Simple And Fast: How To Wash Sneakers

One thing that can be a real pain in your closet is dirty shoes. While you may think to buy another one to replace the dirty ones, there is an easier and cheaper way out. Sneakers are easy to wash contrary to what people think.

Few variations may determine how you wash our sneakers such as the fabric used to manufacture. Most of the requirements needed to clean our sneakers are usually at home.


Believe it or not, some shoes can be machine-washed, but it depends on your sneaker’s fabric. You can know whether your sneakers can be machine washed by looking at the manufacture’s label that is found in your shoe. It usually indicates the type of wash, the temperature of the water used, and solutions that are recommended.

Most of the fabrics that allow machine wash include nylon, cotton, PVCs, and polyester. Here is a step by step procedure on how to machine wash your sneakers:

  • #1- The night before you wash your shoes; take three tablespoons of baking soda and sprinkle it on your shoes. This helps to deodorize your shoes and prevent odor after wash.
  • #2- Remove your shoelace and the innersole before you put your sneakers in the washing machine. Your shoes will take longer to dry if you wash them with the innersole in place.
  • #3- Use an old toothbrush to remove the excess dirt and debris from your sneakers. This will reduce the dirt in your washing machine and also make machine-washing your sneakers more efficient. You can use a cotton swap or piece of cloth with warm water to remove stubborn stains and clean the difficult to reach areas.
  • #4- Put your sneaker in a mesh bag (you can place them inside a pillowcase if you don’t have the mesh bags) and put them in the washer. Add some towels to prevent your sneakers from banging the walls of the machine. The size of your washing machine will determine the number of towels that you will use.
  • ​#5- Use liquid detergent when washing your sneakers because powdered detergent can stick inside your shoes and bring an odor.
  • #6- Use water temperature of about 30°C because high water temperatures can run out or fade your sneaker’s color. This also applies when you are drying your shoes; using a dryer can melt the glue that sticks your sneaker together and damages it.
  • #7- Set the machine on delicate cycle to slow spin, and run it for 30 to 40 minutes then remove your sneakers and air dry.
  • #8- When air drying your shoes, you can stuff a piece of cloth, newspaper, or paper towel to help you absorb the water and dry faster your sneakers and also help them maintain their original shape.

You should be cautious how you dry your sneakers because too much heat (even from the sun) can damage or deform them.

Shoelaces and Innersole

Consider washing your innersole and the laces separately. Colored sneakers should also be washed separately from the shoelace and innersole if they are white. This will prevent the color from staining your white shoe accessories.

  • #1- Take a mixture of soapy warm soapy water and liquid detergent and use a soft toothbrush to scrub your innersole.
  • #2- Use baking soda to remove any odor from your innersole; put them in a bag and pour baking soda inside and let them soak overnight.
  • #3- If the odor persists, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar and soak your innersole for a couple of hours. Then place them in a mixture of baking soda, warm water, and pine oil disinfectant. This will remove the odor and protect your feet against bacteria and fungus.
  • ​#4- Remove and air them in a place moderate temperature.
  • #5- When you are washing the shoelaces, put them in a pillowcase and put it in the washing machine. This will prevent the shoelaces from going down the drain holes or getting tangled.

Hand Wash Your Sneakers


Sometimes hand washing your sneakers is the best way to clean your sneakers. It gives you enough time to remove dirt from every inch of your shoes and also prevents potential damage that can occur during machine wash. However, it may take more time to get the work done as compared to machine wash. Here is how to hand wash your sneakers:

  • #1- Remove the laces from your sneakers and soak them in a warm soapy water. Soaking will help ease the cleaning process as it makes dirt and debris loose and also remembers to use liquid detergent. Place them on a hard surface like a washboard and use an old toothbrush or a washing brush with soft bristles and scrub your shoelace. Then rinse them with clean water and air dry them.
  • #2- Innersoles are typically made of delicate fabrics and can be damaged easily during cleaning. Use a mixture of liquid detergent and warm water to wash your innersoles. Gently scrub it with a toothbrush concentrating on the pressure points of your feet because it is the most vulnerable place to store dirt. You can use a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and pine oil disinfectant to remove any odor present and protect your feet.
  • #3- Before washing your shoes, you first need to remove the excess debris and dirt to make cleaning them easier. Use sharp objects like toothpicks to remove dirt from hard to reach areas.
  • ​#4- The market is saturated with cleaning solution, but you can make one at home with warm water and liquid detergent. Apply the cleaning solution on your sneakers using a soft piece of cloth or brush and scrub. The toughness of the dirt on your shoes may require you to do more scrubbing at the same place. You can apply the cleaning solution and let it soak for a while before scrubbing.
  • #5- Use warm water with a fresh piece of cloth or sponge to wipe off any excess cleaning solution that may be visible in your shoes.
  • #6- Air dry your sneakers in a place with moderate temperature. Ensure that you dry your shoelaces and innersole separately to reduce the amount of time needed to dry

Final Take

Regardless of the lifestyle that you are living your sneakers are bound to get dirty at some point. Cleaning your sneakers is not hard, but it needs prior preparation and all the necessities needed to make your shoes sparkling clean are found in our homes.

The fabric and manufacturer’s guide will determine how you wash your shoes and the detergents that you will use. There are after wash care creams and solutions for some fabrics that you can use.

Vera Watson
 

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