Ever wondered the best way to clean running shoes? Or any trainers? We regularly get asked this question by customers so thought we would write a quick article on it. So first we’ll cover what to avoid when cleaning shoes.

 

How NOT to clean running shoes

 

There are a few key rules for clean running shoes, whilst making sure you don’t damage the shoes themselves:

 

  • Avoid the washing machine – Not only can you damage your trainers, but also you risk damage to your washing machine; however whilst we don’t recommend this we know of a lot of customers who still wash them in a washing machine by placing the shoes in a pillow case and washing on a low temperature with some old towels to help balance the machine.
  • Avoid the tumble dryer – This is a big no no! Not only can the dry heat warp the shoes, but also again the shoes can easily damage the tumble dryer by unbalancing it. We have had customers with shoes that have changed size because they put them in a tumble dryer!
  • Avoid any sort of forced drying – The same goes for the radiator, hair dryer or any sort of forced drying. All of these methods risk damage to the midsoles, which can warp at temperatures as low as 90 degrees.
  • Don’t use a pressure washer – Yes it sounds mad, but it has been tried! Pressure washers will literally tear through running shoes, so don’t be tempted no matter how muddy they are!
  • Avoid any harsh chemicals – The delicate materials used in running shoes are easily damaged by cleaners like bleach or surface cleaners; if you wouldn’t put it on your skin then don’t put it on your shoes.

 

How to Clean Dirty Trainers

 

Dirty Running shoes
Image Credit: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/isherwoodchris/8426990471#)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your trainers are muddy then you’ll need step 1, if they’re not really that muddy then skip straight to step 2.

 

Step 1 – Allow mud to dry

Once the mud has thoroughly dried, then use a stiff brush to remove the majority of it and bang the soles on a firm surface to remove excess mud that is caught in the grooves of the outsole. You should be able to remove most of the mud this way.

Step 2 – Remove Insoles and Laces

Once removed then these individual items can either be hand washed or put into a pillowcase/laundry bag (to avoid damage) and washed in the washing machine on a 30 degree wash.

Step 3 – Use a small brush

 

Clean Trainers

Using a small brush, like a toothbrush, add a dab of washing up liquid and water and gently scrub away at the most soiled parts of the outsole and midsole. Keep rinsing the brush and add more detergent as necessary; rinsing the parts you’ve scrubbed with lukewarm water as you clean them.

Step 4 – Use a sponge

 

Clean Trainers

Now you have cleaned the outsole and midsole with the brush then move onto the upper with a sponge. Again using detergent and water gently sponge clean the upper. Then rinse under a cold tap if necessary to remove the last of the dirt.

Step 5 – Dry

The tried and tested safest method here is to place your shoes somewhere dry and warm (not on a radiator!) then stuff your shoes with newspaper and as it absorbs the moisture replace it with more dry paper until the shoes are dry.

Now you are ready to add back in your insoles and laces and you’re good to go. If you find that your insoles are still smelly then a sprinkle of baking soda can help to reduce odours. Or maybe look at a set of deodorising sneaker balls.

Hopefully this will help you to keep your trainers or running  shoes clean so they last a bit longer, remember if you have any comments or tips then leave your thoughts below.

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Ryan has worked in the sports industry since 1999 and has a wealth of experience across most subjects. Ryan holds a BSc in microbiology and has studied sports physiology in great detail in his own time. His main areas of specialisation are: footwear construction, footwear technology, strength & conditioning and anatomy & physiology. He splits his 13 hours a week exercise between, Kickboxing, MMA, Crossfit, Rock Climbing and Running.