Fall brings some tough weather for your footwear. It’s a catch-22—the mild weather and plentiful moisture make it a great time to garden, but it can turn tasks into a mucky mess. Now imagine how all that mud clings to a kid’s cleats. And then the snow comes along and packs into every nook and cranny on the soles of your shoes. That’s what makes his boot cleaning and removal station so helpful.
You can stash this outside the entryway as the perfect spot to clean your hardworking boots. It’s designed with a boot jack to help you remove the shoes, and there’s built-in storage where you can let them dry until the next wear. Because it is made from basic weather-resistant, pressure-treated pine, you can leave it outside as is without worry, or feel free to dress it up with an exterior stain.
Want one to use in a mudroom? Upgrade it by using cedar instead, and maybe add a metal boot tray. While this design provides enough room to store one pair of boots, you can easily make the base longer to accommodate multiple pairs for the whole family.
Steps for Building a DIY Boot Cleaner
The key is finding the right brushes. Ideally, you’ll want synthetic ones that are not so stiff that they scuffs the leather, but also not so flimsy that they won’t remove debris. The goal is brushes that have bristles of medium stiffness. This cleaning station uses 9-inch-wide brushes, leaving about 5 inches between the brushes, which is enough to clear the underside of a size 14 boot, though you could make it narrower for smaller feet.
- 1x6 pressure-treated base: (3) @ 17.25 inches long
- 2x4 pressure-treated base feet: (2) @ 15 inches long
- 2x6 pressure-treated brush holders: (2) @ 10 inches long
- 1x6 pressure-treated boot jack: (1) @ 16 inches long
- 2x4 beveled pressure-treated boot jack block: (1) @ 2 inches from long point of the 11-degree bevel
Step 1: Build the Base
Using the cut list provided below, trim an 8-foot length of pressure-treated decking into three boards using a circular saw and a rafter square.
Using the same tools, cut a pair of 2x4 to about 15 inches for the feet. Using a screw or a nail, space the deck boards to leave room for water to drain.
Then drive a pair of 2-inch screws through the 2x4s and into each deck board, so the feet are a few inches from the base's edge.
Step 2: Size and Cut the Blocking
The boot cleaning area uses five brushes — three positioned on the base to scrub the underside of the boot and one on each block to clear the sides. This design uses 9-inch-wide brushes, leaving about 5 inches of space for a larger boot. To customize this for smaller footwear, you can buy shorter brushes or cut longer ones to length using a hand saw.
To create a more finished look and to help it shed water, we added a 45-degree bevel to the top of the 2x6 before cutting it into two side blocks. Clamp the 2x6 to the work surface, set the circular saw to 45 degrees, and then cut the detail into the board. Now cut both of the 2x6 side blocks about an inch longer than the width of the brushes, using a circular saw and a rafter square.
Step 3: Build the Boot Cleaner
Measure the overall height of the brushes that will rest face-up on the base, cleaning the underside of the boot. Mark that measurement onto the inside face of the side blocking (make sure the beveled edges shed water away from the brushes). Using 2-inch screws, attach the brush to the blocking just above the measurement you just marked. There should be just enough room between the bottom of the side brushes to accommodate the floor bushes you’ll add later. Repeat this process on the other side with another brush.
Position the left-side brush assembly onto the base, flush to the edge and roughly centered. Drive two screws through the underside of the base and into the blocking. [YW3] Now add the three floor brushes, bristles facing up, by screwing through them and into the decking below with two fasteners per brush. Finally, add the right-side brush assembly.
Step 4: Mark the Boot Jack Mouth
Laying out the cut lines on the boot jack requires two key marks. Using a circular saw and a rafter square, cut a length of decking according to the cut list provided below.
Then find the center of the board’s length, and mark it with a pencil. Next, measure 4 ½ inches down from one end of the board and strike a line across the width. The 4 ½ inches between this line and the end are the front of the jack. The 11 ½ inches on the other side of the line is the back of the jack.
You’ll need a circular template to mark the mouth that grips the heel of the boot. Using a jar, can, or drinking glass that is between 2 5/8- and 3-inches wide as a pattern, position the template on the center line, so its edge is on the 4 1/2-inch mark on the board. Trace the circle with a pencil.
Step 5: Finish Marking Cut Lines
To mark the graceful opening of the boot jack, connect the radius of the circle to the narrow end of the board. Here’s how: First, mark the circle’s radius. Then mark 1 inch in from both edges on the front of the board. Now connect each side of the circle’s radius to the 1-inch marks using the rafter square.
On the back end of the boot jack, mark the graceful taper by striking a line about 1 to 1 ¼-inches in from each side of the end. Use a straight edge or a level, connect these lines to the 4 ½ inch mark you made earlier.
Step 6: Cut the Boot Jack
Clamp the boot jack to the work surface. Using a jigsaw, cut the front’s mouth and the back’s tapered back end. Then use 80-grit sandpaper to remove the remaining pencil marks and to round the cut edges.
Cut the blocking that will pitch the boot jack up at an angle from a length of 2x4. Clamp one end of the 2x4 to the work surface, set the circular saw to 11 degrees, and cut a bevel across the lumber. Mark about 1 ¾-inches down from the bevel’s long point, and strike a line. Then cut this at 90 degrees.
Step 7: Assemble the Boot Jack
Measure roughly the center of the boot jack and place the block underneath so the 11-degree bevel side rests against the boot jack. Drive two screws through the boot jack and into the blocking. Turn the assembly over and drive two more screws through the base and into the block.
What You Need
- 1x6 pressure treated decking (1 @ 8 feet long)
- 2x4 pressure treated lumber (1 @ 4 feet long)
- 2x6 pressure treated lumber (1 @ 4 feet long)
- 2-inch exterior grade screws
- Scrub brush