How to Clean Athletic Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Athletic shoes can quickly get dirty from everyday wear. Mud, grass stains, pavement grime, and general dirt can make your shoes look old and worn out. Keeping your athletic shoes clean not only makes them look better aesthetically but can also help extend their lifespan.

Cleaning your shoes regularly removes debris that can break down the materials and cause them to wear out faster. It’s easy to keep your athletic shoes fresh and clean with just a few supplies and these 5 simple steps:

Supplies Needed

  • An old toothbrush or shoebrush
  • Mild detergent
  • Warm water
  • Small towel
  • Old newspaper

Now let’s go through the 5 easy steps to clean Athletic Shoes:

Step 1: Remove Shoelace and Insoles

Start by untying and removing the shoelaces from each shoe. Then gently pull out any removable insoles or inserts from inside the shoes. Taking out the laces and insoles allows you to clean the entire surface of the shoe.

Step 2: Rinse With Warm Water

Use a faucet or spray bottle to rinse off any loose dirt from the outside of the shoes. Run them under warm water while brushing gently with your hand or an old toothbrush. This initial rinse helps wash away any surface-level dirt or caked-on mud.

Step 3: Make a Cleaning Solution

In a small bowl or bucket, mix warm water and a small amount of mild detergent, dish soap, or laundry detergent. You don’t need much detergent, just enough for some light studying. The detergent helps lift and dissolve stains and grime.

Step 4: Scrub With a Brush

Dip your toothbrush or shoe brush into the detergent solution and gently scrub over the entire outside surface of the shoes. Sc scrubs the soles, sides, and all material uppers, including mesh or leather panels. The toothbrush helps agitate dirt stuck in small crevices or textures.

Step 5: Rinse and Air Dry

Once finished scrubbing, rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue. Then stuff them with old newspaper or towels to help them retain their shape as they dry. Allow the shoes to fully air dry before wearing them again. Make sure they are completely dry before putting the insoles and laces back in.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Athletic Shoes:

  • No bleach or harsh chemicals – They can damage or discolor the shoe materials
  • Avoid putting shoes in the washing machine or dryer – The heat and tumbling can break down the glues and cause the shoes to fall apart
  • Don’t use very hot water – It can shrink or warp some shoe materials
  • Don’t scrub too hard – It can cause scuff marks or damage delicate mesh or leather
  • Don’t soak too long – Prolonged water exposure can break down adhesives and stitching
  • Don’t wear until fully dry – Wearing wet shoes can cause bacteria or fungus growth

Keeping your athletic shoes cleaned properly not only makes them look nicer but also helps maintain the quality and extend the life of the materials. By following these simple 5 steps and avoiding certain cleaning pitfalls, you can keep your shoes looking fresh. Make regular cleaning a habit and your shoes will provide many miles of comfortable wear.


In summary, cleaning athletic shoes is a relatively straightforward process. By using common household items and following these 5 simple steps, you can keep your athletic footwear looking like new.

Regular cleaning removes dirt and stains, prevents premature wear, and helps maintain the function and lifespan of your shoes. Just remember to avoid soaking too long, using overly hot water or harsh chemicals, and always allowing your shoes to fully air dry before wearing them again. Implementing a regular cleaning routine helps your investment in athletic shoes last, so your feet can comfortably perform at their very best.

Leave a Comment