Have you recently finished a muddy race and your shoes are now covered in mud, both inside and outside? Or perhaps you went for a run after a rainy day and ended up splashing through many puddles? This article will show you how to clean your dirty shoes quickly, so you can get back to running on clean ground.
Table of Contents
1. Put your dirty shoes in a plastic bag until you’re back home
Unless you want to deal with the time-consuming and sometimes frustrating task of cleaning muddy stains from your car seats, it’s a good idea to take a moment and use this practical method: put your muddy shoes into a shopping bag or a trash bag before you step into your car. This small but effective step helps you keep the mess isolated and maintains the cleanliness of your car interior, saving you both time and effort in the long run.
2. Be patient until the mud becomes hard.
You might want to clean your muddy shoes immediately, but attempting to wipe off the mud before it dries can make your shoes look worse. Instead, put your shoes in a warm and dry place, preferably outside in the sunlight. This will help the mud dry and make it easier to clean later.
- Avoid placing shoes near a heater or any hot source as it can change their shape.
- If it’s damp, use a household fan to dry your shoes. You can do this in two ways:
- a. Put the shoes on a towel or a plastic tray with the shoe’s opening facing the fan. This allows the air to go inside the shoe.
- b. Use an over-the-door hook or an “S” shaped hook to hang your shoes directly on the front of the fan.
- Don’t leave your shoes outside overnight because they will become damp again.
3. Give your shoes a good tap on a hard surface to get rid of the dried mud.
The mud will break and fall apart, and you should be able to remove most of it from your shoe.
If you manage to put on your shoes, tapping or shaking your feet can help shake off the mud from the outside. But, if your shoes are caked with dried mud, you might not even be able to wear them.
4. Clean the shoe by gently rubbing it with a dry paper towel.
A damp paper towel might push the dirt into your shoes and leave a mark. But a dry paper towel can get rid of the tiny, dusty dirt that’s left after the big pieces have fallen off.
5. Take off the shoe laces and insoles (if you can).
Removing the laces from your shoes serves a useful purpose. By doing so, you can gently lift the tongue of the shoe and expand its opening, which makes it more convenient to access those challenging-to-reach areas when you’re cleaning them. This process is especially handy when you need to get rid of dirt or grime that has become trapped under the shoe’s insoles. If you leave this dirt unattended, it can lead to unpleasant consequences, such as a moldy and foul-smelling shoes.
- Occasionally, you can’t take out the shoe insert without causing damage.
- If that happens, it’s better to keep them inside and clean them as best you can.
- If your shoelaces are stubbornly tangled and won’t come undone, you can simply cut them.
- Then, you can purchase a fresh pair of laces at a shoe store.
6. Gently clean your shoes using a soft toothbrush.
Give your shoes a thorough cleaning, both on the outside and inside, using a mixture of water and just a few drops of dish detergent. Be meticulous in your cleaning, reaching into every nook and cranny where mud might be hiding. This will ensure your shoes are spick and span, both in and out.
- Use a dry cloth or paper towel to remove the dirty water as you clean.
- If you don’t have a spare toothbrush (not the one you use for your teeth), you can use a nail brush or a shoe polishing brush.
- If you took out any removable parts, remember to clean those too.
7. Wash your dirty shoes in the washing machine
It’s not something you should do frequently – it’s better to clean your shoes by brushing them when possible. But when you’ve been on a muddy run, you might need the washing machine’s power to fully clean your shoes. To avoid any harm to your shoes or the washing machine, you can wash them together with towels or sheets. Just keep in mind that those other items might need a second wash afterward.
- Clean the shoes using cold water.
- Use the gentle or delicate setting on your washing machine.
- You can also wash the shoe inserts separately, but take them out of the shoes first.
8. Allow your shoes to air dry
Put some newspaper or paper towels inside your wet shoes. This helps soak up the moisture. Just like before, it’s best to leave your shoes out in the sun for a while. Don’t leave them outside overnight, and don’t place them near a heater or in the dryer. Putting shoes near heat can damage them and the dryer too.
- Your shoes will likely be dry in approximately 12 hours.
- If you really want to use the dryer, here’s a safer method:
- Re-lace your shoes and tie the laces to a heavy object.
- Hang the laces over the dryer door, with the weight outside, and shut the door.
- This should prevent your shoes from bouncing around.
- Alternatively, you can place each shoe inside a pillowcase to dry them.
9. Remove shoe odors by adding baking soda.
Even though your shoes might seem clean, there could be a hidden bad smell. You can fix this by putting a bit of baking soda in your shoes and leaving them for a few hours. The smell should disappear.
Ensure you remove the baking soda completely from your shoes before wearing them again. You can do this by tapping them upside-down or by using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment.
Remove shoe odors by adding baking soda.