Wearing dirty shoes to a tennis match is probably not the kind of first impression you want to be giving your opponent. When your shoes are dirty, they make you look disorganized and shabby. There is no better way of psyching someone out than by having fresh shoes (ok, maybe there are tons of better ways, but you get the point).
This article will help give you some guidelines on how to wash tennis shoes so that they stay looking fresh for as long as possible.
Before we start talking about the actual guidelines for washing tennis shoes, we should first talk about what tennis shoes actually are.
What Are Tennis Shoes?
Tennis shoes are athletic shoes commonly used for playing tennis. However, you can also wear them when you're exercising, playing sports, walking, or doing other activities.
They have a flexible upper material and durable rubber sole design. In addition, most tennis shoes include layers of foam designed to give your foot support during physical activity.
Now that we've touched on that point, let's get into the details of how to best wash tennis shoes.
How To Wash Tennis Shoes
Before washing your shoes you should first make sure you have everything you'll need to make that happen. Here are the things you should have access to:
A washing machine (depending on the shoe)
A mesh laundry bag
Towels or a drying rack (optional)
Liquid laundry detergent
White tissue paper
A scrub brush
There are two ways of washing your shoes, you either wash by hand or with a washing machine. Before you choose which one you're going to use on your shoes, you should first follow the step below to make sure you're working with as clean of a canvas as possible.
Start Here: Pre Cleaning instructions
1. Check the care label
Every shoe has a manufacturer tag that tells you how they recommend you handle cleaning. It's normally located inside the shoe with detailed care instructions on whether should put the shoes in the washing machine, hand wash them, etc.
Some shoes warn against laundering or recommend a specific temperature setting. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's guide to avoid accidentally destroying your shoes.
2. Remove the laces and insoles
If you're going to be using the washing machine, make sure you remove laces as well as insoles. Laces can get tangled in the washer, and the insoles won't be properly cleaned if they're still inside the shoe.
The good news is that this doesn't mean you have to hand wash them - although you could. You can just put them in a mesh bag or a pillowcase and tie the end in a knot before throwing them in the washing machine.
3. Remove excess dirt
Use an old toothbrush to brush off loose dirt from your shoes. If your shoes are muddy, it's better to wait for them to dry before starting the washing process.
You can also treat visibly tough stains with a mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda and 2-3 drops of dish detergent mixed enough to form a cleaning solution. Then, use a toothbrush to scrub out the stains. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping it with a damp cloth.
Next Steps: Cleaning your shoes
As we mentioned before, you can choose to wash your shoes either by hand or in the washing machine.
Regardless of what option you choose, it's ideal to you use only warm or cold water since hot water can melt the glue used to attach the shoe parts. Also make sure you only use liquid laundry detergent, not the powder version.
Another thing to note is that you shouldn't add distilled white vinegar or bleach since they may destroy the soles of your shoes. Lastly, adding a fabric softener can be a bad idea since it can leave a coating that will attract dirt and increase shoe odours.
Now that those details are out of the way, let's talk about machine washing vs hand washing your shoes.
a) Machine Wash
Washing athletic footwear in a machine can be pretty simple if you follow the instructions on the label. You'll want to start by putting the shoes in a mesh bag or a pillowcase tied at the top. Next, throw in some old towels in the machine to keep the load balanced and reduce any potential banging noise.
Choose a cycle that doesn't include a spin at the end of the wash, but if you have to, always go went with a low spin speed. When the wash cycle ends, take your shoes and let them air dry in a well-ventilated space.
b) Hand Washing
Hand washing is a little different. To hand-wash shoes, fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add a bit of laundry or dish detergent. Then tackle the dirty areas with a toothbrush, soft scrub brush, sponge or a washcloth.
While washing the shoes, make sure you pay attention to the eyelets. You don't want the brush bristles getting caught in them since they can get damaged.
As a final step, remove excess water from the shoes and pour out the soapy water. Then rinse your shoes with cool water while squeezing them gently until all soap has come off.
This cleaning process is also great for suede shoes, canvas shoes, and leather tennis shoes.
The Finish Line: After Cleaning Your Shoes
Once you've washed your shoes and you're ready to dry them make sure you don't do so using the dryer. Because that can damage or shrink them, the best option is to air dry shoes.
If you have to use a dryer make sure you're choosing the air fluff setting and only running it once. Never use a hot setting since high temperatures can warp the shoes causing the glue to melt.
If you need to dry your shoes faster you can stuff them with paper towels. Make sure they're white to avoid ink transfer! Gently squeeze the paper towels in to absorb excess moisture. Don't use newspapers since the ink transfer that could happen will stain your socks when you wear the shoes next.
Once you've squeezed out all the possible excess water with the paper towels, remove them and place your shoes in a well-ventilated space. Make sure they're away from direct sunlight or heater vents.
If you washed your insoles separately, press them into another paper towel to absorb moisture, then let them air dry near your shoes. You can aim a fan at the shoes to speed up the drying process.
Cleaning Suede Or Leather Shoes
Cleaning leather tennis shoes is a bit of a different process. Start by dampening a cloth in a mixture of distilled white vinegar and cool water, and then wipe them down. Then, immediately pat them dry using a fresh cloth. Always keep leather shoes polished to help keep dirt and stains away.
On the other hand, if you want to clean suede tennis shoes, use a soft-bristled brush to remove excess dirt and a dry cleaning sponge to get into tough stains.
Frequently Asked Questions On Washing Tennis Shoes
1. How often should I clean my tennis shoes?
Athletic footwear requires thorough cleaning every few months. Washing most athletic shoes can is pretty easy if you follow the instructions above. Always make sure you're using a shoe brush to remove loose stones or dirt from the hard-to-reach surfaces beforehand.
If your shoes are new or expensive, avoid machine washing them since it could damage the material. Instead, wash them by hand washing with a soft-bristled brush, laundry detergent and warm water.