As a basketball enthusiast, you know how important it is to take care of your shoes. Not only do clean shoes look better on the court, but they also perform better and last longer.

However, with all the running, jumping, and sweating, it's no surprise that basketball shoes tend to get dirty quickly. That's why knowing how to clean them properly is essential.

In this blog post, we'll provide quick and easy tips on how to clean your basketball shoes so you can keep them in top condition.

What Is The Best Way to Clean Basketball Shoes?

The answer is straightforward- use a mild soap, cold water, and a soft-bristle brush. Avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, or putting them in the washer or dryer as this may damage the material and reduce the lifespan of the shoe.

The best way to clean basketball shoes will depend on the material they are made of. For example, you can use a mixture of water and gentle soap to clean the exterior of your shoes.

Additionally, you'll want to consider the specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer of your basketball shoes to ensure you're cleaning them in line with any recommended guidelines.

Is It OK to Wash Your Basketball Shoes?

Yes, it is generally OK to wash your basketball shoes. However, you'll want to be careful about the method used for washing them. For instance, you should avoid putting your shoes in the washing machine as this can cause damage to the shoe's material.

Instead, you can hand wash them using a soft-bristled brush and your cleaning solution of choice. Alternatively, you could use a shoe-cleaning kit that includes a specialized cleaning solution, brush and other tools specifically designed for the job.

Avoid washing your basketball shoes frequently as it may wear down the material and the glue that holds it together. Instead, wipe off any dirt or dust right after use, and deep clean them once every few weeks, depending on how often you play.

How Do You Get Sweat Out of Basketball Shoes?

Sweat and moisture can cause a foul smell in your shoes. To get rid of the smell, sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch inside the shoes, let it sit overnight, then tap out the residue.

Additionally, you can insert a dry tea bag or activated charcoal bag inside your shoes to absorb any remaining odor.

Also, a good way to remove sweat buildup on your basketball shoes is to create a mix of water and vinegar. Apply this mixture to a soft cloth, then use the cloth to wipe down the shoe's interior.

This will help to neutralize the odor and prevent any potential bacteria buildup. If you're looking for a quicker fix, you could also try using deodorizing sprays specifically designed for shoes.

The Importance of Keeping Your Basketball Shoes Clean

Not only do clean basketball shoes look better, but they also play better. The dirt, sweat, and grime that accumulates on your shoes can actually impact their performance.

For example, it can cause the traction to decrease, which can affect your ability to make quick cuts or grip the court properly.

Additionally, keeping your shoes clean can help to extend their lifespan and save you money over time.

Gathering Your Cleaning Supplies: What You Will Need

To clean your basketball shoes, you will need some essential cleaning materials. These include a soft-bristle brush, mild soap or solution, a clean cloth, a toothbrush, baking soda or cornstarch, and paper towels.

First and foremost, you'll want to ensure you have a gentle cleaning solution, such as a mixture of water and soap.

Additionally, you'll need a soft-bristled brush and a toothbrush for scrubbing the shoes, a microfiber cloth for wiping them down, and potentially some baking soda, cornstarch, or deodorizing spray for fighting odors.

Finally, you will need a drying rack, or some paper towels, to dry them after cleaning.

Step-By-Step Guide: How to Clean the Exterior of Your Basketball Shoes

1. Remove any loose dirt from the exterior of the shoes, using a soft-bristled brush.

2. Prepare a mixture of water and soap and apply it evenly to the surface of the shoes.

3. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently work the solution into any spots or stains on the shoes.

4. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the entire surface of the shoes, ensuring all soap residue is removed.

5. Allow the shoes to dry completely before wearing them again.

Special Attention: Cleaning White Soles

White soles on basketball shoes can be a nightmare to keep clean. One solution is to regularly apply a cleaning product specifically designed for white soles.

Another option is to use a high-quality eraser to scrub away any dirt or grime buildup. If the soles are extremely dirty, you could try using a mixture of baking soda and warm water to create a paste to scrub on the soles, followed by a thorough rinse with clean water.

How to Clean the Interior of Your Basketball Shoes: Fighting Odors

To fight odors and sweat buildup on the interior of your basketball shoes, you can create a water and vinegar mixture and use a soft cloth to wipe down the inside of the shoes.

Additionally, you could sprinkle some baking soda or utilize a few drops of essential oil on the interior to temporarily mask any lingering odor.

Tips for Removing Tough Stains from Your Basketball Shoes

If you're dealing with tough stains on your basketball shoes, you could try using some more powerful cleaning solutions.

Apply some hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol onto a cloth and rub the affected area until the stain diminishes. Be sure to wash off any remaining solution to prevent damage to the shoe's material.

Be sure to spot-test a small area of the shoe first, and use these solutions sparingly, to avoid damaging the material.

How to Clean Leather Basketball Shoes Without Damaging Them

Leather basketball shoes require extra care when cleaning to prevent damage. Use a soft-bristle brush and mild soap to clean the leather surface. Then wipe off any soap residue with a damp cloth and let them air dry.

Additionally, you can use a specialized leather cleaning spray or gentle detergent to help clean and maintain the material.

Lastly, apply a leather conditioner to the entire shoe to restore the shine and prevent cracks.

Drying Your Basketball Shoes Properly: Do's and Don'ts

When drying your basketball shoes, there are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind. First, avoid using direct heat sources such as hair dryers or heaters, as this can damage the material.

Instead, opt for air drying or using a fan on a low setting. Second, avoid stuffing the shoes with anything to dry them, as this can cause them to lose their shape.

Third, be patient and allow the shoes to dry completely, which can take up to 24 hours, before using them again.

Maintaining Your Basketball Shoes: Regular Cleaning Tips

To maintain your basketball shoes in top condition, it's essential to clean them regularly. A good rule of thumb is to clean them every 10-15 uses, or whenever they become noticeably dirty.

Additionally, storing your shoes properly, such as in a cool, dry place, can help to prevent mold, mildew, and odors from developing.

Lastly, make it a habit to wipe off any dirt or dust after each use to prevent buildup.


Keeping your basketball shoes clean doesn't have to be a difficult task. With the right cleaning supplies and techniques, you can maintain your shoes in such a way that they always look and perform their best.

Remember to be gentle with your shoes, avoid using harsh chemicals, and consult the manufacturer's care instructions where possible.

By following our quick and easy tips on how to clean basketball shoes, you'll be able to enjoy your favorite sport with the confidence that your shoes are always in top condition.

If you're looking for new basketball shoes, check out our top picks! We've done the legwork to guarantee you the best products on the market.

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