How to Clean Tennis Shoes

Tennis is a fantastic athletic sport. It provides great aerobic exercise as you will be running around constantly trying to outpace your rival. To really shine on the court, you have probably bought some decent tennis shoes to improve your footwork.

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All that sweat, grass, and twisting and turning is going to heavily tax your tennis shoes. If you play frequently, or even if you wear tennis shoes for style, they will inevitably get dirty. Fortunately, we are here to show you how to clean tennis shoes easy. Learning how to clean your tennis shoes will keep them colorful for years.

Deep Cleaning in the Washing Machine

Canvas and fabric tennis shoes can simply be tossed into a washing machine. But before we get into that, you will need a few items.

Supplies needed:

  • baking soda
  • cloth or mesh laundry bag
  • laundry detergent
  • lukewarm to cool water
  • paper towels
  • towel
  • vacuum (with hose attachment)

Take off the laces first and put them in the cloth or mesh laundry bag. We will wash them in a bit with our shoes. Remove the insoles and vacuum the inside with a hose attachment to suck out loose dirt or stones in the corners.

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Clean off the insoles by wiping them down with a paper towel dipped in a solution of one cup water and one tablespoon of baking soda. The mix should clean up any stains and remove odors.

Wash your shoes on a regular cycle with warm water and use heavy-duty detergent. Toss the laces in there, too, for good measure.

Depending on your washing machine, it may be necessary to wash your tennis shoes with towels. Standard top loaders, for example, need this to balance the load on the machine. However, washing machines without a central agitator can handle the tennis shoes by themselves.

Drying is very important. When you take your shoes out of the dryer, your shoes are probably still soaked in some places. Dry them completely and correctly by stuffing them with newspaper and set in a well-ventilated area or a drying rack. This soaks up left over moisture while maintaining the shape of the shoe.

Pre-washing dirty shoes

If your tennis shoes look like you just walked through a swamp, you definitely want to hand wash them before putting them in the washing machine.

Again remove the laces first. Fill the sink with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Soak your tennis shoes for 10-15 minutes. With a soft bristle brush or toothbrush, scrub the bottom, sides and front of the shoe with dish soap. For the cloth areas, use fabric cleaner and brush that too.

Once you feel you have done what you can, toss them into the washing machine.


Now that you know how to clean tennis shoes, learn how to keep them clean!

For one, put your tennis shoes away whenever you are not wearing them. Protective products like waterproofing spray are great for shielding against dirt and mud. Finally, if you get a big or obvious stain on your shoe, work to manage it immediately instead of letting it set in.