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Because there’s no better time for self-care, and shoe-care. Here’s how to clean your sneakers at home the right way.

As we’re (hopefully) all doing our part in flattening the curve by staying home and practicing social distancing during this global pandemic, it’s a great opportunity to really reconnect with ourselves and also catch up on all the things we said we would do but were too busy/distracted to.

In a world where almost everybody has a sneaker collection, we thought there may be no better time to take them out for a thorough cleaning, so we’ve put together a simple guide to how you can clean your sneakers. Scroll down to learn how to refresh your favorite kicks.

1. Brush off dust and dirt


After knocking your shoes to release dirt, use a brush to scrub off any stains and scuffs on the surface. There are different types of brushes on the market that cater to specific types of materials from canvas to leather. If yours are in suede, Timberland offers suede eraser for stains and a special brush for reviving the surface.

2. Wipe and rub to rid stains

For more stubborn stains, use a microfibre towel and start rubbing to help lift it up. Alternatively, you can also use quick wipes, such as these ones by Sneaker Lab or those by Crep Protect, which you should also keep in your bag/wallet for easy cleaning on-the-go.

3. Deep clean with soap

If your sneakers require further attention, dip your shoes into a bowl of hot water, then add shoe-cleaning solution to your brush and start scrubbing back and forth gently in a circular motion. Use a clean toothbrush for hard-to-reach places. Work up a lather so that the solution can get to work, breaking down the dirt and stains. Helios is a star favourite of most sneakerheads, but if you have a wide range of materials such as suede, try Timberland’s Renewbuck, a gentle shoe cleaner.

Again, be mindful that you’re using different brushes for specific parts of your shoes. While a medium brush can be applied on all parts of your shoes in most types of materials from leather to nubuck and rubber, hard brushes should be kept only for the soles, and use soft-bristle brushes for more delicate surfaces such as suede and Flyknit. Helios’ sneaker kit comes with every tool you need.

4. Wipe out excess and leave to dry

Remove excess soap with a microfibre towel, reapply soap and hot water and scrub again when necessary. For white canvas sneakers and white soles, apply non-gel whitening toothpaste with a clean, old toothbrush and leave it for 10 minutes for porcelain white results. Air dry your sneakers overnight.

5. Laces

Though you can clean your laces by throwing them into the washing machine or scrub it with brush and cleaning solution, it’s much easier to purchase a fresh new pair of new laces, which will instantly breathe new life into your favourite kicks.

6. Weatherproof

Shield your sneakers from moisture and stains by coating them in weatherproofing spray. Puma’s Rain and Stain Repellent is a recommended choice for longterm protection, while Sneaker Lab Sneaker Protector Cleaner has a better smell and works with a wider range of fabrics which makes it a popular choice. No matter which brand you go for, remember to always follow instructions on the bottle.

7. Proper storage

Image: Courtesy crepprotect/Instagram

Cedar shoe trees are not only for formal leather shoes, they also work great for sneakers to maintain the shape and absorb moisture after a day of wear. Be sure to choose ones with a slightly round toe and a metal spring design, ensuring a better fit for different kinds of kicks in your collection.

All images: Courtesy brands & Getty Images

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong 

Staff Writer