleaner will also leave your shoes smelling nice and fresh.

3. Saddle Soap 

The Fiebing’s White Saddle Soap is an excellent option for getting playa dust and other contaminants from leather shoes. It effectively cleans, polishes, and maintains leather shoes and boots.

Steps to Follow:

  1. Open the saddle soap tin and fill it with warm water. Create suds by working your dauber in circular motions. 
  2. Cover the entire boots with the suds by using the dauber. 
  3. Wipe off the excess soap with a clean cloth/rug. 

If your boots are covered with mud, you will need to knock out all dirt and dust before applying the saddle soap. 

Repeat the process of applying saddle soap and wiping it, and then let it dry. Ensure that you condition your boots afterward.

4. The Pink Stuff

The Pink Stuff by Stardrops is known as the miracle all-purpose cleaning paste, as it is perfect for removing grime, dirt, and stains from all household items, silverware, jewelry, and more. 

The magic formula is environmentally safe and non-toxic and can be used on any fabric and material. It has a mild detergent odor and contains baking soda to de-stain, deodorize and brighten shoes. 

Steps to Follow:

  1. Add small amounts to small sections of the shoes you are cleaning, and use a bristle brush to rub it. 
  2. Wipe it off with a clean cloth and repeat the process where necessary.
  3. Rinse off the shoes in clean water and allow them to dry in the sun.

5. Elbow Grease 

Elbow Grease is not only a great product for removing grease and grime from your kitchen appliances but will also remove dirt and stains from shoes, outdoor furniture, engine and machinery, fabric stains, and carpet and upholstery stains. 

The degreasing actions lift all kinds of stains and dirt from your shoes and leave them looking good as new. 

Steps to Follow:

  1. You just need to spray a small amount on your shoes and buff them with a bristle brush or a toothbrush. 
  2. Use a clean cloth to wipe off, or rinse your shoes with clean water and let your shoes dry in the sun.

Get your hands on this product after the festival, and you won’t regret it!

Why You Need to Clean Shoes Thoroughly After Burning Man

There are various reasons you should clean your shoes immediately after Burning Man festivities. Some of the top reasons include:

1. The Dust Causes Health Risks

The dust in the burning man festival is fine, and the microscopic particles get into everything. Burners (people who attend the festival) run the risk of exposing themselves to inhaling, eating and drinking it.

Most frequent burner says that cleaning clothes and shoes worn at the festival can be challenging, so you have to put a lot of effort into it to avoid health risks afterward.

However, with the methods described above, you can quickly and effectively clean these pesky dirt and dust.

2. Prevent Shoe Corrosion

The festival is held on the black rock desert playa, which is an ancient lake made of alkaline dust. This dust stains clothes and cars. It also corrodes your car, bike chains, and shoes and cracks your feet.

Without thorough cleaning, the dust will enter the shoes, come between the material, paint, and metal parts, and reduce their shelf-life considerably.

3. To Avoid Playa Foot

This malady is caused by exposure of the feet to alkali dust in the burning man. The chemical burn is not severe but uncomfortable and needs self-care or some antibiotic ointment.

Your boots and shoes should also be cleaned thoroughly to remove any trace of dust and avoid re-infection of Playe Foot.

4. Prevent Muddy and Moldy Shoes

The burning man festivals have unpredictable weather that can shift from dust storms to heavy downpours. The burners, however, don’t let bad weather ruin their good time and will have fun in the mud.

It is essential to clean your shoes thoroughly after the festival since mud, especially when trapped under the inserts, will ruin your shoes and make them muddy, moldy, and smelly.

Final Words

After a long week of Burning Man festivities, it’s important to clean your shoes thoroughly before storing them away until next year. A good cleaning will help remove any dirt, dust, or sentimental value that might hold you back from moving on to the next big adventure.

Thanks for reading! We hope this post was helpful in convincing you to clean your shoes thoroughly after burning man. If you have any other tips or tricks, please share them below in the comments.

And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, and I will be happy to help =)

Last update on 2024-04-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API