Washing Nike and Adidas trainers: Keep your footwear flawless with our cleaning tips

Step out in style with our tips on how to clean Adidas shoes and Nike trainers.

26 July

White trainers or yellow background
Clothing care

A fresh pair of Nike or Adidas trainers can give you considerable street cred and a vintage pair can be even cooler – if you keep them in good nick. Fortunately, there's a lot that can be done at home to clean a dirty pair of trainers. Whether you want to learn how to wash Nike trainers, how to clean Adidas shoes, or how to spruce-up any sports shoes that could do with a bit of TLC, our advice could help.

Although many modern washing machines come with a sport shoe setting, this doesn’t mean all trainers can be washed this way. Always check with the manufacturer.

How to wash Nike & Adidas trainers?

Washing Adidas trainers in the washing machine and Nike trainers in the washing machine is not recommended by the manufacturers. Instead, you should hand wash them following the tips below.

How to clean white Nike shoes

Nike recommend washing their shoes by hand. Give them a soft brush first to remove loose dirt, then mix warm water with a little detergent to form a cleaning solution. Brush this into the soles and dab it onto the uppers before blotting any excess with a clean microfibre towel. Repeat until clean and then air dry.

How to clean Nike Air Max

The same cleaning method as above still applies. However, due to the larger rubber section on the sole of the shoe, you might want to avoid using a brush for this area and stick with a soft cloth instead.

How to clean Adidas shoes

Similar to washing Nike trainers, Adidas recommend using a soft brush to remove loose dirt from your running shoes and then hand washing with a mixture of detergent and water. They also suggest airing your insoles and using a small amount of baking soda to help remove unwanted shoe smells. You can also try our hacks for banishing foot odour.

What should I NOT do?

Never dry your trainers close to a radiator as it could warp the shape. You should also avoid using harsh chemicals, like bleach, and cleaning brushes as this can damage many fabrics. Remember: using an unsupported cleaning method could damage your shoes and invalidate any warranty.

For more information on washing Nike and Adidas shoes, refer to the manufacturer’s guidance.

Can you ever wash trainers or shoes in the washing machine?

While Adidas and Nike don’t recommend this for their footwear, some manufacturers may allow machine washing. If they do, simply follow these steps:

  1. Remove the shoelaces and wash them separately. 
  2. Place the trainers in a mesh laundry bag to prevent them getting caught in the drum.
  3. Add a few colourfast towels to provide more cushioning to your shoes.
  4. Choose an appropriate wash setting – usually around 30C and gentle.
  5. Add a high-quality laundry detergent, like Persil. Make sure it’s safe for shoes.
  6. Wait for the cycle to finish before drying your shoes naturally. You can stuff newspaper inside to help absorb water.

Not sure if your trainers are machine-washable? As a general rule, avoid putting anything made of animal-based materials, such as leather and suede, in the washing machine.

So, next time you need to clean your designed trainers just put your best foot forward with these tips.

Not all trainers are suitable for machine washing. Always check the label first and follow the care guidance given by the footwear manufacturer.

Key steps

Get your favourite trainers looking tip-top by remembering to:

  • Always check the label for washing instructions.
  • Use a laundry bag and soft towels to cushion shoes if washing them in the machine.
  • Hand wash gently using a soft brush or microfibre cloth and a simple solution of water and detergent.