Sneakers are probably one of the most comfortable footwear. They’re light, easy to wear, give your feet a firm grip, and come in a variety of types and colors. When you get a fresh new pair of sneakers, your happiness knows no bounds.
But it just takes one wear for your fresh sneakers to lose their shine. Indulge yourself in an intense game on the ground or face an unexpected rain shower, and you’re looking at dirty, soiled sneakers. The distress is doubled if you’ve just bought a pair of white sneakers.
Despite the difficulties, investing in sneakers is one of the best decisions you can make. Not much other footwear can match sneakers in their versatility when it comes to pairing them with clothes or comfort, given India’s uneven roads.
Ways to clean your Sneakers
Even though you may have to take special care of your sneakers, it’s definitely worth it. With that said, there are ways in which you can take care of your sneakers without affecting its material or reducing its functionality.
What You Should Not Do With Your Sneakers
First, there’s something that you should never do with your sneakers.
Don’t ever throw them into a washing machine, especially with harsh cleaning products.
There’s no worse disservice you could do to your faithful shoes than by handing them over to the pressure and force of a washing machine.
The foam base is the primary comfort provider of your shoe. The washing machine’s tumbling can affect the foam and reduce its cushioning. If your sneakers are running ones, this can severely impact your health as well.
The only time when you can consider a spin in the machine is if your sneakers have accumulated too much dirt or grime that you can’t remove by hand washing them. Even then, use the lowest possible function so that the shoes aren’t thrashed around much. Not only does it change the shape of the shoe, but it also reduces its life.
When machine washing your sneakers (in exceptional circumstances), use a mild detergent and throw in some towels as well to provide it less space to move around. Remove the laces and wash them separately.
Avoid the dryer at all costs. Its high temperature isn’t suited for sneaker material. Instead, leave them out in the open to air dry. You could get some fresh air for yourself at the same time as well.
The Right Way to Clean Your Sneakers
The first thing to remember is that sneakers should be cleaned as soon as they get soiled. The more you delay, the harder it will be to get that grime off. Unlike clothes, dirt and dust tend to stick quickly to sneakers and become hard to get rid of.
One of the best ways to ensure that you get sparkling clean shoes is by using the spot cleaning method. It is the least risky one and also extends your sneakers’ longevity. After all, who wouldn’t want to keep their expensive sneakers running for longer?
How To Clean Different Materials
The way you clean your sneakers will depend on its material. Since a lot of sneakers incorporate different materials for comfort and style, you may have to mix different cleaning methods too. But if you have OCD about wearing clean shoes, you will follow the instructions to the T.
No matter what type of material your sneak is made of, it’s important to be gentle at all times. No excessive rubbing or using harsh brushes or objects.
Nylon mesh is commonly found on sneakers since it allows for breathing space. But the downside is that it catches dirt and dust quickly. Use an equal mix of baking soda and vinegar to attack the dirt.
If your shoes are made of synthetic leather, you need to use a rag dipped in detergent water to take off the dust. Then you can scrape off the remaining bits using a soft brush. For better results, use a leather cleaning solution using a gentle towel. If you just want to give a touch up to your dull looking pair of leather sneakers, use baby oil to bring a new shine.
Knit shoes need to be handled with extreme delicacy. Avoid using detergent here and choose soap. Pick a soft cloth, dip it in soapy water, and gently move it over the shoes. Under no circumstances should you use a brush or any other sharp object.
One of the most popular shoe materials is also the easiest to clean. Canvas is durable but gets dirty quickly too. But the remedy is simple. Use a paste of baking soda in warm water and apply it on the surface using a brush. Scrub it until it is clean.
If you are feeling lazy, you can choose to dump your canvas into the washing machine, provided you follow the instructions given above. However, it is always better to wash your sneakers by hand.
For those who have tried to wash suede sneakers using water and failed, here’s the right way to do it. You can’t clean suede with water. You will need a suede eraser solution that you can easily find at any shoe store or white vinegar. The best thing would be to buy the solution while you’re purchasing the sneakers. Using a brush, gently work the solution into the shoes in only one direction. Use another brush to remove excess solution.
How to Dry Your Sneakers
Once your sneakers have dried, it is important you dry them correctly. If you’ve taken the effort to clean them thoroughly, it won’t hurt to take a little more effort in correctly drying them. After all, you don’t want your effort to go to waste just because you forgot to take one extra precaution.
Air drying works for all material. Never throw your shoes in the dryer, even if you are in a hurry. You’re better off wearing another pair of shoes than permanently damaging them with excess heat.
Sometimes, you notice that the outer surface has dried only to sneak your socked foot in it to notice it hasn’t dried on the inside. The next time you clean your sneakers, stuff it with dry tissue papers or a towel to help absorb moisture present inside and speed up the drying process. This also helps in retaining the shape of your precious sneakers. If you wear sneakers that are wet on the inside, they can grow bacteria.
The sun is your best friend for drying your sneakers. The only exception is leather shoes. You can keep all types of sneakers directly under the sun to dry except for leather shoes. Direct sunlight can cause them to lose their bright and shiny color.
Cleaning The Soles
Most of us tend to ignore the soles because it isn’t visible. But if the dirt keeps accumulating, it will get difficult for you to take it off. So, it’s highly advisable to clean them at regular intervals.
Start off by rubbing a mixture of baking soda and rubbing alcohol onto the sole. You’re going to have to use a little more arm muscle for this. But you can be assured that soon your soles will convert from brown to white.
For extremely stubborn stains, place your sneakers on a plate or pan with the solution. But bear in mind that it should only be enough to cover the bottom of the sole and not touch the upper bits of your sneakers.
Sometimes you could land yourself into something worse than dust – goo, gum, or even tar. These things won’t come off easily with water. If you’ve just come home with the substance sticking to your shoe, put your sneakers in a bag and place it in the freezer. When the substance dries, you can scrape it off first before proceeding to wash using special solutions.
Taking Care of Insoles
Don’t forget that the inside of your shoes also needs to be cleaned frequently. Just because it isn’t visible doesn’t mean you can let it go unnoticed. Sneakers can accumulate dirt inside, and if left untreated, they can bring a bad odor. We all know how bad it is to leave shoes with bad odor anywhere.
To clean insoles, take them out and clean them in the same way you did the outside. Brush them with a mild detergent and warm water. Give them a good scrub so that every speck of dirt is removed. Leave them out in the air to dry completely. Only then should you put them back inside the shoe. If you detect moisture in any part of the insole, don’t be in a hurry. Dry insoles are important to keep out bacteria and germs.
Sometimes, even cleaning will not get rid of the odor. There are two ways you can treat this.
- After cleaning, sprinkle some baking powder in enough quantity to cover the sole. Keep it overnight and remove excess powder the next morning before inserting it inside the sneakers.
- For extremely strong odor, soak them in vodka for some hours and then place them inside. Vodka is good for also removing bacteria.
If the odor persists after repeated attempts of washing, it may be time to replace them.
It’s important to remember that you should always clean your shoes and your laces separately. Since lace is mostly made of cloth, you can just throw them in the washing machine. But make sure you put them inside a laundry bag or something similar to prevent them from getting tangled.
If you have suede or leather laces, don’t put them in the washing machine. Instead, use a cleaner or vinegar.
While you’re at it, you may want to even clean your laces by hand, especially if they’ve got dirt ring marks, which are difficult to remove in the washing machine. Soak the laces in hot water with baking soda and detergent for 5 minutes. Then scrub them clean with a toothbrush.
Storing Your Sneaker Collection
A sneakerhead can never have too many sneakers. In comparison to normal people, it’s too many. Sneakers are a way to express yourself and create a fashion statement. But given the limited space we live in India, it’s not possible to store all your sneakers at home.
Sneakers need special care and can’t be left out in the open or under the sun. What can you do if you’ve run out of space? A convenient option would be to rent out a unit at one of Self Storage India’s warehouses in New Delhi.
Choose from a range of unit sizes depending on how many sneakers you want to store. Have you got sneakers that are old, but you are sentimental to let them go? Do you have sneakers that you only wear for special occasions? Do you keep changing sneaker patterns?
Whatever may be your case, you can either pick a private room or a utility locker to store your sneakers safely. The units are windowless with frequent pest control, so there’s no need to fear of light damaging your precious sneakers or rodents taking a bite out of them.
Now you know all that you need to keep your sneakers in top shape. Giving your sneakers the right care and treatment is essential if you want to prolong their utility. Damaged or smelly sneakers are not only a social faux pas but also a threat to the well-being of your feet.