Do you wash your workout clothes regularly but leave your shoes languishing in the locker until they smell up the locker room? Your shoes, too, should be cleaned regularly to keep them looking good and smelling sweet. Here are a few easy steps to get your sneakers looking new again.
How to Wash Sneakers
Remove the laces and any inserts from the shoes.
Throw the laces in with a load of laundry, and then let them air-dry.
Mix up a solution of mild soap and water (dishwashing soap or Ivory soap flakes work well). If the shoes are very heavily soiled, you might want to buy a cleaner specifically designed for athletic shoes instead. Check the bottle's label to make sure it is appropriate for all the materials--whether nylon, leather, vinyl, canvas or rubber--your shoes are made of.
With a soft-bristle brush and the soapy water or shoe cleaner, clean the inserts and the shoes, inside and out. Then use clean water to rinse the shoes and the inserts well with clean water.
Wipe off the excess moisture with paper towels.
With paper towels, stuff the shoes to soak up moisture and preserve their shape.
Place the shoes and the inserts on a waterproof surface in a well-ventilated room to dry, replacing the paper towels if necessary as they become soaked through.
Put the laces and the inserts back into the shoes once all the parts are completely dry.
Sprinkle a bit of baking soda inside the shoes to keep them smelling fresh.
Allowing your shoes to dry out thoroughly between wearings will lengthen their life considerably.
Throwing your shoes in the washing machine is a last-ditch way to clean a particularly grubby pair. But unless your shoes were marketed as "washable," the heat, agitation and thorough soaking they receive could ruin them, so don't try this unless you're otherwise ready to throw them out anyway. See How to Freshen Smelly Shoes for more tips.