April 23, 2024
Learn how to wash sneakers in a step-by-step guide that includes tricks for washing various types of sneakers, do's and don'ts of washing sneakers, benefits of hand washing and machine washing sneakers, how to keep sneakers clean while travelling, and a "sneaker laundry" business guide.


Sneakers are among the most versatile and comfortable footwear options available today. They come in many different materials, shapes, and sizes, and are suitable for various occasions, from working out to casual Friday workdays to running errands. Unfortunately, they are also prone to getting dirty, muddy, and smelly over time. Wearing them frequently or engaging in rigorous activities could leave stains, scuff marks, debris, and odors on your favorite pairs. Although regular cleaning is essential for maintaining their quality, washing sneakers can be challenging, especially if you don’t know how to do it correctly.

This article aims to provide a step-by-step guide to washing different types of sneakers, including CANVAS, LEATHER, KNIT, and SUEDE AND NUBUCK sneakers. It also lists the do’s and don’ts of washing your sneakers, tricks and tips for washing various types of sneakers, and how to keep your sneakers clean while travelling. Lastly, it offers a “Sneaker Laundry” business guide to those interested in starting a cleaning business that focuses on sneakers.

A step-by-step guide to washing sneakers

Before going into the details, it’s essential to go through the materials needed for washing sneakers. These materials usually include:

– A soft brush or toothbrush
– Dish soap or detergent
– A basin or bucket
– Cold or warm water
– A clean cloth or towel
– Optional: a laundry mesh bag and white vinegar

Once you have gathered your materials, follow these steps to make sure your sneakers are spotless and fresh:

Preparation Before Washing

The first step is removing all external materials from your sneakers. This means getting rid of any laces or inserts you have on your sneakers. If your sneakers have mud, dirt, or dust on them, it is best to clean them with a soft brush or toothbrush. Use mild soap or detergent and warm water for best results.

Washing Process

The next step is to get your workspace ready by filling your basin or bucket with warm or cold water. Add a tablespoon of detergent (or dish soap) to the water and mix thoroughly. Some tips to keep in mind for hand washing versus machine washing include:

– Machine washing: If you have a front-loading washing machine, this is an excellent way to clean sneakers. The main advantage of machine washing is it is quick and convenient, but be sure to use a gentle cycle and put your sneakers in a laundry mesh bag to protect from damage.
– Hand washing: Be sure to use cold to warm water and choose a detergent or soap intended for the specific material of your sneakers. For example, you should use a leather cleaner for leather sneakers. A noticeable disadvantage of handwashing is it is more time-consuming.

When washing your sneakers, submerge them in the soapy water and use the soft brush to remove remaining dirt and stains. Be careful not to rub too hard, especially for suede and nubuck sneakers, as this action could damage the material. After scrubbing your sneakers, rinse them with clean water. You can add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the rinsing water to remove any remaining traces of soap.

Drying Process

Finally, dry your sneakers, but never use a clothes dryer. Instead, stuff them with newspaper or a clean cloth to maintain their shape and dry them in a shaded air-dry location. Alternatively, you could stand them up with the tongue out in a well-ventilated area until the sun dries them.

Tips for Keeping Sneakers in Good Condition After Washing

Avoid direct sunlight and heat, as it could cause the sneakers to fade, warp, or shrink over time. Also, use a specialized fabric softener for your sneakers, since regular fabric softeners break down the material and decrease the lifespan of your sneakers.

Tricks and tips for washing various types of sneakers

Different types of sneakers require different cleaning techniques. The following tips will help you maintain your favorite sneakers and keep them looking brand new:

Canvas Sneakers

Canvas sneakers are the easiest to clean and are also the most durable. For canvas sneakers, use a combination of warm water and detergent, but avoid using bleach or strong chemicals that could cause fading. To clean the soles, use a toothbrush and a cleaning solution of baking soda and dish soap.

Leather Sneakers

Leather sneakers are elegant, but they require extra care to ensure they remain in good condition. Start by removing dust and dirt gently using a soft brush or toothbrush. Next, apply a leather cleaner to the surface and rub the material gently. Finish off by drying the sneakers with a clean towel or cloth.

Knit Sneakers

Knit sneakers are breathable and comfortable; however, they area bit harder to clean due to the knitting pattern. Avoid using a dryer, as knit sneakers could shrink under high heat – instead, use a clean towel to remove excess water and let the sneakers air dry naturally. To remove stains, use warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush.

Suede Sneakers and Nubuck Sneakers

Suede and Nubuck sneakers are a bit challenging to clean, so it’s essential to use the right cleaning technique. Avoid getting the material too wet, as it could cause permanent damage, and use a soft-bristled brush to remove dust or dirt from the surface. If you need to remove stains, use a suede cleaning kit, which usually includes a suede eraser or a specialized cleaning solution.

The do’s and don’ts of washing sneakers

Essential Things to Do When Cleaning Sneakers

– Sort sneakers by color to avoid discoloration
– Use cold to warm water and the right detergent or soap for the specific material
– Dry in a shaded area or well-ventilated room
– Use a laundry mesh bag when machine washing

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Sneakers

– Putting sneakers in the dryer
– Using high heat on delicate fabrics
– Scrubbing too hard, which could damage the surface
– Using bleach or strong chemicals

The Benefits of hand washing and machine washing sneakers

Factors Associated with Hand Washing

The main advantage of hand washing your sneakers is it allows you to be meticulous and gentle. You have the control to locate stubborn stains or dirt and work on them more efficiently.

Factors Associated with Machine Washing

If you’re washing many sneakers and have a front-loading washing machine, machine washing is the quickest and most efficient method of cleaning sneakers. It saves time and allows for washing big batches at the same time.

Which Method to Choose?

It would help if you chose the handwashing method if you’re cleaning delicate materials like leather or suede. Machine washing is best when cleaning many sneakers or if you’re in a hurry. But keep in mind that delicate textiles should always be hand washed.

How to keep sneakers clean while travelling without washing them

Traveling with pristine white sneakers is not easy, especially if you’re traveling for an extended period. Here are some tips to keep them in top shape:

– Use fabric protectant spray before leaving home
– Pack them in a sneaker protective bag
– Rotate between pairs
– Use the crepe brush or soft cloth to remove dirt, scuffs, and stains

A “Sneaker Laundry” business guide

The sneaker cleaning business has been booming in recent years. Here are essential things to keep in mind when starting such a business:

– Equipment requirements (brushes, vacuum, washing machine, etc.)
– Cleaning products (fabric protectants, detergents, and special cleaning solutions for specific materials)
– Marketing (social media advertising, leaflets distribution, promotional offers, etc.)


Washing your sneakers can be daunting, but if you follow the tips provided in this article, you’ll have clean and fresh sneakers in no time. Regular cleaning of your sneakers is essential for maintaining their quality and extending their lifespan. Don’t forget to consider the type of material your sneakers are made out of, as this helps you determine the best washing technique. In time, you will become an expert in washing sneakers, and your sneakers will become a reflection of your personality.

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