cleaning basketball shoes

How To Clean Basketball Shoes? (Even The White Ones)

There’s no single doubt that basketball shoes are one of the most critical gears for any basketball player. They facilitate your comfort and performance in the court. A good pair can even boost your confidence as you play in the court.

That being said, it’s easy for your basketball shoes to get dirty with every wear.

But cleaning them on a regular basis is all you need to show them some love, maintain their good looks and shape, and ensure they meet your comfort and performance needs.

In this post, you’ll discover an easy-easy method of cleaning your basketball shoes at home (including the white ones).

How To Clean Your Basketball Shoes:

Step 1: The first thing you need before cleaning your shoes is removing any dirt, mud or debris that might have stuck on its surface. Use a shoe brush or stiff-bristled to help you effectively remove the dirt. If the mud is still moist, you can use a soft and slightly dampened cloth.

Step 2: Once you’ve removed all the dirt from the surfaces, prepare a mixture of warm water plus a few drops of mild detergent, like your dish soap. Apply a small amount of this detergent on a soft cloth or sponge (don’t soak the cloth/sponge), and use it to wipe your shoes thoroughly.

Avoid using harsh cleaners or abrasive detergents for this job as they can degrade the shoe quality. Also, keep off cleaners with scents or softeners since they can leave a greasy residue on your shoe sole, affecting its traction.

TIP: remove the shoelaces to make it easier for you to clean all the areas of your shoes (you can wash them separately with the same solution)

Step 3: Now remove the insoles/inserts and wash them with the same water plus detergent mixture.

TIP: you can sprinkle a bit of baking soda on your insoles before putting them back on the shoes for odor control. Only reinsert the inner soles when they’re completely dry to prevent your shoes from being smelly when you next wear them.

Step 4: Now grab another piece of cloth or sponge and dip in a bowl of plain water to make it damp. Use it to rinse off any excess soap off your shoe surfaces as well as the insoles.

Step 5: Finally, set the shoes and the inserts in a warm, airy spot to allow them to air dry. DON’T make the mistake of drying your shoes in direct sunlight or drying them with a hairdryer, cloth dryer, and other heat sources. This practice can cause your shoes to shrink, crack, and lose their shape.

Just let your shoes air dry at room temperature!

What About White Basketball Shoes?

If you’re cleaning white basketball shoes, you’re likely to deal with stubborn stains that just won’t get away no matter hard you try.

Don’t you worry though…

There’s a secret to easily getting rid of any stains and making your shoes as white as snow as snow.

The secret is:

  • Add a dab of white (plain white) toothpaste in your cleaning solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
  • Use the resulting mixture to clean your white shoes. You’ll like how this magical solution makes stains disappear and helps your white shoe become as bright as new!
  • Remember to wipe off any excess solution on the shoe surfaces with a clean, damp cloth. And the allow the shoes to air dry.

Should You Clean Your Shoes In The Washer?

There has been an ongoing debate on whether it’s safe to clean your shoes in a machine wash.

In most cases, you’re advised against putting your shoes in the washer since it’ll be too harsh on them and can easily discolor or even damage them.

But again, your basketball shoes can survive 1-2 cycles in the machine. However, this will still be risky, and there’s no guarantee that the shoes will come out “alive” and clean.

We suggest that you don’t use a washer if you own high-value shoes, say a pair of Jordans. The risk isn’t worth it!

For a cheaper pair that you’re not really attached to, you might consider tossing it in your machine. And if you decide to do that, here are a few things to observe:

  • Use the gentle wash cycle with low spin
  • Throwing in a few towels together with your shoes will also help your inner machine drum again the shoes
  • Ensure you remove the shoelace and inner soles before you place the shoes in the machine.
  • Choose to air dry the shoes over the dryer

Extra Tips For Keeping Your Basketball Shoes Clean

Before we close our basketball shoes cleaning guide, allow us to share a few more tips on keeping your shoes clean and in good shape for longer:

  • Clean your shoes after every wear. The faster you clean any new stains, dirt, grime, etc., on your shoes the easier the job will be for you.
  • Avoid leaving your shoes in the gym bag for a long time to prevent them losing their shape or buildup of odor. The best way to store them is to place them in open room or close with good airflow
  • Using a shoe deodorizer is an excellent way to keep your shoes fresh at all times
  • Only wear your basketball shoes when inside the court
  • If you’re an avid basketball player, owning several pairs of shoes is highly recommended. This will help you rotate them between games, giving each pair enough time to dry

Final Verdict

Basketball shoes significantly enhance your comfort and performance as you move in the court, making them one of the most crucial basketball gear. For this reason, the shoes deserve proper care to ensure they stay in good shape and continue severing you for longer.

Follow our simple steps above on how to clean your basketball shoes. Remember to clean them after every wear, especially if you’re a serious player.

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