How Do You Keep Rubber Boots From Dry Rotting?

Rubber boots are strong, lightweight, sturdy, and, most importantly, they’re waterproof. If they’re cared for, they can last for decades. But, 90 times out of 100, rubber boots dry rot. 

Just because rubber boots are expensive it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t dry rot! It’s not practical. Every material, even if it’s the highest and finest quality leather, will dry rot if not cared for. Rubber boots are no different. But the good news is, with proper care, you can keep your new pair from dry rotting. 

Direct sun exposure is the primary reason behind dry rotting. Since rubber boots are designed for outdoor purposes such as going on treks and hunting, there’s no way that they won’t get exposed to the Sun. What can be done instead is to make them Sun-ready.

You can use a high-quality boot conditioner to keep your rubber boots from dry rotting. This isn’t the only way though. Proper storage can also protect rubber boots from dry rotting. 

By the end of this guide, you’ll probably learn everything about keeping your rubber boots from dry rotting – what causes dry rotting, how to protect your boots from dry rotting, the many ways in which you can fix a boot that’s already cracked, and much more!

How Do You Keep Rubber Boots From Dry Rotting

3 Reasons That Rubber Boots Dry Rot 

Before you can learn how to keep your rubber boots from dry rotting, it makes more sense to understand what causes it in the first place. There are 3 main reasons and we have compiled them at your disposal below!

1.) Direct Sun Exposure  

Whilst almost everybody knows that Sunlight can fade the color of rubber boots, not many people are aware that it can dry the rubber’s surface too. As a result, the boots crinkle and develop deep lines.

2.) Dust and Dirt

Although rubber boots are designed to handle tricky landscaping, not cleaning them after wearing them for hours is a bad idea. The dust and dirt that settles on the surface will eventually get dry. 

You won’t see it happening at the first time or even the 10th, but when you wear those boots again and again without removing the settled dust, it will eventually get so dry that it will start cracking the surface of the rubber.

3.) Improper Storage

Stacking the boots carelessly, putting piles of laundry clothes on top of them, and loading them with other shoes on top are the most common mistakes that most of us make.

When the surface of rubber boots is twisted and burdened with heavy items, the eventual result is dry rotting. 

Proper storage rubber boots

5 Ways to Protect Your Rubber Boots From Dry Rotting 

It’s not hard to keep rubber boots from dry rotting if you can pay attention to some details. Their maintenance is neither expensive nor time-consuming.

The 5 ways that’ll take your rubber boots a long way and keep them from dry rotting have been explained below!

1.) Clean Them Regularly

Cleaning rubber boots is expensive – says who? You can use a mild detergent (even the liquid you use to wash your utensils is enough) to clean the surface of rubber boots.

Apply some mild soap or detergent on the surface of the boots, scrub it gently, and wash it or wipe it. That’s all! It will keep your rubber boots from dry rotting. 

Even if you can’t clean the surface of your boots with a mild soap weekly, you can simply wipe off their surface with a moist cloth daily. 

It’s important that you let the surface dry in natural air before storing the boots after washing them. Storing them while they’re still wet will lead to another problem – the boots will start smelling and might also get affected by fungus. Always let the surface dry before keeping the boots away.

2.) Apply Some Olive Oil to the Surface Once in a While

It might sound funny or impractical to some people, but it isn’t. Olive oil hydrates the surface of rubber boots.

When applied to clean boots, the molecules of the oil seep inside the surface and soften the rubber, preventing it from getting dry or developing cracks.

3.) Use a Boot Conditioner

This is one of the most important things you need to do at least twice a month if you can’t do it every week.

A high-quality boot conditioner (we will take you through some amazing options at a later section in this guide) works much like olive oil – only that it’s better than olive oil. 

Using a boot conditioner can protect the surface from dry rotting by moisturizing and softening rubber. Don’t skip this step if you really want your boots to last and look as good as brand new even after years of use.

4.) Store the Boots Carefully

First off, don’t throw them precariously or pile other shoes (anything heavy) on top of them. Doing that will eventually damage the surface of your boots. 

It is also very important to store your boots inside cabinets. If you can store them carefully in the basement, nothing like it. Any place that will keep them away from flickering temperature will keep them safe from dry rotting. 

If stored in a place that sees temperature change from hot to cold very rapidly, the rubber will shrink. Needless to say, it will lead to dry rot sooner than later.

See also: Do Boot Stand Work?

5.) Wax the Surface Once in a While

Waxing the surface while stepping out is a good idea. It works as a barrier between the surface of the rubber and the sun. Naturally, it will keep your rubber boots from dry rotting. 

Did you know that you can also apply Vaseline on top of your rubber boots while stepping outside? Don’t forget to wipe off the extra traces though. 

Dos and Don’ts to Protect Your Rubber Boots From Dry Rotting

Here’s a small list that’ll definitely help:

1.) Store the boots in a shoe rack or a cabinet that’s ventilated.

2.) Don’t keep them in places that are hot or moist. The storage should be dry. 

3.) If you’re hanging them for air drying after washing them, hang them upside down.

4.) Don’t polish rubber boots with the shoe polish you’d use for leather boots. Use products that are specifically made for rubber boots.

Make sure that the zip (if any) stays clean. 

Best Boot Conditioners to Keep Rubber Boots From Drying

1.) Revivex Rubber Boot Treatment Spray by GEAR AID

This is one of the best products for cleaning and conditioning rubber boots. Not only does it remove settled dust, but it also protects the boots from UV damage. 

1.) It doesn’t interfere with the color of the boots. It just cleans the surface, hydrates the boots, and protects the color from fading. 

2.) It’s affordable and a lot cheaper than many other products in the market. 

3.) It doesn’t have any overwhelming smell. Many customers have indeed reported that this boot conditioner doesn’t have a scent at all. That’s a plus! 

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2.) Armor All Wipes

Armor-all is originally designed to clean cars. However, it offers excellent protection to rubber boots as well. You can simply wipe the surface of your rubber boots using Armor-all wipes. There’s even a spray that can be used. It removes dirt, dust, and grime easily. 

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

How to Fix Rubber Boots that are Moderately Dry Rotten?

This section is for every person who didn’t know how to protect their rubber boots from dry rotting or never paid attention until the boots started showing the first sign of dry rotting. 

The good news, however, is that you can reverse the damage if it’s not too visible yet. It can make your rubber boots look presentable, again!

There are a few simple steps that will help you save hundreds of dollars that you’d otherwise had to shell out in buying a brand new pair! 

1.) Mark the area that has developed a crack. 

2.) Gently rub sandpaper in and around the crack. 

3.) Use high-quality waterproof glue to fill the crack carefully. You can use a soft-bristled paintbrush to evenly spread the glue. 

4.) Let the boot dry in natural air for 24 hours or more. It gives the glue enough time to adhere to the shape of the crack and seal it completely. 

This trick is very helpful when the rubber boots have developed hole(s) on the surface. However, if the damage has already spoiled your boots significantly, the only thing that can be done is to take care of the next new pair you’ll buy. 


Rubber boots are designed to be strong and last for decades. In the lapse of proper care, they can and will dry rot.

Following simple steps such as waxing your boots once in a while, cleaning them to remove dust, and using boot conditioners can keep your rubber boots from dry rotting.

So, if you have a beautiful pair and you really want it to last, start taking care of the boots before it’s too late. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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