Despite what one may think on the surface, tennis shoes are not only used by athletes and tennis pros; they are used by people with a wide variety of fitness and footwear needs. But just like everything related to footwear, tennis shoes need to be cleaned from time to time as well.
Unless otherwise specified, leather and fabric tennis shoes can be cleaned in a standard top-loading washing machine.
So, in this guide we’ll be going over you can quickly wash and clean your tennis shoes with minimal time and fuss.
It’s not uncommon that your laces are going to be most unclean part of your shoes. So, the natural thing to start with is to remove your laces, as well as any additional insoles. You can wash the laces separately by tossing them into a laundry bag in another load.
Insoles are designed to be handled in isolation. It’s important to remove them from the shoes and give them a wipe down with a cloth first. Warm water and baking soda work best here to clean them up, especially if they are particularly smelly. You should clean the insoles and other parts as often as the shoes themselves.
Most tennis shoes will happily go through the clothes washer without a problem, provided you place them inside a mesh laundry bag and run them under warm water. Detergent brands such as Persil, Wisk, and Tide can be very useful here for removing stubborn dirt and stains.
Despite an urban myth stating that you can seemingly wash your tennis shoes in the dishwasher, this is a bad and potentially stupid idea. Just because you could wash your shoes in the same place as your plates, knives and forks, should you?
While the mechanical action of the water may remove the soil and dirt from your shoes, the detergents are very harsh and can ruin leather and cause fading in cotton, as well as some synthetics. Dishwashers are also extremely hot, and the drying cycle can cause your shoes to shrink, or even melt.
A more practical alternative to using a washing machine is to do them the old fashioned way via hand washing. Although this is a lot of work, you can make the process easier by using a bristled brush with a mild detergent in warm water.
It’s important not to put your shoes in the clothes dryer when the appliance is very hot. Too much heat may cause the shoes to warp, thus affecting their support. A good alternative to using the clothes drier is to place them a space that has adequate ventilation.
But sometimes you don’t have any choice but to use a dryer, in this case, you should stuff them loosely with cotton towels, or white paper. This will stop your shoes from losing their colors, as well helping to retain their natural shape.
You should avoid using direct sunlight while you are drying them, as sunlight can cause the leather on your shoes to crack, instead try using a low-speed fan to help the drying process.
So by now, your shoes are hopefully completely dry and looking spic and span. Here you can use a white or black shoe polish to make any final touch ups on the leather. If you don’t have access to a professional shoe cleaning solution, a permanent marker works well when you’re in a pinch.
For ongoing maintenance of your tennis shoes, a leather conditioner will help keep them clean and will also prevent cracking. For other materials, you can use a fabric protective spray to help ward off dirt and stains in between your main cleaning sessions.
So, you now know the complete process for cleaning your tennis shoes from A-Z.
If you find that you simply don’t have the time, nor the interest in cleaning the shoes by yourself, there is no shortage of cleaning services that you can use for a nominal fee. Most places will charge you around $30, and you can pick your shoes up the following day or in a couple of hours.