How to Clean Shoelaces? – Expert Guide

You don’t want to ruin the appearance of your sparkling clean footwear by wearing dirty shoelaces with them? Do you want to know their cleaning method to give a clean look to your shoes?

I don’t throw the shoelaces which get too much dirty but clean them properly because I have matching laces with all my shoes; buying new ones with every piece of footwear will become costly.

Luckily, it is so easy to clean shoelaces, and you need only a few ingredients to change their look. In this article, I will tell you how to clean shoelaces safely and give expert tips.

how to clean shoelaces

How to Clean Shoelaces?

  • A soak in bleach will make your white or off-white laces look like the new ones, and scrubbing with a toothbrush will remove all the dirt and grime.
  • Colored ones, such as red or blue shoelaces, can be cleaned effectively by soaking them in warm soapy water. Scrub them well after saturating them for a while.
  • Leather shoelaces require a lot of care and gentle cleaning because they are too delicate. Wet them in warm water, put on swaddle soap, wipe with a cloth, and apply natural oil when completely dried.

Is it Safe to Wash Shoelaces?

If you want to whiten shoes that have white color, the look will only change if you pay attention to the shoelaces also.

Many items are used to clean white shoelaces and colored ones, for example, laundry detergent, toothpaste, and other stain removers. You can choose any method to wash, either hand or machine wash.

However, keep the laces in a mesh bag and use warm water if you choose a machine. When we look at the laces closely, we will determine that the tips are made from plastic. So, if you put them in the dryer, they will melt away. Thus, never use a dryer to dry them.

You cannot use bleach to clean colored shoelaces because it may ruin them. However, You can bring a new life to white ones using bleach.

I use chlorine or oxygen-based bleach to clean the flat shoelaces because they are made from cotton fibers. Thin or round laces are made with synthetic, and their dirt is removed using oxygen-based bleach only.

In reality, chlorine bleach harms the external synthetic fibers and exposes the inner layer; thus, the shoelaces look so dingy.

Methods to Clean Shoelaces

We now understand that different types of shoelaces require different methods to clean. So, I will explain all the methods one by one that I use for my sneaker laces.

1. Clean White Shoe Laces

This technique is effective for both white as well as off-white shoelaces. We will need the following things for this purpose

Things Required

  • Gloves
  • Brush
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Small bucket
  • Spatula
  • Detergent
  • Soap


  1. While working with the bleach, remember to wear gloves because they will irritate your skin.
  2. Remove the Laces from your shoes; this way, they will be cleaned properly, and each corner will be scrubbed.
  3. Hold them in your hands and rub them appropriately so that all the loose dirt and grime can be removed. A scrub brush can be used for this purpose.
  4. Take a small bucket and combine one gallon of water with three tablespoons of bleach. Also, pour a few drops of soap into this solution to make the cleaner more effective.
  5. Grab a mesh laundry bag and keep the laces in it. Now, saturate the bag with the solution for quite a few minutes. Use a spatula to stir the bag.
  6. To prevent the bag from floating, put a slightly heavy item above it.
  7. Also, run the bag in the washing machine with a gentle cycle and put in detergent and half a cup of bleach.
  8. Hang them outside in a well-ventilated area to let them air dry, or use a towel to dry them.
  9. It’s strongly recommended that you don’t use a dryer for quick drying because the tips of the laces will be badly ruined. It will also result in the shrinking of the shoelaces. The elastic fibers used to make the laces stable will also damage.
  10. During the cleaning process, if the tips of the laces are damaged, you can wrap scotch tape on the ends. It will help in inserting the laces into the eyelets of the footwear.

2. Clean Colored Shoelaces

Things Required

  • Brush
  • Soap
  • Small bucket
  • Spatula


  1. Unlace the shoes and rub them with your hands or a brush to remove any mud or dust. This step will help in making them clean easier.
  2. Warm water in a container and pour it into a small bucket. Add a little soap and stir it thoroughly. You can use laundry detergent, also. The soap and warm water work effectively in loosening the dirt and tough buildups of mud.
  3. Leave the laces in this solution for a while so that warm water and soap work in cleaning. Grab a spatula and use it to blend them in the soapy water.
  4. Use any old toothbrush or scrub brush for scrubbing the laces. Pay proper attention while cleaning because their tips can wear out due to too much brushing.
  5. Now, pour clean water into the bucket, submerge the laces, and rinse them. Still, if the dirt has not gone, soak them again in soapy water and scrub them.
  6. As we know that putting them in the dryer harms the tips of the laces, try drying them in an airy place.

3. Clean Leather Shoelaces

Things Required

  • Toothbrush
  • saddle soap (a soap used to clean leather shoes)
  • Rags
  • Natural oil (olive or coconut)
  • Warm water


  1. Use a toothbrush or anything to rub the leather laces slightly so that the large debris and mud buildup can be removed but perform this step gently as the laces can be ruined. This step will help in working on the next process easier.
  2. Take warm water in any small container and dip the laces into it. Remember that you don’t have to soak them; take them out quickly after dipping.
  3. Carefully apply the swaddle soap on the whole laces and ensure all their parts are covered. Never try soaking them in the soap solution; otherwise, they will be discolored.
  4. Now, grab a rag and use it to wipe the laces.
  5. Lay newspaper on the place where you have to keep them for drying. The area should not be sun-exposed; otherwise, it will discolor. Before moving to the next step, make sure they are dried.
  6. Apply a few drops of natural oil on a rag and use it to polish the shoelace’s surface; this way, the leather’s sheen will be restored.
  7. Leave them for a while so that the laces get a soak in this oil. This way, they will become soft, and their look will also be improved.
  8. Keep them for several hours so that they can dry completely. When the first hour is spent, use a rag to wipe the laces, then place them back to dry completely. Furthermore, never put them in shoes until they are completely dried because the shoe will get stained, or the laces can be ruined.

Tips to Clean Shoelaces

  • The shoelaces become discolored due to cleaning them with bleach regularly. So, you can use its alternative baking soda and vinegar solution. However, this will require a little effort.
  • If you want to use vinegar to clean the laces, apply them directly on their surface by scrubbing with a brush instead of soaking them.
  • In case baking is used, make its paste with water or vinegar, dip the shoelaces, and soak them for 15 minutes. Then, scrub well and rinse.
  • While cleaning any shoelaces, keep in mind the manufacturers’ instructions and follow them accordingly.
  • Replacement shoe laces are easily available at very low prices; if you don’t want to use old laces with stubborn dirt, you can buy those cheap ones.
  • While working with bleach, use gloves because it can cause skin irritation.
  • If there is an oily stain on the laces, which is not removable by bleach, you can purchase hand cleaner from auto parts but make sure it doesn’t contain pumice. This cleaner is for cleaning oil or grease from the hands.
  • Choosing colored shoe laces is a good idea instead of white ones because the dirt is not visible on them as white ones show. Thus, you will not need to clean them every time.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

How to Clean White Shoelaces?

Steps to clean white shoelaces:

  • Unlace your shoes and fill a bucket with cold water.
  • Put some bleach and stir a little.
  • Saturate the laces in this solution for 5 minutes or so, scrub, and rinse.

Can We Use Hand Soap to Clean Shoelaces?

Depending on the amount of dirt on the shoelaces, you can use hand soap if they are slightly dirty. You can put them in a washing machine or use a toothbrush to scrub them.

Is Baking Soda Useful in Cleaning Shoelaces?

Take some baking soda in a small container and put water or vinegar into it. Blend so that a paste is made. Submerge the laces in this paste and make sure they are completely covered. Once 15 minutes are spent, take them out, scrub, and rinse.

Is It Fine to Use Dawn to Make the Shoelaces Fresh?

Dawn or any other good quality dishwashing soap works wonderfully in dealing with stains; the dirt and grime become loosened with this simple cleaner.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Effective in Cleaning Shoelaces?

Grab some chlorine-free bleach solution of hydrogen peroxide and water in a small bucket and blend them. Soak white shoelaces in the mixture for a while, then wash them in the washer by putting them in the mesh laundry bag.

Final Thoughts

Shoelaces are among the important parts of shoes and require as much cleaning and maintenance as footwear. Otherwise, dirty and dingy laces will ruin the overall look of your sparkling-clean shoes. Therefore, it is important to study how to clean shoelaces.

I have explained many useful strategies to clean different types of laces and shared some helpful tips that I use. To keep them in good condition for a long time, you must follow all the instructions carefully.

Daniel Robert is a shoe lover who enjoys writing about all kinds of footwear, including sneakers, Crocs, Vans, and more. He shares his vast knowledge on, a website dedicated to helping people find the perfect pair of shoes. With years of experience and a passion for all things shoe-related, Daniel's easy-to-understand advice has helped countless people make confident and stylish choices.

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