Are your favorite pair of mesh or knit sneakers needing some TLC?
Whether they’re covered in dirt stains or generally looking worse for wear, you’ll be happy to know there are ways to revive them without causing any damage.
In this article, we’ll explore some effective methods to clean your beloved sneakers and bring them back to their former glory.
So, please wear your cleaning hat and prepare to give your kicks the pampering they deserve!
Choosing the Right Cleaning Method
When cleaning your beloved mesh or knit sneakers, choosing a suitable cleaning method is essential to ensure you don’t damage them.
There are a few factors to consider to determine the best approach for cleaning your sneakers: identifying the material, reading the care instructions, and considering the degree of dirtiness.
Identifying the Material
Before diving into the cleaning process, take a moment to identify the material of your sneakers correctly.
Mesh and knit materials are known for being delicate and require a gentler approach when it comes to cleaning. These materials can easily stretch or become misshapen if not handled with care.
Reading the Care Instructions
To ensure that you clean your mesh or knit sneakers in a way that won’t damage them, always read the care instructions with the shoes.
The manufacturer’s recommendations will provide valuable insight into your sneakers’ safest and most effective cleaning methods. Following these instructions will help prolong the life of your sneakers and keep them looking their best.
Considering the Degree of Dirtiness
The degree of dirtiness of your sneakers will also dictate the cleaning method you should use. A simple brushing or spot treatment may be sufficient if your sneakers have accumulated only light dirt or dust. However, if your sneakers are heavily soiled or have stubborn stains, more thorough cleaning methods may be necessary.
Before jumping into the actual cleaning process, a few pre-cleaning preparations can help make the task more accessible and more effective. These preparations include removing laces and insoles, brushing off loose dirt, and spotting any stains that may be present.
Removing Laces and Insoles
Start by removing the laces and insoles from your sneakers. This will make it easier to clean every nook and cranny and prevent any potential damage to these removable parts. Laces and insoles are typically machine washable, so you can clean them separately if needed.
Brushing Off Loose Dirt
Next, use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently brush off any loose dirt or debris from the surface of your sneakers. This step is essential to prevent dirt from embedding further into the fabric during cleaning. Be sure to brush in all directions and pay extra attention to any areas that may be particularly dirty.
Spot Treatment for Stains
If you notice any stains on your sneakers, it’s a good idea to treat them with a spot cleaner before proceeding with the overall cleaning. There are various stain removers available on the market specifically designed for sneakers.
Read the instructions carefully and apply the spot treatment according to the product recommendations. Allow the cleaner to sit on the stain for the recommended time before moving on to the next step.
Hand Washing Methods
Hand washing is often the safest and most effective cleaning method for delicate mesh or knit sneakers. Hand washing allows for more control over the cleaning process and reduces the risk of damage.
Preparing a Gentle Cleaning Solution
To hand wash your sneakers, start by preparing a gentle cleaning solution. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as these can damage the delicate fabric of your sneakers. Swirl the water to create suds and ensure the detergent is evenly distributed.
Cleaning the Sneakers with a Soft Brush
Once your cleaning solution is ready, dip a soft brush or toothbrush into the soapy water and gently scrub the surface of your sneakers. Use gentle circular motions and pay extra attention to dirty or stained areas. Take care not to scrub too vigorously, as this can cause damage to the fabric.
Rinsing and Drying the Shoes Properly
After cleaning, rinse your sneakers thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining soap residue.
Removing all traces of detergent is essential, as this can cause discoloration or attract dirt. Once rinsed, gently squeeze out any excess water from your sneakers. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can lead to stretching or deformation.
To dry your sneakers, use crumpled paper towels or newspaper to help maintain their shape and absorb excess moisture. Please place them in a well-ventilated area and avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, which can also cause damage. Allow your sneakers to air dry completely before wearing or storing them.
Machine Washing Methods
If hand washing is not an option or your sneakers are heavily soiled, you can consider using a washing machine. However, machine washing should only be done as a last resort and with caution.
Using a Mesh Laundry Bag
Before placing your sneakers in the washing machine, it’s crucial to protect them by placing them inside a mesh laundry bag. This bag will prevent your sneakers from getting tossed around too aggressively during washing, reducing the risk of damage.
Choosing the Right Washing Cycle
When selecting a washing cycle, use a gentle or delicate setting with cold water. High temperatures and harsh washing cycles can cause the fabric to shrink or become misshapen. Also, avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as these can damage your sneakers’ delicate material.
Air Drying the Sneakers
After the washing cycle is complete, allowing your sneakers to air dry is essential. Just like with hand washing, avoid using direct heat sources or placing your sneakers in direct sunlight, as this can cause damage.
Instead, stuff them with paper towels or newspaper to absorb excess moisture and place them in a well-ventilated area. Allow your sneakers to air dry completely before wearing or storing them.
Cleaning Specific Areas of the Sneakers
When cleaning your mesh or knit sneakers, paying attention to specific areas that may require extra care is essential. These areas include the sneakers’ outsoles, midsoles, and upper body.
Cleaning the Outsoles
The outsoles of your sneakers often come into direct contact with dirt, mud, and other outdoor elements. To clean the outsoles, use a brush or toothbrush with firm bristles and a small amount of mild detergent. Scrub the outsoles gently, paying close attention to any grooves or crevices. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the sneakers to air dry.
Cleaning the Midsoles
The midsoles of your sneakers can accumulate dirt and stains over time. Once again, use a brush or toothbrush with mild detergent to clean the midsoles. Scrub the midsoles gently, focusing on any visible dirt or stains. Rinse thoroughly and allow the sneakers to air dry.
Cleaning the Upper Body
When it comes to cleaning the upper body of your sneakers, the same gentle approach applies. Use a soft brush or toothbrush with mild detergent to remove dirt or stains. Pay attention to the areas that may be dirtier, such as the toe box or sides. Rinse thoroughly, squeeze out excess water, and air dry your sneakers.
Dealing with Stubborn Stains
Despite your best efforts, some stubborn stains may require additional attention. Here are a few methods to try for common types of stains:
Removing Dirt and Mud Stains
For dirt and mud stains, it’s essential to let them dry entirely before attempting to remove them. Once dry, gently brush off as much dirt or mud as possible. Afterward, apply a small amount of mild detergent directly to the stained area and gently scrub with a soft brush or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and allow the sneakers to air dry.
Treating Grease and Oil Stains
Grease and oil stains can be challenging, especially from delicate mesh or knit sneakers. To tackle these stains, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda or cornstarch directly onto the stained area. Let it sit for a few minutes to absorb the grease or oil. Afterward, brush off the powder and gently blot the stained area with a clean cloth or sponge dampened with mild detergent and water. Rinse and air dry.
Eliminating Ink or Marker Stains
Ink or marker stains can be tough to remove, but it’s worth trying. Start by using a cotton ball or sponge dampened with rubbing alcohol to blot the stained area gently.
Be careful not to rub the stain, as this can cause it to spread. Continue blotting until the ink or marker stain starts to lift. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
Drying and Maintaining the Sneakers
Once your sneakers are clean, it’s essential to dry and maintain them to ensure their longevity properly.
Removing Excess Water
After rinsing your sneakers, gently squeeze out any excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting them, as this can damage the fabric. Instead, gently press to remove as much water as possible.
Stuffing the Shoes with Paper
To help your sneakers maintain their shape and absorb remaining moisture, stuff them with crumpled paper or paper towels. This will also help prevent the fabric’s potential shrinking or misshaping during the drying process.
Avoiding Direct Heat Sources
Place your sneakers in a well-ventilated area away from direct heat sources to dry them. Avoid using hairdryers and radiators or placing them in direct sunlight, as these can cause damage to the fabric or alter its shape. Allow your sneakers to air dry naturally, depending on the moisture level, which may take a few hours to overnight.
Preventing Future Damage
Keeping your sneakers clean and well-maintained is vital to prolonging their lifespan and ensuring they always look their best. Here are a few tips to help prevent future damage:
Regularly Cleaning the Sneakers
Make it a habit to regularly clean your mesh or knit sneakers, especially after each use in outdoor or dirty environments. Removing dirt and stains promptly reduces the chances of them becoming deeply embedded or causing long-term damage.
Avoiding Harsh Cleaning Products
Always opt for mild detergents and gentle cleaning solutions when cleaning your sneakers. Avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, or abrasive cleaners that can cause discoloration, fading, or damage to the delicate fabric.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you use the appropriate products for your sneakers.
Protecting the Sneakers with a Spray or Waterproofing Agent
To further prolong the life of your sneakers and protect them from stains and water damage, consider using a protective spray or waterproofing agent designed explicitly for mesh or knit materials.
These products can provide extra protection and make cleaning more accessible.
Professional Cleaning Services
Considering Professional Cleaning Options
Professional shoe cleaners have the expertise and equipment to effectively clean your sneakers without causing any damage.
The advantage of this option is that you can trust their knowledge and experience in handling delicate materials. Research local professional cleaners or explore mail-in services to find reputable options.
Researching Reliable Shoe Cleaners
When choosing a professional shoe cleaner, it’s essential to research to ensure their reliability and professionalism. Read reviews and testimonials, and ask friends or fellow sneaker enthusiasts for recommendations.
A reliable cleaner will have experience handling delicate sneakers and will be able to safely and effectively clean your mesh or knit sneakers.
Cleaning your mesh or knit sneakers doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
By choosing the correct cleaning method, preparing correctly, and following the appropriate steps, you can safely and effectively clean your sneakers without causing any damage.
Remember to take your time, be gentle, and always read the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.
With some care and attention, your sneakers will stay fresh and look their best for years.