How to Clean Lace Up Sneakers to Keep it Fresh and Awesome?

Do you have a favorite type of shoes? For me, it is the lace-up sneaker. I love it because the lace adds an intricate stylish addition. But despite its awesome appearance, this type of shoe can be tricky to clean thoroughly. If you are not careful, you might end up damaging them. So, here I will share my experience on how to clean lace-up sneakers properly! I can guarantee that your sneakers will look brand new and smell nicer after you follow my tips!

Lace-up sneakers are not just any shoes that have their upper parts covered by laces. If you are a lace-up sneaker fanatic like me, the lace is more than that! It is part of our identity. I might be exaggerating a bit there, but you can’t deny that the lace truly makes a lot of difference. It looks cuter. Plus, the lace also provides extra control over how tight my shoe should be, giving extra comfort.

Lace-up sneakers need regular maintenance, even more so than shoes without lace. But I’d like to warn you that you should not just blindly brush off your favorite items. You need to ensure that you have the proper knowledge of how to clean lace-up sneakers, which includes, but is not limited to, the ways, items needed, and the frequency of cleaning the lace-up sneakers.

And so, let’s find out how to clean lace-up sneakers effectively in order to keep your footwear fresh and stylish all the time!

how to clean lace up sneakers

Even though I love sneakers so much, I can not deny that they are, unfortunately, prone to dust and dirt particles. That’s the reason why you should know the importance of cleaning lace-up sneakers regularly before knowing the secrets of doing it properly.

Some of you might wonder: how often should we clean our lace-up sneakers? The answer to that question depends on how frequently we use them. However, I generally round it out to around once a month. Even if you just keep them in your closet or locker, it’s still nice to wipe them slowly, as I’m pretty sure that your lace-up sneakers will still collect dust.

Keep Them Fresh: Avoid Bad Image Just Because of Your Appearance 

how to clean lace up sneakers

Yes, it’s essential for casual or sneaker addicts to take care of their prized possessions. Whether you’re using them or not, clean lace-up sneakers will make you look more presentable. You could be attending a formal or informal event, but both occasions will require you to look fresh and charming.

After all, nobody in their right mind would want people to perceive them in a negative way, and your image might be perceived badly just because you wore dirty and worn-out sneakers.

I think it is also essential that you tie the lace tight and tidily. A loose lace is not only dangerous, but it will give the impression that you might be a sloppy person. We do not want that!

Some Lace Up Sneakers Have High Value, But They Won’t Be If They’re Damaged or Dirty!

how to clean lace up sneakers

Now, if you are a collector like me, you will notice that some lace-up sneakers might have a high sell-on value. Well, of course, we’re talking rare and premium lace-up sneakers that will be going up in demand as time goes by.

However, you should kiss those hopes goodbye if you don’t take good care of your lace-up sneakers. If you want to sell those lace-up sneakers for double, triple, or four times the price you bought, then make sure to put on a good shift and clean lace-up sneakers once in a while!

I happen to have some rare sneakers in my collection, and I admit that I spend a lot of money collecting them. And I believe that spending more effort to maintain their quality is an essential part of being a collector. So, it would be best if you kept that in mind. Do not just buy expensive rare sneakers if you do not know how to clean them!

Items Needed to Keep Your Lace-Up Sneakers Clean

how to clean lace up sneakers

The notion of cleaning lace-up sneakers might be easy, but it’s far more complicated than you can think of. In fact, I take a lot of precautions and preparation before I do it. There are some materials and equipment that you need to gather before learning how to clean lace-up sneakers.

You also need to understand the materials that your shoes are made of. For instance, fabric shoes will require different treatments from leather or canvas ones. Brands may also slightly influence the way you should clean your shoes. Be it Nike, Vans, or Adidas, they may require a few adjustments.

Here are some essential things that you need to have:

The Tools

Before I talk about you should use the tools to accomplish the mission, we must break it into two different categories. The first one is items that can already be found in your house already. It includes a brush and a soft cloth.

I find that a toothbrush can also be great for brushing off some sticky particles in delicate parts. It’s not really necessary to have it, but you can also use a magic eraser! All of them have different roles and functions and are essential in keeping your lace-up sneakers clean.

The second category will be the one that requires a bit of effort from your end because they are specialized tools. These items can’t be used for other things except cleaning your sneakers. But bear in mind that specialized tools like shoe brush and suede brush will be able to deliver the final blow and kill off any bacteria or dirty particle that sticks to your lace-up sneakers. 

Supplies and Washing-up “Formulas”

Depending on the “dirtiness level” of your lace-up sneakers, I recommend that you use some extra supplies and formulas to get rid of dirt. Try and gather these things around:

  • Dish Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Detergent

I’d like to note that all of the ingredients above aren’t required to be used simultaneously. For example, you can use a mixture of baking soda and white detergent if you don’t have the others!

Now, Let’s Get Going and Clean Your Lace Up Sneakers!

At long last, we have arrived at the main part of our article that tries to answer how to clean lace-up sneakers. Truth be told, I believe that there are different ways to clean your lace-up sneakers. For a quicker way, I recommend that you use a cleaning machine to wash dirt from your lace-up sneakers. 

Machine Wash Your Lace-Up Sneakers

Yes, sometimes I use the laundry machine to wash my favorite items. It can even make them look as good as it once was when you first purchased them, provided that you follow these steps:

  • Make sure to separate the laces from your shoes. They should be cleaned separately, as the threads can easily be messy enough inside the washing machine. What you want to do is store them inside a pouch or bag that is zip-tight. 
  • Do some pre-cleaning the day before! Yes, machine washing your shoes doesn’t mean that you won’t have to handle them manually.
  • You need to clean some parts with brushes and deodorize the sneakers with baking soda the night before. Then, clean off the baking soda before proceeding to the next step.
  • Insert the lace-up sneakers inside a safe and secure pouch or bag. This step will help protect the shoes from damaging other outfits or apparel inside the machine. Don’t forget to use liquid detergent!
  • Dry the shoes afterward. If I want to dry quickly, I sometimes use an electric dryer to speed up the process. Once done, store them in a safe and clean place. 

See, it’s not so hard to clean lace-up sneakers with a laundry machine! But there’s just one thing: not all sneakers are up to the task! If you look up at the label (or do some online research), you’ll notice that incompatible sneakers will warn you that they are safe for “hand-washing only”.

Nevertheless, I would not dare wash my expensive rare sneaker using a washing machine. So, next, I am going to tell you about ways of cleaning lace-up sneakers manually! There is no shortcut when it comes to maintaining your precious collection.

Handwashing Your Lace-Up Sneakers

Based on my past experiences, not all sneakers are made to withstand the might of machine washing. Sneakers with different materials will require a specific way to clean them.

So, I shall help you master the art of handwashing your lace-up sneakers. It might be challenging for first-timers. In fact, it took me several tries to become better at cleaning. But it sure is fun as heck. 

  • Prepare all the necessary ingredients, supplies, and tools needed. This includes baking soda or other washing-up formulas, a toothbrush, and many more items (you can bookmark my website in case you forgot!).
  • Start creating a special mixture for the supplies, such as mixing the baking soda and detergent. You can also use dish soap or create your own special formula. Hot tip: make sure to add warm water, too, as it might make the dirty particles easier to scrub off. 
  • Just as we’ve discussed the machine-washing technique, you can remove and wash the laces separately. Despite their tiny nature, they will prove to be challenging to be cleaned if you don’t remove them from the shoes.
  • Start off by slowly brushing your shoes using a shoe brush. You can scrub dirt from the soles all the way to the upper part of the lace-up sneaker. 
  • After the foreplay, things will become more serious when you apply your special formula to clean the sneakers. To use it, apply the formula to a brush or a soft cloth. Then, clean the sneakers thoroughly.
  • Don’t forget to brush off the sneaker holes used to contain the laces together. You can wash the inner part of the shoes with warm water and mild laundry detergent. 
  • Once it’s done, absorb the water and formula with a clean sponge. Make sure that you suck them up well. Then, you can just leave them out to dry naturally by airing them out.
  • I personally prefer this method because the heat from the blow dry or direct sun can be damaging. Then, store them in your preferred place!

I know that cleaning lace-up sneakers thoroughly may cost you time and money. But if you truly love your items, then I think it is worth it. It won’t feel difficult at all!

Despite going through all the steps above, different circumstances still require different approaches. If you want to answer the question of how to clean lace-up very dirty sneakers, then make sure to hand wash them by following the steps we have run through before. They really need to have special care and attention. But for a mint shoe that catches some dust, rubbing it with a soft cloth with hot water might be enough!


I believe that learning how to clean lace-up sneakers is an integral part of becoming a collector. It allows us to keep our shoes in mint condition. I also recommend that you do the clean-up regularly, even if you do not wear your sneakers, because the lace can accumulate dust quickly. Based on my experience, you do not always need expensive tools and cleaning agents; even household items like toothbrushes can be used to clean them!

Questions and Answers

What Household Items Can You Use to Clean Lace-Up Sneakers?

As I have told you, household items can be used to clean up the season. Common items like a toothbrush, liquid detergent, and white vinegar are useful for cleaning your lace-up sneakers. Despite recommendations to use professional items like a shoe brush, you can still return your sneakers to their glory days with household items. Although, if you plan to get expensive collectible sneakers, then I think investing in specialized tools is still the best course of action.

How to Clean White Lace-Up Sneakers with Toothpaste?

I know that removing a persistent stain on your white lace-up sneakers can be annoying. It is not easy to get them off. However, recently, I have found that toothpaste can do the job quite effectively. I believe you can use any brand, but choose the non-gel version for a better result.

First, you need to apply the toothpaste directly over the stain. Then, use a toothbrush to lightly rub it in a circular motion. And finally, use a wet soft cloth to wipe the paste out. Use warm water because it’ll dry more quicker! You can repeat this method until the stain is gone, though usually, one time is enough. Do not forget to make sure that the shoes are not wet before you store them.

What is the Best Homemade Shoe Cleaner for Lace Up Sneakers?

The best homemade cleaner for lace-up sneakers will be a simple formula that you can come up with, such as a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. After making this cool formula, dip the toothbrush inside the mixture and start scrubbing. 

Is It Better to Wash Lace-Up Sneakers by Hand?

In some cases, I think it is better to wash lace-up sneakers by hand. After all, some shoes can’t stand the strong current of the laundry machines. But if they’re compatible with machine wash and are not dirty enough, then it’s better and easier to wash lace-up sneakers with a machine. Regardless, I won’t use automatic machines on rare sneakers.

How to Clean Lace-up Sneakers Without Washing?

You do not need to wash your sneakers if you do not plan to wear them regularly! I think it is unnecessary, and in fact, washing perfectly mint collector shoes might be a bad idea. Yet, it is still possible to clean them even without washing them.

You can lightly rub the shoes’ surface with just warm water. For some people, lemon juice and baking soda could work, too, though I think it is a bit overkill, especially if the shoes are not too dirty. I also approve of using a vacuum cleaner to suck the dust out of your shoe collection. But be careful with the laces and the inner pad. It is safer to take them off first.

Is Baking Soda Good To Clean Lace-Up Sneakers?

Yes, I recommend baking soda as an alternative shoe cleaner. It is as effective as store-bought shoe cleaner and will help you remove stains from your lace-up sneakers effectively. Though, do not use baking soda on its own. I usually mix it with white vinegar to create a nice formula that can wipe off dirt and dust. After several tests that I’ve performed over the years, I find that the mixture is quite effective. You should try it too!

How to clean lace-up sneakers with baking soda?

  • Start by removing the shoelaces and brushing off any loose dirt and debris.
  • Then, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a small amount of water to form a paste.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush to apply the paste to the sneakers, focusing on any particularly dirty or stained areas.
  • Let the paste sit for about 10 minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth.
  • Finally, rinse the sneakers with clean water and allow them to air dry before putting the lace back.
  • Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and cleaner, making it a great option for cleaning and refreshing your favorite pair of sneakers.

How do I clean colored shoes with baking soda?

Cleaning colored shoes with baking soda require a gentle touch to avoid fading or discoloration.

  • To start, remove any loose dirt and debris from the shoes using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Then, mix one part baking soda with three parts water to create a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the shoes using a soft cloth, making sure to cover any particularly dirty or stained areas.
  • Let the paste sit for 10-15 minutes, then use a damp cloth to wipe it away.
  • Rinse the shoes with clean water, making sure to remove any remaining baking soda residue.
  • Finally, allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them.

Full disclosure, I’d like to mention that this method may not work for all types of colored shoes, particularly those made of delicate materials. So be careful with it!

What can I use to clean my shoes at home?

Running out of shoe cleaners? Don’t worry! You can try these ingredients available in your home as alternatives:

  • Use baking soda and water to create a paste to remove dirt and stains.
  • Use white vinegar and water to remove salt stains and deodorize shoes.
  • For leather shoes, a mixture of mild soap and water can remove dirt and grime. Use olive oil to condition the leather after you’ve finished cleaning.
  • Toothpaste can also be used to clean the rubber soles of shoes, and a soft-bristled brush can be used to remove dirt and debris.

How to remove stains from white fabric shoes?

  • Start by removing any loose dirt or debris with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Next, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar and use a soft cloth to gently scrub the stained areas of the shoe.
  • For tough stains, mix a small amount of baking soda with the vinegar solution to form a paste, and apply it to the stain using a soft brush.
  • Let the paste sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse the shoe with clean water and blot with a clean towel to remove excess moisture.
  • For particularly stubborn stains, you may need to repeat the process or use a commercial stain remover.
  • Once the stain is removed, allow the shoe to air dry completely before wearing it again.
  • It’s important to avoid using hot water or bleach, as these can damage the fabric of the shoe.