How To Clean Basketball Shoes

How to Clean Basketball Shoes?

Basketball is quite a physical game which requires a pair of good shoes to play in, which take care of your feet. As hard as you play on the court, the same hard work is done by your shoes to provide your feet the comfort and protection. So those shoes need care for themselves as well. If you play outdoor, your shoes need to be sturdier. Also check our article of 10 best outdoor basketball shoes. The care for the shoes is just keeping them clean and storing them at appropriate places. Taking proper care of the shoes will definitely prolong their life and can save you money. There are some techniques and tips regarding how to clean your basketball shoes that I need to discuss with you so that you can take proper care of your shoes that they deserve.

Materials used on basketball shoes:

Different types of materials are used on basketball shoes. Main thing to achieve is that the shoes are durable and lightweight. Synthetic leather, mesh, knit, canvas are some of the materials used. Soles are made of rubber. Use the cleaning method appropriately according to the shoe material delicacy so that your shoes are not damaged during cleaning.

Complete Process of Cleaning:

You should be doing mild cleaning of the shoes after almost every wear but also you should clean them thoroughly after a number of wears in order to remove any odour or the stains that the shoes have caught. The whole process is given below:

  1. Remove the shoe laces and insoles first and soak the insoles in a solution of vinegar and water to remove odours. Shoe laces can be washed in a washing machine or by hand with detergent or soap.
  2. Clean the shoes with a dry stiff brush to remove dust and debris. Use a slightly wet cloth for wet mud. Clean the soles specially to see if anything like small rocks or debris are stuck. Remove them with a stick. Clean all the grooves for any attracted debris.
  3. After that, you should make a solution of a light and mild detergent like dish soap in water preferably warm. Use a soft piece of cloth, make it damp with the solution of detergent made and wipe your shoes with it gently. Avoid scrubbing very hard or using a rough cloth as it can damage the shoes. You can also wash the insoles in this solution if you do not want to make vinegar solution. Avoid using any strong detergents or detergents with scents or softeners as they can leave a greasy residue decreasing the efficiency of the traction.
  4. Take another piece of cloth or a sponge, wet it with clean water and rinse of the detergent with it. Keep on doing it until all the soap or detergent on the shoes have been removed.
  5. Reassemble the shoes by placing the laces and the insoles back. You can also sprinkle some baking soda on insoles while putting it back to avoid it from developing odour.
  6. Lastly place your shoes in a place with good airflow for them to dry. Avoid them exposing to direct sunlight or any kind of dryers or heaters. Just let them dry on their own.
  7. After they are dried, store them in a proper place so that they remain in shape.

Removing hard stains:

Sometimes the stains become hard to remove. If you encounter such stains, use the same solution and use a toothbrush to gently scrub it until they are gone. Do not try to scrub hard as it will damage them. It is better to have a little stain than to destroy your shoes while cleaning it.

Cleaning of White Basketball Shoes:

If your shoes are white then your shoes are more prone to stains and getting dirty. For white shoes, you can use the same cleaning solution with the addition of a small amount of white toothpaste. This solution will greatly help in restoring the brightness of white shoes and removing stains. Do not forget to rinse the solution with clean wet cloth. White shoes look good but need extra effort in cleaning.

Tips for the grip of the shoes:

Basketball shoes can lose their grip with time. Main reason is accumulation of mud and dust. You should definitely clean the soles of the shoes after a few wears with a hard brush. Remove all debris and wipe with clean water. If you play on dusty courts you should wipe them after every time you play. Some shoes’ traction attracts more dust due to narrow spaces in grooves, they also need to be cleaned regularly.  It’s better to get shoes that have good traction and do not pick dust easily. Check our 10 best shoes with traction. Applying some kinds of grip lotions can help too.

Washing the shoes in washing machine (don’t do it please):

Many people ask the question of whether to wash basketball shoes in a wah=shing machine or not. My advice for you is that please don’t do it. Washing in the washing machine can be too harsh for the shoes. It can damage them greatly. Some shoes may come out of the washing machine undamaged but it is not a good idea to test them in this way. A very few manufacturers allow the use of washing machine, if your shoe manufacturer does so, it is still not a good idea.If you want to experiment on your shoes, we have a list of best basketball shoes under $100 which are best for playing and also if you damage them, you may not regret it much.

Other Tips for the hygiene of your basketball shoes:

I have written some extra tips for the good appearance, hygiene and protection of basketball shoes. Following them may help you a lot.

  1. The shoes should be cleaned after wearing them each time. In this way, dust will not accumulate and if your shoes are dirty, you can clean the stains before they get hard and difficult to remove.
  2. Wear basketball shoes only while playing on the court. Using them casually or for other purposes will result in deterioration of their appearance.
  3. A deodorizer can help in eliminating shoe odour and keep them fresh every time.
  4. If you are a frequent or a professional player of basketball then you should have more than 1 pair of basketball shoes so that you can use them in rotation and one pair will have enough time for drying of sweat and removal of odour
  5. The shoes should be placed in a place with good airflow or in open but not under direct sunlight. Keeping them in bags for a long time can make them develop odour and lose shape

Some things to avoid:

Along with these things that I told you to do for cleaning shoes, there are some things that you should avoid in order to make your shoes remain in shape.

  1. Do not put the shoes in washing machine for cleaning and not in dryer either
  2. Try to avoid common laundry detergents as they are strong and can damage your shoe
  3. Do not use any heater or hair dryer to dry the shoes. Always air dry your shoes. Using heaters etc. can damage the soles
  4. Avoid using bleach or alcohol on the shoes


So, these were some tips for you to clean your basketball shoes so that their life can be prolonged. Keeping the shoes clean, odourless and in shape will help you in saving money as you will not need to buy shoes for a long time if you take care of them. Give the shoe what it needs and it will surely give you what you need. Save your investment on your shoes by cleaning and caring for them.

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