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Keep it clean: Frequently asked questions

What do you recommend for multiday walks with wild camping?

Make sure your kit is clean before you head out – anything that carries soil, like tent pegs - but other than that, have a great trip!

At what point do you recommend washing your shoes?

It doesn’t really matter when you do it as long as your shoes (or tyres) are clean before you head off to the forest for your next visit.

What do I need to clean my shoes?

A stiff brush will be fine but some soapy water always helps.

Should I be taking cleaning equipment just for a day out walking?

No. All we’re asking is that you clean your kit before you arrive.

Do all forest sites have hoses like the one in Glentress for mountain bikes?

Our Keep it Clean message highlights the importance of cleaning your bike at home so that it’s clean when you arrive in the forest.

Unfortunately we can’t offer bike wash facilities at all forests.

What difference can I make?

Everyone working together to adopt new habits will have a positive impact on the forests we know and love. Keeping it Clean will help to slow the spread of tree pests and diseases – as well as helping to keep our forests healthy, it will buy us time to research and develop other actions that we can take to ensure the long term health of our woodlands.

How long can diseases and pests actually live for?

The spores that infect trees can live for a very long time. So even if it’s been months since you were last out in the woods, it’s always best to check your kit is clean before you head out.

But I don’t have time

Cleaning your boots, wiping dogs paws or cleaning kit before you head off to the forest doesn’t have to take long. It’s a matter of minutes. Once you make it part of your day out, it’ll soon become second nature.

I don’t have the tools

You don’t need much to Keep it Clean – a stiff brush for boots and an old towel for paws should do the trick. And if you don’t have a hose to wash down your bike tyres, a brush should work there, too.

How serious is this?

Tree diseases can travel. This is not a new problem but the increase in global trade and the impacts of climate change is why foresters across the world are tackling an increasing number of problems at once. Like all positive changes, the sooner we start the better. Adopting good habits today can make a real difference to the future of Scotland’s forests.

What about people who work in the forest?

Yes, everyone who works in forests can make a difference too. We all need to Keep It Clean. Making a real change takes effort on everyone’s part.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information about this campaign, and about pests and disease issues affecting our forests in Scottish Forestry's plant and tree health webpages.

'Keep It Clean' logo, with the text 'Don't give tree pests and diseases an easy ride'.