how to clean cleats

How To Clean Cleats Properly

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and football season is in full swing. You and your teammates have been working hard at practice, perfecting your game-day Strategies. But there’s one crucial thing you may be forgetting: your cleats.

After days, weeks, and months of running, jumping, tackling, and more, your cleats are bound to get dirty. And if you’re not careful, all that dirt and grime can build up and cause severe problems. That’s why it’s essential to know how to clean cleats properly and regularly.

It is vital to keep your cleats clean. Not only does it make them last longer, but it also helps you perform better on the field. There are a few distinct ways to clean your cleats, and your method will depend on the material.

So how do you clean cleats properly? Leather cleats can get cleaned with mild soap and water. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly and dry them completely before putting them away. You can also use a conditioner to keep the leather from drying.

Synthetic cleats can get cleaned with a stiff brush and soapy water. You must scrub them vigorously to remove all the dirt and grime. Be sure to rinse them well and dry them thoroughly before storing them.

If your cleats have a combination of leather and synthetic materials, you can clean them with mild soap and water. Be sure to rinse and dry them thoroughly before putting them away.

Let’s explore more!

1. When You Leave the Field, Take Off Your Cleats

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d get surprised how many people leave their cleats after a game or practice. Not only is this a way to track mud and grass through your house, but it also gives the dirt and grime a chance to set in and get ingrained in the fabric. 

So as soon as you’re done playing, take those cleats off and your football ankle brace!

2. Remove Any Extra Dirt

Once you’ve taken your cleats off, look closely at them to see if any big chunks of dirt or mud need removing. A quick rinse with a hose can help, but you may need to use your hands to remove all the debris.

3. Use a Soft-bristled Brush to Dry Scrub

Once you’ve removed any big pieces of dirt, it’s time to start scrubbing. A soft-bristled brush is critical here—you don’t want anything too harsh that could damage the material. Start with the shoe’s sole, scrubbing away any remaining dirt and grime.

4. Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Now it’s time to mix up a cleaning solution. You can use a specially-formulated sports shoe cleaner or a simple mixture of soap and water. Use a mild detergent to avoid damaging the shoe if you go for soap and water.

soap bubbles

5. Use the Soapy Solution to Wash the Soles

Once your cleaning solution is ready, it’s time to wash the shoes using a soapy solution. Start with the soles, using the brush to work the soap into a lather. If your shoes are dirty, you may need to let them soak for a few minutes before scrubbing.

6. Use Wet Washcloth to Wipe Your Cleats

Once you’ve scrubbed the shoe’s sole, move on to the rest of the shoe. A wet washcloth is all you need to wipe down the sides and tops of the cleats with ease. 

Be sure to wring out the washcloth frequently so you’re not just transferring dirt from one part of the shoe to another.

7. Take off the Laces and Wash Them

The laces are one part of the cleat that most people forget. But since they’re constantly in contact with your skin, they can get as sweaty and dirty as the rest of the shoe. Ensure you remove them and wash them separately. 

You can place them in the cleaning machine with the rest of your laundry or wash them by hand in the sink.

8. Use a Toothbrush to Scrub the Cleats’ Tops

The tops of cleats can be tricky to clean because of the nooks and crannies. But a toothbrush is the perfect tool for getting into those hard-to-reach spots. Just dip it in your cleaning solution and scrub it away softly.

9. Dry Your Shoes Indoors at Room Temperature

After you’ve washed your cleats, it’s essential to let them dry completely before you wear them again. 

The perfect way to do this is to set them out in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Heat can damage the material, so avoid putting them in front of a fan or heater.

10. Put the Lace Back On

Once your cleats are dry, it’s time to put the laces back on and prepare for your next game in one of the oldest NFL stadium. Ensure the laces remain in your cleats often, as you can easily lose them.

FAQs- Cleats Cleaning Questions Answered

men playing football with dirt on socks and cleats

How Do You Deep Clean Cleats?

Cleaning your cleats regularly is vital to keep them looking their best and to prevent the build-up of dirt and grime that can cause them to break down prematurely.

While a simple wipe-down with a damp cloth can help to remove surface dirt, a deep clean is necessary to get them clean.

The first step is to remove the laces and insole from the cleat. Next, mix up a solution of warm water and mild soap. Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the cleats thoroughly, particularly in dirty areas.

Rinse the cleats well with clean water and then allow them to air dry thoroughly before putting them back on your feet.

How Do I Deal With Smelly Cleats?

Smelly cleats are a common problem for athletes, especially football and soccer players. The best way to prevent your cleats from smelling is to clean them after every use. This means removing the dirt and grime that can build up and cause odors.

You can clean your cleats with mild soap and water. Be sure to rinse them well and dry them thoroughly before storing them. You may also consider using a deodorizing spray or powder to help keep them smelling fresh.

If your cleats are already smelly, try soaking them in water and vinegar. This can help break down the dirt and grime causing the odor. Again, be sure to rinse and dry them thoroughly before storing them.

You can also try putting your cleats in the freezer overnight. This can help to kill any bacteria that are causing the smell. Just be sure to wrap them in a plastic bag to prevent them from getting too cold.

Ultimately, the best way to deal with smelly cleats is to clean them regularly and store them in a dry, well-ventilated area. This will help to prevent the build-up of dirt and grime that can cause odors.

Does the Hot Water Trick Ruin Cleats?

The Hot Water Trick is a popular method for cleaning and disinfecting cleats. However, some experts warn that this method can damage the cleats and shorten their lifespan.

red and black cleats

The Hot Water Trick involves submerging the cleats in hot water for a few minutes. This loosens dirt and grime and kills any bacteria that may be present.

However, hot water can also cause the materials in the cleats to break down and degrade. This can lead to the cleats being misshapen and the stitching and lacing undone. In extreme cases, the cleats may even melt.

If you choose to use the Hot Water Trick to clean your cleats, do so carefully and do not overdo it. Also, let the cleats dry completely before wearing them again.

How Long Do Cleats Take To Dry?

The time it takes for cleats to dry can vary depending on the materials they get made of and how wet they are. For example, if your cleats are from synthetic materials and they are only slightly wet, they may only take a few hours to dry.

However, if your leather cleats get soaked, they may take a day or two to dry completely.

In general, it is best to allow your cleats to dry naturally rather than using a hair dryer or other artificial heat source, as this can damage the materials and shorten the lifespan of your cleats.


It’s essential to clean your cleats regularly. Ideally, you should clean them after every game or practice. However, if you can’t do that, aim to clean them at least once a week.

Cleaning your cleats regularly is vital to extend their life and performance. At the same time, there are many ways to clean your cleats. 

Removing all dirt, mud, and grass buildup after every use is the most important. In addition, you should also clean and disinfect your cleats to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Along with taking the proper steps to clean your cleats, it is essential that you also disinfect and deodorize them regularly – especially if you are a player that is prone to sweating a lot.

Not only is it good for the longevity of your cleats, but it will also help keep your feet healthy and free from any fungal or bacterial infections.

Follow these steps to clean your cleats properly, and don’t forget to get your best flag football cleats for your next game.

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