How to Clean Your Shoes

Your footwear says a lot about you, so keep your kicks looking fresh with these Pro Tips.

Do your shoes need a good cleaning? There are many different ways to clean your shoes while also keeping wear and tear to a minimum. Let Pro Tips show you some simple tips on how to clean your shoes at home and keep them shining.

The first step to cleaning your sneakers is gathering the right supplies.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Sponge(s)
  • Toothbrush
  • Laundry detergent
  • Water
  • Old newspaper

First, combine a small amount of laundry detergent and water together to create a cleaning solution. If you don’t have a sponge, you can use a washcloth as a substitute.

CLEANING INSOLES AND LACES  

Now, before cleaning your shoes, remove the insoles and shoelaces. You’ll clean these separately.

To clean your insoles, wipe them down with a clean sponge. You’ll then dip the sponge in the cleaning solution and scrub the insoles.

Once the scrubbing is complete, make sure to rinse the sponge off completely. This will come in handy when removing any suds or leftover soap residue on the insole.

Leave your insoles out to air-dry overnight. To help soak up the water, you can leave your insoles on a towel.

And don’t forget about the shoelaces. Use a dry toothbrush and lightly scrape the shoelaces to remove any dried dirt or mud. You’ll then dip the toothbrush in the cleaning solution and scrub your shoelaces clean.

Rinse the laces in the sink to remove suds and let air-dry.

CLEANING YOUR SHOES 

Now it’s time to clean your shoes.

Like the laces, the first step is to dry-scrub your shoes with a toothbrush to remove any large clumps of dirt or mud. Next, you’ll dip a sponge in the cleaning solution and use it to scrub your shoes.

Once you complete this step, use an old toothbrush to get any hard-to-reach places.

Note that it’s best to air-dry your shoes at room temperature. Although it may be tempting, you should never put your shoes in the dryer, as the heat can warp them. Stuffing the shoes with newspaper can also help absorb water and speed up the drying process.

To help protect your shoes, try waterproofing them with waterproofing spray.

SPECIAL CASES: LEATHER AND SUEDE SHOES

Not all shoes are created equal. Some shoes may need a little more attention than others. This is especially true of those made from leather or suede materials. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind when caring for these types of shoes.

SUEDE
  • DO: Obtain a special suede brush. Gently remove dirt while brushing repeatedly in the same direction.
  • DON’T: Rinse suede shoes with water. Suede is extremely sensitive to water. Should water touch suede, it could alter the color of the shoes.
  • DO: Get a suede eraser to remove any additional marks on the shoes.
  • DON’T: Push too hard to get rid of mud on your shoe. The harder you scrape, the more likely your shoe will have scratches and marks on it.
LEATHER
  • DO: Use a shoe brush to remove dirt or debris.
  • DO: Use baby wipes or leather shoe wipes to help spot clean leather shoes.
  • DON’T: Put your leather shoes in the sun or by a heater. Leaving shoes outside in the sun can cause the leather to fade and crack.
  • DO: Apply leather conditioner or cream to protect your shoes and make them shine.

Now that you know how to keep your kicks clean, you can enjoy a nice run, walk or any other activity in spotless style.

Looking to learn how to clean your basketball shoes or your golf shoes? Check out even more shoe care advice with Pro Tips.