3 Awesome Tricks To Clean Sneakers and Keep ‘Em Fresh!

by: Tilda
June 13, 2019

3 Awesome Tricks To Clean Sneakers and Keep ‘Em Fresh!

From regular sneaker fans to real sneakerheads, we all love having a fresh pair of clean sneakers. We’d especially pay attention to them if we raced time to successfully cop them. But sometimes, you can’t help dirtying them. And kicks are the best environment for odor-causing bacteria if you don’t take care of ‘em the right way. Luckily, we have some tricks for you to get clean sneakers. You know, you can’t expect your kicks to have a long life without them being spotless! Here are 3 major things you should do to maintain the quality and freshness of your sneakers.

How to Clean Sneakers Guide

First: Protect Clean Sneakers at All Costs!

Preventing your clean sneakers from getting dirty or scratched is the number one trick. That’s the treatment head-turner kicks deserve, no cap. Simply spray them with a stain and water repellent. There are many protectors against liquids and stains and they’re safe to use on suede and leather. Spray sneaker protectors before you wear them even for the first time! Test the effectiveness of the repellent using a couple of water drops. Ideally, they should roll off of the shoe.

Second: Naturally, You Gotta Thoroughly Clean Sneakers


Clean your sneakers immediately after using or wearing them. You can’t store sneakers when they’re dirty fam, that’s a hard no from every sneakerhead. Because the longer the bacteria sits, the worse it will smell and the harder it will be to clean.

How to Clean Sneakers? 

Spot clean sneakers using a sponge or sneaker wet wipes to remove stubborn and off the surface stains. Then, you can deep clean it by soaking it in water and washing detergent. Scrub gently using a brush. There are different types of brushes for different jobs: soft, coarse, etc… Watch out for delicate areas such as mesh or suede though, they shouldn’y come in contact with water. You can use a sneaker eraser for that!

Clean Sneakers Upper

All you gotta do is dedicate one or two minutes when you return home to spot clean your sneaker. This way, you might even need to use other cleaning methods. After that, you can eliminate harder dirt stains and scuff marks by deep cleaning using the following methods:


Handwash your sneaker using a brush, laundry detergent, and water. Use tar and sap removers for tar stains. You can use this method for suede shoes, but it is preferable if you use vinegar instead. You may want to remove the laces and wash them separately in the washing machine.

When to Clean Sneakers in a Washing Machine

You can clean your sneakers by spraying them down with a garden hose. Or you can wash both canvas and non-canvas sneakers in a washing machine. However, always double check because not all sneakers are machine washable. Remember to remove the laces and wash both separately in a pillowcase or a laundry washing bag. Washing detergents are usually safe and good for the job. You should avoid using a washing machine if the fabric (suede) would be damaged by the machine or detergent. You can also add towels to prevent your kicks from banging around while washing.

Baking Soda – White Vinegar – Hydrogen Peroxide

The best way to clean the soles of your sneakers is by using baking soda and rubbing alcohol.  Use a brush or submerge them in a shallow pan. They act as disinfectants and deodorizers. Baking soda is perfect to remove bad odors, especially from insoles. You can soak the insoles in baking soda overnight using a plastic bag.

clean sneakers with brush

Essential Oils

Did you know? You can clean your sneakers and make them smell good too using lavender, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary.


Mostly used to dry sticky substances out. Put the kicks in a freezer-safe bag to make the sticky substance brittle and easy to scrape off.


Having clean sneakers can be the result of a white eraser. Thanks to it, you can lift stains off of white non-suede shoes. It might also work on certain suede shoes, but make sure your eraser is white.


Works best for leather or white shoes particularly on rubber midsoles and toe caps. You can rinse it off or wipe it using a damp cloth if it’s leather.

Kiwi Whitener

Helpful for discolored sneakers, as it protects leather sneakers and keeps them shiny. These are very effective on white soles that usually get discolored easily.

Clean sneakers and insoles

Now That You Have Clean Sneakers

Now that they’re brand new and spotless again, let your newly clean sneakers dry naturally. You can dry them first using paper towels, but avoid rubbing. Never put your clean sneakers in a dryer or a radiator. Give them time to dry properly but don’t expose them to direct sunlight, especially if they’re leather kicks. After all, a tanning session for kicks is a no-go. If placing your sneakers in a washing machine is a possibility, a dryer is a big NO.

Third: Store Them Properly

We already discussed sneaker storage, and you can read all about it here. But some pointers wouldn’t hurt! Always keep your kicks cool ‘n’ dry, and out of direct sunlight. Make sure you store your kicks properly in either their original boxes, or in plastic box crates. Finally, taking care of your sneakers goes a long way if you’re a collector. The same applies to deadstock kicks that you’re into reselling! After all, new sneakers are always worth the resale!