How To Clean Nike Shoes | Best Tips and Tricks


Hello, I’m Nayem, and I understand the passion for maintaining shoes in fresh condition as I own several Nike shoes. It can be quite a challenge to remove stubborn stains and dirt from them.

It is also challenging to clean Nike shoes since their mesh upper absorbs almost everything they encounter. However, don’t worry! It doesn’t matter if you have mud, grass, or chewing gum there is always a solution.

If you find keeping your Nike shoes clean painful, let me guide you on how to clean Nike shoes. So, let’s see the step-by-step guide to wash them and bring back their original shine.

Table of Contents



Hand Washing, Machine Washing, and using Hydrogen Peroxide are my top recommendations for cleaning mesh shoes. As we all know, these shoes can quickly become soiled and develop an unpleasant smell, especially when worn regularly.

But worry not. I’ve experimented with numerous cleaning strategies to help restore your mesh shoes to their fresh, clean state. So let’s delve into the best methods for cleaning your mesh shoes!

  1. Hand Wash: Hand washing is a gentle and effective way to clean mesh shoes. It allows you to focus on specific areas and prevent damage to the shoe’s structure and color. You can use a warm water mixture of mild detergent and a soft brush for this method.
  2. Washing Machine: A washing machine can quickly and efficiently clean mesh shoes, especially for heavy dirt accumulation. However, not all shoes are machine-washable, and they can sometimes cause damage to the shoe’s shape and material.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a good cleaning agent for white mesh shoes as it can help remove stains and restore brightness. However, it should be used cautiously on colored shoes as it may cause discoloration.
  4. White Toothpaste: White toothpaste can work wonders on scuffs and stains due to its mild abrasive properties. It’s best used by applying directly to the stain, gently scrubbing with a brush, and then wiping off with a damp cloth.



Keeping your Nike shoes clean is crucial for maintaining their appearance, longevity, and overall comfort. If you’re dealing with canvas sneakers or suede kicks, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you clean your Nike shoes properly:

  1. Gather the necessary supplies: Get a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush, mild detergent or sneaker cleaner, warm water, a microfiber cloth or sponge, an old toothbrush or small brush for hard-to-reach areas, paper towels or a clean cloth, and optionally, water repellent spray.
  2. Remove laces and insoles: Take off the shoelaces and insoles to ensure a thorough cleaning. This step makes it easier to clean all the nooks and crannies of your shoes.
  3. Brush off loose dirt: Use a gentle touch with a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush on the surface of your shoes. Be careful not to exert too much pressure, especially on delicate materials.
  4. Prepare the cleaning solution: Fill a bowl with warm water and add mild detergent or sneaker cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage the materials.
  5. Clean the exterior: Dip a microfiber cloth or soft sponge into the cleaning solution and gently scrub the outside of your shoes. Pay special attention to stains or dirt buildup. Use an old toothbrush or small brush for hard-to-reach areas or tougher stains.
  6. Clean laces and insoles: If your laces are dirty, hand wash them separately using the cleaning solution. For insoles, use a damp cloth to wipe them down. Replace extremely dirty or smelly insoles if needed.
  7. Rinse the shoes: Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with water and wipe off any soap residue from the shoe’s surface.
  8. Dry the shoes properly: Stuff your shoes with crumpled paper towels or a shoe tree to help them maintain their shape and aid in drying. Avoid direct sunlight or artificial heat sources, as they may cause materials to warp or crack. Let your shoes air dry at room temperature. Depending on the materials and the saturation level.
  9. Optional step: Consider applying a water-repellent spray after cleaning and drying. This extra step adds a layer of protection against stains and water damage.
  10. Reassemble: Reinsert the clean insoles and laces once your shoes are completely dry. Your Nike shoes should now look refreshed and ready to rock!

Remember to consult the care instructions provided by Nike or the manufacturer for specific cleaning guidelines based on the shoe’s material. Regular cleaning and avoiding harsh conditions will keep your Nike shoes looking great and ensure their longevity.



Mesh is a popular choice for the upper material of trainers and running shoes due to its stylish appearance, lightweight feel, and easy cleaning process.

If you have white mesh shoes, several effective methods are available to keep them looking clean and fresh. Each method involves a few simple steps to get the job done.

With Baking Soda And Mild Detergent

Baking soda and mild detergent can create a powerful cleaning solution for your Nike mesh shoes. This mixture effectively breaks down dirt and grime without causing any harm to the material.

To ensure the solution is effective, ensure the baking soda and mild detergent dissolve completely in the water before using them to clean your shoes. It’s a straightforward and efficient method for cleaning your shoes in the comfort of your own home.

  • Remove dirt or debris: Use a soft-bristled broom or cloth to remove dirt from the surface of the shoes gently.
  • Create a cleaning solution: Mix one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of mild liquid detergent in a bowl with one cup of water. This solution will help remove stains and odors from the mesh material.
  • Clean the mesh: Dip a soft-bristled brush into the cleaning solution and gently scrub the mesh parts of the shoes in circular motions. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or scrub aggressively, as this can damage the mesh.
  • Rinse the shoes: After scrubbing, rinse the shoes thoroughly to remove any loosened dirt.
  • Dry the shoes: Stuff them with paper towels or air dry in a cool, well-ventilated area. Do not expose the shoes to warp or shrink.

White Toothpaste

An alternative method for cleaning white mesh shoes is using white toothpaste. White toothpaste can be an effective and affordable option for cleaning your Nike shoes. It acts as an abrasive cleaner, helping to remove stains and dirt from the mesh material without causing damage.

It’s important to choose a white, non-gel formula. Avoid toothpaste with whitening or bleaching agents, as they may discolor your white shoes.

To clean your shoes with toothpaste, follow these steps:

  1. Brush or wipe off dirt, dust, mud, or debris from the shoe’s surface.
  2. Remove the shoestrings and dampen the mesh shoes with water.
  3. Apply a small amount of white, non-gel toothpaste to a soft-bristled or small brush.
  4. Scrub the toothpaste onto the stains and dirt using gentle circular motions.
  5. Allow the toothpaste to sit on the shoes for a few minutes to penetrate and lift the dirt.
  6. Wipe off the toothpaste using a damp cloth.
  7. Rinse the mesh shoes under cold water to remove any remaining toothpaste.
  8. Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area, allowing them to air dry completely.

Bleach Solution


You can clean mesh shoes effectively with bleach. Bleach removes tough stains and odors. However, it’s important to use caution as bleach can potentially damage the material. Here are the steps to clean white mesh shoes with a diluted bleach solution:

  1. Brush or wipe the shoes to remove dirt and debris.
  2. Take off the shoelaces.
  3. Mix one bleach with five parts of water to create a diluted bleach solution.
  4. Put on gloves to protect your hands.
  5. Gently scrub dirt and stains on the mesh shoe using circular motions.
  6. To remove bleach residue, rinse the shoes with cold water.
  7. Before wearing the shoes again, let them air dry completely.

Washing Machine

Cleaning Nike mesh shoes with a washing machine is worth learning.

Hand washing is the preferred way to clean mesh shoes. However, if you choose to use the washing machine, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the shoes with a soft-bristled brush or cloth.
  2. To protect the shoes during washing, place them in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase.
  3. Set the washing machine to a gentle, cold cycle.
  4. Use a mild laundry detergent to add to the machine.
  5. Start the wash cycle.
  6. After the wash cycle, remove the shoes from the laundry bag or pillowcase.
  7. Air-dry the shoes away from direct sunlight.

Shoe Cleaner Kit

It is highly effective to clean Nike mesh shoes with a shoe cleaner kit designed for mesh materials. Here’s a simplified set of steps to follow:

  • Using a soft brush or cloth, remove dirt and debris from the shoes.
  • Prepare the washing solution according to the instructions provided with the shoe cleaner kit.
  • Gently scrub the mesh parts of the shoes using a soft-bristled brush and the cleaning solution in circular motions.
  • Remove any remaining cleaning solution.
  • Stuff the shoes with a clean, dry towel or paper towel to help maintain their shape during drying.
  • Allow the Nike mesh shoes to air dry outside, away from direct sunlight.



To clean your Nike mesh shoes effectively follow these tips below:

  1. Use a mesh laundry bag: Place your shoes in a mesh bag to protect them during washing. Securely close the bag to prevent damage.
  2. Choose a delicate detergent: Opt for a detergent designed for delicate fabrics to treat the mesh material gently.
  3. Select a delicate cycle: Set your washing machine to a delicate program specifically designed for delicate items to avoid harming the mesh.
  4. Use lukewarm water and gentle detergent: Fill the machine with lukewarm water and add the recommended detergent for delicate fabrics. Avoid hot water to prevent damage to the mesh.
  5. Rinse with cold water: After the wash cycle, thoroughly rinse the shoes without vigorously rubbing the mesh.
  6. Follow washing instructions: Consult the shoe labels for any specific instructions provided by Nike, especially regarding the maximum washing temperature (usually below 30 degrees Celsius).
  7. Remove shoelaces: Before washing, take out the shoelaces to ensure more thorough cleaning and prevent tangling.



If you’re struggling to remove stains from your mesh shoes, don’t worry! I’ve got some tips and tricks that can help. Cleaning mesh shoes can be challenging, but with these tried and true methods, you can keep them looking fresh and new. Let’s get started!


Here are some essential items for cleaning your mesh shoes:

  • Shoe Cleaner: A product designed to remove dirt, stains, and contaminants from shoe surfaces. It comes in liquid, powder, or cream form and helps preserve the longevity and appearance of the shoe.
  • Apron: Protects your clothing from getting dirty or splashed with water and cleaning solutions, especially when using harsh chemicals or solvents.
  • Premium Brush: Ideal for removing dirt and stains from canvas, suede, leather, synthetic leather, mesh, and knit shoes.
  • Medium Brush: A brush with longer bristles, perfect for cleaning the midsole of your sneakers.
  • Standard Brush: Typically made with a wooden or plastic handle and used for cleaning the outsole of your sneakers.
  • Small Brush or Toothbrush: Useful for reaching hard-to-reach areas inside your sneakers.
  • Microfiber Cloth: A thin and highly absorbent cloth that effectively cleans and polishes surfaces.
  • Shoetree: Inserted into shoes to prevent creasing and wrinkling.
  • Washing Bowl: Used to contain water when cleaning your mesh Nike shoes.

You can use these tools to keep mesh shoes clean and looking your best.


You need to clean every part of the shoes to keep the shoes fresh. It also extends shoes life. I have described how to clean Nike shoes every part below. 

  • Upper: The upper part of a shoe is the supportive cover for the foot, typically made from flexible, breathable materials like mesh. For cleaning, use a small brush or toothbrush.
  • Midsole: This is the layer sandwiched between the outsole (the part of the shoe in contact with the ground) and the insole (which sits against the foot). A medium brush is recommended for cleaning the midsole.
  • Outsole: The outsole is the outermost layer of a shoe that comes into contact with the ground. It’s often the dirtiest and most worn part of the shoe because it’s made of durable, slip-resistant materials. Use a stiff standard brush for efficient cleaning.
  • Insole: A cushioned insert inside a shoe designed to provide extra comfort and support. It’s advisable to remove the insole before cleaning, then gently brush away dirt using a premium brush and a toothbrush.


  • Preparation: Gather your mesh Nike shoes, shoe cleaner liquid, apron, brushes, microfiber cloth, shoetree, and washing bowl.
  • Shoelaces Removal: Carefully slide out the shoelaces from the eyelets.
  • Shoetree Insertion: Position the Shoetree evenly inside the shoe to maintain its structure during cleaning. If possible, remove the insole.
  • Preliminary Cleaning: Before wetting the shoes, use a premium brush to dust off the top and midsole.
  • Outsole and Midsole Cleaning: Thoroughly clean the outsole with a standard brush. Use a medium brush for the midsole to scrub off any stubborn dirt or stains.
  • Upper Part Cleaning: Use a premium brush to clean the upper part gently, then absorb excess water with a microfiber cloth. For the interior, use a toothbrush and a microfiber cloth.
  • Detailing: Dampen a microfiber cloth to clean the midsole and outsole. For the shoelaces, soak them in a shoe cleaner solution, hand wash them, and dry them with a microfiber cloth.
  • Drying: Dry your shoes in a cool, dry room or with a fan. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent damage.
  • Finishing: After drying everything, reattach the shoelaces and replace the insole. Your fresh, clean Nike sneakers are now ready to wear again!

You need to be careful about certain things when cleaning your Nike shoes. There are some things you have to do and some you don’t have to. 


  • Gentle Cleaning
  • Use Suitable Brushes
  • Dry Scrub First
  • Proper Drying


  • Avoid Rough Cleaning
  • No Paper Towels on Uppers
  • Damp Environments are a No-go

Sneaker Care: Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Shoes

You must maintain Nike shoes properly. But how to maintain them? I gave you some tips below.

  • Storage Matters: Always keep your sneakers in a dry and warm place. This helps to prevent any damage from moisture or extreme temperatures.
  • Use the Right Tools: A high-quality brush is recommended for gently cleaning the surface of your shoes. It is important to use the right tools when maintaining the look and longevity of your sneakers.
  • Material Consideration: Always pay extra attention to the material of your sneakers. Different materials require different care methods. Ensure you use the appropriate cleaning techniques and products for your shoes.
  • Final Touches: To finish cleaning, use damp paper towels. This can help remove any remaining dirt or dust, leaving your sneakers fresh and clean. Remember to always be gentle to avoid causing any damage.


Whenever I hand wash Nike shoes with mesh, I follow some specific steps. Knowing how to clean Nike shoes with mesh by hand will help you maintain your sneakers and ensure they last longer. 

  1. Get Rid of Dirt by Brushing
  2. Mix the ingredients
  3. Hand wash the shoes
  4. Make sure the soap is clean
  5. Air-dry your shoes



There’s a great step-by-step guide for cleaning mesh sneakers at home! Here are a few additional tips that might be helpful:

  1. Pre-treatment: If your sneakers have tough stains, consider pre-treating them before you start the cleaning process. Apply baking soda and water to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush it off.
  2. Cleaning the laces: Remember the laces! They can be cleaned by soaking in soapy water, gently scrubbing them, and then rinsing. Make sure to let them air dry completely before replacing your sneakers.
  3. Using a washing machine: If your sneakers are particularly dirty and machine-washable, put them in a pillowcase or laundry bag and wash them gently. It’s best to let them air dry afterward.

Always check the care label on sneakers before cleaning them. Some materials may require special care or be unsuitable for machine washing.


You might wonder how to clean white Nike shoes. Don’t worry! Here are some tips for cleaning your white shoes:

  1. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide: This method removes the laces and removes any loose dirt from your shoes. Next, mix ½ tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with baking soda and apply this mixture to the shoes. This technique is effective at removing stains from white mesh shoes.
  2. Hand Washing: Brands like Nike do not recommend washing shoes in a machine. Instead, hand washing is recommended as the most effective way to clean shoes made of materials like mesh or Nike Flyknit.
  3. Gentle Laundry Detergent: Another method involves mixing warm water with a small amount of gentle laundry detergent to create a slightly soapy mixture. This can then be used to clean the shoes.
  4. Dish Soap: Dish soap offers a straightforward approach to removing tough stains from white mesh shoes. It’s also safe for other colors of canvas shoes 
  5. White Toothpaste: Using white toothpaste is another option. First, remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the shoe with a cloth or brush. Then, remove the shoestrings and dampen your mesh shoes with water. Apply the toothpaste and scrub gently.

Always test a small area first when trying a new cleaning method to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor the material.

Mix a small amount of laundry detergent or mild soap for specific stains with cool or lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it could affect the dye of the shoes. Do not use harsh chemicals or bleach.



The Nike Air Max 90 Mesh is a classic shoe that often becomes a go-to piece in many wardrobes. They’re stylish and versatile, but like any pair of shoes, they can accumulate dirt and scuffs over time.

Don’t fret! You can restore your Air Max 90s to its original glory with a few simple household items and steps. Here’s how:

  1. Remove the Shoelaces and Insoles: Remove the shoelaces and any other removable parts. This will allow you to clean all parts of the shoe thoroughly.
  2. Prepare a Cleaning Solution: Mix warm water with a few drops of mild detergent. You can also use baking soda and mild detergent, which works together to break down grime without harming the material.
  3. Scrub the Shoes: Use a soft brush, like a toothbrush, to gently scrub the shoes. Pay special attention to the mesh areas. For stubborn stains, you can also use a brush with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the shoes thoroughly to remove the cleaning solution, then let them air dry. Avoid direct sunlight and heat to prevent them from shrinking or deforming. Stuffing the shoes with newspaper can help them retain their shape while drying.
  5. Clean the Laces: While the shoes are drying, remember to clean the laces. You can do this by soaking them in a soapy solution, then rinsing and allowing them to air dry.
  6. Re-lace the Shoes: Once everything is completely dry, re-lace them, and they’re ready to wear!


If you’ve added a pair of vibrant mesh sneakers or athletic shoes to your collection, you know they can bring both style and comfort to your outfit. But, as with any pair of shoes, they can accumulate dirt over time. Whether you own a pair in striking neon green or daring red, I have the perfect cleaning solution. Based on my experience, here are the optimal steps for maintaining the cleanliness of your colored mesh shoes:

  1. Prepare Cleaning Solution: Mix mild laundry detergent with water. Ensure the detergent is color-safe.
  2. Gentle Scrubbing: Lightly scrub the shoes with the soapy mixture using a clean cloth or sponge.
  3. Rinse: Rinse thoroughly to remove soap residue.
  4. Dry: Pat dry with a towel and let them air dry completely before wearing.



These fundamental cleaning guidelines mentioned above will aid in maintaining the cleanliness of your sneakers. However, some materials may require more specialized care. Here’s what you should know about using different cleaning methods for various types of shoes.

Cleaning Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are prone to staining and require regular maintenance. Besides using a dry brush and mild dish soap solution, consider a household cleaning eraser or leather conditioner for stain removal. However, avoid vigorous scrubbing as it might harm the leather.

Cleaning Suede Shoes

Suede shoes can be challenging to clean. If you notice water or scuff marks, dirt, or stains, it’s time for detailed cleaning. With a suede brush or towel, remove surface debris, ensuring you work in the direction of the material.

A suede rubber or pencil eraser can help eliminate marks on the shoe’s surface. For persistent stains, scrub with a cloth dipped in white vinegar, alternating directions.

Cleaning Knit Shoes

Knit shoes, like Nike Flyknit, offer flexibility and breathability. To clean such shoes, make a mild soapy water solution using chemical-free soap. Avoid bleach or harsh cleaners as they can deteriorate the material.

Apply the solution with a shoe brush or clean toothbrush, moving toward the knit. If necessary, wipe off the soap with a clean cloth. Dry them naturally; do not use a dryer, as excessive heat can damage them.

Does Baking Soda Clean Air Force 1?

Yes, a mixture of baking soda and water can also effectively clean Air Force 1. Paste with 1 tablespoon of hot water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Apply this to the shoes with a toothbrush, then rinse and let them air dry.

Do I Need To Wash My Insoles To Reduce Shoe Odor?

Certainly, washing your insoles can help reduce shoe odor. Cleaning your insoles can help eliminate bacteria that cause odor. Here are some effective methods for cleaning your insoles:

  1. Soak the insoles in a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and 1 part hot water for a few hours. Bacteria can be killed by vinegar, a natural disinfectant.
  2. Wash insoles separately from your shoes using warm water and mild detergent.
  3. Avoid strong detergents that can degrade the material faster.
  4. Store-bought remedies like odor eaters (the shoe cleaning spray or the shoe powder) are also highly effective.
  5. Baking soda and baby powder can also be used to neutralize odors.


Keeping your Nike shoes clean doesn’t have to be difficult. You can effectively remove stubborn stains and restore your shoes to their former glory with the right materials and patience. Regular cleaning can help extend the life of your shoes and keep them looking fresh and new. 

If you own a pair of classic Nikes or prefer the comfort and ease of Vessi shoes, maintaining cleanliness is key to prolonging your shoes’ lifespan. So, enjoy the satisfaction of stepping out in spotless, well-cared-for footwear. Happy cleaning.


Is It Okay To Wash Nike Shoes? 

Yes, it’s okay to wash Nike shoes, but it’s recommended to do so by hand rather than in a washing machine. You can clean them using a mild cleaning solution from warm water and a small amount of laundry detergent or dish soap. After cleaning, let them air dry. Avoid hot water, especially for Nike Flyknits, as it can damage the fabric.

Can We Wash Nike Shoes With Water?

Yes, Nike shoes can be washed with water.

How Do You Get Stains Out Of Nikes?

Clean with a mild solution from warm water and a small laundry detergent or dish soap. Simply apply the solution to the stain with a soft cloth or sponge, then gently scrub until the stain is gone. Rinse with cold water and let the shoe air dry.

Why Are My Nikes Turning Yellow?

An excessive amount of air and sunlight causes the material to oxidize, which turns then yellow. It’s especially common in white shoes.

Can Colgate Whiten Shoes?

Yes, toothpaste (like Colgate) can clean and whiten shoes. However, it’s recommended to use non-gel white toothpaste for this purpose.

Can I Clean My Shoes With Toothpaste?

Yes, toothpaste can help clean your shoes. Apply some toothpaste to a toothbrush and scrub the dirty parts of your shoes. Use a cloth that is damp to remove the residue.

Does toothpaste whiten Air Force Ones?

Toothpaste can help remove stains and whiten your Air Force Ones. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to use non-gel white toothpaste.

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