How to Clean Nike Shoes: 4 Best Methods & A Guide for All Materials

how to clean nike shoes

Nike makes quality shoes out of the box, but keeping them looking beautiful and in good condition for as long as possible can be tricky. We all should put in a little more effort when it comes to how to clean Nike shoes.

In this article, I shall share some of the best ways to clean Nike shoes so you can rock your kicks proudly for as long as you can.

I. General Ways To Clean Nike Shoes

While Nike’s cleaning tactics are undoubtedly ideal, there are tons of different ways that you can clean your shoes and keep them looking fresh and nice. I’ve tested the following methods, and they work well too. Check them out!

a. What Materials Do I Need To Clean My Nike Shoes?

  • Shoe Cleaner: Break down stains and dirt.
  • Shoe Brushes: Remove stains and dirt from the soles.
  • A toothbrush or soft bristle brush: Scrub away dirt and stains from the shoe’s surface.
  • Microfiber cloth: Wipe the shoe’s exterior gently.
  • A bowl of warm water: As a solvent for mixing with mild shoe cleaner.
  • Old newspaper: Absorb excess water and prevent damage.

b. How To Clean Nike Shoes Using Shoe Cleaner

#1 Dry Brushing

The first thing you should do to clean your Nike shoes is to dry brush them. The best way to accomplish dry brushing is to buy yourself a quality shoe brush. You can use this product to remove dirt, dust, and fuzz from the outsole, the midsole, and the uppers of your shoe.

If you don’t own a shoe brush, I believe you don’t necessarily need to invest in one. Nike recommends using an old toothbrush in place of a shoe brush. And in my experience, it does work just the same.

#2 Use a Mild Cleaning Solution

Once you have brushed all the loose materials from your shoe, you can continue with a mild cleaning solution. Nike suggests mixing some warm water with just a little bit of laundry detergent.

#3 Clean the Lace

You can use this solution to clean the individual components of your shoes. Start by removing the laces and washing them with the solution, rinsing, and drying them with a rag or washcloth.

#4 Clean the Soles and Dry Them!

You can then clean the soles by applying the solution with a soft-bristled brush. Again, a toothbrush will work perfectly if you don’t have a brush specific to cleaning shoes.

Dip the brush in the solution and scrub the soles of your shoes, drying them with a towel or washcloth. I really recommend that you dry them well because moisture can attract mold if you aren’t careful.

#5 Clean the Upper Parts and Dry Them

Finally, you can use this same solution along with your brush or a soft cloth to clean the uppers. Be careful not to soak your shoes too much with the solution. Use a dry towel to blot and dry as much as possible before setting them to air dry at room temperature.

II. 4 Best Household Items to Clean Nike Shoes

a. How To Clean Nike Shoes Using Magic Erasers

How to clean Nike shoes
Source: Instagram/shoeshame_com

Step 1: Remove the Laces

You can first remove shoelaces from your Nike shoes. This will allow you to clean the shoe more thoroughly.

Step 2: Wet the Magic Eraser

Dip the Magic Eraser sponge into the bowl of clean, lukewarm water. Squeeze out any excess water so that the sponge is damp but not dripping.

Step 3: Test on a Small Area

Before you start cleaning the entire shoe, it’s a good idea to test the Magic Eraser on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoe to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.

Step 4: Gently Rub the Shoe

With the damp Magic Eraser, gently rub the scuffed or dirty areas of your Nike shoes. Use light, circular motions, and avoid applying excessive pressure, especially on sensitive materials like suede or fabric.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Rinse the sponge frequently in the bowl of clean water to remove the accumulated dirt. You may need to repeat this process several times until you’re satisfied with the results.

Step 6: Wipe with a Damp Cloth

After you’ve finished using the Magic Eraser, dampen a soft cloth or microfiber towel with clean water and wipe down the entire shoe to remove any remaining residue from the eraser.

Step 7: Dry Your Shoes

Allow your Nike shoes to air dry naturally at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. You can also stuff them with newspaper to preserve their shape. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources,

b. How To Clean Nike Shoes Using Wet Wipes

Source: Instagram/shoeshame_com

Step 1: Take Off the Laces

First, start taking off the laces. It will allow you to clean all parts of the shoe easier.

Step 2: Shake Off Loose Dirt

Gently shake your Nike shoes or tap them together to remove loose dirt and dust from the surface.

Step 3: Wipe Down the Shoe

Take a wet wipe and unfold it. Using the wet wipe, gently wipe down the entire surface of the shoe, including the upper, tongue, and any other areas that need cleaning.

Step 4: Pay Attention to Stains

If there are specific stains on your shoes, focus on those areas with the wet wipe. Apply a bit more pressure while wiping to work on the stains.

Step 5: Use Dry Microfiber Cloth

After using the wet wipe, take a dry, clean cloth (microfiber or soft cloth) and gently pat the shoe to remove any excess moisture and ensure it’s dry to the touch.

Step 6: Clean the Soles

In case you are dealing with super dirty Nike shoes, you can use a separate wet wipe to clean them. Scrub the rubber soles with a wet wipe, and then use a dry cloth to dry them.

Step 7: Let it Dry

Allow your Nike shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated area at room temperature for a few hours. Avoid direct sunlight and heat that can damage your shoe’s materials.

Read Also: Best Deodorizers for Shoes and Best Cleaner for Shoes

c. How To Clean White Soles Of Shoes

Step 1: Remove the Dirt

Start by removing any loose dirt or debris from the soles of your shoes. You can use a brush or your hand to do this.

Step 2: Prepare a Cleaning Solution

Mix a small amount of mild detergent or sneaker cleaner with a bowl of warm water. You don’t need much – just enough to create a soapy solution.

Step 3: Dip the Brush

Dip the soft bristle brush or toothbrush into the soapy solution, ensuring it’s moist but not dripping wet.

Step 4: Scrub the Soles

Gently scrub the white soles of your shoes using the brush. Pay extra attention to areas with stains or discoloration. Use circular motions and moderate pressure to avoid damaging the sole.

Step 5: Wipe Clean

Dampen a microfiber or soft cloth with clean, warm water. Use it to wipe away the soapy residue from the soles. Rinse and wring out the cloth as needed.

Step 6: Let Them Air Dry

Stuff the shoes with old newspaper. Allow your shoes to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area at room temperature. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources.

d. How To Clean Nike Shoes Using Toothpaste

Source: master1305 on Freepik

Step 1: Remove Laces

Start by removing the shoelaces from your Nike shoes. This will make it easier to clean all parts of the shoe.

Step 2: Mix Cleaning Solution

If your shoes are particularly dirty, you can mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water to create a soapy solution.

Step 3: Apply Toothpaste

Squeeze a pea-sized amount of non-gel, non-whitening toothpaste onto the soft-bristle toothbrush or old toothbrush for each shoe.

Step 4: Scrub the Rubber Soles

Gently scrub the rubber soles of your Nike shoes with the toothbrush and toothpaste. Use a circular motion to work the toothpaste into the stains and scuffs.

Step 5: Wipe Off The Excess

Using a damp microfiber cloth, wipe off the excess toothpaste from the rubber soles. Rinse the cloth as needed and continue wiping until the soles are clean.

Step 6: Rinse It Away

After cleaning, rinse the shoe with clean, warm water to remove any remaining toothpaste residue. Make sure you do it thoroughly so no residues are left behind.

Step 7: Dry It Thoroughly

Stuff your Nike shoes with crumpled newspaper to help maintain their shape and absorb moisture. Place them in a well-ventilated area at room temperature to dry naturally for 12-24 hours. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources.

III. 4 Cleaning Methods for Any Different Materials

1. How to Clean Mesh Shoes

How to clean nike shoes
Source: Instagram/shoeshame_com

Step #1: Remove the laces and insoles

Take out the laces and insoles from your mesh shoes to allow a more efficient cleaning process.

Step #2: Shake off loose dirt and debris

Start by gently shaking the shoes to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris. You can also tap them together to dislodge dirt from the mesh.

Step #3: Create a soapy solution

Fill a basin with warm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap or laundry detergent. Mix the detergent in the water to create a soapy solution.

Step #4: Cleaning process

Dip a soft brush or an old toothbrush into the soapy water and gently scrub the entire mesh surface of the shoes. Don’t forget to check on areas with stains.

Step #5: Rinse and dry

Once you’ve cleaned the mesh, rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean, warm water to remove all traces of soap. Then, gently pat the shoes with clean towels to remove water and soap residue. Avoid wringing or twisting the mesh, as it can deform the shape. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally at room temperature.

2. How to Clean Rubber, Textile, and Neoprene Shoes

how to clean nike shoes

In addition to rubber shoes, this step-by-step guide also applies to textile and neoprene Nike shoe materials. Check it out!

Step #1: Take out laces and insoles

Remove the laces and insoles from your rubber shoes. Cleaning them separately can be more effective. While doing so, you can also brush off dirt and debris from the shoes.

Step #2: Make a Cleaning Solution

Add a small amount of mild detergent or dish soap to a bowl with warm water. Mix the detergent into the water to create a soapy solution.

Step #3: Start Cleaning!

Using an old toothbrush or soft bristle brush, scrub the rubber, textile, or neoprene part of your Nike shoes. But before that, make sure you have dipped the brush into the cleaner.

Step #4: Rinse

After scrubbing, rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water to remove all traces of soap.

Step #5: Air dry

Lastly, remove excess moisture on the shoes using clean towels. Then, let the Nike shoes air dry naturally. You can put them in front of a fan to speed up the process. But, avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or using heat sources like a hairdryer, as excessive heat can cause the rubber, textile, or neoprene materials to deteriorate.

3. How to Clean Synthetic Leather Shoes

how to clean nike shoes
Source: Instagram/pig_shoes

Step #1: Prepare a cleaning solution

Prepare a container filled with warm water. Then, add a small amount of mild dish soap or detergent and stir.

Step #2: Cleaning the synthetic leather shoes

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water and wring it out so it’s damp but not soaking wet. Gently wipe the synthetic leather parts of the shoes. For stubborn spots, you can use a soft brush (like an old toothbrush) to scrub gently.

Step #3: Wipe away and dry

Once you’ve finished cleaning, wipe away any soap residue with a clean, damp cloth. Next, remove the moisture using a clean towel and allow the Nike shoes to air dry.

Step #4: Conditioning

To preserve the look of your synthetic Nike shoes, you can apply leather conditioner. But please, don’t add too much, as it can build up on the surface and create stains.

4. How to Clean Nubuck Shoes

how to clean nike shoes
Source: Instagram/heatxcentral

Step #1: Remove loose dirt

Begin by using a nubuck brush or suede brush to gently brush away any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the nubuck surface. Brush in one direction to avoid damaging the fibers.

Step #2: Handle the Stains

For stains on the nubuck, use a nubuck eraser or suede eraser. Gently rub the eraser over the affected area in a circular motion.

Step #3: Make a soapy solution

Mix a small amount of nubuck/suede cleaner with water in a small bowl, following the product’s instructions. Use a soft cloth to create a slightly soapy solution.

Step #4: Clean the nubuck

Dip the soft cloth into the soapy mixture and squeeze it to ensure it’s moist but not excessively wet. Delicately pat and cleanse the entire nubuck surface of the shoes, taking care not to oversaturate the material.

Step #4: Rinse and dry

Next, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe off any soap. Then, pat the nubuck with a dry cloth to remove extra water. Let the shoe air dry at room temperature, avoiding heat or sunlight, which can harm the nubuck.

Step #5: Restore texture

Once the shoes are completely dry, use a nubuck brush or suede brush to restore the texture. Brush the nubuck in one direction to lift the nap and bring back the softness.

Step #6: Apply Nubuck Protector

To protect your nubuck shoes from future stains and moisture, you can apply a nubuck/suede protector spray.

IV. Common Questions About Nike Shoe Maintenance

Source: Instagram/shoeshame_com

Since Nike shoes are so popular around the world today, it’s no surprise that many wearers and fans of the products have similar questions in common about maintaining and cleaning them.

I shall address a few of these questions here for you today.

A. How Can I Clean My Insoles?

To clean your insoles, remove them from your shoes and gently scrub them with a mixture of mild soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly and let them air dry completely before placing them back into your shoes.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or submerging them in water for an extended period to preserve their quality. For detail steps, check the following guide!

#1 Dry Brushing the Insole

Start by cleaning your insole the same way to would the outside of your shoe. Take a shoe brush or an old toothbrush and remove any debris, including dirt, dust, lint, twigs, or pebbles.

#2 Prepare Cleaning Solution

Prepare your solution by filling a container or your sink with hot water. Add a few drops of mild soap, like dish detergent, and mix it in well with the hot water.

#3 Scrub Your Insole

Take your brush and dip the bristles in the solution. Using a circular motion, carefully and gently scrub your insoles. You will likely find that the most stained portions of the insoles are at the toes and the heels. It’s especially important that you focus on these areas, as this is where bacteria are most likely to build up.

Scrub both the top and the bottom of your insoles, dipping your brush in the hot water solution as needed to rinse and start fresh. Once you have finished cleaning both sides of the insoles, use a clean, dry cloth or sponge to remove any excess cleaning solution and residue.

#4 Dry Your Insole in the Air

Leave your insoles out to dry completely. You can hang them outside to dry or leave them in the dish rack, but it’s best to leave them in a place where they will get excellent air circulation. Make sure that your insoles are thoroughly dry before you put them back in your shoes to avoid mildew and smell build-up.

If your shoes do not have removable insoles, you can use this same method but with a toothbrush to let you reach all the way to the toes. It will be more difficult to clean your insoles this way, but not impossible.

You can also try steaming the inside of your shoes to kill bacteria with handheld steaming. I do not recommend using a steamer on suede shoes, as it can damage the material.

V. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What materials do I need to clean my shoes?

Some basic materials you need are mild detergent to remove dirt and stains, a soft bristle brush or toothbrush for gentle scrubbing, a microfiber or soft cloth for wiping and polishing, warm water to create a cleaning solution, and optionally, a stain remover for stubborn stains.

Additionally, shoe trees or rolled-up towels can help maintain the shoe’s shape.

2. Can I machine wash my Nike shoes?

Washing Nike shoes in the washing machine is NOT recommended. The agitation and heat in the washing machine can damage the shoe’s materials, structure, and adhesives. Instead, cleaning them by hand using a mild detergent, a soft brush, and a damp cloth is best. After cleaning, allow them to air dry at room temperature.

3. How do I clean the mesh or knit material on my Nike shoes?

To clean the mesh or knit material on Nike shoes, you can remove loose dirt and debris by gently brushing the surface with a soft bristle brush or toothbrush. Next, mix a mild detergent with warm water to create a soapy solution.

Using a cloth or sponge, lightly scrub the stained or soiled areas of the mesh or knit, being careful not to soak the shoes excessively. Rinse with clean water and pat them dry with a clean, dry cloth.

4. What’s the best way to clean white Nike shoes without discoloring them?

The best way to clean white Nike shoes with no discoloration is by removing loose dirt and debris with a soft brush or cloth. Then, mix a mild detergent with warm water. Use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub the shoes in a circular motion. Rinse them thoroughly with clean water and wipe off excess moisture with a microfiber cloth.

5. How long should I let my Nike shoes dry after cleaning?

It needs around 12-24 hours to dry thoroughly after cleaning. To facilitate the drying process, remove the insoles and stuff the shoes with crumpled newspaper. Place them in a well-ventilated area at room temperature, avoiding direct sunlight.

VI. Conclusion

Whether you spend your time in your kicks hanging out at the coffee shop with your friends or hitting the trails for a daily cross-country style run, you’re probably going to get a lot of use out of your Nike. Take the time to properly care for them so that you can enjoy them to their full potential.

I believe that knowing how to properly clean your Nike shoes is very important. Nike is not exactly a cheap shoe brand, so keeping them in pristine condition is a must. That way, your shoes will last longer. Plus, you do it for hygienic purposes; one likes smelly shoes, after all. In any case, if you are a shoe fanatic like me, cleaning your shoes is just as important as collecting them.