How to Clean Sports Shoes With Minimal Damage

February 5, 2013 | Erika Sivils

Dirty Shoes

Cleaning sports shoes can be a tricky task. While trying to rid sports shoe of unpleasant odors, it's easy to cause damage to the shoes. Here are a few tips on how to clean your shoes without ruining them.

Take off the Laces

One of the biggest mistakes when washing shoes is forgetting to take off the laces. This creates unwanted indents where the laces cross the shoe's upper and cleans the laces in a blotchy fashion. Taking off the laces takes a little effort, but it will save your shoes from permanent damage.

Spot Clean

Spot clean any noticable marks or stains before putting your shoes in the wash. A Tide pen or Oxy Clean mixed with water should lift the stain. Don't use a stain remover with bleach unless your shoes are white.

Wash

Wash the shoes in hot water on a low spin cycle for a small load. Let water fill the washing machine, then put in detergent. If possible, take out the inner soles and wash them by hand. If you have a few old towels, throw them in the load to reduce any damage to the shoes during spin cycle. Wash the laces—untied and separated from the shoes—in the same load.

Dry

When your shoes are finished washing, put them in the dryer. Use a low heat cycle to reduce the possibility of cracking the leather or burning the rubber. Once dry, re-lace the shoes.

If your shoes came with any cleaning instructions, be sure to look for guidelines. Also look for recommendations on your laundry detergent about how much to use for a small load. If shoes still have marks after they are cleaned, try reapplying a spot remover.

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