How to Clean Soccer Cleats: A Complete Guide

How to clean soccer cleats?
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Keeping your soccer cleats clean is crucial for preserving their quality and ensuring they last as long as possible. Dirt, mud, and grass can not only affect the appearance of your cleats but can also degrade the materials over time. Follow this comprehensive guide to clean your soccer cleats effectively.


Soccer cleats endure a lot of wear and tear, facing harsh conditions on the pitch. Regular cleaning after games or practice sessions can prevent damage and keep them in good shape. This guide will take you through the steps to clean your soccer cleats properly.

What You’ll Need

  • Lukewarm water
  • A soft brush (an old toothbrush works well)
  • A cloth or sponge
  • Mild soap or a specialized cleat cleaner
  • A bucket or basin

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Step 1: Remove Loose Dirt and Debris

Knock your cleats together to remove any loose dirt. Use a soft brush to gently scrub away remaining debris. Avoid using a hard brush as it can damage the material.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Fill a bucket or basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild soap or specialized cleat cleaner. Avoid using hot water as it can damage the cleats.

Step 3: Clean with a Cloth or Sponge

Dip a cloth or sponge into the soapy water and wring it out so it’s damp, not dripping. Gently wipe the cleats, paying extra attention to areas with significant dirt buildup. Use the soft brush for stubborn areas.

Step 4: Clean the Soleplate and Studs

Use the soft brush to remove dirt from the soleplate and around the studs. If the studs are removable, take them out to clean underneath.

Step 5: Wipe Down with Clean Water

Rinse your cloth or sponge with clean water and wipe the cleats to remove any soap residue.

Step 6: Dry Your Cleats

Pat the cleats dry with a towel and then let them air dry. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as they can damage the material. Stuffing the cleats with newspaper can help absorb moisture and maintain their shape.

Additional Tips

  • Never Machine Wash or Dry: Machine washing and drying can damage the cleats. Always clean them by hand.
  • Condition Leather Cleats: If you have leather cleats, apply a leather conditioner after they’re dry to keep the material soft and prevent cracking.
  • Store Properly: Keep your cleats in a cool, dry place to avoid mold and mildew growth. Avoid storing them in your bag for extended periods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I use household cleaners on my soccer cleats?

It’s best to avoid harsh household cleaners as they can damage the material of your cleats. Stick to mild soap or a cleaner specifically designed for athletic shoes.

How often should I clean my soccer cleats?

Ideally, you should clean your cleats after every game or practice session to prevent dirt and grime from settling into the material, which can lead to deterioration over time.

Can I clean my soccer cleats in the washing machine?

No, cleaning soccer cleats in the washing machine can damage both the cleats and the machine. Always clean your cleats by hand using the method described in this guide.

How can I remove a bad odor from my soccer cleats?

After cleaning, sprinkle baking soda inside your cleats and let them sit overnight. Baking soda is effective at absorbing odors. Just remember to tap out the baking soda before wearing them again.

Is it okay to dry soccer cleats with a hair dryer?

Avoid using a hair dryer or any direct heat source to dry your soccer cleats, as the heat can damage the material. Let them air dry in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.

Can I use shoe polish on my soccer cleats?

Shoe polish is not recommended for soccer cleats, especially those made from synthetic materials. If you have leather cleats, use a conditioner designed for leather shoes instead.

How do I clean the inside of my soccer cleats?

You can wipe the inside with a damp cloth using a mild soap solution. To keep the inside fresh, consider using an antibacterial spray designed for shoes, following the product instructions.


Cleaning your soccer cleats regularly not only keeps them looking great but also extends their lifespan and performance. With these simple steps, you can ensure your cleats are always ready for the next game or practice session.

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