How often and how do you clean your trainers? - Couch to 5K

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How often and how do you clean your trainers?

boptillyoudrop49 profile image

I don't mean if they are really mucky with mud or doo poo etc but just from sweaty feet.Do you ever put yours through the washing machine? I'm thinking this wouldn't be great for the drum or perhaps for the glue on your trainers.

Apart from airing them and wiping off surface dirt, do you actually clean them, inside and out?

24 Replies
turnturtle profile image

I've tied my Sauconys in a pillowcase and washed them on lingerie wash with towels to even up the load and they were fine. Intend to do it again before the marathon.

boptillyoudrop49 profile image
boptillyoudrop49Graduate in reply to turnturtle

Oh thank you. That's interesting. Wouldn't have thought about using a pillow case. I suppose all they need is a gentle wash on a short cycle. Wouldn't be too bad on the drum if the machine doesn't spin.

turnturtle profile image
turnturtleGraduate in reply to boptillyoudrop49

Exactly and surrounding it with towels stops the drum getting unbalanced

JoolieB1 profile image

When they get muddy or wet, I allow them to dry a little. Then I use a stiff scrubbing brush to remove loose mud, bang then to dislodge dirt in the tread. I then lightly sponge them to remove any mud that is left. I wear running socks and put fresh ones on each time. I don't put mine in a washing machine and they smell fine! Maybe I'm not working hard enough LOL!

ju-ju- profile image


Irish-John profile image

Washing machines will batter the inner linings/support to death and whatever else you do DO NOT use hot water - it will screw up the glue that holds the various layers together. I haven't had to clean mine yet - I run mostly on Asphalt and when I get home I immediately put some cedar shoe trees in them, but when the time comes I will just hose them down gently with cold water, scrub strategically with an old toothbrush and baby shampoo and put them somewhere warm to dry out slowly but evenly :)

boptillyoudrop49 profile image
boptillyoudrop49Graduate in reply to Irish-John

That sounds like a plan, thanks for that John.

Was wondering this myself recently. I did do a very short machine wash with lots of other padding in there and they are fine and looking lovely and fresh. Wouldn't want to do it too often tho, given some of the other comments. On the other hand, if it does shorten the life, just have to get new shoes. Yes, have nice fresh shoes and trade them in more often. That's the way!

Sandraj39 profile image

During muddy season they are hosed off and stuffed with newspaper to dry naturally. This does involve hosing inside as well sometimes because I like to run through very muddy puddles! The inner soles are removed first and washed separately. In dry hot weather...nope, have never washed them and they don't seem to smell (to me!!).

Noaky12 profile image

Never washed mine either. Similarly to Sandra if they are truly manky they get hosed down inside and out (as do I occassionally!) & then either hung out to dry if its nice or stuffed with newspaper & sat inside. So far they don't niff at all 😆

I'm not sure I understand this practice of cleaning trainers. I put them on before a run, sometimes outside if they've got real dried in dirt, then take them off when I've finished the run. In between times they sit in my running cupboard or somewhere in the house.

dirkcb07 profile image
dirkcb07 in reply to OldWheezer

Phew !!

When I regularly wear shoes

(over 7 hours or while exercising),

they have a VERY "noticeable" smell !!

IF NOT allowed to "FULLY Air-Out" or "have Freshener",

the smell does get AWFULLY BAD !!

(in a closet, does NOT "Air-Out" the shoes !!)

Ever wonder when at work,

Why I take my feet out of my shoes during breaks??

Changing socks, IS a Necessity !!

Best cures that I have found for the shoes, are:

Talcum Powder (Baby Powder);

and Inserting "Odour Eaters".

(The "Odour Eaters", have the added benefit of acting as "Cushions" !!)

misswobble profile image

I never wash mine! I don't want to do anything that might upset the insides, or outsides for that matter. I let them dry. My trail shoes never get washed either. Just let them dry and they seem to come up ok. They shed muck, thankfully. I suppose you could just dry them naturally and then go over them with a dry brush

I'm with OldWheezer on this. I'm on my fourth (or is it fifth?) pair of running shoes and have never cleaned any of them, inside or out. The mud and dirt on the outside prove that I use them and I don't seem to have sweaty feet as they have never smelled (apart from when they're wet but then they dry and the smell goes away!).

I have read that you should never wash running shoes in a machine as it damages the structure.

Just be dirty and proud 😉

And fortunately we were made with our noses at the opposite end from our feet!

dirkcb07 profile image
dirkcb07 in reply to OldWheezer

AGREED !! lol

I wipe mine with a damp cloth and use a brush to keep the treads free of debris. Beware of putting them in the washing machine - hubby washed his and they shrunk 1/2 a size !

I did buy a special cleaning spray when I bought my new shoes but I've no idea where I put it - somewhere safe I guess 😀😀

boptillyoudrop49 profile image
boptillyoudrop49Graduate in reply to OldPossum

Isn't that always the way! You only ever find these things if you move house!

I just brush off any loose dirt with a stiff scrubbing brush. Not sure that putting them in the washing machine would be good for the machine or the shoes🤔

Usain_Balti profile image

I do something quite different. On the rare occasion I feel the need to wash them, I tie my shoelaces together to make a big knot, hold them by the knot in front of the washing machine opening, then close the door with the knot still on the outside so they're left hanging in mid air. They don't get thrown about and battered by the rotating drum as the knot prevents them from being sucked in to the machine and there's the added benefit of actually seeing them getting cleaner through the glass door. If you need them in a hurry, you can also gently dry them in a tumble drier on the cooler setting by suspending them in the same way, otherwise I stuff them full of newspaper and let them dry naturally.

boptillyoudrop49 profile image
boptillyoudrop49Graduate in reply to Usain_Balti

That's ingenuous. I'm sure it would never have occured to me.

Usain_Balti profile image

I'm glad you understood the instructions, I wasn't sure if it made sense.

Curlygurly2 profile image

I've cleaned mine only once, when I stepped in a muddy puddle up to my ankles... I scrubbed them gently with a nail brush in a bowl of warm water then left them to dry. They were fine, I was surprised, thought I would have ruined them. If they get a bit niffy, I get Baldy to spray them inside with one of those sprays, - I can't stand sprays, I guess because I'm asthmatic.

dirkcb07 profile image
dirkcb07 in reply to Curlygurly2

I once got them turned into "Mud Blobs" !

(full story, below)

As soon as possible:

I walked into the lake;

washed them fully by hand;

let them dry as possible;

and then wore them as I continued on the hike !!

The shoes (and my feet) both "survived", NICELY !!



*****Full story for anyone interested*****

>>Went on a weekend camping-hiking trip.<<



Saturday >>Hike in to the cabin, while Portaging the Canoes

Sunday >>Do ALL the "Summer Opening" Chores

Holiday Monday >>Hike out


>Saturday, went fine.

>Sunday, the RAIN made the chores very hard to do !

>Monday, EVERYTHING was WET, INCLUDING the "ground" !


>While I was carrying the canoe on Monday,

my shoe got stuck in the mud.

>I lifted my leg to pull it out, and there was NO SHOE!!

>I "threw" down the canoe,

and reached INTO the mud to find my shoe.


>>On hikes like this,

there is Always two people in the back to do the sweep.


>They caught up to me, just as I was pulling my shoe out.

>They asked if I needed any help ?

>I replied "No, but stay behind me, case this happens again".

>I put on my shoe and continued the hike.


>>About 500m/500yrd later, similar happened again.<<

>This time, I lost BOTH Shoes !!

>The two people doing sweep caught up to me,

as I was pulling out my shoes.

>again they asked if I needed any help ?

>This time, I asked if they have a plastic bag?

>They got one for me,

as I pulled out those big BLOBS of MUD !!

>I put those "BLOBS" along with my socks, directly into the bag

and returned the bag to them.

>They were a little concerned about me going "bare-foot"

--Have done lots of "bare-foot" activities including Hikes.--

>I continued with the canoe.


>>About 1km/(0.6 miles) later, I reached the lake <<

>Again, I threw down the canoe,

AND proceeded straight INTO the lake !!

>Standing waist deep, I washed off the mud.

--The lake temp. was about 8c(40f), I did NOT care --

>then I got the shoes, and Washed them off by hand.

>I got myself dried off, and got on some dry clothes.

>Then as everyone was there,

we started the next canoe-trip of the hike.

> When we finished the hike, we did the drive home.



I DID Survive the "Hike", Nicely !!

My shoes also "Survived",

but they were QUICKLY REPLACED !!

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