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How To Deep Clean Shoes

From sneakers to canvas kicks we’re sharing our secrets for at-home cleaning. Follow our steps to give your steppers a good scrub down.

If you’re wondering how to wash shoes in the washing machine, we’ve got the answers. When it comes to fabric sneakers, almost all can be machine or hand laundered, including canvas, cotton, and synthetics. Hand washing is the best method to protect shoes from becoming warped or snagged in the machine drum, though many durable shoes can withstand a machine wash. Always check manufacturer cleaning recommendations before starting the wash process. Generally, we recommend using cool or warm water and an everyday laundry detergent, like Signature Detergent to wash your kicks. It’s important to treat tough stains with Stain Solution ahead of washing to help lift heavy marks, and to soak laces separately to get them cleaner. 

Sneakers with leather or suede detailing however, should not be fully submerged in water. Don’t put these shoes in the washing machine, as it can ruin the suede or leather trim. Instead, spot treat excess dirt or stains on the non-leather parts using a soft stain brush and a stain remover designed for dirt and grease. 

Leather or suede shoes, such as dress shoes or boots, should never be washed at home using water. We recommend using a leather spray that protects your leather shoes from the elements to keep them in tip top shape. For suede, regular brushing with a soft bristled brush or shoe brush can help keep the surface smooth and free of dust and dirt. For stains, consult a leather professional before treating at home, as exposure to water and detergents can damage leather. 


Follow our step-by-step tips below to find out how to wash sneakers at home!

Clean Your Kicks


Sneakers Aren't Sneaky If They're Stinky

Wondering how to wash white shoes? Your favorite running shoes? Lace up high-tops? If your canvas sneakers or running shoes are anything but clean, add some pep to their step by pretreating stains and scuffs before the wash.

Before treating, always remove laces and liners (if possible). Apply Stain Solution and work in with a Stain Brush. Keep in mind this should not sit on the surface of your shoes outside of a soak or wash for an extended period of time, so be sure to soak or toss in the wash after applying!

If you are concerned about color bleeding from one part of the shoe onto another (for example, a dark stripe bleeding onto a white background), test an inconspicuous part of your shoes first by blotting with a cloth dampened with hot water. If you observe heavy dye transfer, you’ll want to avoid submerging the shoes in water.

Place laces inside a Mesh Bag, and wash using Signature Detergent and a warm setting. If needed, treat greasy, grimy stains on laces with Stain Solution and work in using the Stain Brush, then launder.


Take the Plunge

Got extra dirty kicks? If you’re curious how to wash white shoes in the washing machine, it is possible! Add Signature Detergent to your machine and select a delicate wash setting. You’ll need to use a cool or warm setting to avoid melting the rubber. Be sure to remove the laces from your shoes and place inside your protective mesh bag before tossing shoes into the machine. Always air dry sneakers and canvas shoes, as the high heat from the dryer can warp soles, and potentially damage your machine. 


Dry Off and Jump for Joy

Stuff sneakers with a clean cotton cloth to absorb moisture and leave to sit overnight. The cloth helps to remove excess moisture and speed up the drying process. 

Pro Tip: If possible, air dry your shoes outside. The sunlight will naturally speed up the drying process. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse shoes before letting them dry completely in the sun.

Black sneakers on floor with white towel and watch

Don't Run From Sport Sneakers

METHOD 1: Quick Clean

When cleaning traditional mesh sport shoes with minimal dirt or grime, we opt for the Stain Solution to treat hard to reach areas and tricky layered fabrics.

Start by removing all liners. These can be hand washed separately in warm or cold water, depending on the material. Then, mix a few drops of Stain Solution with a splash of hot water in a small bowl. Using a soft Stain Brush or toothbrush, work the solution into the shoes.

Finish by thoroughly rinsing. Stuff with a clean dry cloth and leave to air dry.!

METHOD 2: Deep Clean

For a deeper clean, add Signature Detergent to a basin or sink filled with cool to warm water. 

Gently agitate the water with a stain brush to evenly distribute soap and submerge the item. Soak for up to 30 minutes.

Rinse well by running water through the sneaker until the water is no longer soapy. After thoroughly rinsing, stuff with a soft cloth to absorb excess moisture during the drying process.

If you prefer to wash your athletic shoes in the washer, first remove the inserts and laces and place them in a mesh bag. Select a delicate cycle with low spin on your machine, and Signature Detergent. For extra stinky kicks, add 2-3 tablespoons of odor-neutralizing plain white vinegar. After the cycle is finished, proceed air drying your sport shoes, stuffing them with a cloth as needed to expedite drying. 

Pro Tip: When cleaning shoes in the washer, do not toss them in with clothing. Always wash separately to protect clothing items and to ensure the deepest clean! 

METHOD 3: Freshen Up 

Just like canvas shoes, sport shoes can be freshened up in between washes and wears using a fabric freshening spray. For heavier smells or excess sweat, sprinkle odor absorbing baking soda inside the shoes and leave overnight before shaking out. 

Pro Tip: When removing the baking soda out of your shoes, shake them out directly over your kitchen drain, then pour ½ - 1 cup plain white vinegar over, adding more baking soda as needed. This will create a quick drain clearing solution that helps combat food residue and odors! Finish by rinsing with hot water.