How to Clean Sneakers (Without Completely Ruining Them)

Is there a way to wash your shoes without completely ruining them at the same time? The short answer is yes. Here’s how to clean sneakers (the right way).

Have you tried cleaning your shoes, and consequently, left them ruined?

Well, that’s what happens when you do it in an improper way. Considering this, there must be a proper way.

In this article, we will cover exactly that and a little more. Keep reading to find how to clean sneakers.

First and Foremost, Avoid the Washing Machine

Cleaning your sneakers in the washing machine will certainly affect the structure, and integrity of the foam, which in turn will negatively impact the ability of the shoe to provide cushion and haptic feedback when worn. That’s a big issue, especially if you are wearing running shoes.

Some foams are more vulnerable to water and high temperatures. Any shoe made with EVA, an elastic material that creates flexible foam, should always be hand washed. The material absorbs water, which messes with the cushioning functionality. Foams made with TPU, a springy plastic are more durable and can hold up better, as they don’t absorb water.

However, the least risky way to clean sneakers is to spot clean. Nonetheless, if you really must wash the shoes in a machine, avoid agitators. They will roughen and trash your shoes in an instant. A washing machine without agitators will provide enough room for shoes to move around freely.

Before you put the shoes in the machine, clean off all of the mud and gunk that you can. Wash the laces separately, put them in a mesh laundry bag. Use a mild detergent, throw some towels in the machine, and use the delicate cycle.

When the cycle is finished, let the shoe air dry. Never put them in the dryer, the heat will destroy the materials.

Proper Spot Cleaning for Sneaker Materials

Finally, we will get to the proper way of cleaning sneakers. And again — a shoe can be made of multiple materials, so you might have to apply multiple methods to a single shoe.

But sometimes, it’s just not worth washing sneakers. It’s better to buy new ones. So check out for their vast collection of amazing sneakers.

Mesh Material

Nylon mesh is a common material in runners’ shoes, as it is breathable and catches all of the dirt and dust that is kicked up during exercise. It is best to use a dry brush to remove all excess dirt. Then you mix one part baking soda for one part vinegar and apply it to a dirty spot for 15 minutes.

Gently scrub the area for a minute, then wipe clean with a soft wet rag. Let the shoe air dry. Using a brush is simple, and very effective in cleaning running shoes in general. The bristles are gentle to uphold the integrity of the fabric but sturdy enough to scrape off the dirt.

You can find brushes made specifically for cleaning sneakers, made of boar hair, synthetic lands, horsehair. Or just use a toothbrush. If the shoe is soft, opt for soft bristles. And if the shoe is stiffer, use a brush that can apply more pressure to the area.

Synthetic Leather Material

Soak a rag in water that is warm, use mild laundry detergent, and wipe down the areas with dirt. Gently scrub the area with a brush, wipe clean with a soft wet rah and remove all detergent. Air dry.

The smudges will lift easily, the stains won’t soak due to the unique properties of the material. If the shoes are white, you can use Mr. Clean magic eraser, a special pad out of melamine foam, which would be used on all hard parts of the shoe. The product will gently wipe off the stains.

All you have to do is wet the pad, and starting wiping the dirty areas of the shoe. For safety, use this product on white shoes to avoid rubbing off any of the colors.

Knit Material

With knit shoes you have to be as gentle as possible. The material is soft and pliable, which makes it very fragile. Avoid brushing, as it will ruin the material. Use a soft cloth, as it will provide the same effect of brushing, without the side effects.

Be careful with laundry detergent, as the chemicals can be too harsh on the material. Use a mild bath soap, soak the cloth in cold water and gently rub with the soap. Once the stains have lifted, wipe off all of the soap with a wet rag and let the shoe air dry.

Canvas Material

Canvas is durable but gets dirty quite easily. To clean the shoes, use a toothbrush with an applied cleaning paste, made out of baking soda and warm water.

Dip the brush into the mix, scrub the canvas. Let the shoes dry with the mixture on, and then wipe away the hardened baking soda with a damp cloth.

Even though it’s best to wash sneakers by hand to preserve the quality and form, the canvas is very sturdy and can withstand the washing machine. But still use the delicate cycle, and cold water settings with a minuscule amount of mild laundry detergent. When the cycle is finished, let the shoe air dry.

How to Clean Sneakers Without Hassle.

Now that you know how to clean sneakers the proper way, you can avoid the problems of the improper way.

Cleaning shoes is simple, as long as you know how to. And now that you possess the knowledge you are well on your way to getting those dirty sneakers back to their pristine look.

If you’re interested in similar articles, check out some of our other blogs on this website.

Good luck.

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