For many people today sneakers are more than just the footwear of choice for working out. Many of the designs today are not only very comfortable, but also fashionable enough to be worn during outings. Whether you wear your sneakers daily or occasionally, it is important to learn the steps to keeping them clean. This is especially important when they are light colored and can so easily show dirt. There is also the problem of sweat buildup inside the shoe that can encourage bacteria growth and stinking. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to keep your sneakers looking good as new for as long as possible.
1. Rinse of loose dirt – sneakers will very easily collect dirt so before you go too far, rinse them off in a utility sink. Be sure to take out any insoles and laces, which should be cleaned separately. You can use an old toothbrush to help get soil out of the crevices at the bottom of the shoe. Remember to only make use of cool water. Many sneakers today have synthetic parts that can change shape and texture when exposed to hot water or dry heat.
2. Laces and insoles – laces can be very easily hand-washed, thrown into the washing machine with a load of laundry or cheaply replaced if damaged. Insoles are usually not washed with water as this may cause them to change their supportive shape. Air-drying is good option. If they have however become smelly, sprinkle with baking soda and allow to sit. The baking soda will help to absorb moisture and neutralize odors. Insoles should be replaced when worn out.
3. Sneakers – when it comes down to finally washing the sneakers, the simplest option would be to use a washing machine. Inserting them along with a load of towels is a good idea so they do not end up hitting the walls and causing damage to the harder parts. Remember to set the machine for cold or lukewarm water to prevent heat damage. Load the machine with ordinary detergent and no fabric softener. If you are worried still and have the time, hand washing is another good option. A soft brush, cool water and mild liquid detergent are all you need to get the job done. Be sure to scrub both the outside and inside of the shoe, taking extra care around synthetic and leather parts. To dry out sneakers, stuff them with a white towel to keep the shape and place in a well-ventilated space. Never place them in a dryer as this means exposure to dry heat.
Extra care tips
Odor problems and foot infections are an indication that you should consider disinfecting your sneakers as well. There are several types of safe laundry disinfectants that can be effectively used for the purpose of killing bacteria. For footwear, pine oil and phenolic disinfectants are the best options. They work well on both white and colored fabrics, and can be added during the wash cycle. If the shoe has scuffmarks, make use of an abrasive cleaner with melamine foam like Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser. For any other mild damage, make use of appropriately colored shoe polish to be applied when the sneakers are finally dry.