The summer is well and truly over here in the UK. I own a lovely pair of very comfortable Sketchers trainers that I’ve worn pretty much constantly over the summer. Now the weather has turned cold, it’s time to put them away until next year. To save time, I’d much rather put them away clean than be faced with cleaning them the next time I get them out. Once the summer comes back I just want to put them straight back on!
I was very tempted to just bung my trainers in the washing machine. But, I love them too much to risk damaging them. I got them in a sale, but they were still quite expensive, so I don’t want to have to replace them.
I’ve heard that it is very possible to hand wash colored shoes with just baking soda and dish soap. If it means I can get my trainers clean without the risk of putting them in the washer, then I’m willing to give it a try. Now is the perfect time to test out the theory!
So, can you clean colored shoes with baking soda by hand? It turns out that, yes you can, and the results can be very good. Plus you don’t run the risk of damaging your precious shoes in the washing machine.
Here’s the quick answer:
You can clean your colored shoes by making up a paste of equal parts dish soap and baking soda. Dampen your shoe and then rub the mixture into the upper and sole using a small scrubbing brush such as a nail brush or a toothbrush. Allow the mixture to sit on the shoe for a couple of hours and then rinse. Allow your shoes to dry naturally.
Read on for more details.
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How to clean colored shoes with baking soda
Before I start on this post. A word of warning …
Baking soda has a bleaching effect, so it can fade dark-colored shoes. My shoes are mainly grey so I didn’t think it would be a problem to use baking soda. However, if you have dark or black shoes it isn’t such a good idea to use baking soda to clean them. Just stick with the dish soap instead and use baking soda to clean the light parts of the shoe such as the sole.
Things you will need to clean your colored shoes with baking soda:
- Baking soda or bicarbonate of soda
- Dish soap
- Nail brush
- One or two clean and dry microfiber cloths
- Small bowl
- Water spray bottle
Step 1 – Remove the inner soles and the laces
Remove the laces and the inner soles if you can with your particular shoe. Put the laces and soles in a laundry bag and put them in the washing machine along with your regular detergent.
The shoes I want to clean don’t have laces and I can’t remove the innersoles.
Step 2 – Spray the shoes with water
Next, we will get the shoe wet. Take the water spray and spray the outside of the shoe. The aim is not to get the shoe sopping wet. We are looking for a damp kind of wetness.
Step 3 – Make up a mixture of equal parts dish soap and baking soda
Make up a small bowl of equal parts dish soap and baking soda. Then mix the two to make a paste.
If you have dark shoes make up another small bowl of only dish soap. We won’t be using baking soda on the dark parts of the shoe because it could fade the color. If you have some light parts to clean, then you will need the baking soda mixture.
Here I’ve used three tablespoons each of baking soda and dish soap as I have only one pair of shoes to clean.
Step 4 – Clean the inside of the shoe with a toothbrush
If you were able to remove the inner sole and wash it separately in the washing machine you can skip this step.
If you couldn’t remove the innersole, take a small amount of the paste on your toothbrush and scrub the inside of the shoe.
I have to say that I skipped this bit because I’m not too worried about the insides.
Step 5 – Scrub the outside of the shoe with a nail brush
Dip your nail brush into the cleaning paste and scrub the outside of the shoe or only the white parts if you have colored shoes.
For the colored parts use only the dish soap to avoid bleaching the color.
You can also use this mixture to clean the rubber parts of the shoe. If the sole is grubby or yellowed it should come up nice and clean too.
Step 6 – Leave the cleaning solution to work for one hour
Leave the soap to work for an hour. For my experiment, I only waited half an hour because I’m a bit impatient! But even so, I was impressed at how well the cleaning solution worked in that short space of time.
Step 7 – Rinse
It isn’t necessary to rinse your shoes with water, but if you feel the need to spray them with more water that’s fine.
I simply took a microfibre cloth and dabbed off the cleaning paste.
And here are the cleaned shoes.
They are much cleaner than they were. I could probably have given them another clean to get them even more pristine. Overall I am impressed with the result. Plus, I am really happy that I didn’t have to get the shoes drenched in water. They should be ready to wear pretty soon because they are only slightly damp.
A very useful video
I found this video very useful for learning how to clean my shoes by hand. I hope you do too.
How to dry your shoes
For this cleaning method, we didn’t drench the shoe with water so it shouldn’t take long for the shoe to dry naturally.
Here are some tips for drying your shoes naturally:
- If you have some sun put them outside to dry.
- Don’t be tempted to dry them directly on a radiator because you could damage them.
- If you need to wear your shoes very soon, use this tumble dryer hack to get your shoes dry quickly.
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How to clean the laces and innersoles of shoes
You can clean your shoelaces and innersoles in the washing machine with your normal washing powder. If they are very grubby and stained add some baking soda or washing soda crystals to the wash. For small items like these, it is best to put them inside a small washing laundry bag.
How to clean white shoes with toothpaste
Did you know you could use toothpaste to clean your shoes? Whitening toothpaste is designed to remove stains from your teeth, but you can also put it to work on your shoes!
The best kind of toothpaste to use is the white kind, not gel.
- Squeeze some toothpaste onto an old toothbrush.
- Rub it onto the shoe in circular motions.
- Let the toothpaste sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe off the toothpaste.
- Repeat the above as necessary.
How do you stop your shoes from yellowing?
White shoes can go yellow over time. The primary of yellow shoes is humidity and light.
Here’s are some tips for preventing your shoes from going yellow:
- Store your white shoes in a cool dark place.
- For extra protection, store your white shoes in a vacuum-packed bag or add some silica gel packs to a ziplock bag. This will reduce the moisture level around the shoes.
- Avoid using bleach when washing your white shoes.
How to clean white shoes with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
If your shoes were originally white and now look grubby, the great news is that you can get them white again using baking soda or bicarbonate of soda and hydrogen peroxide.
Maybe your shoes are just a little yellow? If you are wondering how to clean yellowish shoes, either the upper or the sole, you can do it with plain old baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide.
1. In a small non-metal bowl mix up the following ingredients to make a paste
If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide use 50% more baking soda.
2. Put on some rubber gloves and then take a small scrubbing brush such as a nail brush or a toothbrush and dip it into the paste
3. Work the paste into the shoe and then leave it to sit for 30 minutes
If you need to clean yellowed soles, rub some into the sole too.
The paste will dry onto the shoe.
4. Tap off the excess paste and then rinse the shoe in water
If you still have stains repeat the above 3 steps.
5. Allow the shoe to dry naturally
How to deodorize shoes with baking soda
Baking soda is perfect for absorbing smells including those found inside shoes.
Here’s what I do to get rid of smells inside shoes:
- Pour a generous amount of baking soda into the shoe.
- Shake the shoe gently to distribute the baking soda evenly.
- Let the baking soda sit in the shoe for several hours or overnight.
- Empty the baking soda from the shoe.
- If necessary vacuum up any baking soda still left in the shoe.
If your shoe still has an odor, repeat the above.
If you are short of time and wondering, how long does it take baking soda to deodorize shoes, the answer is that you will need at least a couple of hours for the baking soda to do its job. For best results, you will need to let the baking soda sit inside the shoe overnight.