How to Clean Sneakers with a Sponge
Using a soft cloth or sponge, warm water and a small amount of Surf excel Liquid Detergent carefully clean the waterproof parts of the shoe such as the sole, reflective panels or leather detailing. Already the shoes should be starting to look better. Now to tackle the trickier fabric areas. These can be gently cleaned with a sponge, soft cloth or brush and a fresh batch of soapy water. For tougher stains, dab on some neat Surf excel Liquid Detergent
and leave for about 15 minutes. When the shoes look clean, or as clean as you think you can get them given what your child’s been up to in them, wipe away any detergent with clean water and a fresh cloth.
Can I Put Sneakers in the Washing Machine?
Many modern sneakers are sturdy enough to withstand a machine wash (but always check the manufacturer’s instructions first). We recommend putting shoes in a mesh bag or pillow case
for protection, along with their detached laces, then washing with Surf excel – Liquid Detergent for front loaders or Matic Top Load for top loaders – in cold water, which will help prevent the colours from fading. Washing at the same time as their swimming towels, dirty jeans or smelly PE kit should soften any blows your shoes might give to the washing machine drum.
Drying Your Clean Sneakers
Dry sneakers outdoors, if you can – but away from direct sunlight as this could fade the colours. Otherwise, find somewhere warm and dry with a good air current (on a windowsill, near a fan or air conditioning unit or in the airing cupboard). Stuffing shoes with newspaper, and changing it when it begins to feel damp, is a good way to speed drying as the paper absorbs some of the excess water (this is also a handy tip for all your shoes, especially in monsoon season when you’ve been out in the rain or if the kids have been splashing in puddles.) You can also accelerate the process by removing the insoles and washing and drying them separately. Resist the temptation to put them in the tumble dryer though as this could add to the wear and tear of them. Depending on the weather, it could take several hours, or even a couple of days for the trainers to dry, so you may need to plan ahead. Washing the kids’ sneakers the night before they need them for Sports Day, might be cutting it fine.
An Even Quicker Fix for Washing Sneakers
If the trainers only need a quick freshen up, or you don’t have time for a potentially lengthy drying process, just washing the laces, the insoles and wiping down the soles is a fast-track way to an immediate impact. For more expert laundry tips, visit our stain removal tips section