how to wash and clean tennis shoes

How to Wash and Clean Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes are made tough to withstand the rigors of tennis, but they still get dirty easily. However, these tips will help you keep them clean and fresh!

Below you’ll find 2 easy ways to clean them, but first, let’s go over the basics.

INSERT LINK – Jump straight to ‘Wash tennis shoes in a washing machine’
INSERT LINK – Jump straight to ‘Hand wash tennis shoes’

Cleaning Tennis Shoes - What to Consider

There are a few factors to keep in mind before you start washing or cleaning your tennis shoes.

Color

Consider the color of the shoes before washing them.

If they are white or light-colored, you don’t want to mix them with other colors. This is because the colors could easily run and stain your white shoes.

If you have other darker-colored shoes to wash along with the white tennis shoes, wash the white ones first.

If you are going to use a cloth for scrubbing, use a white one. A colored cloth may leave stains behind on the shoes.

Material

The material with which the shoes are made also determines how you clean them.

If they are made of leather, you know you cannot dip them fully in water. Otherwise, you can ruin them.

But if they are made of fabric, you can easily clean or even machine wash them.

Again, much like with the color, the cleaning agent plays a role here. What works well with fabric tennis shoes may be too harsh for leather tennis shoes.

Cost

The cost of the tennis you own also plays a role in how you wash or clean them.

Throwing the shoes into the washer or using any available detergent may ruin them beyond repair. It is important to read the washing instructions before taking any step towards cleaning.

If your tennis shoes are expensive, for example, you don’t want to take the risk of washing them in a machine or with just any cleaning agent. You need to take good care of them.

Therefore, it is important to hand-wash expensive ones, using only a brush with soft bristles and mild detergent.

Tennis Shoes: When to Wash Them

If you play regularly, tennis shoes should be washed or cleaned once every 2-3 months. This way, you don’t wear them out with washing, but you don’t also leave them with too much grime.

Thankfully, the steps needed to clean the shoes are easy to follow

However, before starting, check the shoes for stones or dirt lodged in tight spaces.

Using a brush or any other convenient tool, dislodge them. It makes for easier cleaning or washing.

How to Wash and Clean Tennis Shoes

There are 3 main ways to wash or clean tennis shoes:

Washing Tennis Shoes In a Washing Machine

To wash a pair of tennis shoes using a washer, do the following:

Make Sure It Can Be Machine-Washed

Check the label of the shoes to be sure you can put them in a washer. It can be an expensive error to just dump your tennis shoes in a washer without checking first.

If you see ‘machine wash’ on the label, it is safe to go in the washer. But if it is ‘hand wash’, you should follow that advice. Putting them in the machine, even on a cold wash or ‘hand wash’ setting, might ruin them.

However, if there is no label on the shoes, go online and look for the manufacturing brand to determine how to wash them without ruining them.

First - Scrub Away Dry Dirt

Using a brush, remove any dirt sticking on the shoes.

Do this outside or over a floor covering / sheet of newspaper etc to avoid messing up the floor of your house. Be sure to remove all of it; putting the shoes with excessive dirt into the washer may damage the machine.

If the dirt/mud is wet or damp dirt, allow it to dry before dislodging it.

Plus. Dry dirt is easier to dislodge.

Second - Unlace the Shoes

Remove the shoelaces from the shoes and inspect them for any filthy spots.

If you find any, rub a little of the washing detergent into the spots before putting them in the washer.

Doing this helps soften the dirt ahead of washing.

Remember to wrap the laces in a mesh bag. This is to avoid having them wrap around other clothing in the machine.

Third - Wrap the Shoes in a Mesh Bag

Wrap the shoes in a mesh bag before loading them into the washer.

This is the recommended way to machine wash shoes. Then, put the mesh bag with the laces into the washer.

Bonus tip – Before starting, load some towels that need washing into the washer.

You need the towels to cushion the effect of the shoes hitting the sides of the washer. With the towels in the washer, the shoes shouldn’t hit the machine’s drum as hard, so it doesn’t damage your machine or your tennis shoes.

Forth - Use Cold Water and the Gentle Cycle

Do not go overboard with the detergent simply because they are shoes.

Using too much of it could leave a residue of soap on the shoes. And this residue can stain or stiffen them.

If your machine has the gentle cycle option, use it. And do not use hot water to avoid damaging the shoes.

According toUSA Today, it takes about 40 minutes to machine wash the shoes on the gentle cycle.

Finally, - Air-dry the Shoes

When you take them out of the washer, leave the shoes out to dry in natural air.

If you have a humidifier or fan, you can place the shoes in front of it.

Do not put them in a dryer.

The heat of the dryer could ruin the shoes and make them misshapen.

To speed up the drying process, take the insoles out if there are any, and allow them to dry separately.

It can take up to 10 hours for the tennis shoes to dry completely.

But once they are dry, along with the insoles, reinsert the insoles into them and lace the shoes up again.

This video shows a list of hacks for washing your tennis shoes…

Method 2 - Hand Washing Tennis Shoes

To hand-wash a pair of tennis shoes, do the following:

First - Unlace the Shoes

Check the laces of the shoes to see if they are dirty.

If they are, apply some of the laundry detergents to the dirty spots. Allow the detergent to set so that the dirt can come off easily.

In addition, inspect the shoelaces for signs of age or wear.

If they are fraying, buy replacements. But before doing that, measure the length of the old laces. Doing this will help you get laces in the exact length you need.

After washing the laces, rinse them thoroughly with some warm water and dry them using a towel.

However, if all the dirt does not come out, you can soak the laces in warm water and detergent for about 15 minutes. Then, rewash them and rinse them thoroughly.

Second - Scrub the Eyelets

Using a toothbrush and some laundry detergent, scrub the eyelets of the tennis shoes. It should go without saying, but do not use this toothbrush in your mouth again!

Continue to rub the eyelets until all dirt is gone. Then, clean them using a damp sponge.

Do not use a sponge or cloth too wet. Doing this will spread the soap from the eyelets to other parts of the shoes. Consequently, they will become too damp.

Third - Scrub Dry Dirt Away

If there is any dirt in or around the shoes upon inspection, scrub it away using a brush. It makes for easier cleaning or washing when you do this.

Reach inside the shoes and on the soles, and dislodge any caked-on dirt or stones. If the stones are too hard to dislodge with a brush, find a pair of tweezers and use them.

Please make sure the dirt is dry before attempting to remove it. If it is wet or even damp, it might spread to other parts of the shoes. Besides, it is easier to remove dry dirt.

Forth - Mix Laundry Detergent in Water and Wash

Get a cup of water and mix 1 teaspoon of laundry detergent into it. Then, dip a toothbrush into the frothy mixture and clean every part of the shoes. Use a larger brush where possible.

Go in a circular motion so that any dirt set in the material will come out.

Remember to remove the insoles and clean them in the same way.

If you like, you can opt to wash them in water. But if the dirt in them does not come out after scrubbing or washing, consider buying new insoles.

Additionally, clean the soles of the shoes with the brush.

A toothbrush will do a great job of getting to every crevice on the soles. Scrub them until there is no dirt left in sight.

Then, using a damp sponge, wipe the shoes down. This is to remove suds and soapy residue from them.

Ensure the sponge is just damp, not wet, so you don’t overload the shoes with water.

Do the same for the soles and insoles if they are still going to be used.

Finally, - Allow The Shoes to Dry

Place the shoes where air can hit them directly. If you have a fan or humidifier handy, you can place them in front of them. This way, the shoes can dry naturally.

Avoid placing them in front of any heat source as much as possible.

Doing this could ruin the plastic parts of the shoes beyond repair. Besides, it can ruin the shape of the shoe.

Washing the White Soles of Tennis Shoes

To clean the white soles of a pair of tennis shoes, do the following:

Mix Baking Soda and Laundry Detergent and Apply

Mix the same quantity of laundry detergent and baking soda. Get 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Make them into a paste.

Using a toothbrush, rub the paste onto the soles of the shoes. Don’t hold back, depending on how dirty they are.

Painstakingly work the paste into every nook and cranny of the soles, being careful to reach the sides too.

The point is to get the soles as white as possible.

Clean the Paste

Using a wet sponge, wipe the paste off the soles of the tennis shoes. Make sure the sponge is not dripping; wring out the water before using it.

Scrub with the sponge to reach every area where the paste is. If there is any leftover dirt, scrubbing should remove it. Rinse the sponge when needed.

Do this until all the paste is gone and the soles are sparkling.

If you did not wash every part of the shoes, but only the soles, don’t put the soles under running water.

Doing this will get other dry parts wet. And it takes a long time, at least 8 hours, for the shoes to dry completely.

However, if you washed every part of the shoes, you can put the soles under running water to wash off the paste.

Dry the Soles

Dry the soles of the shoes using a clean and dry towel. This is especially needed if you will wear the shoes immediately after washing the soles.

If there is any dirt visible after rinsing, repeat the cleaning process. This should remove the remaining dirt.

Here is a video showing how to clean white tennis shoes quickly and easily…

Polishing and Storing Tennis Shoes

Some tennis shoes can be polished.

Use the appropriate polish color for the shoes. If the shoes are made of leather, apply a leather conditioner after polishing to keep them from cracking.

And if they are made of fabric, use a protective spray to keep dirt away.

Polish is important, as it covers scuff marks or any other mark on the shoes, especially when they are leather.

Don’t leave the shoes lying around if you won’t use them soon. Store them in a drawstring bag for shoes, a shoebox or a plastic tub for preservation.

Tips for Keeping Your Tennis Shoes in Shape

  • Don’t sun-dry them.
    The heat can warp the shape of the shoes and ruin them. And if they are leather, the heat can make them crack.
  • Don’t wash the shoes in a dishwasher. And don’t use a dish-washing detergent for cleaning them.
    The heat in the dishwasher will ruin them beyond repair, and dish-washing soaps are usually too harsh.
  • Disinfectants can be used when washing the shoes.
    They help remove fungi, bacteria, and other microbes. But use warm water if you are going to use disinfectants.

Bottom Line

Washing or cleaning tennis shoes is easy, but it takes time to do well.