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How to Clean Skate Shoes: So Clean That You Can Eat off It!

how to clean skate shoes
Written by Brian G Smith

Whenever your skate shoes get dirty, you can’t just go buy a new pair. The easiest fix is to give your old pair a new look, which is not as tricky as you might think. The cleaning methods are actually quite easy, that anyone can try.

Follow this guide and you’ll be good to go in no time.

How To Clean Skate Shoes? – Cleaning Techniques

how to clean your skate shoes

General/Quick Cleaning

This is a quick method –

  1. Remove the dirt. Don’t soak the shoes because water will make the dirt or grime paste-like, which is difficult to remove. Furthermore, if the shoes are wet, air dries them.
  2. Secondly, hold one shoe in each hand and clap them together to remove the dirt. Clean the remaining dirt stuck in the sole’s pattern with a brush (old toothbrush/bristled shoe brush).
  3. Make a frothing mixture of 1-2 tablespoon detergent (dish or laundry) and water.
  4. Dip the brush in the mixture. Then, brush it against the shoe’s surface.
  5. Lastly, rinse the shoes with warm water to remove the detergent, and use a towel or a fan to dry them.

Cleaning in a Washing Machine

This is one of the easiest ways, but it’s not recommended as it can reduce the quality of your shoes e.g., decolorization.

  1. Remove the dirt as recommended in the above-mentioned method. If you put them directly without cleaning first, it might destroy your machine.
  2. Remove your shoelaces and insole before cleaning.
  3. Add one tablespoon detergent. Switch off the spin cycle of the machine, or reduce the speed. Water temperature should not cross the 40°C mark.
  4. The machine will remove mud, grime, and stains from the shoes.
  5. Lastly, dry the shoes with a towel or fan.

Cleaning the White Strip

The white strip is one of the most eye-catching parts of the shoes.

  1. There are plenty of cleaners that you can use to wipe the stains from the white strip like bleach, window cleaner, rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, lemon juice, or water-detergent
  2. Cover the part of the canvas attached along the white strip with any masking tape: to save it from cleanser’s damage.
  3. Now, dip a brush in the cleaner and rub it along the white strip.
  4. Once it’s cleaned, wipe the strips with paper or kitchen towel and then slightly clean it with fresh water to get spotless strips.

Cleaning Leather or Suede Vans

How To Clean Skate Shoes

These are widely popular among skateboarders and have a long life, so require proper cleansing.

  • For leather vans, use a shoe brush to clean the grime of the shoe’s surface. Then, use a footwear cleaning gel with a synthetic brush. Be careful and don’t let them touch the water: use a waterproof spray to clean. Dry the pair in the open for 24 hours.
  • For suede vans, use a soft suede brush to wipe off the dirt. Furthermore, for dark stains, either use water and white vinegar mixture, or a suede cleaner. Use the mixture with a cloth or toothbrush to wipe out the stains; then, air dry the pair.

Cleaning Canvas and Synthetics

Their cleaning methods are different than for the normal skateboard shoes; you can’t just put them in the washing machine and clean.

  1. Apply an enzymatic or any other stain remover to a stained area with a brush, and leave it for some time.
  2. Put them in a pillowcase cover. Remove the shoelaces and insole, and put them in the same pillowcase if you want to clean them too.
  3. Place the cover in a washing machine with a gentle spin cycle using normal water.
  4. Add one tablespoon mild detergent. When cleaned, don’t put them in a dryer or under the sun, just air dry them.

After Wash Care

After washing the shoes with the utmost care, the next step is to dry them up.

  • Air dry: this is the most recommended way of drying, because it’s harmless for the shoe’s material, and helps maintain the quality as well.
  • For leather and suede shoes, there are plenty of products like magic erasers to clean the shoes while keeping them dry. You can use a simple toothbrush gently instead of putting them in the washing machine.

Risks and Mistakes

Refrain from following experimental risks and mistakes:

  1. Bleaching is one of the irreversible mistakes as it will turn the white strip pale and destroy the canvas. If you still want to try it, mix a small amount of bleach with five times more water.
  2. Dumping your shoes in a washing machine is risky. All well-known brands prohibit the use of washing machines. If you still wish to use them, use a gentle spin cycle and cold/mild hot water.
  3. It’s a huge mistake to dry your shoes in the sun or a dryer. These methods destroy the shoe’s color and material; so, don’t take this risk and try air dry.


These cleaning methods will make your shoes look incredible and give a new look as if unpacked today. Out of these several incredible options to clean your shoes, try one today and tell us in the comments below which method you liked the most.


1. How to reduce shoe odor?

Ans. There are some fixes available:

  • Keep almost five teabags inside the shoes overnight.
  • Sprinkle baby powder inside, and wrap them in a bag. Then, place in the freezer overnight.

2. My feet hurt after using for 2-3 months. What’s wrong with my shoes?

Ans. Try replacing the insoles or the shoe padding. The padding can die out because of its soft material. So, if you get rid of the problem, that’s great; otherwise, buy a new pair of shoes.

3. How to clean my insoles well?

Ans. Make a frothing mixture of water and detergent; then, scrub the insole in a circular motion with a brush, and the stains will fade. Then, clean it with simple water and air dry.

4. When is it the time to get a new pair of sneakers?

Ans. Check certain things before dumping your shoes: the padding, upper portion (canvas), and sole. If these are fine, that’s perfect! Otherwise, it’s time for a new pair.

5. What if my shoes are still dirty after cleaning?

Ans. If your shoes are dirty even after cleaning, you might have dragged them for quite long when they were dirty, and their lifespan’s over now. It’s time to get a new pair.

About the author

Brian G Smith

“Hey, are you out of your mind?” - this is what I often hear when people see me performing some really dangerous stunts. While most people use scooters to commute, I use mine to hone my stunting skills. Yes, that’s me, Brian Smith. I’ve a small group of like-minded people in my team that love to do all sorts of stunts with their kick scooters and skateboards. My fans also ask me to teach them a thing or two every now and then. This is why I am here. In my leisure time, I like to write about what I do with my scooters and what I am going to do next. One thing I want to say to all my fans - Don’t hit the streets without proper information and training..

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