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How to Clean Athletic Shoes and Sneakers


How to Clean Athletic Shoes and Sneakers

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Athletic shoes are certainly not just for athletes - they're for everyone. Online reviews can help you compare and select just what type you need. But, whether you choose specialty shoes or canvas basics, they all need to be cleaned now and then.

Come Unlaced

Your shoe laces are often the dirtiest part of the shoe. Begin your cleaning project by removing the laces and the insoles or inserts. The laces can be washed by putting them in with a load of laundry or replaced quite inexpensively.

The insoles should be handled separately. Remove them and allow them to air. If they are particularly smelly, sprinkle with baking soda to absorb odor and moisture. This should be done frequently even if you are not cleaning the rest of the shoe.

Now, rinse the shoes with cool water to remove any loose dirt or soil.

Soap and Water Time

Most sneakers will travel through the washer with no problems. Simply use cool or warm water and regular detergent and wash them with a load of towels.

But if the shoes are really pricey and new, hand washing is a bit more gentle. Use a soft brush and solution of mild liquid detergent in water. Scrub the inside and outside of each shoe. For scuff marks, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works wonders.

If you are concerned about bacteria and athlete's foot fungus, the shoes will need to be disinfected. Pine oil disinfectants, which are effective in hot and warm water, are safe to use with athletic shoes without damaging the fabric. Some brands include Pine Sol, Real Pine, Spic-n-Span Pine and Lysol Pine Action. They should be added at the beginning of the wash cycle. To be effective, the product must contain 80 percent pine oil.

Phenolic disinfectants are also effective in hot and warm water. Lysol brand disinfectant is available in most areas. Phenolic disinfectants may be added to the wash or rinse water, if the rinse water is warm.

Drying Time

Never put your shoes in the dryer. High heat can cause them to lose their shape and that will affect their support. Instead, put them in a well ventilated space. Stuff them loosely with white cotton towels or white paper to help them retain their shape. Don't use newspaper because you'll find ink on your socks the next day!

Final Touches

When your shoes are completely dry, you can use white or black or appropriately colored shoe polish to touch up any scuffs. In a pinch, a permanent marker works wonders to hide problems!


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