Despite all the snowy cold weather we’ve been having lately, I’m still getting that itch to do some spring cleaning. Garrett likes to tease me that it’s just the start of “nesting”, but I think it’s that feeling of starting the new season off with a clean slate. My latest mission has been to give all our shoes a good cleaning. Usually after the winter months, I start by Cleaning Salt Stains off our Suede Shoes, but this year I also noticed that some of our sneakers were looking a little worse for wear.
Since moving out to the country, we do more of our exercise outside, now that we no longer have gym memberships. Garrett is the runner in the family and his sneakers were really starting to show all the wear and tear of running around the local high school track. They were so dirty that I almost wondering if it was worth cleaning them or if he should just buy a new pair.
A little bit of elbow grease and some repairs, and they now look good as new. I can hardly believe they’re the same shoes.
You can see here that they were really caked in dirt and muck. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get the stains out of the white areas.
Now they practically look as good as new. And it’s way easier to clean them than I ever thought.
Start by removing the shoe laces and the inserts. I placed them in a mesh laundry bag to toss in the wash with the sneakers. If you don’t have one of these bags, I strongly recommend picking a few up. They’re great for washing delicates, but also good for small things you often lose in the wash, like gym socks. I’ve even picked up a few extra to keep in the nursery hamper for all those itty bitty baby socks and such.
Before the sneakers go in the washing machine, they need to have a big of a pre-scrub. This gets rid of most of the loose dirt and particles – things you don’t want in your machine! Using some dish soap and an old toothbrush, scrub all along the edge of the rubber sole, making sure to get into the crevices.
Do the same to the bottom of the shoe, using a toothpick to dig out any small rocks or sticks that may have become lodged in the tread.
Now it’s time to give it all a toss in the washing machine. Throw the shoes in the machine, along with a few old towels and the laundry bag of insoles and laces. This will help toss the shoes around in the wash without making them bang around. I used the regular amount of detergent on a cold wash cycle. Hot water can shrink some materials.
After the wash is done, lay out the shoes upside down over newspaper or paper towel until they are dry. Hang the laces and insoles up to dry too, making sure not to replace them until everything has thoroughly dried.
If after you’ve washed everything, you find that the soles are still not as white as you’d like, try using a magic eraser on the soles, wiping off afterwards with a clean cloth. For dirty shoe laces, give them a soak in a mixture of oxi-clean and water for 4-6 hours. Rinse and dry before re-lacing your shoes.
Now is a good time to make any minor repairs as well. One of the loops of these sneakers had popped off from inside. I tucked it back in and secured it in place with a few stitches.
You can’t even tell that it was broken before! I also went around with a sharp pair of scissors and snipped off any loose threads.
Now these sneakers are ready to hit the trails again!