How To Clean Running Shoes And Make Them Sparkle Again

If you’ve been having a hard time cleaning your running shoes, then this is for you.

For an activity like running, the shoes are bound to be dirty after every run. From the dust to the mud, the running shoes deserve to be cleaned. This is also a way of ensuring the durability of the shoes.

Aside from the preservation of the running shoes, did you know that the sweat and dead skin particles in your running shoes make room for the breeding of fungus and bacteria? This is the primary cause of shoe odours.

Getting the clean running shoes does not necessarily mean throwing your pair of running shoes into the washing machine and then into the dryer. These laundry devices can do more harm than good for the footwear.

In the same way it is not also wise to just dunk the shoes into the water with the hopes of hand-washing them to make them clean. There is a step by step procedure to be learnt and followed in order to get that clean look as well as improve the shoes’ durability. For best results, clean your shoes immediately after they’re exposed to dirt.

The common cleaning ingredients include: 2 tablespoons of baking soda; 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap; kitchen sponge, an old toothbrush; soft cloth; paper towels; and water.


Clean Running Shoes

First of all, remove the dirt particles such as mud and grit on the surface of your running shoes using an old toothbrush or even nail brush, a little warm water and a gentle, anti-grease soap can also be used here and would help to take care of the dirt

See Also: Best Running Shoes For Women


Clean Running Shoes

Remove the shoe laces, lift the tongue of the shoe and sprinkle baking soda all over the insole. If detachable, bring out the insole and scrub with the old but clean toothbrush. 

Cleaning the insole helps to reduce odour caused by the accumulation of soaked up sweat and bacteria. If cleaning the insole does not reduce shoe odor, replace the insoles. Replacement insoles are available at most sporting goods and shoe stores. 

If your insoles are still a little smelly even after you’ve finished cleaning and washing them, then you may need to take an extra step to make them fresh again. Vodka is terrific for removing odors, you can soak your insoles in some vodka for a few hours. This will take care of all the odor-causing bacteria and fungi.

After that, make a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of baking soda, then dip the toothbrush into it and start scrubbing the rubber outsole.


Clean Running Shoes

Make a mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap and about 2 tablespoons of water. Use both the toothbrush and a soft cloth depending on the part involved to clean the fabric part of the running shoes. The soft cloth may be best used for wiping the toe area and the tongue.


With a wet sponge, thoroughly wipe every part of the shoe especially the quarter panel, where you have the eyelets for the shoe laces and midsole, till all the stains are gone.

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When all the stains are gone, use a paper towel to wipe the running shoes from the inside out. This helps the shoes to dry faster by soaking up excess moisture on the shoe after the cleaning process.

It is always advisable to sun dry your running shoes. Drying these pair of shoes reduces the chances of odor and bacterial activities.


The picture of the clean running shoes is incomplete without cleaning the shoelaces as well.

Clean Running Shoes

Soak the shoe laces in a liquid dish soap solution for about 5-10 minutes. For a tough dirt, use the toothbrush to remove them. Rinse with water and air-dry them. If the laces are worn out, then it’s definitely time to replace them with new ones.

Once your running shoes and laces are completely dry, fix back the laces and you are good to go.

Frequent runners may consider having two pairs of shoes for winter running. That way top hygiene can be maintained as one will be available when the other is cleaned. Wearing wet and dirty shoes are terrible habits not worth trying.

Clean Running Shoes

NOTE: For a somewhat casual but effective cleaning, the outer part and insoles can be lightly brushed and cleaned with a mixture of water and liquid soap. Then use a paper towel to absorb the dampness and then air-dry. Shoes take about twelve hours to dry out completely.

Shoe manufacturers like Nike discourage the use of excess detergent, washing machines, dryers, bleach and other cleaning chemicals on your running shoes.

Detergents like Saddle soap can soften leather and are not good for all kinds of sports shoes. They should not be used on soccer cleats, basketball shoes, golf shoes, training shoes or any other shoes designed for activities involving lateral movement.

20 Best Ways To Clean Running Shoes:

  1. Use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to scrub the dirt and stains off your running shoes.
  2. Remove the laces and wash them separately in the washing machine or by hand.
  3. Mix a few drops of laundry detergent with warm water and use a cloth or sponge to gently scrub the shoes.
  4. Use a magic eraser to remove scuffs and stains from the shoes.
  5. Apply a shoe cleaner and use a brush or cloth to scrub the shoes.
  6. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste, apply to the shoes, and scrub with a brush.
  7. Use a suede/nubuck cleaner to clean suede and nubuck running shoes.
  8. Place the shoes in a laundry bag and wash them in the washing machine with cold water and mild detergent.
  9. Use a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of water and vinegar to clean white running shoes.
  10. Use a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol to clean the rubber parts of the running shoes.
  11. Soak the shoes in a mixture of water and baking soda for a few hours to remove odor.
  12. Use a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of water and dish soap to clean the shoes.
  13. Clean the shoes with a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide to remove stains and discoloration.
  14. Use a mixture of water and lemon juice to clean white running shoes and remove stains.
  15. Use a mixture of water and tea tree oil to clean the shoes and kill bacteria.
  16. Use a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of water and laundry detergent to clean the shoes.
  17. You can also clean the shoes with a mixture of water and ammonia to remove tough stains.
  18. Use a shoe deodorizer spray to remove odor from the shoes.
  19. Stuff the shoes with newspaper and leave them to dry naturally.
  20. Use a shoe dryer to dry the shoes if they are wet or damp.


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