The Dr Martens Care Guide

The Dr Martens Care Guide

Dr. Martens boots are renowned for their iconic designs and unmatched durability. But you need to make sure you treat them well. Think of your DM's as a trusted friend; they'll be there for you, but you need to return the favour.

Whether you're a fully-fledged DM wearer or just acquired your very first pair, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to keep your boots looking their best. From cleaning and conditioning to protecting against the inevitable elements of daily wear, we'll help you extend the longevity of your beloved Dr. Martens. With proper care, you'll ensure that they stay in pristine condition, providing you with years of comfort and style.  

There are lots of questions circulating around DM’s; like what their lifespan is, if they require treatment and how to clean Dr. Martens.

How long do Dr. Martens last?

A long time. Seriously. A pair of Docs can last anywhere from 5 to 20 years. Exactly how long your Docs last depend on a few key points; how often you wear them, how well you care for them, and the terrain encountered. Regular cleaning, conditioning, and protecting DM’s from harsh weather conditions can significantly extend their lifespan.

How often should you treat your Dr. Martens?

There are separate rules for the material of your footwear here. Leather and suede DM’s will need different care:

Leather care treatment

As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you treat your leather boots every two to three months. This is with the assumption that you wear your boots regularly.

Suede care treatment 

Now, suede DM’s will need a little more TLC. You should treat them with a suede protector spray after every few wears or more often if you wear them in wet or dirty conditions. 

Now we’ve covered the when, let’s get into the how…

How to clean leather Dr. Martens

Without wanting to come across like we’re giving you step-by-step instructions for cleaning a pair or shoes, Dr. Martens deserve to be looked after. Like we said, think of them as a friend. 

Below are our step-by-step guide to cleaning a pair of Dr. Martens:

What you’ll need

  • A soft cloth or brush
  • Mild soap or leather cleaner
  • Leather treatment
  • Leather polish or wax
  1. Prepare your shoes

Firstly, you’ll need to remove the laces (assuming you’re cleaning boots), before you start preparing your DMs for cleaning. Use a soft, dry cloth or a brush with gentle bristles to wipe away any loose dirt and dust from the surface of the shoes. 

  1. Prepare your cleaning solution

Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing mild soap or leather cleaner with water, following the recommended dilution ratio. Wipe the leather surface with the cloth or sponge after it’s been soaked in the solution, working on small sections at a time. 

For particularly stubborn stains, use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub the affected areas. Rinse the shoes with a cloth dampened with water to remove any soap residue. Allow the shoes to air dry at room temperature, avoiding direct heat sources. 

  1. Apply the conditioning treatment

Once dry, apply a leather conditioner to moisturise the leather. Use a small amount and evenly spread it across the entire surface. We also recommend polishing your shoes using a leather polish or wax, followed by buffing if you’re feeling particularly suave.

  1. Lace-up

Lastly, re-lace your Dr. Martens shoes once they are completely dry and polished. 

How to clean suede Dr. Martens 

What you’ll need:

  • A suede brush
  • A cloth or sponge
  • Suede cleaner
  • Suede protector spray
  1. Prepare your DMs

Unlace (if you’re cleaning boots). Then, remove any loose dirt with a clean cloth before you apply the suede cleaner.

  1. Apply your suede cleaner

Give your DM’s a good spray or wipe (depending on your suede cleaner of choice). Be thorough here, without drenching your footwear. When any scuffs and marks are treated, use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe them away. Let them naturally dry.

  1. Brush 

Use your suede brush to remove any excess debris or dirt, do this in the same direction as the suede fibres.

  1. Lace-up

Again, lace-up ‘em back up and reach for the suede protector.

Tips for keeping Dr. Martens clean for longer

In between treatments, you may want to keep on top of any marks or those inevitable scuffs. We’re sure you’re aware that DM’s are high-quality to their core, but that doesn’t mean a bit of TLC won’t go a long way. Here are some of our tips on keeping those stomping boots, stomping for much longer: 

Spot clean marks

For small stains or marks, you can spot-clean the affected area using a damp cloth. Blot the stain gently, don’t rub, as this can spread the stain or harm the leather.


Use a waterproofing spray specifically designed for leather shoes to create a protective barrier against water and stains. Apply the spray evenly and let it dry completely before wearing your boots.

Dry naturally

Let your DM’s air dry if they become wet. Hair dryers, radiators, and heaters should not be used directly since they can damage the leather. To keep the boot’s shape while drying, fill them with newspaper or shoe trees.

Find your next pair of DM’s with TOWER

Want to see more? We pride ourselves on delivering helpful, useful DM information. See How to Break in Dr. Martens and discover The History of Dr. Martens.

Here, we’re about embracing individuality and expressing yourself. We’re a family-run business from London, born and bred. We have decades of footwear expertise, a proud prominent TOWER culture, and setting trends since 1980. 

Read more about Dr. Martens in our footwear blog for streetwear to high-end style advice and expert knowledge.