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Easy Hacks That Show How to Clean Stinky Running Shoes

Sonia Nair May 4, 2019
Regular use of running shoes may leave them stinky and dirty. This piece will provide you with some tips about cleaning your stinky running shoes.
We all know that shoes are prone to getting dirty and stinky if they are not cleaned on a regular basis. This is more applicable to running shoes, that are constantly exposed to sweat, dust and dirt.
Apart from getting dirty and stinky, these shoes are also susceptible to develop fungal or bacterial growth, as moisture gets trapped inside them. This may lead to skin infections like athlete's foot. So, regular maintenance is a must, if you want to keep them in good condition.

Cleaning Running Shoes

If you use your running shoes regularly, you must be well aware of the fact that these shoes get dirty and stinky very fast. As these shoes are expensive, it may not be possible for everyone to get a new pair, as and when the existing one gets dirty and stinky. So, it is always advisable to clean your running shoes at regular intervals.
However, such cleaning must be done in the proper way, if you don't want to damage them. You may resort to different methods, as per the condition of the shoes.

Tip 1

If your shoes are not dirty, but have an unpleasant odor, it is not necessary to wash them on the whole. Make a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and water. Spray this inside the shoes and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Dry the shoes in sunlight or use a blow dryer. You may also resort to air drying the cleaned shoes.
Placing some newspaper inside the shoes helps absorb moisture which in turn does not propagate growth of bacteria or fungi. Once done, put some baking soda inside them and let it sit overnight. You can remove the baking soda, the next morning.

Tip 2

Wash dirty and smelly running shoes. While some people use washing machines for this purpose, it is also said that the device may cause damage to some types of running shoes. So, immerse your shoes in a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. A mild bleach solution can be used for white running shoes or those colorfast ones.
If it is possible, remove the insoles and wash separately. Otherwise, wash the shoes with a soft brush and let it air dry. Insert some newspapers inside so that the moisture can be absorbed fast. Once dry, sprinkle some baking soda and keep it for a day, before using the shoes.

Tip 3

You may also use a hand-held steam machine for removing the unpleasant odor in shoes. Steam machines are mostly preferred for cleaning leather running shoes. If you want to remove the odor only, you may use some shoe sprays meant for the same. Even cat litter and charcoal can work wonders in removing odor from shoes.
All you have to do is to fill them in a cloth bag or socks, before inserting them into the shoes and keeping it overnight. While charcoal can absorb moisture, the clay in cat litter can absorb the odor.

How to Prevent Your Shoes From Getting Stinky

As mentioned, the right maintenance of your running shoes is necessary to prevent it from getting stinky and dirty. While dirt may get deposited with constant use, stink is something that can be prevented to some extent. This is because, in most cases, sweat is the main culprit behind the unpleasant odor from running shoes.
Now, let us take a look at how to prevent your shoes from stinking.
  • First of all, clean your feet with a good anti bacterial soap. You may also use a foot scrub brush for this purpose. Dirty feet can make your running shoes stinky and dirty.
  • You may take out the insoles and let it dry outside, every time you remove the shoes. This will considerably reduce the chances of your shoes getting smelly. It will be better to place the shoes in a cool and dry place with some amount of air circulation.
  • Try using dryer sheets for absorbing the sweat that is trapped inside. You may also use commercial shoe sprays, baking soda or baby powder, for this purpose.
  • If possible, buy two pairs of running shoes, so that you can use them alternately. This will give enough time for each pair to dry before the next use. Besides that, use good quality running socks.
To conclude, proper maintenance is all that is needed for keeping your running shoes fresh and clean. You may resort to any of the given methods for cleaning them, if they get dirty and smelly. However, it is always better to take some precautionary measures, so that your cleaning efforts can be reduced.