How to Clean Smelly Soccer Cleats Step by Step

Soccer boots always look immaculate on the shelf of a sports store, but after wearing them for some time, they become covered with dust, dirt particles, and grass clings. The additional problem you can face is that worn soccer cleats also have an unpleasant odor. That’s why it is important to know how to clean smelly soccer cleats. It is quite difficult to get rid of dirt on athletic shoes and their unpleasant odor if you lack experience. By the incorrect cleaning procedure, you can easily deform the upper part and damage the sole. To avoid unpleasant disappointment after the first wash, I have prepared recommendations about various soccer cleat cleaners.

Guide on How to Clean Smelly Soccer Cleats

If you purchased athletic shoes in a specialized store, information about washing and cleaning should be stated right on the packaging. Be sure to study all the manufacturers’ recommendations carefully so that you know how to get odor out of boots. Take into account the temperature of the water you use, the choice of detergents, and the method of cleaning (in the washing machine or by hand). Experimentation is not welcome here, because it is quite easy to ruin the appearance of the boots. Even gentle handling does not guarantee the absence of unpleasant consequences after getting rid of dirt if you do not follow the expert advice.

muddy soccer cleat

Hand-washing soccer boots

Before you wash your cleats, you should prepare a soap solution. Soap gel or efficient dishwashing detergent is the best for this purpose. These products quickly remove stains without harming the material of your sports shoes.

Washing the sports shoes with spikes, adhere to the following step-by-step recommendations:

  1. Unlace the stinky cleats, soak the laces, and apply a concentrated soap solution (for white laces touched by yellowing, it is recommended to take a bleach or soda solution).
  2. Using a brush and a soapy solution with the temperature below 40 degrees, go over the surface of the boots; be sure to move from the holes for the laces to the sole. It will allow the liquid to flow down naturally, without accumulating in the fabric, not provoking the appearance of spots.
  3. If stains are present on the surface, rub them with a toothbrush carefully, as not to damage the material. Keep your hand inside the shoe.
  4. The tongue is the last place to remove the dirt; after taking off the laces, it is fully accessible. For light soiling, it is better to use a stiff dishwashing sponge.
  5. Rinse the surface of your cleats with clean water, watering them until a clear liquid without soapy foam begins to flow.

Dry-washing soccer boots

If the dirt is not too bad, I recommend resorting to dry cleaning. Dry cleaning won’t help in getting the smell out of boots, but it will help clean dust, grass, and traces of dirt from your shoes.

Follow these instructions carefully to make your shoes visually clean:

  1. Shake off the dirt, wipe the shoes with the soles by using a brush, and remove the grass.
  2. Use a soft brush to go over the entire surface.
  3. Treat especially stubborn stains with a toothbrush if necessary; wipe the cleats with a damp sponge, wait until they dry, and clean again.
  4. If your sports shoes are made of waterproof thick fabric, I recommend cleaning them with a cloth soaked in soapy water.
  5. Remove the foam residue with a clean cloth.

Laundering athletic shoes in the washing machine

  1. The first thing to do is to remove any grass residue and dirt.
  2. Place your shoes in a special bag for washing soccer cleats and put them in the washing machine. If you do not have such a bag for washing shoes, you can simply wrap them in a towel or other thick cloth.
  3. Wash your cleats in a special mode for shoes or in a delicate mode, at temperatures not exceeding 40 degrees.
  4. Dry the shoes after washing them. First, remove moisture with paper or newspapers. Then it is preferable to use a special dryer for shoes.

Washing the insoles and laces of soccer boots

The easiest and most effective way to remove dirt stains inside the cleats is to use baking soda. First, moisten the surface with a spray; then sprinkle it generously with sodium bicarbonate and leave the shoes for half an hour. Shake off the wet soda and the dirt that has collected, and then wipe the surface with a damp sponge and blot it with a cloth. Put the shoes afterward to dry for a while.

Before using this method, it is better to soak the laces in bleach and wash them after rinsing, ensuring the most comfortable water temperature up to 40 degrees. Handwashing with fingers, a toothbrush, or a sponge is also welcome. Do not forget to rinse and leave the shoes to dry afterward. Lace the cleats only after the laces and shoes are completely dry.

Cleaning the insoles is almost no different than washing the cleats. Be sure to take them out and soak them in a soapy solution. After approximately two hours, remove the dirt with a toothbrush or sponge and wash the shoes only by hand, without using a machine. It is better to dry your cleats on a flat surface. After rinsing, spread them on a towel or soft cloth. Leave them to completely dry. Remember that you need to clean the insoles periodically before deodorizing boots. Otherwise, there are no chances to get rid of the smell completely.

After performing all these procedures, it is necessary to dry the sports shoes properly. It is better not to leave the sports accessory in the sun. Soccer boots should be dried in a warm dry room. You should neither use heaters nor put shoes near heat sources, as there is a risk of deforming them. If you try to dry your cleats near a radiator or on a towel warmer, the material will become stiff. If the shoes are cheap, there is a risk of damaging the fabric. You will be uncomfortable using them afterward.

Placing your cleats in the freezer

Though it may sound strange, you can get rid of the smell with cold:

  1. Put the cleats in a bag.
  2. Put the bag with the shoes in the freezer for 1-2 days.
  3. Take the shoes out of the freezer and wait until they are no longer cold.

However, be sure not to place your shoes near a heater or in the sun. The temperature fluctuations can be harmful to the material. The shoes should dry gradually.

How to get rid of the strong unpleasant smell of soccer boots?

In addition to the cleaning methods, you also need to know how to get smell out of boots.
There are different ways to get rid of unpleasant odor in your cleats.

If you do not have time or you can not wash your shoes, use an odor absorber:

  • Rock/sea salt. Pour it into the socks you don’t intend to wear and put them in shoes for the night. The most budget option will last for several months;
  • Silica gel. Its bags can be collected from boxes with new shoes, bought in the form of balls or in bulk as a filler for cat toilets. The bags are enough for at least a year;
  • Odor absorber with granules of activated carbon;
  • Absorber with helium. It eliminates odor twice as fast as other absorbers. It contains seaweed and lemon extracts, which gives a pleasant smell and kills bacteria;
  • Ozonator absorber. It not only eliminates odors but also has a detrimental effect on harmful microorganisms. Ozone is also toxic to humans, so I strongly recommend using it on the balcony.

If you want to know all the methods to get rid of unpleasant shoe smell, there are a number of other recipes. Check them out to pick the one that will suit you the most. You can also combine several methods to achieve the best, long-lasting effect:

  • You can buy special deodorant sprays with dual action in shoe stores, which will help to get rid of unpleasant odor;
  • Shoe treatment with chlorhexidine: 0.05% solution of the drug is used for efficient disinfection;
  • For cleats, you can use special freshers (handy stickers with antibacterial properties, which quickly neutralize the smell of athletic shoes);
  • Ammonia will also come to the rescue (the shoes should be moistened beforehand).

After washing, the shoes should not be exposed to the sun. Don’t use a dryer or heater; the cleats should dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. You can wear them as soon as they are dry.

clean soccer cleats

How to prevent the appearance of smell in your cleats

The unpleasant boot smell can be easily prevented. To do this, you should take the following measures:

  • Do not store shoes in a bag or closet;
  • Regularly ventilate the shoes in the fresh air (e.g., on a balcony, terrace, or window sill);
  • Use a special shoe deodorant after each wear;
  • Wash your cleats at least once a month if you wear them actively.

The smell appears because the shoes do not completely dry out, and there are bacteria breeding. Therefore, the best preventive treatment is to keep your boots dry and clean.

FAQ About How to Clean Smelly Soccer Cleats

Though I have noted all the information you need about the process of washing and cleaning the soccer cleats, the answers to the following questions may contain something you might find in handy. Below, there is also an explanation on why soccer shoes stink a lot.

Can you wash soccer cleats?

Yes, surely. Soccer cleats can be washed by hand or in the washing machine. To do this, you need to follow certain rules and tips in order neither to spoil the shoes nor damage the material.

Why do soccer cleats smell like cat pee?

The unpleasant smell in soccer cleats is caused by high humidity and bacteria that develop in this favorable environment for them. Regular shoes do not stink as much as cleats, because feet sweat a lot in cleats. The insole is strongly contaminated by grass and sand, which are often found on the soccer field. Because of this, bacteria develop faster and give off an unpleasant odor.

How to deodorize shoes?

There are special sprays for deodorizing soccer shoes that not only neutralize the bad smell but also destroy bacteria. A shoe deodorant should be applied only to dry and clean boots. You can do this after every cleaning, washing, or airing procedure.

Is it OK to put soccer cleats in the washing machine?

You can wash soccer cleats in the washing machine, but you need to use a special bag for that. You should also use a gentle washing mode in cool water.

Now You Can Get Your Cleats Clean!

For your convenience, I would like to summarize how to make boots not stink. To reduce the number of washings, take regular care of the sports accessory. It is recommended to use a brush immediately after a workout, completely remove dirt, and leave the shoes to dry.

You also should remove the stains as soon as possible by using a toothbrush, baking soda, or bleaching agents. Be sure to wipe the cleats with a clean cloth after applying the solutions and completely remove the moisture. Cleats are the type of shoes that will last you a long time if you care for them properly. Using the tips above, this sports accessory will certainly look eye-pleasing, providing cleanliness and sparkling whiteness.

Perhaps you have your own recommendations on how to wash soccer cleats? Share them in the comments; feel free to tell us your opinion.

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