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Forget about the shoes – learn how to clean shoelaces!

This article covers how to clean white shoelaces, coloured laces and even fancier leather ones and how to keep them looking fresh long-term.

Updated Reading Time: 5 minutesBy Cleanipedia Team

Three different trainers hanging by their shoelaces

Getting the details right is key to nailing a look, and a pair of lace-up shoes are only as good as their laces. Got something on your shoelaces, making them look less pristine? Worry not – we've got the tricks for getting them back into shape, whether they're white or dyed! Read on for our handy guide on how to wash shoelaces of all different types as well as how to keep them looking fresh long-term.

Adapt your cleaning method depending on the material and colour used. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how to wash shoelaces.

You will need:

  • Washing machine
  • Bucket
  • Bleach
  • Cold water
  • Laundry detergent

How to clean white shoelaces

If you’re wondering how to clean white laces, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Remove the laces

    Remove the laces from the shoes.

  2. Place laces in a bucket of bleach and cold water

    Clean white shoelaces with bleach – this will help remove nasty stains. Simply place them in a bucket of water with 25ml of bleach and two litres of cold water.

  3. Soak for five minutes then remove

    Soak for around five minutes, then remove from the bucket and place in a mesh laundry bag.

  4. Put in washing machine and wash between 40 and 60 degrees

    Put the laundry bag in the washing machine and do a hot wash with some good quality laundry detergent, such as Persil Non-Bio.

How to clean laces that are dyed

Got coloured laces? Here’s how to adapt the technique.

  1. Follow the above steps, pre-soak in liquid detergent

    Follow the steps as above, but rather than pre-soaking in bleach, use a liquid detergent like Persil Colour.

  2. Wash at a hot temperature

    Put the laundry bag in the washing machine and do a hot wash.

  3. Leave to dry naturally

    Leave to dry naturally, away from direct sunlight (which can cause colours to fade).

How to clean shoelaces made from leather

What about how to clean laces made of classy leather? Here’s how to get them as good as new.

  1. Don't use a washing machine

    This could cause the laces to break.

  2. Use a damp cloth and warm water to remove any stains

    Use a damp cloth dipped in warm water and run it along the lace to remove any stains. You might need a bit of elbow grease to get rid of anything stubborn.

    It’s important to clean shoelaces made from leather without soaking or using the washing machine, as both techniques are too harsh on this more fragile material.

  3. Dry naturally and indoors

    Always dry leather laces naturally and indoors – blow-drying or direct sunlight could weaken them and lead to breakage.

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How to clean shoelaces: keeping them fresh long-term

If you don’t fancy washing shoelaces every week, here are a few tips on keeping them looking cleaner for longer:

  • Avoid wearing your shoes anywhere it’s going to get too muddy.

  • If you have to go somewhere your shoes could get stained, wear those with the darkest laces. This will help prevent dirt stains from showing up.

  • Store shoes away from dust and anything with the potential to create dirt (household pets, renegade children).

When you’re working out how to clean shoelaces it can be a bit of a puzzle: how should it be different depending on colour and material and how should you clean white shoelaces to keep their brightness? By following these top tips you can be sure your laces always look their best, giving you the confidence that comes from attending to the details of your outfit!

How to clean shoelaces by hand?

Cleaning shoelaces by hand is a simple process. Start by removing the laces from your shoes. Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Submerge the shoelaces in the soapy water and agitate them gently to loosen dirt and stains. Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the laces, paying extra attention to any stubborn spots. Rinse the laces thoroughly with clean water to remove any soapy residue. Squeeze out excess water and hang the laces to air dry. Once dry, re-lace your shoes, and they'll be clean and ready to wear.

Read other articles from the Clothing Care category

How to get colour run out of clothes

What do the symbols on washing machines mean

How to remove static from clothes

How to stop clothes bobbling

How to make clothes smell good and stay fresh

Originally published