Introduction: Dirty/Old Shoe Renewal

Keeping your shoes clean and stain free is no easy task. Whether you're a college student, sports athlete, or shoe enthusiast it's hard to steer clear of any salt, mud, dirt, or grass stains. This project is designed for people that want to freshen up those old or dirty shoes to make them look like they did when they came out of the box! Using simple cleaners and common items found around the house, the shoe cleaning process will be over before you know it!

Some pros and cons of the cleaning process are listed below:


  • Affordable
  • Simple and easy
  • Eliminates odor
  • Removes almost all stains


  • Can't remove all blemishes
  • Only for mesh or cloth shoe materials

Step 1: Gather the Materials


  • You cannot clean any dress shoes with this process!
  • Store items used in cleaning process away from any personal use items to avoid confusion
  • Common plastic gloves are recommenced

1 Tooth brush

1 towel (if cleaning inside)

2 small bowls

1 clean rag

1 tablespoon (tbs) measuring spoon

1 tbs warm water

1 tbs baking soda

  • To polish and whiten shoes

3 tbs any kind of laundry detergent

4 dryer sheets

  • To freshen shoes overnight

Paper towel/newspaper

  • To quicken drying process


Mr. Clean magic eraser


Step 2: Remove Laces/Insole and Dampen Shoes

1.) Remove insoles from shoes ( if insoles cannot be removed leave inside)

2.) Unlace the shoes completely and set laces aside

3.) Take shoes to open sink or garden hose and run shoe under water to slightly dampen

Step 3: Mix Cleaning Solutions and Dampen Towel

1.) In one of the bowls mix one tbs each of laundry detergent, baking soda, and warm water.

2.) Stir the cleaning mixture until all cleaning products are mixed well with each other.

  • My mixtures baking soda mixture looks like the first picture

3.) In the second bowl add 2 tbs of laundry detergent.

Step 4: Initial Clean

With the shoes damped and cleaning solution ready we can start the cleaning process

1.) Using the damp towel start to whip around the outside of the shoe, applying pressure to remove dirt and blemishes. Shown in the first picture, move back and forth along the outside.

2.) Next, start to whip around the inside of the shoes be sure to get down by the toe area.

Step 5: Applying Cleaning Solution Outer Shoe


  • Be careful to not apply the mixture that includes baking soda to any color besides white as it will discolor the shoe.

This step is crucial if you want bright white shoes and want them looking like they're fresh out of the box!

1.) Dip the toothbrush into the combination of baking soda, laundry detergent, and warm water.

2.) Starting in the back of the shoe start applying cleaning solution around the white part of the shoe.

  • Do not start scrubbing

3.) Once all the way around one shoe start on the next shoe.

4.) Let shoes sit with cleaning solution on for 15 minutes.

  • This will allow the baking soda to further whiten the shoe

Note: If at this time the tooth brush gets brown at all dip toothbrush in warm water to rinse.

5.) After the 15 minutes is up use the tooth brush to start scrubbing the outer shoe in a back an forth motion.

  • Shown in the video

Step 6: Cleaning the Mesh of Shoe

1.) Wash toothbrush of baking soda cleaning solution

2.) Using warm water and the laundry detergent start slightly scrubbing the mesh part of the shoe

Don't apply too much pressure as you do not want to damage the shoe

3.) Use the same motion as in the previous step (back and forth and circular)

4.) Be generous with soap and water and work your way all around the shoe

Step 7: Optional Step (Mr.Clean Magic Eraser)

Note: Although this step is optional, using the magic eraser helps brighten the white parts of the shoes.

1.) Damper magic eraser

2.) Apply pressure to outer part of shoe with eraser

3.) Scrub away at any stains or blemishes

Don't be shy really attack those hard to get stains in order to get them removed.

Step 8: Removal of Any Left Over Soap

1.) To remove any left over soap run under warm water

Note: Don't over dampen it will prolong the drying process

2.) To remove any excess water that soaked into the shoe squeeze the shoe with your hands over a sink

Step 9: Drying the Wet Shoes

1.) Grab new/old newspaper crinkle into a ball with fist

2.) Shoe dry newspaper into the shoe as far as it can go

3.) Use 3 to 5 balled up newspaper until shoe is filled

4.) After approximately 30 minutes remove the damped newspaper

5.) Repeat steps 1-4 until shoe is dry

Note: To quicken up the drying time place shoes in front of a fan. Example shown in the picture.

Step 10: Re-lace and Re-insert the Insoles

1.) Re-insert the insoles

2.) Re-lace shoes as done previously

3.) Take dryer sheets and place two in each shoe to freshen up the shoes

4.) Let dryer sheets sit in shoe overnight

4.) Clean up supplies used

5.) Enjoy your nice clean shoes :)