Animals using adhesive pads to climb smooth surfaces face the problem of keeping their pads clean and functional. Through the use of high-speed videography, scanning electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy, our study quantifies the self-cleaning performance of fibrillar (or hairy) adhesives in freely climbing dock beetles. In short, gait kinematics were significantly affected by soiling, with soiled pads slipping 10 times further than clean pads. While pad slipping may negatively affect climbing performance, we found that longer slip lengths removed more particles. Self-cleaning through slippage provides a mechanism robust to particle size and may inspire solutions for artificial adhesives.