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A guide on how to clean sneakers and running shoes

Read our simple guide for how to clean sneakers in the washing machine and by hand. Eliminate those hard-to-get-rid-of odors once and for all!


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Key steps

  • Remove the shoelaces and place your sneakers in a mesh laundry bag to wash in the washing machine.
  • Use a good quality detergent like Breeze.
  • Mix detergent with water and blot the surface of running shoes you can’t machine wash.
  • Always air dry.
  • Use baking soda to eliminate odors.

Although lots of washing machines these days come with a sports shoe setting, it's not always the best way to wash your much-loved sneakers or running shoes. In this article, we’ll tell you how to clean sneakers and what not to do.

Noticed a sports shoe setting on your washing machine? This doesn’t mean all trainers can be washed this way. Ensure you check the manufacturer’s care advice for your trainer brand.

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How to clean running shoes: Can I use my washing machine?

Some brands, such as Adidas and Nike don’t recommend using the washing machine. Others, however, may allow machine washing. Here’s how to wash running shoes if this is the case:

  1. Remove the shoelaces. These should be washed separately.
  2. Put your sneakers into a mesh laundry bag. This will stop any parts becoming caught in the drum.
  3. Consider adding a few colourfast towels, to protect your sneakers during spin cycles.
  4. Make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions in regard to the temperature and wash setting. We recommend 86F on a gentle cycle.
  5. Don’t forget to use a good-quality laundry detergent, like Breeze.
  6. Allow your sneakers to dry naturally. To speed up the process, stuff newspaper inside to help absorb excess liquid.

How to clean inside of shoes, as well as the outside, in quick easy steps:

Whether you have white Nikes or soft Adidas sneakers, follow our step-by-step guide for how to clean canvas sneakers:

  1. Use a soft brush to remove loose dirt.
  2. Remove any insoles and air them to get rid of sweat and other liquids which may cause odors.
  3. Mix a few drops of a detergent like Breeze with warm water.
  4. Brush the soles of your running shoes using the solution.
  5. Use a soft, microfibre cloth to gently blot the surface of your sneakers.
  6. Repeat this process until your shoes are clean.
  7. Allow them to air-dry.
  8. If your sneakers smell, why not add a sprinkle of baking soda, or check out our other advice for how to remove odors from smelly shoes.

 What should I NOT do?

There are a few things that you need to ensure you avoid when it comes to cleaning your sneakers.

  • Avoid drying your sneakers on or near radiators. This may warp the shape.
  • Never put your running shoes in a tumble dryer.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach which may damage your shoes.
  • Do not use any method not within the care instructions if your sneakers are still in warranty.

With these tips, you now have everything you need to enjoy your runs and long walks with the peace of mind that your feet are being protected by clean and nice smelling shoes. 

Originally published