How to Clean Cleats: Step-By-Step Guide

how to clean cleats

Whether you’re a soccer enthusiast, a football player, a baseball player, or engaged in any sport that requires cleats, maintaining the cleanliness and condition of your cleats is essential not only for your performance but also for their longevity. Dirty cleats can affect your grip on the ground and can become uncomfortable over time. This guide will walk you through the steps to effectively clean your cleats, ensuring they remain in top condition for your next game.

Materials Needed

Before you start the cleaning process, make sure you have the following materials:

  • A soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush
  • A cloth or sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Mild soap or a specialized cleat cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Newspaper or paper towels
  • Optional: Leather conditioner (for leather cleats)

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

1. Preparation

Remove any loose dirt or mud from your cleats by gently tapping them together. It’s easier to remove dried mud, so if your cleats are extremely muddy, let them dry before you start cleaning.

2. Dry Brushing

Using a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush, carefully brush away the remaining dirt. Pay special attention to the crevices and hard-to-reach areas. Dry brushing helps to remove debris that can scratch or damage the cleats during the washing process.

3. Washing

Create a cleaning solution by mixing mild soap with warm water. Dip your cloth or sponge into the solution and wring out excess water. Gently clean the surface of your cleats. For stubborn stains or dirt, you may need to gently scrub with a brush. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives that can damage the cleat material.

4. Rinsing

Wipe your cleats with a damp cloth to remove any soap residue. Ensure the cloth is just wet enough to clean off the soap without soaking the cleats.

5. Drying

Stuff your cleats with newspaper or paper towels to absorb moisture from the inside. This also helps maintain their shape as they dry. Allow your cleats to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources, which can cause them to warp or crack.

6. Conditioning (For Leather Cleats)

Once your leather cleats are dry, apply a leather conditioner to keep them soft and prevent cracking. Follow the instructions on the conditioner for the best results.

How To Wash Shoelaces?

  1. Remove the Laces: Start by unlacing your shoes to remove the shoelaces completely. This makes them easier to clean and ensures you won’t miss any dirt hidden by the eyelets.
  2. Pre-treat Stains (Optional): If your laces are particularly stained, consider pre-treating them with a stain remover or soaking them in a mixture of water and a bit of laundry detergent for a few hours. Gentle rubbing at the stains with an old toothbrush can help loosen them.
  3. Hand Washing: Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild laundry detergent. Submerge the shoelaces in the mixture, and gently rub them together or against themselves to work out the dirt. For stubborn stains, you may use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub gently.
  4. Machine Washing: If you prefer, you can also wash shoelaces in a washing machine. Place them in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase tied off at the end to prevent them from tangling or getting caught in the machine. Use a gentle cycle with cold water and a small amount of detergent.
  5. Rinsing: After washing, thoroughly rinse the shoelaces in clean, cold water to remove any soap residue.
  6. Drying: Squeeze out any excess water gently. Then, hang the shoelaces to air dry completely before relacing them into your shoes. Avoid using a dryer as the high heat can damage the material or cause shrinkage.

3 Best Cleat/Shoe Cleaners

1) Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit

shoe cleaner

A safe concentrate with saddle soap, gentle oils, and conditioners. It works on all washable materials like leather, vinyl, nubuck, suede, canvas, cloth, etc. Being non-toxic, it has endless uses. Plus, a little goes a long way due to its concentrated formula (size of a dime). Brush included.

2) Shoe MGK

Shoe MGK cleat cleaner

Versatile cleaning power for all footwear types! Includes Cleaner, Conditioner, and a Cleaning Brush. Great value for the price.

3) Simple Life

Simple Life shoe cleaner

A solid shoe care kit comes with a preloaded deep cleaning solution, a gentle bristle shoe cleaner brush, and a microfiber towel. It also features an instant foam shoe cleaner formula that fights tough stains without harsh chemicals or abrasives.

How To Clean Your Smelly Cleats?

Air Them Out:

After using, immediately take your cleats out of your bag, undo the laces, and open them up as much as possible. Place them in a well-ventilated area or outside to allow them to air out. Avoid direct sunlight which can damage some materials.

Dry Them Out:

If your cleats are wet, stuffing them with newspaper or paper towels can help absorb moisture. Replace the stuffing a few times until the cleats are dry. Avoid using heat sources like hair dryers as they can damage the cleats.

Clean the Exterior:

Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt and debris. For more stubborn spots, a mixture of mild soap and water can be used. Wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove any soap residue afterwards.


Baking soda is a great natural deodorizer. Sprinkle a generous amount inside your cleats and let it sit overnight. In the morning, dump out the baking soda.

Alternatively, commercially available shoe deodorizers or odor-eliminating sprays can be used according to the product instructions.

Wash Them:

If your cleats are particularly smelly, you might need to wash them. Check the manufacturer’s instructions first as not all cleats are machine washable. If you do wash them, use cold water, a gentle cycle, and air dry them thoroughly afterward.


To kill bacteria and fungus that might be causing the odor, consider using a shoe sanitizer spray. There are products designed specifically for this purpose.

Additional Tips

  • Never Machine Wash or Dry: Washing machines and dryers can damage the structure and material of your cleats, shortening their lifespan.
  • Frequent Light Cleaning: It’s easier to maintain your cleats by cleaning them lightly after each use instead of waiting for the dirt to accumulate.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your cleats are always in prime condition, offering you the best performance during your games. Regular maintenance not only extends the life of your cleats but also plays a crucial role in your comfort and safety on the field.

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