How to Clean Tennis Shoes in 7 Simple Steps?

Want to remove the scuff marks and stubborn stains from your tennis shoes? Maybe you have stepped on dirt while wearing your sneakers?

Even if you did, there is no need to panic. Using cleaning agents, some stains are easily removable, but if they are tough, then you have to put more effort into cleaning shoes.

It is annoying when you see your favorite pair of shoes get stained. But if you follow the cleaning steps carefully, you will not need to buy new tennis shoes.

Without taking more time, let’s go!

how to clean tennis shoes

How to Clean Tennis Shoes?

  • Hand washing: Use a soft bristle brush to remove the loose dirt from the shoes. Make the detergent solution.
  • Wash the laces and insoles separately in soapy water. Scrub the upper layer of the shoes with a dipped solution brush. Dry them for 8 hours in a properly ventilated place.
  • Machine washing: make a baking soda paste and scrub it on the insoles to clean them completely. Grab a pillowcase and put shoes inside it. Place it in the washer by adding drops of laundry detergent and water. Start it on a delicate cycle.
  • Once they are cleaned, take the pillowcase out and dry your shoes in a shady area.

Should You Wash Tennis Shoes?

Cleaning tennis shoes need proper maintenance, and you must use the right cleaning items for each type of shoe.

You don’t need to wash the entire shoe if there are small stains and spots. You can clean the specific stained area by applying vinegar or baking soda.

On the other hand, if there are many stained spots, it is better to clean white tennis shoes completely. Use the spot treatment method if you have spilled tea or coffee on your shoes.

Methods to Clean Tennis Shoes

In this section, I will disclose the safest and easiest techniques for washing tennis shoes. Be with me till the end to know each step fully.

  • Hand-washing tennis shoes
  • Machine washing tennis shoes

I tested both methods on my stained tennis shoes a few days ago. Luckily, the results were impressive, and I noticed many people were not familiar of the right cleaning steps. That’s why I am here to tell you every little detail about my cleaning experience.

Hand-Washing Tennis Shoes

Required Things

  • Suede brush (only for suede shoes)
  • Baking soda
  • Clean cloth or towel
  • Leather conditioner (only for leather shoes)
  • Magic eraser
  • Laundry detergent or dish soap
  • Soft bristle brush
  • White vinegar

Step 1. Remove Loose Dirt

First, I grabbed the soft bristle brush to wipe the dust away from the top, middle and inner side of the shoes. This step is essential to prevent the spoiling of fabric shoes.

If you don’t have a soft bristle brush, you can use an old toothbrush to remove the loose dirt and grime from your gorgeous shoes.

Step 2. Make the Detergent Solution

My shoes were white, so I added an equal amount of baking soda and water to a bowl. If your tennis shoes are colored, use dish soap or mild laundry detergent for cleaning.

Step 3. Wash Laces

Once I made the cleaning solution, I removed the kick-offs and started to scrub the solution gently using a soft brush. Make sure to rub it gently on the laces with both hands. Do this step again if needed and leave them in an airy place for drying.

Step 4. Wash the Interior and Exterior of The Shoes

After cleaning the laces, I dipped the soft brush in the solution and began to scrub it on the upper layer and midsoles completely. Then I used the magic eraser to remove the caked-on dirt from my shoes and rinsed it with plain water.

The insoles of my shoes were removable, so I cleaned them separately using the same paste. Before placing them back into the shoes, I dried the soles for almost 7 hours outside.

Step 5. Wash the Uppers

When I cleaned the bottom and inside of the shoes, I dipped the brush again in that solution and scrubbed it on the tennis shoe uppers.

Step 6. Scrub and Rinse

Remember to scrub circularly and apply the cleaning solution evenly on both pairs of shoes. Afterward, I used damped fabric to rinse the soap and muddy water. Repeat the procedure if required.

Step 7. Dry

Some type of shoes is allowed to dry in the dryer machine. The reason is that shoes shrink in the machine, so I put them in a well-ventilated room.

Machine Washing Tennis Shoes

The idea of putting shoes in the washing machine might seem daunting to you. The good thing is that some sneakers can be cleaned in the washer, and it will not damage them.

Required things

  • Soft cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Small bucket
  • Brush

Step 1. Remove Laces and Insoles

Before tossing my shoes in the machine, I removed their laces and insoles to give them pre-cleaning.

Step 2. Scrub the Sole

I added an equal proportion of water and baking soda to the bowl to make a paste. Afterward, I dipped the brush in the mixture and started to scrub the insole to wipe away the tough stains.

Step 3. Place Shoes and Laces in The Mesh Bag

Then, I put shoes in a shoe bag for the washer to protect shoes from tangling. Then, I added a few drops of mild detergent for washing tennis shoes.

Furthermore, I loaded some towels and clothes in the mesh bag to prevent the banging noise. This step is beneficial in giving padding to the machine.

Step 4. Switch on The Machine

After ensuring everything was prepared, I turned the machine on a delicate cycle. When the cycle was finished, I took all the stuff out.

Step 5. Dry

Lastly, I place my tennis shoes in an airy area to give them proper ventilation. Make sure to clean them completely before wearing them.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Home Remedy to Clean Tennis Shoes?

Warm soap water is the best home remedy for cleaning tennis shoes. Mix one tablespoon of laundry detergent with one cup of hot water. Scrub the shoes using a toothbrush and wipe the extra water. Leave shoes in a ventilated area to dry.

How Do You Wash Tennis Shoes without Ruining Them?

Clean tennis shoes on a delicate cycle and add cold water to the washer. After removing the insoles and laces, put the shoes in the pillowcase. It will preserve the shoe structure and prevent damage.

Is It Ok to Put Tennis Shoes in The Washing Machine?

Washing shoes in the washing machine is OK if you start it on a gentle cycle. Pour cold water into the machine and use a mesh bag for shoes if you want to extend their life.

How Do You Clean Fabric Tennis Shoes?

To clean fabric tennis shoes, dip the cloth in mild laundry detergent solution and wipe away the stained spots. Scrub it for two minutes gently and use a damped cloth to remove the left soap and allow them to dry.

Can I Wash My Tennis Shoes with Vinegar?

Clean tennis shoes with vinegar by applying baking soda paste and rubbing it on the surface until all the dirt is gone. You can use the old toothbrush for brushing gently.

Final Thoughts

To maintain the shoe shape, removing the laces before cleaning is necessary. You can’t avoid dirt and grime on shoes, but you can take preventive measures.

You can make your shoes look new by following my instructions. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub shoes circularly and remove all the noticeable scuffs and marks.

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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