How to Clean Sneaker Mesh Without Destroying Them

How to clean sneaker mesh? As someone who loves to rock a fresh pair of kicks, I understand the importance of keeping my shoes clean and well-maintained. However, when it comes to cleaning the mesh on your sneakers, there are some unique challenges that require special attention.

Unlike traditional leather or suede shoes, mesh sneakers are more delicate because they use a material that requires a gentle touch. Cleaning them improperly can damage the mesh, causing discoloration, fading, and even tears.

In this article, I’ll share with you the essential steps to properly clean your mesh sneakers and keep them looking their best. From the tools you’ll need to the techniques you’ll use, I’ll walk you through the process so you can confidently clean your mesh sneakers without any worry about damaging them. So let’s get started and learn how to clean sneaker mesh!

What is Sneaker Mesh?

When it comes to sneakers, the mesh is the cool kid on the block. It’s that lightweight, breathable fabric that gives kicks that stylish edge while keeping feet feeling fresh and comfy. You’ll often find mesh used on the upper part of the shoe to create an airflow system that helps regulate temperature and prevent sweat from building up.

The material is typically made from a blend of synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon, or polypropylene, which are woven together to create a net-like structure. This unique structure allows air to circulate freely inside the shoe while also providing support and flexibility.

A great example of a sneaker with mesh is the Nike Air Max 270 React. This sneaker features a lightweight mesh upper that provides excellent breathability and ventilation. The mesh is also supported by Nike’s signature Flywire technology, which adds strength and stability to the shoe

People like me who love to wear mesh sneakers will find it adorable to wear them, as they are really comfortable on your feet.

Is It Possible to Wash Sneaker Mesh Using a Machine?

how to clean sneaker mesh

People who have mesh sneakers will find that they are a little bit different from other kinds of sneakers. They will be a little bit tougher to clean, as the mesh is a kind of fabric that can easily absorb anything that gets into contact with them. Therefore, I’m going to give a leeway this time and say that mesh sneakers can be washed using a washing machine. 

Cleaning mesh sneakers with a washing machine will definitely help your cause, as it’s certainly faster and more effective. Most of the time, I clean my mesh sneakers using a washing machine, so there’s no need to worry about the risk of damaging them. Here’s how to clean sneaker mesh properly:

  • Prepare a soft brush and gently brush it across your shoes to get rid of some loose dirt and stains. Even though your washing machine can clean most of the dirt, I prefer to do some manual work first in order to get the best result.
  • Remove the shoelaces from your mesh sneakers.
  • Insert the shoelaces and your mesh sneakers inside a mesh bag (ha! A mesh sneaker inside a mesh bag). Make sure to have two different mesh bags, one for the shoelaces and the other for your sneakers.
  • Put both mesh bags into the washing machine. Turn it on and let the machine do its work.
  • As soon as the washing machine finishes its job, remove them and dry them if they’re not completely dried yet.
  • Put the shoelaces back on!

How to Clean Mesh Sneakers According to Experts

There is no definite way how to clean sneaker mesh. I might have my own say, but so do other people. Before getting to the main topic, let’s discuss what some experts have to say about cleaning mesh sneakers. I’ve tried this method too, and I know that it’s an effective way to clean your mesh sneakers as well. 

  • Prepare the necessary kits which include wet tissues, a microfiber cloth, a foam cleaner, and a shoe brush. 
  • As usual, remove the shoelaces from your shoes.
  • Use a soft brush to clean the upper part of your mesh sneakers. If you have a foam cleaner for shoes, make sure to apply it to your brush.
  • Rinse the shoes with warm water to get rid of the foam and dirt altogether. 
  • If dirt is still present, make sure to wipe the dirty spot with a wet tissue. 
  • Dry the shoes by using a microfiber cloth and leaving them in a room temperature area.

How to Deep Clean Sneaker Mesh Based on My Expertise

In the previous section, I shared tips from top sneaker experts on how to clean mesh sneakers effectively. But if you want to take it a step further and give your mesh sneakers a deep clean, then you should check the following tips out!

Based on my own expertise, I’ve put together a guide on how to deep clean sneaker mesh, so you can keep your kicks looking as good as new.

A. Cleaning Kits to Wash Mesh Sneakers

You will need to gather the following tools and ingredients in order to deep clean sneakers that incorporate mesh designs!

1. ShoeCleaner or Other Mild Cleaning Solution

You will need a special shoe detergent to clean your favorite precious mesh sneakers. Usually, this type of detergent or soap is milder, so it does not react negatively to the delicate mesh part.

2. Apron

Not an obligatory item, but it will come in handy when we’re talking about keeping your shirt clean while washing your mesh sneakers

3. Premium Brush

Used to clean the upper part of your shoes that is made of mesh. On some occasions, the upper part of the shoe may also incorporate canvas, suede, leather, synthetic leather, knit, nubuck, and other materials. This brush will handle them all just fine, thanks to its soft bristles.

4. Medium Brush

Used to clean your mesh sneaker’s midsole section. 

5. Standard Brush

Used to clean your mesh sneaker’s outsole section.

6. Small Brush or Toothbrush

This type of brush will come in handy when it comes to cleaning the inner part of your mesh sneakers that is usually hard to reach. 

7. Microfiber Cloth

Used to wipe mesh sneakers clean of dirt and stains. 

8. Shoe Tree

An essential item to keep your mesh sneaker’s basic structure intact. 

9. Container/Pan

Used to store water that will be mixed with Shoe Perfume in order to generate a certain odor for your shoes.

B. Sneakers Mesh Anatomy

  • The Upper Part of the Mesh Sneakers: As the name states, it’s the upper part of your mesh shoe model. You need to use two different brushes to clean this part. Premium Brush will be used in order to prevent damage to the upper part of your sneakers, while a small brush will come in handy when you’re trying to wipe additional stains that are small and hard to clean.
  • Midsole: The side sole section of a mesh sneaker. To clean the midsole, we suggest you use Medium Brush, as midsoles can often get damaged and dirty due to usage.
  • Outsole: or the lower part of a mesh sneaker: To clean a sneaker’s outsole, you can use a standard brush that is strong and sturdy. This way, dirt and stains from your outsole might be cleaned easily. 
  • Insole: The inner part of your mesh sneakers that also acts as a cushion to make your foot more comfortable. It’s better to remove the insoles from your mesh sneakers before cleaning them. However, don’t force it if it’s not possible. To clean the insole, you can use a premium brush as well as a toothbrush, as they can reach parts that are harder to clean.

C. Sneaker Mesh Cleaning Process

In this section, I’ve outlined a comprehensive and effective step-by-step guide to cleaning your sneaker mesh. By following these instructions, you’ll be able to remove dirt, grime, and stains from your sneakers with ease.

1. Prepare the mesh sneakers that you want to clean

how to clean sneaker mesh

Prepare a pair of dirty mesh sneakers that you want to freshen up. Examine it and pay extra attention to the major stains. Also, inspect it for damages so you can fix it later on.

2. Prepare the material needed to clean your mesh sneakers

Prepare the ShoeCleaner, apron, Premium Brush, Medium Brush, Standard Brush, Small Brush, Microfiber Cloth, two pieces of Shoe Tree, and a container to store water and Shoe Perfume. 

3. Remove the laces from your mesh sneakers

It’s recommendable to remove the lace from your shoe. You can clean the laces separately later on. 

4. Insert the shoe tree in your mesh sneakers

This is an essential step, as a shoe tree will be important to maintain the shape of your mesh sneaker when it’s being washed. If you don’t have one, make sure to buy one, especially if you often wash your shoes with a washing machine (which can deform them if you don’t stick shoe trees afterward).

I can say with confidence that my shoes are still in great condition due to the help of shoe trees. However, make sure to remove the insole before inserting a shoe tree. 

5. Dry-clean the Sneakers

Before washing the mesh sneakers with water, you need to brush the upper part and midsole with a premium brush to wipe off debris and dirt that is often found on the mesh sneakers.

6. Wash the Outsole and Midsole

During this cleaning stage, you can use a Standard Brush. I’d love to use all my strength when cleaning the outsole, as it’s naturally the dirtiest part of mesh sneakers. Outsoles are also strong enough to withstand strong brushes, so go all out!

As soon as you have finished cleaning the outsole, you can proceed by cleaning the midsole with a Medium Brush. This time, patience and diligence are needed, as there will be a lot of dirty spots that are hard to clean.  

7. Wash the Inner and Outer Sections of the Upper Part of Your Mesh Sneakers 

how to clean sneaker mesh

For the outer part, you can use a Premium Brush in order to prevent any damage or scratches on your shoes. Gently rub the brush across the shoes before wiping it with a microfiber cloth to absorb the water. 

After dealing with the outer part, you can proceed to the inner part of the shoes. This time, you can use a small brush, as it’s handy enough to reach small and narrow spaces inside the shoes. 

8. Detailing

how to clean sneaker mesh

Use a wet microfiber cloth to clean the details of your mesh shoes that are still dirty, which is usually found on the midsole or outsole section of your mesh sneakers. Then, clean your shoelaces by soaking it inside a bucket of water that has been mixed with the Shoe Cleaner. After cleaning it with your bare hands, you can dry the laces with a microfiber cloth. 

8. Drying Process

how to clean sneaker mesh

Dry off your shoes by using a fan. As an alternative, you can also dry it by waving your hands or placing the shoes in a cold area with minimal moisture. Try not to dry the sneakers by placing them under direct sunlight, as it can damage the glue or paint of said shoes. 

9. Finishing

How to Clean Mesh Sneakers Without Destroying Them

Once all necessary parts are dry, then you can place the insole back inside the shoe. The same thing also goes for the laces. Now, your mesh sneakers are back in action and look fresh again!

Do & Don’t


  • Brush gently with your feelings! Never treat the mesh sneakers poorly if you don’t want to damage them. 
  • Use a Premium Brush or a soft and gentle brush to clean the upper part of your mesh sneakers. Never use standard brushes to do this job.


  • Don’t try to brush the upper part of your shoes with all your might because the mesh is a sensitive material that can get easily damaged.
  • Use your mesh sneakers for extreme outdoor activities.

How to Clean Mesh Sneakers with Hydrogen Peroxide

how to clean sneaker mesh

You can clean mesh sneakers with hydrogen peroxide. But to do this method properly, you’re going to need some more items in your possession. Besides hydrogen peroxide, you have to prepare baking soda and water. Mix all three materials together to create a soapy paste. Make sure to use a toothbrush as well. 

  • Create the mixture that I have mentioned before
  • Put a part of the mixture on your brush. 
  • Gently rub the brush across your mesh sneakers
  • Wait for around 30 minutes before rinsing your mesh sneakers in the sink
  • Leave them to dry before storing them once more

 Personally, I love using this method, as the mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda is effective in eliminating stains from your shoes.

How to Clean Mesh Sneakers with Diluted Bleach

how to clean sneaker mesh

Using diluted bleach can only be a viable option for white mesh sneakers. Even if you’re applying bleach to mesh sneakers, I still recommend that you proceed with care, as bleach can easily break any sensitive material. 

  • Prepare a pair of gloves and use them when dealing with bleach
  • Mix bleach with water in a ratio of 1 to 5. 
  • Dip a soft brush and rub it across your mesh sneakers.
  • If the bleach has eliminated all stains and dirt, rinse the shoes with water and dry them before storing them where they belong.

How to Clean Mesh Sneakers with Toothpaste

Some people do not own hydrogen peroxide in their houses. Therefore, toothpaste is a good alternative to clean mesh sneakers. Coincidentally, they both have gone through the same steps when it comes to how to clean sneaker mesh.

You simply need to apply the toothpaste on a toothbrush or gentle shoebrush. Then, rub the brush across the shoes in a circular motion. After waiting for some time, you can rinse the shoes with water and dry them before storing them back where they belong.

How to Clean Mesh Sneakers with Oxiclean

how to clean sneaker mesh

My last alternative to clean a pair of mesh sneakers will be to use Oxiclean. After the test I’ve done, I noticed that Oxiclean is effective in cleaning mesh sneakers as well. Make sure to follow these simple steps:

  • Remove the laces from your mesh sneakers
  • Brush your shoes to eliminate loose dust and dirt
  • Apply Oxiclean that has been mixed with water and scrub it across your shoes
  • Wipe the shoes clean and let them get completely dry. Your mesh sneakers are ready to be used once more!

How do You Clean White Sneaker Mesh?

You can clean white mesh sneakers with all the methods that I have mentioned above, either with homemade items or with a washing machine. However, the most effective way how to clean sneaker mesh will be to use diluted bleach. If you want to use this method, make sure to look it up! Just remember to use gloves to protect your hands from the bleach!

How do I protect My White Mesh Shoes?

It’s hard enough to clean mesh sneakers on their own, let alone if you own white mesh shoes. Don’t worry, though! As long as you keep them from extreme weather or bad terrain, there’s a high chance that your mesh sneakers will be safe. Make sure not to leave them under direct contact with sunlight as well! Oh, one last thing: don’t scrub the upper part of your shoes with standard brushes.

How to Prolong the Lifespan of Shoes with Sneaker Mesh

As someone who has been passionate about sneakers for years, I understand the importance of prolonging the lifespan of your shoes, especially those with mesh uppers. With my expertise and experience, I’ve learned some valuable tips for keeping my mesh shoes looking fresh and new for as long as possible. Here’s what I recommend:

1. Proper Storage

Proper storage is essential for preventing damage to your shoes. I suggest storing your mesh shoes in a cool, dry place to prevent mold and mildew growth. Avoid storing them in a damp area or a hot car trunk.

2. Use Deodorizer

Odor can be a problem with any shoe, but it’s especially prevalent in mesh shoes. My trusted method is to use a deodorizer or sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes to neutralize unpleasant smells.

3. Avoid Overwashing

While it’s crucial to keep your mesh shoes clean, overwashing can damage the fabric and shorten its lifespan. I recommend spot-cleaning your shoes as necessary and only washing them when they are visibly dirty.

4. Remove Stains ASAP

Stains can be tough to remove, but it’s important to treat them immediately. As an expert, I suggest using a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the affected area.

5. Avoid Drying with a Machine

Don’t machine-dry your mesh shoes! The high heat of the dryer can cause the glue to break down and damage the mesh fabric. Instead, let them air dry naturally.

6. Protective Spray

Use a protectant spray to help repel water and stains. A protectant spray creates a barrier between the shoe and the elements, helping to keep them looking new. You can check these sprays reviewed by Pinkvilla!

7. Avoid Continuous Usage

Rotate your shoes frequently. Wearing the same pair of shoes every day can cause excessive wear and tear, leading to a shorter lifespan. Rotate your shoes to give them a break and prolong their lifespan.

8. Use Mesh Shoes Accordingly

Choose the right shoe for the right activity. While mesh shoes are lightweight and breathable, they may not be suitable for all activities. Choose a shoe that’s designed for the activity you’ll be doing to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

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Questions and Answers

Do baking soda and vinegar clean shoes?

Baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean mesh sneakers. However, I still recommend using a shoe cleaner or mild detergent to clean mesh sneakers.

How do you whiten yellow mesh shoes?

Yellowing can happen when you do something wrong in the cleaning process. Therefore, you should repeat the process with the right method in order to get rid of the yellow pigments.

Yellow stains might also appear due to your neglect in cleaning your mesh sneakers. Therefore, you should try and clean them regularly. Try this method if your shoes are already starting to get yellow:

  • Remove the shoelaces from your sneakers
  • Prepare a small amount of bleach and mix it with a bucket of water
  • Use a brush and soak it inside the mixture
  • Brush it across the shoes slowly. Make sure not to hurt your hands when cleaning your shoes (wear gloves!)
  • Rinse your mesh sneakers with water
  • Let them dry for a while. Do not leave them outside and under direct contact with the sunlight

How do you clean mesh shoes without ruining them?

With the right method and tools, you can clean your mesh sneakers without ruining them. Use a Premium Brush to clean the upper part of your shoes and a standard brush to clean the outsole.  

Cleaning mesh sneakers with the right tool is essential, but doing it the right way is as important as well. That’s the reason why you should be extra careful when cleaning a pair of mesh sneakers. Take your time and clean them gently and slowly. If you brush them too hard, there’s a good chance that they might get damaged!

After cleaning the mesh shoes with the right method, you also need to learn how to take good care of them. A great way to do that is to store them in a nice box. Plus, keep them away from direct contact with the sunlight!

How do you get sweat stains out of mesh shoes?

If your mesh sneakers still have stains, then you better use a toothbrush or small brush to clean those parts, as they can effectively erase stains in a narrow space. Thankfully, you can also use other homemade items to help clean sweat stains, such as toothpaste or mild laundry detergent.

  • Prepare a toothbrush or small brush and toothpaste or mild laundry detergent
  • Apply the toothpaste or mild laundry detergent to your toothbrush
  • Rub the brush carefully on the dirty section of your mesh shoes
  • When you’re done and are satisfied with the result, rinse the shoes with water
  • Leave them in front of a fan to let them dry for a while


In summary, cleaning your sneakers with mesh uppers is a simple and effective process that can help you maintain their appearance and extend their lifespan. By following the step-by-step guide I’ve outlined and incorporating the tips I’ve suggested, you can keep your sneakers looking and feeling new for longer.

As a passionate sneaker enthusiast myself, I can attest to the effectiveness of these cleaning techniques. With proper care and maintenance, your sneakers can continue to provide you with the comfort, support, and style you love. So don’t wait; start taking care of your sneakers with mesh uppers today, and enjoy the benefits of clean, fresh, and long-lasting footwear.