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Shoes Cleaning Tips. How You Can Clean and Wash Your Shoes.

Updated on January 25, 2017

Different places and different times produce different customs. What was usual in my childhood, in my old country is not at all customary nowadays. I remember my mother was ironing bed sheets and T-shirts. Now it seems such a waste of time and electricity.

We were hand washing our clothes, socks and underwear, yes, by hand. We were using washing machines only to wash bedding, curtains and towels. Now I put everything into my washing machine.

I even wash my sport shoes in the washing machine. No wonder that my sport shoes do not last long and very often lose their shape. And still I wash my regular sport shoes in a washing machine.

Sometimes you can do it.

It depends on the material the shoes (especially the soles) are made of. Also, if your shoes are not too expensive and if you don't really care about the shape of your shoes and if your shoes are very dirty and foul-smelling, you may throw them into your washing machine, but follow the tips:

  • Take the laces and insoles out of the shoes. You may wash the laces with your regular laundry, but put them in a small mesh bag to prevent all the tangling. Insoles may be ruined if you put them into a washer.
  • Pull out the tongue. (Not yours, the tongue of the shoes!)
  • Put the shoes in a mesh bag or in a pillowcase (this will make it easier on the drum of your machine)
  • Set up your machine for a gentle cycle and cold water. Use your regular detergent.
  • After you take your shoes out of the washer, wipe them with paper towels.
  • Stuff the shoes with paper towels to preserve the shape of the shoes. Replace paper towels when they are soaked.
  • Dry the shoes in a well ventilated room or in complete shade; never put them under the sun.
  • When the shoes are completely dry, put inserts and laces into the shoes.
  • Sprinkle a bit of baking soda inside the shoes to keep them smelling fresh.

By the way, you have an opportunity to listen to a special "washing machine shoes music"!

How to take care of your Skechers Shape-Ups

I would not wash my Skechers Shape-Ups in a washing machine, no matter how dirty they are. Though, I have to tell you that I found a forum online (can't find it again, no matter what way I try) where two people wrote that they washed their Shape-Ups in a washer and they came out like new, did not shrink and did not lose their shape. On the other hand, one lady said that her shoes got absolutely out of shape after she threw them into a washer. So, if you decide to wash your dirty Shape-Ups in a washing machine, do it on your own risk. Or better, just follow the tips how to care for your Skechers Shape-Ups that I listed above and below.

My opinion is that Sketchers shoes are stylish, with vibrant colors. Plastic materials are often used on front and bottom of Skechers shoes. If you put Skechers shoes, especially Shape-Ups into a washing machine, the structure and form of the shoe may change. Don’t allow buildup of dirt and you will be able to maintain your Shape-Ups in a nice shape even without having to wash them. If you still have to wash Shape-Ups shoes, I hope my tips will help you.

My tips hopefully will help you with virtually ANY types of shoes.

Tips how to clean your shoes

  • If your shoes have nylon or mesh tops, you can spray these shoes with a silicone spray periodically. This will protect the shoes from accumulating dirt, and also will make your shoes water resistant in a way.
  • If the upper of your shoes is made of smooth leather, try using shoe creams or polishes to take care of your shoes. First you should remove dust and all the dirt with a damp cloth. Wait when the shoes are dry, never polish wet shoes.
  • If the upper of your shoes is made of suede leather, make a habit of regular usage of a soft brush to keep suede free from dust. When your shoes are dry, clean the top with a dry rubber sponge or soft brush to brush away any clinging dirt. It there are stubborn stains, remove them with commercial stain remover for suede. Do not immerse suede shoes in water.
  • All other types of shoes (or very dirty shoes) may be hand washed in cold water with a mild detergent.

How to hand wash your shoes

In a large bowl mix cold water with fabric detergent (approximately 4 cups of water and 1tsp of detergent). Preferably use mild fabric detergent.

  • First, clean the plastic bottom of the shoes, including the sides of the bottom. You may use a toothbrush to clean the grooves. If the water becomes too dirty, you might consider of making another mix of water and detergent.
  • Remove the shoelaces and the inserts.
  • Pull out the tongue (did you do it again? Not your tongue! The tongue of the shoes.)
  • Wash the shoe laces, squeeze to remove excess water and hang them to dry.
  • Wet a soft brush or a small soft rug in the water/detergent. Tap the brush, or squeeze the rug to remove excess water. Gently clean the upper of the shoe. Clean the tongue of the shoe. Repeat until the upper of the shoe is clean. Spot clean any areas that require additional cleaning.
  • Clean the inserts the same way.
  • Wipe the shoes with paper towels.
  • Stuff the shoes with paper towels to preserve their shape.
  • Put the shows on a waterproof surface to dry and replace the paper towels when soaked.
  • Never put the shoes to dry under direct sun.
  • Put inserts and laces back to shoes when all the parts are completely dry.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda inside the shoes; it will keep them smell fresh.

Never put your shoes to a drying machine

Whatever method of cleaning your shoes you will choose, you should never put them into a drying machine. It might melt some material used to make soles of your shoes. 

The best way to keep your shoes longer is to clean them on a regular basis to prevent dirt built up. Wipe your shoes with a wet cloth often, brush dry dirt off your shoes.

Take care of your shoes regularly and you won't have to heavy wash them! 


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    • sjk6101983 profile image

      sjk6101983 6 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Here's a little trick my grandma told me works for white dress shoes, even though you wrote about Shape-Ups from Sketchers: try vaseline around the shoes, put the shoes on a chair, and let them dry for a day. I don't know who told her it, but it does work.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 6 years ago

      These are good tips. I especially like the ones for washing by hand.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

      I always wash my good shoes by hand. I throw into a washing machine only shoes that are not too expensive and those that will not last long any way.

      Thank you, girls, for reading and commenting.

    • jeremysharon profile image

      jeremysharon 6 years ago

      value of clean shoes

      clean and need shoes a showing personality of human being and importance to clear the shoes. So you have to use best quality of detergent with your hand and washing machine. Your shoes clean means your identify also clear.

    • Alternative Prime profile image

      Alternative Prime 6 years ago from > California

      Great tips,

      We all know how difficult it can be to keep shoes clean and then to remove the dirt or other material once they get all messy. Excellent Hub containing really useful info.

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. The best thing to use is Oxy Clean. It works great!

    • Powerpoe1 profile image

      Powerpoe1 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips! Things made today,is not the same quality as in the past. I don't care how much you pay for it.~ The Good Ole Days!...bring them back~

    • profile image

      Agefellow Gamunorwa 5 years ago

      please I need formulations for making self shine shoe age fellow polishes all colors of leather shoes.please post your suggestions on this e-mail,

      thank you for your ideas and participation.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      I always wash mine by hand. I appreciate the tips. This is a very useful article. I agree with Powerpoe1. They don't make things like they use too. Everything is made with cheaper materials so companies profit more. My Nike shoes use to last for years, now I am lucky to get one. Great hub. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Bill 4 years ago

      I have two pair of Skecher's sandals. They are made of neoprene and rubber. They have a terrible odor from perspiration on my feet. What do you suggest to get rid of the odor?

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 4 years ago from USA

      Well, neoprene in itself is a water resistant material, it doesn't "breathe" so moisture accumulates and evaporates slowly unless you work to eliminate it. Bacteria and other microorganisms from your feet can generate odors in those moist conditions. Just rinse your sandals often with pure water or with a weak soap solution, not much soap, just a little bit. If your shoes are really stinky, use some deodorizer solutions, which you can buy in shoe stores. After you washed the shoes, shake off water very well, then stuff your sandals with fabric towels, or paper towels or even newspaper. If you wish, you may use a hair drier, or put the sandals out into wind, but not in the direct sun. It is easy to clean neoprene/rubber shoes, just do it often.

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