Cleaning Tennis Shoes

Dirty tennis shoes.

Tennis shoes can easily become smelly when they are used often. Cleaning tennis shoes and athletic shoes without damaging them can be a real chore. This is a page to cleaning tennis and athletic shoes.



Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

February 16, 2016

Has the white leather on the edges of your tennis shoes turned dingy? I have found a simple way to successfully clean this. All you need is soap, water, and a battery powered toothbrush. Wet the toothbrush bristles, turn the brush on, and push the bristles against a wet bar of soap.

Scrub along the nooks and crannies of the leather carefully, rinsing the brush and scrubbing once more. Then wipe clean. Very easy and cheap! Here are the before and after photos. Amazing difference!

dirty shoes
Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 3
Read More Comments

April 23, 2013

I spray the tennis shoes with Shout laundry stain remover and rub off dirt with a rag. Then I take a water dampened rag, wipe shoes off and wipe dry.

Next, I polish over the shoes and the laces with white polish. I wipe off any excess with a dry rag and let the polish dry.

Comment Was this helpful? 2
Read More Comments

July 14, 2011

When trying to clean white tennis shoes in the washing machine, drop in one plain, regular aspirin tablet along with whatever detergent you wish to use. For some reason, the shoes will come out whiter.

Comment Was this helpful? 2

March 17, 2017

Soak the brush with water, brush it on the detergent and tap the tip on the baking soda then brush it. You can see the difference between brushing with detergent only and baking soda and detergent combined.

Better Way to Wash Shoes - two part photo of both methods

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 1

August 12, 2016

To keep your shoes white and clean use Soft Scrub bleach and an old towel to clean the white parts on the shoe. White rubber can get dirty really fast so you could do this as many times as you want, but make sure to clean all the dirt out of the cracks first so you don't get mud everywhere.

dirty white sole on shoe

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 228 Posts
September 18, 2007

You might faint from shock or horror, but I have had great luck cleaning leather runners with a steam cleaner. Just be careful not to let the dirt from the shoes blow onto the white sink like I did while steaming.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

October 7, 2004

Spray your new canvas shoes with spray starch (for ironing) to keep the dirt from settling in the fibers. Easier to clean, too.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

16 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 14, 2012

Black Jordan's athletic shoes.I messed up my SpaceJams, the 11s. They can't seem to get back that pretty shine. Surely someone knows hot to create a homemade cleaner to get back that shine on the leather part. Can you help me?

By Shawty


May 6, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hmm I do not know how to create a home care leather cleaner. However, when there are stains you may use white erasers and lightly erase the marks away.


If you want the leather to be back to its new condition, it is better to send it service at shoe cleaning stores.

or purchase a leather cleaning kit for leather handbags. I have lot of handbags and I use "apple care" leather creams. What I do is clean the targeted leather item, followed by moisturizer cream. It always makes my bag shine and look brand new again.

Put the cream on a piece of clean cotton cloth and rub onto the leathers gentles in circular motions.

Also please remember to do a small patch test on your shoes before applying the creams though.

Hope this helps. Good luck

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

September 24, 2006

Can you put new balance tennis shoes in the washing machine?

Barbara from Portland, Oregon

Answer this Question

June 26, 2009

I have black scuff marks on the side of the hard rubber soles of a pair of Nike Air Force Ones Tennis shoes. How do I get these scuff marks out!

By Ken from Camden, SC


June 26, 20090 found this helpful

First I would try an ordinary rubber eraser. If that did not do it; I would try a piece from a "Magic Eraser" sold for cleaning. One of those should do it.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 119 Feedbacks
June 27, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with what Jilson said. Try a pencil eraser or a Magic Eraser that is sold for cleaning.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

March 7, 2015

I got matte paint on my canvas trainers. Would any one know how I would get it out?

By Amanda


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
December 16, 20170 found this helpful

Removing Paint from Canvas Shoes

Step 1
Scrape off as much as possible

Step 2
Dampen stain to make fabric more pliable

Step 3
Apply detergent solution


Step 4
Rinse off

Step 5
If stain remains, use nail polish remover

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

November 6, 2012

I have a pair of Ryka (ryka-rocker) open-back tennis shoes. They are very light grey/taupe? Does anyone have any idea of how to clean them? I really don't want to wear them out anymore. I'm embarrassed. These shoes were so comfortable from the very start. I cannot afford to buy another pair now. These are not old, just a few months.

By dottie46 from southern IN


January 28, 20150 found this helpful

I have a pair of ryka canvas shoes that I occasionally machine wash on the delicate cycle in cold water. They came out very clean and held their shape well.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

April 25, 2012

Can you wash sneakers in HE washers?

By Gloria B

Answer this Question

September 4, 2007

How do you clean the jordan VI? I even tried suede cleaner but it just fades it out. How can I renew the suede? Can I dye it with suede dye?

Answer this Question

July 30, 2018

Tennis shoes can start to look scuffed and dirty but still have lots of wear in them. This is a page about repairing scuffed tennis shoes.

Scuffed pair of red canvas high top tennis shoes.

Read More... Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 24, 2006

After washing tennis shoes in the washing machine, STUFF them tightly with balled up newspaper to aid drying. The insides of the shoes will dry perfectly in a matter of hours without any weird smells.

By Nicole Steinc

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
Home and Garden Cleaning ClothingJuly 11, 2011
Summer Ideas!
Pest Control
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2023-07-15 13:59:50 in 2 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2023 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.