How To Clean Cycling Shoes

How To Clean Cycling Shoes

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Remove dirt and grime from cycling shoes by brushing off debris and wiping them with soapy water. Air-dry them entirely before the subsequent use.

Cycling shoes are essential for any cycling enthusiast, designed to maximize power transfer and improve ride efficiency. Over time, shoes can accumulate dirt, sweat, and odors, which makes cleaning them a crucial part of maintenance. A good routine extends their lifespan and ensures your feet stay fresh on every ride.

How To Clean Cycling Shoes

Your shoes face varying conditions, from road spray to muddy trails, and each ride can leave a different type of residue. This task will keep your cycling shoes in shape and enhance your overall cycling experience. Embracing cleanliness can reflect on your performance and the longevity of your shoes.

Introduction To Cleaning Cycling Shoes

Cycling shoes deserve just as much care as your bicycle. Think about all the places they’ve traveled. Mud, dust, and grime can cling to them from every ride. This introduction walks you through the basics. You’ll learn what to do and what you’ll need for pristine cycling shoes.

Importance Of Maintaining Clean Cycling Shoes

Keeping your cycling shoes clean is essential. It’s not just about aesthetics. Clean shoes last longer. They keep your feet healthy and smelling fresh. Regular cleaning also maintains optimal performance. After all, comfort and efficiency are essential for any cyclist.

Types Of Cycling Shoes And Their Specific Cleaning Requirements

Type of ShoeMaterialCleaning Requirements
Road Cycling ShoesSynthetic Leather, MeshGentle Soap, Soft Brush, Air Dry
Mountain Biking ShoesSuede, NubuckSpecialist Cleaner, Stiff Brush
Triathlon ShoesMicrofiberWipe Clean, Minimal Water

Each type demands a slightly different approach. Road cycling shoes need careful attention to avoid water damage. Mountain biking shoes can handle stricter cleaning. Triathlon shoes, on the other hand, require minimal moisture.

Preparing For The Cleanse

Keeping your cycling shoes spick and span is essential for performance and longevity. Before diving into the wash, it’s crucial to set it up correctly. From gathering supplies to pre-cleaning routines, let’s guide you through each necessary step.

Gathering Necessary Cleaning Supplies

Your cleaning arsenal should include items that make your shoes look new. Equip yourself with the right tools to ensure a thorough cleaning.

  • Soft Brushes: To dislodge dirt without damage.
  • Mild Soap: A gentle cleanser to protect shoe material.
  • Buckets of Water: One for soap, one for rinsing.
  • Microfiber Cloth: For drying and a spotless finish.
  • Old Toothbrush: To reach tight spots.
  • Shoe Cleaner: If specific cleaning is needed.
Preparing For The Cleanse

Pre-clean Steps: Removing Mud And Debris

Begin with removing loose mud and debris. Dry brushing first makes the wet wash more effective.

  1. Knock soles together: Loose dirt falls off quickly this way.
  2. Use a brush: Gently scrub away the remaining soil.
  3. Wipe with a cloth: This picks up any leftovers.

The Cleaning Process

Cycling shoes get a severe workout, collecting dirt, sweat, and grime with each ride. Keep them fresh and long-lasting by following the proper cleaning process.

Hand Washing Vs. Machine Washing: Which Is Better?

Cleaning your cycling shoes properly is vital to their longevity. Hand washing is gentle and precise, recommended for materials that can’t withstand the tumble of a machine. Machine washing can be quicker and less labor-intensive, but it may only be suited for some shoe types. Consider the shoe’s material and manufacturer’s advice before choosing.

Step-by-step Guide To Hand Washing Cycling Shoes

  1. Remove insoles and laces to clean separately.
  2. Brush off loose dirt with a soft brush.
  3. Prepare a solution of mild soap and warm water.
  4. Use a cloth or sponge to clean the shoes gently.
  5. Spot clean stubborn stains with a gentle stain remover.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with cool, clean water.
  7. Air-dry shoes away from direct heat or sunlight.

Tips For Machine Washing Cycling Shoes Without Damaging Them

  • Remove insoles and laces before washing.
  • Place shoes in a protective laundry bag or pillowcase.
  • Use a gentle cycle with cold water to prevent warping.
  • Opt for mild detergent and avoid bleach or fabric softener.
  • After washing, stuff shoes with newspaper to maintain shape as they dry.
  • Air-dry entirely before the subsequent use.
The Cleaning Process

Aftercare And Maintenance

Keeping cycling shoes fresh and clean is more than just a one-time wash. Regular aftercare and maintenance ensure they remain comfortable, smell fresh, and last longer. This guide covers drying techniques, deodorizing methods, and general maintenance tips.

Drying Techniques For Cycling Shoes

Avoid heat damage and maintain shape while drying cycling shoes with these simple steps:

  1. Remove insoles and laces for better airflow.
  2. Place shoes upside down to drain water.
  3. Stuff shoes with newspaper; it absorbs moisture.
  4. Use a fan or air dry in a well-ventilated area.
  5. Avoid direct heat like radiators and hairdryers.

Preventing Odors: Natural Deodorizing Methods

Keep cycling shoes fresh with these natural remedies:

  • Create a mix of baking soda and essential oils.
  • Sprinkle mix inside shoes and leave overnight.
  • Use citrus peels for a fresh scent.
  • Consider charcoal deodorizers to combat odors.
  • Store shoes in a dry, open space to prevent bacteria growth


Periodic Maintenance Tips To Extend The Life Of Cycling Shoes

Maintenance TipDescriptionFrequency
InspectCheck for wear and tearsAfter each ride
CleanGentle soap and soft brushWeekly
LubricateApply to buckles and strapsMonthly
ConditionLeather shoes need special careEvery 2-3 months

Advanced Care For Performance Cycling Shoes

Performance cycling shoes require not just a wipe-down but detailed care. Dirt, sweat, and scuff marks can degrade your boots. Learn to maintain shoes to keep them in peak condition.

Advanced Care For Performance Cycling Shoes

Dealing With Difficult Stains And Scuff Marks

To tackle tough spots, a gentle approach is critical. Use a soft-bristled brush to shake off dirt. Mix water with mild soap and apply it with a soft cloth in circular motions.

  • Minor stains may need a specialized stain remover.
  • For leather, leather conditioner restores and protects the material.
  • Maintain color and texture with manufacturer-recommended products.

Maintaining High-end Features: Boa Systems, Carbon Soles, And Cleats

High-performance shoes boast features like BOA dials, carbon soles, and precision cleats. Here’s how to take care of them:

FeatureCare Method
BOA SystemWipe with a damp cloth; avoid harsh chemicals.
Carbon SolesClean with mild soap; do not soak in water.
CleatsCheck for wear, replace as needed, keep bolts tight.

Dry everything thoroughly before reassembling. Avoid high heat, which can warp shapes.

When To Seek Professional Cleaning Services

Sometimes, shoes demand experts for deep cleaning. Recognize these signs:

  1. Grime embedded in hard-to-reach areas.
  2. Persistent odors that home cleaning cannot eliminate.
  3. Damage to shoe material or Features.

A professional can use the right tools and techniques. This ensures your shoes retain their competitive edge.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Clean Cycling Shoes

Can You Put Bike Shoes In The Washing Machine?

Generally, bike shoes should not go in the washing machine. Hand wash them instead to preserve their shape and materials.

How Do I Get My White Cycling Shoes White Again?

Remove dirt with a soft brush. Use a cloth with mild soap and water to clean the shoes. Wipe off soap residue with a damp cloth. Dry with a towel away from direct heat. Apply a white shoe polish if necessary for extra whiteness.

How Do You Get Mildew Smell Out Of Cycling Shoes?

Remove the mildew smell from cycling shoes by airing them out, using baking soda, or applying a mixture of vinegar and water. Sunlight exposure can also help eliminate odors. For persistent smells, consider a commercial shoe deodorizer designed for sports equipment.

How Do You Maintain Cycling Shoes?

Regularly clean cycling shoes with a gentle brush and soapy water to maintain them. Dry them at room temperature, avoiding direct heat sources. Store in a well-ventilated area and use a shoe deodorizer to prevent odor. Check cleats for wear and replace them as necessary to ensure safe riding conditions.


Keeping your cycling shoes spick and span is simpler than you think. Regular cleaning preserves them, ensuring enduring comfort and performance. Embrace these tips and enjoy your rides with fresh, odor-free footwear every time. Don’t let dirt compromise your cycling experience—start scrubbing today!   

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