How To Clean Running Shoes?

Running shoes can accumulate dirt, sweat, and odor over time. To keep your running shoes clean and fresh, here are some simple steps to follow:

1. Remove the insoles and laces: Start by taking out the insoles and laces from your running shoes. This will make it easier to clean every nook and cranny of your shoes.

2. Shake off excess dirt and debris: Give your running shoes a good shake to remove any loose dirt or debris. This will help make the cleaning process more effective.

3. Scrub with a soft brush or toothbrush: Using a soft brush or an old toothbrush, scrub away any stubborn dirt or stains from the surface of your running shoes. Be sure to scrub gently so as not to damage the shoe material.

4. Create a cleaning solution: Mix a small amount of mild detergent or shoe cleaner with warm water in a bowl or sink. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage the shoe material.

5. Dip a cloth or sponge in the cleaning solution: Dip a cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and wring out any excess liquid. The cloth should be damp, not dripping wet.

6. Gently scrub the shoes with the damp cloth: Start by scrubbing the outsides of your running shoes, working your way from top to bottom. Pay extra attention to any particularly dirty or stained areas. Then, move on to the insides of the shoes.

7. Rinse with clean water: Once you’re satisfied with the cleaning, rinse your running shoes with clean water to remove any soap residue. It’s important to ensure all the soap is rinsed off properly.

8. Air dry the shoes: After rinsing, remove any excess water from your shoes by gently squeezing them or patting them with a clean towel. Then, let them air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Stuffing the shoes with crumpled newspaper can help them retain their shape while drying.

Regularly cleaning your running shoes can prolong their lifespan and freshness. By following these steps, you can keep your running shoes in good condition, ensuring a comfortable and odor-free running experience.

how to clean running shoes

How To Clean Running Shoes

Running shoes are an essential part of any runner’s gear.

They provide comfort, support, and protection during intense workouts and long-distance runs. However, over time, running shoes can accumulate dirt, sweat, and unpleasant odors, making it necessary to clean them regularly. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various methods and techniques to effectively clean your running shoes and keep them in great condition.

From simple home remedies to specialized commercial products, we will cover everything you need to know to maintain your running shoes and extend their lifespan.

Can I Wash Running Shoes in a Washing Machine?

One common question among runners is whether it is safe to wash their running shoes in a washing machine. The answer depends on several factors. While some running shoes are machine-washable, others may not withstand the agitation and harsh conditions inside a washing machine. It is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to wash your running shoes in a machine. In general, it is recommended to hand wash running shoes to ensure their longevity. We will discuss the proper hand-washing technique later in this article.

Can I Dry Running Shoes in a Dryer?

Similar to washing, drying running shoes in a dryer can potentially damage them. The high heat and tumbling action can cause the shoes to lose their shape or even shrink. Instead, it is best to air dry your running shoes naturally. Remove the insoles and laces, and place the shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. This will allow them to dry thoroughly without compromising their structure.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Running Shoes at Home?

Cleaning your running shoes at home can be a straightforward process with the right approach. Start by removing the laces and insoles, if possible, as these can be cleaned separately. Then, gently brush off any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the shoes using a soft-bristle brush. For stubborn stains, create a mild solution of warm water and gentle detergent. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution and gently scrub the affected areas. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the shoe’s materials. Once clean, rinse the shoes with clean water and allow them to air dry.

Eco-friendly and Sustainable Ways To Clean Your Running Shoes


Eco-Friendly Cleaning Method Description
Baking Soda and Vinegar This combination is a safe, natural alternative to commercial cleaning products. Baking soda and vinegar can lift stains and deodorize your shoes.
Lemon Juice The natural acidity in lemons makes it a great cleaning agent. Lemon juice can help remove stains and is especially effective for brightening white shoes.
Mild Soap A gentle, biodegradable soap can effectively clean your shoes and is less harmful to the environment than harsh detergents. Remember to use only as much as you need to minimize waste.
Eco-Friendly Detergents If you prefer using a commercial cleaner, opt for an eco-friendly detergent that’s free from harmful chemicals and biodegradable.
Air Dry Instead of using energy-consuming machines to dry your shoes, consider air-drying them instead. This not only saves energy but also is gentler on your shoes.
Recycle Water If you want an extra gold star in your sustainability award cabinet, use grey water (used household water) for the cleaning process. This helps to conserve water.

Commercial Cleaning Products to Clean Your Running Shoes

Cleaning your running shoes effectively can often be done using common household items, but there are also commercial cleaning products designed specifically for shoes.

Here are some recommendations (no affiliate links, just helpfulness):

Product Name Description Key Ingredients/Features
Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner High-quality, biodegradable cleaner that’s safe for all colors and materials. Comes with a soft-bristle brush. Biodegradable, safe for all materials
Crep Protect Cure Shoe Cleaning Travel Kit Includes a premium hair brush, cleaning solution, and microfiber cloth. Designed to clean deeply without affecting the look, feel, or performance of your shoes. Water, coconut extracts, jojoba
SneakERASERS Instant Sole and Sneaker Cleaner Convenient, pre-moistened scrubbing pads that require no water. Perfect for spot cleaning and removing tough stains. Pre-moistened scrubbing pads
Sof Sole Instant Cleaner Foaming cleaner designed for athletic shoes and sneakers. Comes with a brush cap for easy scrubbing. Foaming cleaner, comes with brush cap
Reshoevn8r Shoe & Sneaker Cleaner Uses natural, plant-based soaps to remove dirt and stains without damaging shoes. Safe for all materials. Plant-based soaps, safe for all materials

It’s important to note that while these products are generally safe for all materials, you should always test a small, unnoticeable area first to ensure it won’t discolor or damage your shoes.

Can You Clean Running Shoes with Soap?

Soap can be a suitable cleaning agent for running shoes, especially when combined with warm water. However, it is crucial to use a mild soap or detergent that is safe for the shoe’s materials. Harsh soaps or detergents can strip away the shoe’s protective coatings and cause damage. Avoid using bleach or strong chemicals unless specifically recommended by the shoe manufacturer. After cleaning with soap, rinse the shoes thoroughly to remove any residue, and allow them to air dry completely.

Can You Use Baking Soda to Clean Running Shoes?

Baking soda is a versatile and effective ingredient for cleaning and deodorizing running shoes. It helps eliminate odors and can also help remove stains. To use baking soda, sprinkle a generous amount inside the shoes and allow it to sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb moisture and odors. The next day, shake out the excess baking soda and wipe the shoe’s interior with a clean cloth. For stubborn stains, create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water and gently scrub the affected areas. Rinse and air dry the shoes afterward.

Can I Clean My Running Shoes with Vinegar?

Vinegar is another household ingredient that can be used to clean running shoes effectively. Its natural acidic properties make it useful for removing stains and disinfecting the shoes. To clean with vinegar, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray the solution onto the surface of the shoes, focusing on any stained areas. Use a clean cloth or sponge to gently scrub the stains. Rinse the shoes with clean water and allow them to air dry completely.

Can I Clean My White Running Shoes with Bleach?

Cleaning white running shoes requires special care to maintain their pristine appearance. While bleach can be effective in whitening and removing tough stains, it should be used with caution. First, check the shoe’s label or manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that bleach is safe to use on the specific materials. If approved, dilute a small amount of bleach with water, and apply the solution to the stained areas using a clean cloth or sponge. Avoid excessive use of bleach, as it can weaken the shoe’s materials. Rinse thoroughly with water and air dry the shoes afterward. Consider spot testing in an inconspicuous area before applying bleach to the entire shoe.

Can You Use Baby Wipes on Running Shoes?

Baby wipes can be a convenient and gentle option for cleaning running shoes, especially for quick touch-ups or minor stains. They are typically mild and contain minimal chemicals, making them safe for most shoe materials. Gently wipe the surface of the shoes with the baby wipes to remove dirt and light stains. However, for more thorough cleaning or stubborn stains, it is advisable to use other methods mentioned in this article.

How Do You Clean the Insoles of Running Shoes?

The insoles of running shoes can accumulate sweat, odor, and bacteria over time. To clean them, remove the insoles from the shoes and rinse them under running water. For more thorough cleaning, create a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Submerge the insoles in the solution and gently scrub them with a soft brush. Rinse well and allow the insoles to air dry completely before placing them back into the shoes.


Are Running Shoes Waterproof?

Running shoes vary in their water resistance capabilities. Some models are specifically designed to be waterproof or water-resistant, while others may have minimal protection against moisture. It is essential to check the shoe’s specifications or consult the manufacturer to determine its level of water resistance. If your running shoes are not waterproof, it is advisable to avoid submerging them in water or exposing them to heavy rain, as this can damage the shoe’s materials and affect their performance.

Can You Use Toothpaste to Clean Running Shoes?

Toothpaste can be used as a quick and easy cleaning hack for running shoes. Its mild abrasiveness can help remove scuffs and stains from certain shoe materials. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to a soft cloth or toothbrush and gently scrub the affected areas. Rinse thoroughly and allow the shoes to air dry.

Can I Clean Running Shoes with Lysol Wipes?

Lysol wipes can be used as a convenient option to clean the exterior of running shoes. They contain disinfecting properties that help eliminate bacteria and odors. Wipe the shoes thoroughly with the Lysol wipes, paying attention to high-contact areas. However, keep in mind that Lysol wipes are not suitable for deep cleaning or removing tough stains.

Can I Wash Running Shoes in a Dishwasher?

Washing running shoes in a dishwasher is generally not recommended. The high heat, strong detergents, and intense water pressure inside a dishwasher can damage the shoe’s materials and affect their performance. Stick to the recommended cleaning methods mentioned in this article for optimal results.

How Do I Get the Stink Out of My Running Shoes?

Unpleasant odors are a common issue with running shoes due to sweat and bacteria build-up. To eliminate the stink, start by thoroughly cleaning the shoes using the methods described earlier. Once cleaned, allow the shoes to air dry completely. To prevent future odors, consider using odor-absorbing products like activated charcoal or baking soda in the shoes when not in use. Additionally, make sure to wear moisture-wicking socks and allow the shoes to fully dry between runs.


Regularly cleaning your running shoes not only helps maintain their appearance but also ensures their functionality and extends their lifespan.

By following the methods and tips outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can keep your running shoes clean, fresh, and ready for your next run. Remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning recommendations, and always handle your running shoes with care.

With proper cleaning and maintenance, your running shoes will continue to provide the support and performance you need to achieve your fitness goals.