As a kid, after each soccer practice I’d take my cleats off and put them in my bag, not to be seen again until the next day’s practice. This went on for months at a time, until the stench from my cleats became unbearable and I’d beg my parents to get me some new cleats. This was a vicious cycle that my parents were not too proud of, and it took until High School for me to learn to appreciate my cleats and start taking better care of them. I learned to care for my cleats by cleaning them weekly, which surprisingly extended their lifespan by considerable amounts of time.
The first cleats that I started to take care of lasted until well-after I outgrew them, which was a new concept to me. I didn’t realize companies such as Nike and Adidas built such durable shoes, and that I simply wasn’t using them correctly by not taking care of them properly. In this guide, I’m going to teach you guys and girls how to take care of your smelly soccer shoes and cleats to make them last.
Learning how to clean indoor soccer shoes is essential for both keeping your soccer shoes in the best condition for as long as possible, as well as for keeping your soccer bag clean and tidy. Cleaning your soccer shoes regularly is the best way to make them last for as long as possible so that you aren’t throwing money around for new cleats each season.
How To Clean Smelly Soccer Shoes
Before trying to clean your soccer shoes, try to first get rid of as much mud and dirt as possible by hand. You can use an old toothbrush to try and dislodge some of the grime and brush off any dry dirt from the edges.
1. Brush Off Excess Dirt
Gently brush off any stubborn dirt from the sole of the shoe with warm, soapy water. This warm soapy water should be made with a mild detergent solution, which is lathered up to make the solution bubbly. Make sure you aren’t using any harsh chemicals as you don’t want to cause any distress on your shoes.
2. Deep Soak Your Cleats With A Mild Detergent
Foul smells from your cleats are likely coming from the inside of the boot due to build-ups in moisture. To prevent this problem in the future, make sure you’re airing out your cleats whenever you aren’t using them. This can be as simple as taking them out of your bag after practice and letting them dry outside in the sun. This should hopefully get rid of any moisture that’s stuck inside, but it won’t help if the shoes are already smelly.
There are a few ways you can remove the bad scents coming from inside your soccer cleats if they already smell quite bad.
The first step is to let your cleats soak for approximately 15 minutes in a bucket of water with the same mild detergent solution from before. Make sure you scrub the insides with an old hand towel as well. After letting them soak, open up the laces and take out the sole. Let them sit outside in the sun for a few hours until they’re completely dry. To help dry your shoes as quickly as possible, put some tissues inside to draw out any excess water. If they’re still smelling funky after completely drying out, move on to the next step.
3. Put Them In A Ziplock Bag & Leave Them In The Freezer Overnight
This might sound crazy, but this can actually help kill any bacteria that’s still in your cleats. Get a large resealable Ziplock bag, and stick your cleats in them. Put the bag in the freezer and let them sit overnight. This is very effective in getting rid of mild smells and can save you a lot of time and money if you don’t have the option of purchasing some new cleats. If this still doesn’t work, don’t worry, there’s still some hope!
4. Neutralize The Smells
At this point, I’d recommend you get a deodorizing spray. These sprays can be found on Amazon or at your local sporting goods store for relatively cheap. They’re super useful to quickly neutralize smells without any hassle. Alternatively, you can sprinkle very small amounts of baking soda in your shoes and let them sit overnight.
If you don’t have baking soda and don’t feel like spending any money, you can also try putting a few dryer sheets in each shoe. These are super cheap and most households have them on the ready, so don’t be afraid to put a couple to good use.
Common Mistakes When Cleaning Soccer Cleats
Many people want to look for the easiest and fastest way to do things, and they’ll think about just throwing their soccer shoes in the washer and dryer. DO NOT DO THIS. Washers and dryers end up breaking up the fibers of soccer shoes, causing them to fall apart more easily. You need to make sure you’re taking the time to clean your soccer shoes effectively, as a few minutes of extra care can be the difference between having a clean shoe and a pile of useless rubber.
In conclusion, there’s many different options you can consider when trying to clean out your smelly soccer cleats. Make sure you try all the above tips and tricks before calling it quits on your shoes. If you’re looking to replace your smelly turf soccer shoes, make sure to check out our guide by clicking here. If you also want to clean your soccer ball, check out our other guide here.