Sneakers are shoes that were originally designed for sports and athletics but are now used for almost any occasion including casual wear. Since their popularisation by many active wear brands, sneakers have been integrated into common attire and have become the go-to footwear type for many people. Sneakers are still worn for sports and athletics which makes them prone to becoming dirty or are largely worn for style which makes the appearance a larger concern. Sneakers are largely made from synthetic materials including rubber, plastics, fabric, etc. which makes them somewhat complicated to clean. This article describes several factors to consider when cleaning sneakers and general advice about the cleaning process.
The sneaker cleaning process should be started by first unlacing the sneakers (the laces can be washed and rinsed separately) and removing loose dirt from the shoes by hitting them together or on the floor. A soft brush or a damp cloth can be used to wipe off the dirt and grime stuck to the shoe and soles. This will already have removed most of the visible dirt and is good enough for regular cleaning.
Cleaning with specific chemicals or cleaners should first take into account the type of sneaker and the materials in it to avoid potentially damaging the fabric or causing additional stains. For example, mesh sneakers are made of synthetic fabrics and fibres such as nylon and neoprene and are generally resistant to most cleaning products, allowing them to be safely washed and rinsed. However, mesh shoes are also quicker to get dirt as the porous material easily traps dirt, mud, and grime. Canvas sneakers on the other hand are slightly more sensitive and simply using a washing machine can shrink the cotton fabric. Suede sneakers are made of soft leather, which makes them more comfortable and durable than the former types but also makes it more sensitive to stains and cleaning products. It is always advised to test cleaning products before using to ensure that it does not ruin the fabric.
Further cleaning involves the use of a bristled brush, and sneaker cleaning liquid. Most sneaker stores sell sneaker cleaning solution and usually let you try it before you buy. Dilute the cleaner on to a brush and try it on a less visible part of the shoe to ensure that it does not damage or discolour the sneaker. Lather the cleaner on the shoe and rinse thoroughly and repeat the process if necessary to get the most stubborn stains out.
The laces removed previously can be washed and rinsed in a washing machine or by hand using the sneaker cleaner. If the laces are worn out it may be necessary to replace them altogether.
The roles are comparatively easier to clean, as they are made of rubber and are not damaged easily. Household cleaning agents and solvents should be able to make quick work of any dirt and mud in the sole, provided it is physically cleaned first. Once the cleaning process is finished, the shoes should be left to dry overnight.