How to Clean Used Shoes?

If you’re a clean freak, you’ll know by heart that it is very important to keep your shoes clean after each use as it can be a carrier of different types of gunk, dirt, and bacteria from your walk outside.

Before storing your shoes you must thoroughly clean it to make sure you are not bringing dirt inside your home. It might have rained outside, or you went by the beach or ran through the park, strolled inside a mall, or even went on a hiking trip.

The soles of your shoes will get stuck with tar of different types and different intensities. The inside of your shoes is as important as the outside too. You might not think of it as dirty if it does not smell, but a buildup of bacteria might happen if the inside of your shoes is not cleaned regularly. It can accumulate sweat and dirt that the naked eye cannot see.

Aside from spraying or putting on deodorant for your shoes, it is not enough to just keep it smelling fresh but to keep it clean as well.


The soles of shoes are the dirtiest part of a shoe. It is important to clean the soles regularly not just to avoid dirt coming into your shoe rack and keeping bacteria and disgusting materials from sticking elsewhere but also to keep your shoes fresh and safe to you.

Cleaning the soles will renew its traction and will prevent it from being slippery or too sticky and will prolong its life by preventing decomposing materials from wrecking your favorite shoe.

Here are the steps for cleaning the sole:

  1. If your sole is wet or has wet tar stuck on it, let it dry out first. This will make the tar dry and brittle for easy chip off.
  2. Use a blunt knife or a scraper to chip off big chunks of tar.
  3. Use a brush with stiff bristles to brush off the remaining stubborn tars.
  4. Grab a hose and continue to rinse and scrub until all of the tar is cleaned.


If the tar got onto the top of your shoes here are the steps you need to do:

  1. Remove the insoles/liners and anything removable inside of your shoes.
  2. Remove the laces and put them in a mesh laundry bag for separate cleaning.
  3. Gently scrub off dust and dirt from the uppers. Being gentle is important so no fiber will be worn out when cleaning.
  4. Scrub again with soapy water.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Reminder: Do not put your shoes in the laundry as it might damage your shoes. Always hand wash them!


As mentioned earlier, insoles absorb sweat and can develop odor-causing bacteria. It is important to clean this even though you are not smelling anything bad yet.

You have the option to clean your insoles with mild soap or baking soda, or vinegar and water mixture.

  1. Scrub your insoles with the cleaning agent of your choice.
  2. Rinse with clean water.
  3. Air dry.


After cleaning your shoes it is important to dry them properly to ensure that your shoes are not absorbing the moisture that can cause bacteria and molds or even ruin your shoes.

  1. Place your shoes in a place that has a mild temperature and low humidity.
  2. Use a fan directly on the shoes for quicker drying.
  3. Stuff your shoes with a towel and change them as they become damp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.