September 23, 2021

How to Clean Shoes

Person Wearing White Shoes
Is there anything better than a perfectly broken in pair of shoes? Striding comfortably to the office, up a mountain, or around the park in kicks practically molded to your unique feet. But with all that activity comes the inevitable dirt and odor build up that’s just part of shoe life. Unlike your favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans, though, most of us don’t have a clue when it comes to how to wash our shoes. Some common shoe cleaning questions we hear are: Can you put shoes in the washer? Do you need any special equipment? Can you use regular soap? How do you eliminate odors?

Lace up. We’re here to shoe you the way.
How to Wash Shoes by Hand
1. Remove laces and insoles.

Set aside.

2. Dry brush.

Using a dry, soft-bristled shoe brush (or old toothbrush), carefully brush away visible dirt and other standing debris.


3. Wash.

Mix a simple cleaning solution of warm water and mild, plant-based laundry detergent USDA Certified Biobased Product 97%. Soak the shoes in the cleaning solution.


4. Boost with Baking Soda.

For heavy stains, especially on white canvas sneakers, mix one tablespoon baking soda, two tablespoons vinegar, and enough warm water to create a paste. Scrub gently, then wipe away excess with a clean, damp cloth.  


5. Wash laces and insoles.

Soak laces and insoles in warm water mixed with a small squirt of detergent. Agitate to loosen dirt and lift odors. Alternatively you can put the laces and insoles in a mesh laundry bag and put them through a cycle in your washing machine.


6. Air Dry.

Dry completely in a well-ventilated spot.

How to Wash Athletic Shoes in the Washing Machine
First things first. You should only wash sneakers or athletic shoes in the washing machine. Wash all other types of shoes by hand.


Prep Your shoes.

Remove laces and insoles and soak separately in a solution of mild, plant-based detergent and warm water. Air dry.


Spot clean heavy stains.

For heavy stains like grass or grease, spritz with stain spray, or treat with a dollop of dish soap mixed with warm water. Always follow instructions on the stain spray and test on an inconspicuous spot first to check surface compatibility.


Throw in some towels.

Adding a few old towels to the drum before washing will help keep the load balanced and reduce banging.



Wash on gentle in cold water with a plant-based laundry detergent. If you have a laundry bag, tuck your sneakers inside, but it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t.


Air Dry.

We know it’s impolite to shout, but we have to say it: NEVER put shoes in the dryer! The high heat is just too risky because it can damage the glue that holds most shoes together.

How to Freshen Up Your Shoes
Try some of these helpful hacks to help freshen up your favorite shoes.


Baking Soda.

Sprinkle baking soda liberally inside your shoes and allow to sit overnight. Shake out any excess before wearing. If any excess remains consider vacuuming out the remaining baking soda.


Fabric Softener Sheets.

Put a plant-based USDA Certified Biobased Product 97% fabric softener sheet into each shoe and let it work its magic while you sleep. Choose a sheet with refreshing scents made from real ingredients.



Salt can help neutralize odors. Use in the same manner as baking soda.


Essential Oils.

Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil into each shoe before bed, and voila.


Now that you know how to clean shoes, you’ll always have a fresh pair of kicks ready for life’s next adventure. What are you waiting for? Get back out there!