If your favorite sneakers get dirty, this is the perfect time to make them look like new again! There are various ways you can clean your sneakers at home, but the most appropriate method will depend on the material used to make the shoes. Therefore, before trying to clean it, you must first identify the shoe material.
Part 1 of 4: Washing Sneakers
Step 1. Wash the canvas sneakers in the washing machine
If your canvas shoes get dirty, you can just put them in the washing machine and wash them just like any other dirty item. Non-canvas sneakers may be machine washable, but check the manufacturer's instructions haven't tried them because not all sneakers are machine washable.
- Put some towels along with the shoes.
- Remove the laces first, then use a brush to remove any dirt on the shoes before putting them in the washing machine.
- Place the shoes in a pillowcase to protect the drum.
- Use warm water for white shoes and cold water for colored shoes.
- Add a little vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to the washing machine to help sterilize shoes and remove odors.
- If you add embellishments to your shoes, such as using paint, marker, or other decorations, it's best not to machine wash them, as they may fade.
Step 2. Wash shoes by hand
Most sneakers can be cleaned by hand using a cleaner you may already have at home. You simply pour a little detergent or dish soap into a bowl of water and brush your shoes with the soap solution. Once clean, dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- You can add a little baking soda to the soap solution, especially if the sneakers are white.
- First, remove the shoelaces first. If the eyelets are very dirty, clean them with a cotton swab.
- It's a good idea to clean any dirt stuck to your shoes with a dry brush before wetting them.
- If you have oil stains on your shoes, use a mild shampoo instead of detergent to clean them.
- Never apply this method to suede shoes. This method should be safe for most sneakers, but check the information on the label to be sure.
Step 3. Dry the sneakers properly
Whatever method you use to clean your shoes, be sure to dry them properly. This is very important. The best method for drying shoes is to air them, regardless of shoe material.
- Never dry your shoes in a dryer or on a radiator, as this can deform the rubber sole.
- Use a paper towel to stuff the wet inside of the shoe to speed up the drying process and maintain its shape.
- In general, sneakers can be dried in the sun, but don't do this with leather shoes as direct sunlight can cause discoloration.
- You can absorb water on the shoes with a cloth to speed up the drying process.
- If you want, you can dry your shoes by hanging them up, but this isn't really necessary.
Part 2 of 4: Using Special Cleaning Techniques for Suede and Leather
Step 1. Use a cleaning product specifically made for suede
Do not clean suede with water as this can damage it. It's a good idea to buy a special suede cleaning solution, which is usually sold at a shoe store. Use a brush to apply the product to the shoes, then remove any excess solution with a clean brush.
Make sure you brush the suede in only one direction
Step 2. Use vinegar to clean the suede material
If you're having trouble cleaning suede cleaning products, try scrubbing your shoes gently with white vinegar. For best results, use a special brush for suede. You can buy it at a shoe store.
- If you find a stain that is quite severe, try wiping it gently with a cloth dipped in vinegar (don't rub it).
- Use a microfiber cloth or sponge to dry the shoes after cleaning.
Step 3. Use a leather cleaning product
If your shoes are made of leather, it's best to use a product specifically made for cleaning leather. All you have to do is use a soft towel to rub the product on your shoes and they'll be shiny in no time!
This kind of product is widely sold in shoe stores. So, it's not hard to get
Step 4. Try toothpaste for cleaning leather shoes
Another effective way to clean leather shoes is to use a small amount of toothpaste. You simply moisten the surface of the shoe with a damp cloth, use a toothbrush to rub the toothpaste. Then, wipe the surface of the leather with another clean, damp cloth. Let the shoes dry on their own. You can dry it indoors or in a shady place outside.
- Make sure you use white toothpaste because colored paste can stain your shoes.
- Don't use too much water. You just need to make the surface of the shoe slightly damp and wipe off the remaining toothpaste.
Step 5. Use baby oil to clean leather shoes
For an instant shine on leather shoes, try wiping them with a cloth or cotton swab dipped in baby oil. This method may not work for serious stains, but it is perfect for your daily shoe cleaning routine.
Do not use this method on canvas or suede shoes, as the oil can stain
Part 3 of 4: Cleaning the Rubber Sole
Step 1. Clean the scratches with an eraser
If you notice a scratch or stain on the rubberized part of your shoe, treat it quickly with a white eraser, which can be purchased at an art or office supply store. You just rub it. The sooner you deal with it, the better the results.
Eraser like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is also very suitable for removing scratches on rubber surfaces
Step 2. Make the sole of the shoe shiny
To clean rubber soles, simply use a toothbrush dipped in a mixture of baking soda and rubbing alcohol. You may need a little elbow grease, but the sole will look white again in no time.
If you're dealing with stubborn stains, try submerging your shoes in a shallow container so that only the sole is submerged
Step 3. Remove hard-to-clean dirt from the sole of the shoe
If you find sticky dirt on the soles, the cleaning product may not be effective enough to deal with it. Fortunately, there are other, fairly easy methods to get rid of dirt like gum or tar from the soles of your shoes.
- If the sticky dirt is still wet, it is recommended to put the shoes in the freezer (after placing them in a safe bag) for a few hours. This process will make the dirt become brittle and can be scraped off easily.
- If you find tar on the soles of your shoes and it can't be removed with regular cleaning methods, use a tar and gum remover product. This kind of product is generally made for automotive use. So, check the label to make sure the product is safe to use for rubber materials. You can also use baby oil or WE-40.
Part 4 of 4: Cleaning Straps and Insoles
Step 1. Wash the laces in the washing machine
While sneakers cannot be washed in a washing machine, laces can. Remove the shoelaces and wash in the washing machine while washing clothes to make them clean again.
- Place shoelaces in a lingerie pocket or in a pillowcase to prevent them from getting tangled.
- Washing the laces is an important step if the shoes are entirely white.
- Never wash leather or suede laces.
Step 2. Soak the shoelaces
If you don't want to machine wash your laces, you can clean them by soaking and brushing them. All you have to do is soak the shoelaces in a bowl of hot water, baking soda, and dish soap for about 5 minutes. Then, use a small brush, or toothbrush, to brush it clean.
If the laces are made of suede, use a special cleaner for suede or vinegar
Step 3. Clean the insole
If you want the inside of your shoe to be as clean as the outside, take the time to clean the insole. Remove the insole from the shoe and use a brush to brush it with a mixture of warm water and detergent.
Allow the insole to dry on its own before putting it back in the shoe
Step 4. Spray deodorizer on the insole
Even after washing, the insole may still smell a little. For that, you have to take extra steps to make it fresher. Baking soda and vodka can be great options for getting rid of shoe odors.
- Put the insole in a plastic bag with baking soda and leave it overnight. Shake the bag well until the baking soda covers the entire sole. The next morning, you can simply shake the insole to remove any remaining baking soda before putting it back on.
- To get rid of a really strong smell, soak the insoles in vodka for a few hours. This will kill the mold and bacteria that cause odor.
- Stains will be easier to deal with if you clean them right away. The longer you leave it on, the harder it will be to get your shoes looking like new again.
- If you don't want to clean your sneakers yourself, take them to a professional shoe cleaner.
- You can use the product to whiten or discolor shoes in liquid form (you can buy them at shoe stores). Make sure you read the instructions on the packaging and only use the product on ingredients recommended by the manufacturer.
- Don't forget to read the shoe care instructions so you can determine the safest method for cleaning them.
- Make sure you know the materials used to make the shoes before cleaning them. Using the wrong method can damage certain materials.