How to Clean Muddy Shoes? We have Few Tips!

So you went for your morning jog in your favorite tennis one fine morning and everything was great until you stepped on to some mud. Now you have the most annoying object in the world- a muddy tennis shoe. Getting rid of these stubborn mud and dirt is quite tough. There are countless ways all over the internet about cleaning tennis shoes. We also researched and came up with few ways on how to clean muddy tennis shoes properly. Curious? Let’s find out!

How to Clean Muddy Shoes: Guide for Dummies 

Cleaning a muddy tennis shoe might seem like a daunting task, but it gets easier if you know the steps. We made a step-by-step guide for you on how to clean muddy tennis shoes the proper way. 

The Fail-Proof Way

This one is perhaps the hard way. You need to a bit of work-scrub and wash. Don’t grimace, success comes in hard way. We guarantee that using this method will not only just clean the shoes, they’ll also maintain them for a long time. 

Things you need:

  • Muddy tennis shoes
  • Liquid detergent
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothbrush
  • A big bowl
  • Water

Cleaning time: 40-50 minutes. 


  1. Store your muddy tennis shoes inside a plastic bag. You can sprinkle some baking soda on top to make it easier to scrub off. The key is to leave it to dry and harden, so that removing becomes easier.
  2. Remove the laces and the insoles firsthand. The insole is sensitive to cleaning ingredients, so they need a separate and mild cleaning. Laces can get tangled up, so it’s better to remove them first.
  3. Take an old toothbrush and remove the dry mud as much as you can. Scrub with moderately. Scrubbing too hard can cause the upper to wear out. 
  4. Mix warm water with liquid detergent. Diluting liquid detergent is an important step. Too much detergent can be too harsh on the tennis shoe.
  5. Take a rag and drench it in the detergent water. Use the wet rag to take off the mud from the shoes.
  6. Soak the shoes in the detergent water. Make sure the water is slightly warm.
  7. Use a scrub or cleaner brush to remove the tough parts completely. Scrub diligently, but to too hard to ruin them. 
  8. Use a stain remover to get rid of stubborn stains. Give a final rinse of water. You can also use spraying.
  9. Clean the insoles and laces in the detergent water. Scrub them gently with toothbrush. Rinse them in water.
  10. Let the tennis shoes to dry out naturally. You can place them near a radiator or dry in the sun.

The Washing Machine Way

You can use the washing machine instead of soaking them in water. The steps prior to it the same as before. If your tennis shoe is extremely dirty, then this method is useful. Wash them in cold water and use the ‘gentle’ or ‘delicate’ setting. The insoles and lacings can also be cleaned in the washing machine, but clean them separately from the shoes.

Few Tips to Remember

Now that you know how to clean muddy tennis shoes in two ways, we gathered around few tips to make the process easier.

Try Not Using the Machine as Much as You Can 

In fact, washing machine should be used only in the latter steps. You have to scrape off the dirt first. Dumping them at the first step means ending up with mattified shoe in grime and dirt. Tennis shoes are heavy load for a washer. Putting them for long enough or at turbulent mode can ruin the fabric completely. So, the bottom line? Don’t use washing machine at the beginning and make sure to turn the ‘gentle’ option.

Don’t Dry Them in Dryers 

Using a dryer is a risky move. The temperature inside the dryer is pretty high for shoes. The glues holding the shoe together will get ruined easily in high temperature. The fabrics and insoles of the shoe tend to shrink and cannot hold the original shape. Try to ‘bake’ them in sun instead. Just let them sit under the sun and depending on the humidity, it may take 10-12 hours to dry them. 

Do This During Winter Seasons 

How to clean tennis shoes during the winter? Well, winter is not ideal for a cleaning spree. But if you have no option, this way might work for you. We know that there’s not much options for natural drying during the winter season. You can wrap the shoes with a newspaper and carefully place them near a radiator. Or just keep them in front of a small fan to dry them off.

Try This for White Tennis Shoes 

White tennis shoes are more prone to get ruined with dirt. You can go an extra mile to clean the stubborn mud from your favorite tennis shoes. Mix baking soda and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. After scraping and brushing the mud away from the shoe using toothbrush, put the baking soda mixture over the shoe carefully. Leave it to dry for 20-30 minutes and then rinse off quickly. Result? Get a brand looking white tennis shoe!

Don’t Soak and Clean These Tennis Shoes 

Sadly, not all tennis shoes can be cleaned in the above ways. Suede sneakers should not be cleaned with liquid detergents. These tend to be softer than regular leather shoes. Due to being made from the underside of animal fat skin, they don’t have enough strength to withstands harsh chemicals. To clean them, you need to use dry washing techniques. 

Leather sneakers or having leather parts on the upper are also sensitive to detergent washes. The moisture gets trapped inside the leather and you end up with stinky shoes. So, try to avoid wet washing in these two types of tennis shoes.

Final Words 

These were few tips and tricks on how to clean muddy tennis shoes and make them last longer. Cleaning shoes itself is pretty tiresome and time consuming. However, doing it properly can make the task easier and increase the longevity of the shoes.

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