How To Wash And Dry Tennis Shoes? Tips For Tennis Players

A good pair of tennis shoes will help you perform your best at your game. However, maintaining the footwear in its optimal condition isn’t easy.

How to wash and dry tennis shoes? This task calls for some tools and a lot of care. Yet, no matter how hard it is, you should perform it regularly and properly.

The step-by-step instructions in this post will show you everything you need to do with your shoes. Let’s check and try them now!

How To Wash And Dry Tennis Shoes?

Washing tennis shoes is important, and so is drying them. We have some tips for carrying out the two tasks right here.

Wash the shoes

There are two methods of washing tennis shoes: by hand and in a washing machine. No matter your chosen method, you must allow time for tennis shoes to air dry. Please plan ahead, as it could require up to 24 hours.

By hand

This method calls for baking soda, a toothbrush, and warm water. After gathering all the necessary tools, please follow these steps:

  • Place some paper on a level surface underneath your tennis shoes.
  • Mix equal parts of baking soda and warm water until the baking soda dissolves.
  • Apply the mixture to your shoes, focusing on the dirty parts, and scrub until they are clean.
  • Wipe the excess baking soda on the shoes and let them dry.

This cleaning method is suitable for regular tennis shoe materials. But if you use leather footwear or those made of luxurious fabrics, consider a more specialized approach.

Don’t brush your shoes too vigorously, assuming you can make them cleaner. Hard scrubbing causes the fabrics to become loose. As a result, your shoes will have a worn-out appearance.

Instead, choose a medium-sized shoe brush and scrub quickly, carefully, and gently. Doing so allows the cleaning agents to penetrate your sneakers more deeply and perform their job.

How To Wash And Dry Tennis Shoes? Tips For Tennis Players

In a washing machine

Although putting your shoes in the washing machine sounds like a faster cleaning method, there are more things to consider. As a result, the process will include more steps.

Step 1: Check the material

You can’t put all types of shoes in the washing machine. Cotton, nylon, or polyester shoes are washer-safe thanks to their sturdiness.

But if you have rubber, vinyl, or suede shoes, you should hand-wash them.

Step 2: Remove the insoles and laces

The laces and insoles may get wrapped or tangled up with other parts. Hence, make sure to remove them before placing your shoes in the washing machine.

Step 3: Put your shoes in the garment bag

Having your shoes tumbled in the washing machine is terrible. Instead, put them in a mesh laundry bag to wash them safely while protecting other clothes from getting damaged.

Step 4: Pre-clean the footwear

You have removed the insoles and laces, so the washing machine only deals with other parts. So, you must clean the soles and laces with a soft brush.

Change the insoles if they smell bad, or you can add baking soda to remove moisture and odor. Even when you don’t often clean your shoes, you should treat the insoles this way.

Step 5: Set up the washing machine

Set a mild, cold water cycle mode on the washing machine. Hot water will distort your footwear’s shape and fade the original colors.

As a result, wash the fabric in cold water and choose a slow or no-spin setting.

If you use a front-loading washer, add your shoes. But if you have a top-loading machine, wait for the drum to get 3/4 full with water and add your shoes then.

Tennis shoes need about 1/4 amount of the laundry detergent you often use. Remember to add two towels for extra protection and cleaning power.

Now everything is ready. Start the cycle and let the washing machine do its job.

Dry the shoes

Because the heat from a dryer might harm or cause the fabric to shrink, it is preferable to let them air dry.

You can remove extra moisture and hasten drying by packing your footwear with dry towels and squeezing them gently.

Then, remove the towels and put them in a well-ventilated place away from direct sunlight. Keep your shoes far from heating sources too.

If you clean the insoles separately, press them in a cloth to absorb moisture, then allow them to air dry next to your sneakers. Do the same thing to the laces.

Planning this cleaning and drying task ahead of time is vital because shoes might take up to one day to dry completely.

Do not use a hair dryer to dry your tennis shoes because the excess heat will warp them. A fan can work as long as it doesn’t emit heat.

You can also use a tumble dryer. The tumble dryer must have a plastic tray to keep your shoes in place throughout the wash cycle.

You can install the tray and put the sneakers inside it if your dryer has one of those. Choose the warm or cold airflow setting to dry the footwear rapidly and damage-free.

Tips For Washing Different Types Of Tennis Shoes

Most athletic footwear models made of canvas are easy to wash. But what if you have suede, leather, or waterproof shoes? Let us reveal tips to handle them.

Suede tennis shoes

Suede tennis shoes are prevalent these days due to their modern designs. If you have them, clean them following these guidelines:

  • Use a toothbrush or a suede brush to wipe off the dirt.
  • Remove marks and stains on the shoe surface using a suede rubber. A pencil eraser can also do the trick if you don’t have one.
  • If your shoes have tough stains, treat them with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. Pour the solution into a small bowl, dampen a microfiber cloth, and scrub it on the stains.
  • When your shoes are clean, spray some shoe protectors on the surface to prevent future marks.

Leather tennis shoes

Leather is a high-end material. It earns popularity due to its durability and sophisticated look.

However, the smooth texture will vanish if you wash your leather shoes incorrectly. Here is how you should deal with them:

  • Remove the excess dirt on the shoes using a toothbrush.
  • Mix dish soap and cool water in a bowl.
  • Soak a microfiber cloth into the mixture and rub it on the shoe surface in circular motions.
  • Dry the footwear with another cloth to eliminate excess moisture.
  • Treat your shoes with a leather conditioner if they look dry or cracked.
  • Buff your shoes with a microfiber cloth.

Waterproof tennis shoes

If you have waterproof shoes or have used a spray-on treatment to make them waterproof, you should maintain the footwear to increase its lifespan.

The sneakers won’t absorb much moisture if you play tennis, mostly in dry circumstances, and won’t need much washing.

But, if you play on moist courses, your sneakers will require maintenance after each round. Here is what you should do:

  • After your game, use a towel to clean the shoe surface quickly.
  • Use a stiff brush to rub dirt, debris, and grass off the outsoles of your shoes. Pay more attention to the cleats as they often accumulate dirt.
  • Apply a specific shoe cleaner to the exterior of your shoes using a rag. Follow the instructions for the product carefully.

How To Care For Your Tennis Shoes?

Tennis shoes wear down soon because you use them for intense activities. However, they can last longer if you know how to care for them.

Disinfect your shoes

Disinfect your sneakers when washing them if you’re worried about bacteria and foot fungus. Pine oil disinfectants act well in both warm and hot water and cause no fabric damage.

Waterproof your shoes

You might want to waterproof your shoes if you live in a rainy area. They will be more stain- and moisture-resistant. Moreover, you don’t have to wash your shoes thoroughly after a game.

This video will show you some tips for waterproofing your shoes:

Clean regularly

It’s important to clean your shoes once you spot a stain. And when you find more stains, dirt, or odors, give them a deep clean.

Even if your shoes don’t look dirty, we advise cleaning them every month. It would be perfect for making it a habit to maintain your footwear so it always looks good.

Use a shoe care kit.

You can get kits designed exclusively for cleaning tennis shoes. Depending on the ingredients and brand, they can cost anywhere from $8 to $30. You will find a cleaning agent and a little brush in the package.

Even sets for specialized shoes include the proper cleaning solutions for different fabrics and hues. You may also buy polishes or brightening agents to make your footwear stand out.

The idea of having a cleaner created precisely for your tennis shoes is what makes shoe kits more attractive than other DIY solutions.

Wear socks

Wearing socks with tennis shoes is a fantastic way to prevent fungus and mold from developing. Hence, your footwear can last longer.

Moreover, shocks absorb your sweat when running around the court, keeping you comfortable during your game set. Many tennis players use high socks for this purpose.

Use bleach for white shoes.

Your white tennis shoes lose their value once the white color fades or turns to another color. To protect them, you should use bleach for cleaning them.

  • Place your tennis shoes on a paper towel.
  • Create a mixture of bleach and water in a 1:4 ratio.
  • Dip a brush in the solution and scrub it on the shoe surface. Try to dip the brush often to keep it wet.
  • The bleach solution can remove stains effectively. But since it’s a chemical, be careful with the materials used for this method.

Use tennis shoes for playing tennis.

Manufacturers make tennis shoes with the image of tennis players in their minds. They work for lateral support and stability, which you can’t find in other shoes. As a result, you should only wear tennis shoes for tennis.

If you run with tennis shoes, they will give you a terrible experience. The shoes don’t offer proper cushioning like running shoes do. Moreover, the lateral stability will create a stiffness that prevents your feet from moving naturally.

Furthermore, if you wear tennis shoes for running or any purpose rather than playing tennis, you will ruin them quicker.

How To Store Your Tennis Shoes?

Storing is a part of maintenance. Only when kept in optimal conditions can your tennis shoes maintain their quality. The following storage tips will help you with this.

Choose a temperature-controlled space.

Your shoes will remain good for a long time if you keep them out of direct sunshine and extreme temperatures.

After cleaning, the ideal place to store tennis shoes is in a cool, darkened room that isn’t too stuffy. You can hang them on the wall of your bedroom or beneath the bed if your closet is too tiny.

Avoid keeping your footwear in an area that gets chilly in the winter and scorching in the summer. Under such conditions, the shoe’s fibers may break down.

Fill your shoes with paper.

After cleaning your shoes, if you intend to store them for more than one month before wearing them again, stuff your shoes with paper to keep them in excellent shape.

The paper should be acid-free, as paper with acid may harm the material of the shoes. You can also use toilet paper, but avoid newsprint because it will discolor your footwear.

Choose the storage methods.

You have tons of options to store your tennis shoes, each with different pros and cons.

  • Original boxes

The cardboard box that comes with your shoes is the cheapest storage solution. It looks nice and has labels that help you find your footwear easily.

However, the arid condition inside the box may make your sneakers brittle and dry. Pests and rodents will also attack the box easily.

  • Plastic boxes

You can buy sturdy boxes and stack them high to form a closet. It would be best to use transparent boxes as they allow you to see the shoes inside.

Unfortunately, the tight lids of these plastic boxes trap moisture. So you have to dry your sneakers entirely before placing them in the boxes. Also, put some silica gel packets there to minimize moisture buildup.

  • Shoe organizers

You can find many cheap shoe organizers that fit the size of your shoes and the space available in your room. Moreover, this storage method helps you reach your footwear quickly.

There are many models to choose from. But if you use stand-up shoe organizers, expect them to take up more space and collect more dust than other designs.


1. Can I wash tennis shoes in a dishwashing machine?

Yes, but the dishwasher might damage them. When washing your shoes in this manner, you should take the following safety measures into account:

  • Your dishwasher should be able to use water without drying or heating. Many dishwashers use high temperatures to sanitize the dishes, but this heat can damage the fabric of your footwear by shrinking or cracking it. The adhesive parts will loosen as a result.
  • Your shoes may have collected dirt and debris. Hence, your dishwasher should feature a filter that you can access to clean the bits getting stuck there.

2. How can I disinfect tennis shoes?

The best method for disinfecting your shoes depends on the footwear material and what you want to disinfect them for.

We highly recommend using baking soda and vinegar for this task as they can work on many materials and prevent fungal development.

Here is how to disinfect your tennis shoes with vinegar and baking soda:

  • Sprinkle baking soda on your shoes.
  • Mix white vinegar and water, then spray the mixture on your shoes.
  • Rub the footwear all over with a cloth in circular motions.
  • Let your shoes sit overnight.
  • Wipe the powder and liquid off your shoes with a wet cloth.

3. How often should I wash my tennis shoes?

How frequently you wear your tennis shoes will determine how often you clean them. Aim to wash the footwear at least once every two weeks or when you feel annoyed with the stains.

4. How do you remove odor from tennis shoes?

You can quickly treat your smelly shoes without having to wash the entire shoe. The instructions are as follows:

  • Mix cornstarch, essential oil, baking soda, and baking powder in a mixing bowl to form a deodorizer.
  • Sprinkle the deodorizer into the footwear and set it aside for eight hours.
  • Dispose of the deodorizer in your shoes.
  • Vacuum the interior of your shoes.
  • Shake the shoes to get rid of the leftover powder.


Once your tennis shoes look dirty, clean them immediately so you will look great on the court. Depending on the footwear’s material, you may wash it by hand or in a washing machine. Both are effective.

Drying your shoes is another important task. Do not use heat to speed up the drying process, as it will damage your beautiful sneakers. Instead, let them air dry for the best effect.

We have shared some pro tips for washing and drying tennis shoes. Do not forget the maintenance tips which help extend your footwear’s lifespan.

Thank you for reading!

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