How to Clean Sneakers by Hand

How to Clean Sneakers by Hand?


Do you love to wear sneakers as I do? No? Why? Because cleaning shoes is not your cup of tea? Well, then I have something for you. Follow my magical advice with which I’ve always managed to keep my sneakers look like new!

Now, don’t start thinking that you need magic to clean your sneakers. You only need some cleaning agents and tools that you might already have in your household.

Wearing dirty sneakers is something no one likes. Following some easy steps can help you keep your converses neat and tidy,

The stylish sneakers get dirty quickly. However, cleaning them is not a very hard task. Spare two or three hours off and invest that time in your shoes. That’s all you need. Let’s waste no more time and get our hands on cleaning those converse shoes!


Cleaning Tools

You need some tools for cleaning the sneakers with your hand. Machine-washing won’t require you to use any specific tools, but you need some for hand-cleaning the converses. You’ll find most of them in your household. If not, you’ll get them available in local stores near you.

  • Laundry brush: You’ll need a laundry brush for cleaning loose dirt off the laces, soles, insoles, and the shoes. Any small brush will do the job too. You might already have it in your house for laundry. You can use that brush.
  • Toothbrush: A toothbrush can be the replacement for a laundry brush. You need a brush to clean the hard to reach parts of the shoes along with the regular parts.
  • Soft scrubber: It’s better to have a soft scrubber to clean the laces and insoles. The bristles of brushes can harm the laces.
  • Magic Eraser: If your converse has rubber parts, you can use a magic eraser to remove stains from it. Magic eraser is quite effective to remove scuffs from rubber soles.
  • Special brush for suede: If your sneaker is made of suede, or leather, you need to have some precautions. You cannot clean them with regular brushes. Buy a special brush designed for suede if you have suede converse. 

Cleaning Agents

Some regular cleaning solutions available in your household are enough to make your sneakers shiny and new again. Below we have listed the cleaning agents that you can use to clean your converse shoes, sneakers or hiking shoes. You can pick any of these and use it for cleaning the shoes.

  • Laundry detergent: You don’t need any special cleaning agent. Regular laundry detergent can remove blemishes from the sneakers. If you don’t know how much detergent goes to how much of water, you can add 2 teaspoons of it for every 2 liters of water.
  • Dish soap: The fact might be surprising but our dishwasher liquid or soap can be our sneakers’ lifesaver. Yes, dishwasher is a great cleaning agent. Use this to make cleaning solutions for your sneakers.
  • Mild shampoo: even if you don’t have any cleaning detergents in your house, you can still clean your shoes using a mild shampoo. Easy, right? You need to add a little amount of shampoo in a bowl of water to make enough bubbles and soak your shoes in it.
  • Baking soda (for white sneakers): Baking soda is a great cleaning agent along with its deodorizing effects. It’s recommended to use baking soda for white sneakers. You can use a very little amount of baking soda for sneakers of other colors. Baking soda also removes any odor from your shoes.
  • Lemon: Lemon is a bleaching agent with mild bleaching properties. Rubbing lemon juice on stained areas might get the stains out quickly. If your sneakers are white ones, lemon is enough to get them cleaned.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is known for its stain-removing properties. Use it like lemon juice on stained parts of the shoes. It will remove the stains effortlessly.
  • Formulated cleaner (for suede and leather): Leather and suede sneakers are different from regular canvas sneakers. You cannot use all other cleaning agents on suede and leather. Regular cleaners will damage suede, and leather also. You’ll get formulated cleaner for these two materials in the stores. Get those if you have suede or leather shoes.

Drying Accessories

After cleaning the sneakers, you’ll need to dry them. You might want to use some drying tools; you can skip them also.

  • Paper towel: After washing, use paper towels to absorb the water from your shoes. You can put some rolled paper towels inside your shoes to keep them in shape and dry them quickly.
  • Cloth pins: To hang the laces and insoles for air-drying, use some cloth pins.
  • Wash Bag: If you don’t want sunlight to affect the color of your shoes, you can put them inside a wash bag and then hang it in a rope to dry.

Procedures of Hand-cleaning sneakers

Cleaning the sneakers by hand is done in 3 basic steps- soaking, washing, and drying. There are some additional steps to do the thing properly and make the shoes neat and clean.  


Step 1: Disassembling the parts

  • First of all, take your shoes and separate each piece.
  • Remove the laces and insoles from the sneakers.

Step 2: Removing dry, loose dirt

  • With the help of a laundry brush or toothbrush, remove any loose dirt from the shoes
  • Use a magic eraser to scrub off scuffs from the soles

Step 3: Making the cleaning solution

  • Take a bowl that is big enough to hold your sneakers. Alternatively, you can use your basin.
  • Fill the container with lukewarm water. The quantity should be enough to soak the sneakers in.
  • Take sufficient amount of cleaning agent (detergent, or dish soap, or mild shampoo) and add it to the water.
  • Stir the water till the detersives get dissolved completely.

Step 4: Soaking in cleaning agent 

  • Soak the sneakers in the cleaning solution.
  • Keep them for an hour in the bowl so that the dirt and stains become soft

Step 5: Scrubbing and removing stains

  • After an hour, take your shoes out.
  • Take a brush or a damp cloth, dip it in the cleaning solution and scrub the places that have stains. Move the brush in a circular motion
  • Scrub the soles
  • Remove all the stains

Step 6: Cleaning the laces and insoles

  • Take a brush and take some cleaning agent on it.
  • Rub the laces and the insoles with the brush
  • If needed, soak them in a cleaning solution and then scrub them clean.

Step 7: Washing 

  • After removing all the dust and stains, take a bowl of clean water.
  • Submerge the laces, soles, and shoes into the water and clean them thoroughly.
  • Remove all the detergent or soap from the shoes

Step 8: Drying the shoes

  • After washing the shoes, absorb any excess water from the shoes with a paper towel
  • Air-dry the shoes and the accessories after that. Keep these in a shady area where there is enough air flow.
  • Don’t dry these in the sun. Otherwise, you might experience any discoloration of shoe color. Don’t use any artificial drying tools.

If your shoe is made of leather or suede

The steps mentioned above were for regular sneakers and other shoes. If you have leather shoes or suede sneakers, you’ll need to maintain some precautions.

  1. You have to use formulated cleaner for leather and suede.
  2. You’ll find specialized brushes for cleaning suede in local stores
  3. While cleaning suede and leather, move the brushes in one direction only. Otherwise, you might damage them.
  4. Avoid using too much water for cleaning leather and suede. Instead use damp rag or towel to clean them.
  5. Don’t dry them in the sun. For leather, use baby oil after drying for the new, shiny look.

Some tips to maintain your sneakers

There are a lot of methods to clean your sneakers by hand. But you should always keep some things in mind. They are-

  1. Always remove your shoelaces before cleaning the shoes
  2. Don’t use any types of bleaching agents for cleaning sneakers. Lemon has mild bleaching properties, and it is safe, but don’t use any chemical-based bleach. Chemical bleach causes discoloring of shoe colors.
  3. If you feel that the insoles have a slight odor even after cleaning, put it in a bag of baking soda overnight. In the morning, take it out, and you won’t notice any bad smell anymore.
  4. If the soles have any harsh grim, use rubbing alcohol with a brush to remove it.

About the Author Team Chooserly

A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!

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