How to Wash Sneakers

On average, there are around 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of our sneakers, which shows how important regular washing is.

Keeping your kicks clean is key to extending their lifespan and keeping them looking fresh. But, if you don’t often wash shoes, it’s difficult knowing how to clean your sneakers without ruining them. Maybe that’s why you are here; you want to wash your shoes and need a nudge in the right direction.

Sounds like you? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to wash sneakers.

Always Prepare Your Sneakers

Whether you’ve got Nike Air Force Ones or Yeezy 700 sneakers, reading the label is a must. This will tell you whether you can wash sneakers based on the material they’re made from. For instance, if you’ve got suede sneakers, you shouldn’t throw them in the washing machine as it will ruin them.

Regardless of how you’re washing the sneakers, remove any loose dirt from the surface either by shaking or scrubbing them. Tackle the soles with an old toothbrush and a damp cloth so that you don’t transfer the gravel into your washing machine.

You should also take out the insoles as it lets the water thoroughly clean inside the sneakers. A good rule of thumb is to soak the laces in a bucket filled with mild soap and warm water. If not, the laces can tangle with moving parts in your washing machine and ruin them.

How to Wash Sneakers In a Washing Machine

If you’re unsure how to wash white sneakers, it’s wise to give them a machine wash.

Make sure that you use the delicate, cold water cycle to prevent any problems. Note, hot water is notorious for warping the shape of sneakers and even fading the colors. Instead, play it safe by washing them at 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

You should also slip your kicks in a mesh bag as it will stop them from getting damaged, especially if you’re washing clothes at the same time. If you don’t have any dirty laundry, throw in old towels or jeans to reduce the impact of your sneakers hitting against the machine’s drum.

As a general rule, you should use liquid detergent over powder because you don’t want your sneakers to get gritty with the powder’s residue. But don’t ever use fabric softeners because they could ruin the material and attract more dirt, making your efforts pointless.

How to Hand Wash Your Sneakers

Another method of washing sneakers is by hand. The best method is to fill your sink with warm water, add a generous amount of laundry detergent, and then soak your shoes for at least an hour. But, it’s important to note, that the material will determine which sneakers can be hand washed.

Generally, cotton, nylon, and polyester are safe for this. But if you’ve got suede sneakers, use a specialized brush because it has a unique set of bristles to remove dirt and prevent scuff marks. The key is to move the brush in different directions until you remove the stain.

You should also wash insoles by hand to prevent them from getting waterlogged in the machine.

Dip a rag into soapy warm water and wipe them down to remove any obvious dirt. If the soles have a bad odor, sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface area and let it sit overnight. Not only does it dry the insoles faster but it removes any lingering smells.

How to Clean Sneakers With Baking Soda and a Toothbrush

Still not sure how to wash dirty sneakers? Then, harness the power of the magical cleaning ingredient: baking soda.

Once you’ve removed surface-level dirt, combine warm water, white vinegar, and baking soda. Mix these into a paste and use a toothbrush with medium-firm bristles to target scuff marks or stains.

Make sure the toothbrush stays moist by regularly dipping it into water. Brush in a circular motion to create a lather, especially on the midsole because it’s harder to clean. You should also clean the soles using a toothbrush to remove as much dirt as possible.

If there is any stubborn dirt, use a toothpick to target hard-to-reach areas. It’s also wise to use a shoe cleaner to remove any scuffs.

Dry Your Sneakers Properly

You know how to clean sneakers, so it’s time to dive into drying etiquette. The biggest no-no is throwing your beloved kicks into the tumble dryer because it will instantly ruin them. This is because the heat could melt off any rubber and even shrink the shoes.

If you’re desperate, wrap your sneakers in towels and dry them in a delicate setting. Note, covering the shoes is essential as it will stop them from getting damaged while accelerating the drying process.

Air-drying shoes is another popular method.

Pop the sneakers in a warm area and place paper towels or scrunched-up newspaper inside them to soak up extra moisture. It also preserves the sneaker’s shape so they stay comfortable. But make sure that you don’t dry shoes in direct sunlight because it may fade the colors.

Also, to avoid any issues, don’t let the sneakers stay damp for too long because you don’t want them to smell. If there’s still an odor, use a shoe deodorizer for peace of mind.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, you now know how to wash sneakers safely.

There are many ways of cleaning shoes, such as preparing them and using the delicate setting on the washing machine. You should also consider hand-washing or using baking soda to remove any stubborn dirt. Happy cleaning!

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