Clean School Shoes Stink? It’s Enough to Read This One

Your child may wear dozens of pairs of shoes hit the first day of school, and as most parents quickly discovered, small sneakers and sandals do not necessarily mean cheap. Unfortunately, puddles, mud, water, food spills, and, yes, even potty accidents can turn those kicks into stinky, sticky messes. Want to know how to clean them up? Follow these simple methods.


You can take those kids’ Crocs and jellies and hose them down outside, but for sneakers, a good old soak in a bucket of water can remove caked-on mud and clean the shoes well. Change the water regularly, and after the majority of the dirt is gone, use an old rag or toothbrush (consider a wooden or metal skewer if the shoes have deep, dirty grooves) to remove the rest. Rinse in cold water, and let air-dry.

Use A Cleaning Agent to Clean

Enlist the help of a kid-friendly stain-fighting tool to remove tougher stains (grass, blood, and other bodily fluids). A paste of baking soda and water also works well. Apply directly to stains, let soak, rinse well, and air-dry in a shady spot (any excess stain fighter could bleach out fabrics in the sun).

Try the Magic Eraser&Toothpaste

That magical eraser you use all over your house also does a pretty great job of cleaning rubber soles. Use one to remove mud and other unknown substances. Toothpaste, an old toothbrush, and a good scrub can clean soles and even canvas as brand spanking new (and smell minty fresh). After a good scrub, rinse the shoes thoroughly and let them air-dry.

Enlist The Help of your Washing Machine.

Most sneakers and canvas shoes (like those oh-so-cute little Toms) are safe to throw directly in the washing machine. Just be sure to avoid the dryer, since it can cause shrinking. Instead, air-dry either outside, inside over a vent, or in front of your refrigerator to soak up that motor heat. If you’re afraid of fading, then you want to avoid direct sunlight. Need some additional odor control? A little baking soda in the wash cycle or sprinkled on those wet shoes should help.

Dry them with Paper / Towels

Wet school shoes are more common than we care to think about. Especially at this time of year and of course, the kids find ALL the puddles! The best way to dry out wet leather school shoes is to place balls of newspaper into the shoe. This helps to keep the shape, but also draw out excess moisture. You can also wrap the newspaper around the exterior of the shoe if need be. Avoid placing shoes in front of the heater or fireplace as the heat can over dry the shoes and cause them to become too dry and crack.

Fix Promptly

There is nothing worse than school shoes that look ratty. To help school shoes last longer, fix them at the first sign of wear. Glue soles back on as soon as they start to peel away and replace shoelaces before they snap. Velcro and buckles can be fixed at your local Mister Minit or shoe repairer for a fraction of the cost of a new pair of shoes.

Plus: To help keep canvas shoes clean and create a waterproof barrier, simply use a clear/white candle to coat the shoes and melt the wax into the canvas using a hairdryer. Always be sure to check that the canvas is cotton not synthetic before heating.

P.S. What are your tips for cleaning school shoes?  Share your thoughts below! And you can also come here to see if there are any shoes suitable for your children!


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