How To Clean Running Shoes?

cleaning running shoes
Running Shoes Advice

If you love running, then chances are you have a pair of running shoes.

Whether they are classic white or other colors, they probably get dirty after running through the countryside or during the rainy season.

Cleaning your running shoes is the best way to lengthen your shoes’ life. However, it can be a bit tricky if you don’t know how to do it. If you do not clean your shoes the right way, you risk damaging the fabric.

In today’s guide, we’ll tell you all about how to clean your running shoes to keep them as new as the first day. We’ll also share with you the best tips on what not to do when cleaning your running shoes.

What You’ll Need to Clean Your Running Shoes?

what you'll need


The first thing to keep in mind is that running shoes are made with delicate materials. So, you should use items that won’t compromise the materials of your running shoes.

Here’s what you should use to keep your running shoes clean:

  • Some mild-detergent or a clothing-safe soap
  • A toothbrush or a soft scrub brush
  • A sponge
  • Paper towels
  • Warm water

We recommend each of these items to clean your running shoes. Still, you can use other alternatives that have the same effect on clothing and fabric.

How to Clean Them?

washing mud from running shoes

There are some steps you need to follow in cleaning your running shoes correctly. Now that you have the necessary items, all you have to do is follow them:

  1. Begin by taking your shoelaces and insoles out from the shoes. It is easier to clean each part of the shoes individually.
  2. Pour warm water into a bucket. Using warm water will make the cleaning process a lot easier, but it can also be done with lukewarm or cold water.
  3. Now, with a paper towel or a similar item, clean off any trace of mud, dirt, or debris from your shoes. It is essential to do this before using warm water.
  4. Add some mild-detergent or soap to the warm water bucket.
  5. Time to start cleaning the shoes. Dip the toothbrush in warm soapy water, and then proceed to clean the bottom of the shoes. Use a sponge to remove the soap after you’ve finished.
  6. Now, it’s time to clean the upper part of your shoes, and the way to proceed will depend on the material the shoes are made of. Fabris, canvas, or mesh can withstand the use of soap and mild handwashing. However, do not fully submerge your shoes in water.

On the other hand, you should not clean leather, nubuck, or suede with soap or detergent. Instead, use cleaning products designed for the materials. If not, you risk damaging the shoes and discoloring them.

  1. For the shoelaces, you can use soap and running water. Use the toothbrush to get better results.
  2. Now that the shoes are clean, it is time to start drying them. Place them where the air can reach them, and put a paper towel inside the shoes to absorb the moisture. Avoid direct sunlight as it can damage the material and start a discoloring process on the shoes.
  3. After your shoes have dried, use baking soda inside of them to get rid of any odor or remaining moisture.

Should You use A Washing Machine?

It depends on the model of shoes you have. Certain brands design their shoes to enable washing machine use, making cleaning the shoes a lot easier.

However, not all brands have that feature, so check carefully before using the washing machine.

If your shoes can withstand a washing machine, then follow these steps:

  1. The night before washing them, put some baking soda inside the shoes. You should use around three spoons in each shoe and remember to remove it by morning.
  2. Before placing the shoes in the washing machine, remove the shoelaces. Put the shoelaces inside a pillowcase or a wash bag to prevent them from getting tangled inside the washing machine.
  3. With a toothbrush or a similar item, brush off mud, dirt, and debris before putting the shoes in the washing machine.
  4. We recommend washing your shoes with some towels as they can prevent your shoes from bangling inside the washing machine.
  5. Use liquid detergent to avoid damaging the material, and set the washing machine on a cold delicate cycle.
  6. After your shoes are clean, place them where the air can reach them. Do not use a dryer as it can damage your shoes.

Tips: Although it sounds redundant, only certain types of shoes can be washed in a washing machine. Do never put leather or other delicate materials inside a washing machine.

You can also use a disinfectant to keep your shoes free from any type of fungus.

What Not To Do?

ways to clean running shoes

Here’s everything you should avoid doing when cleaning your running shoes:

  • Do not use bleach or any sort of strong detergent when cleaning your running shoes. Use only mild-detergent or clothing-safe products.
  • Avoid drying your running shoes near a radiator. Shoes can lose their shape if exposed to heat. You should also avoid direct sunlight or using a dryer.

If you follow all the steps and avoid these issues, you should be able to keep your running shoes clean. You can also help increase the lifespan of your shoes if you clean them regularly.


Running shoes are exposed to more dirt, mud, and debris than most types of shoes. It is essential to keep your shoes clean as it can lengthen their lifespan.

It is crucial to do so if you live in rainy areas where mud is abundant.

The best way to clean your running shoes is to do it by hand using mild-detergents and warm water. Clean them with a toothbrush, and avoid submerging the shoes in water as it can damage the fabric. When the time to dry them comes, use only the air and avoid direct sunlight, radiators, and dryers.

If you want to use the washing machine, make sure that your shoes can withstand it. Usually, specific models and brands add a tag for washing machine use. However, do not use a dryer once you’ve finished washing them. Stick to air drying.