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How to clean indoor basketball shoes?

To clean indoor basketball shoes is crucial not just for their appearance but also for maintaining their performance and longevity. Dirty shoes can lose their grip, affect your game, and wear out faster. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to keep your basketball shoes looking and performing their best.

Materials Needed

Essential Cleaning Supplies

  • Soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush
  • Mild detergent or shoe cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Paper towels or newspaper

Optional Supplies for Enhanced Cleaning

  • Baking soda (for odor control)
  • Disinfectant spray (for hygiene)
  • Shoe polish (for leather shoes)

Preparation Steps

Start by removing the laces and insoles from your shoes to clean indoor basketball shoes. This allows you to clean these components separately and ensures you can reach all areas of the shoes. Next, use a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to gently brush off any loose dirt and debris from the shoes, focusing on the soles and any crevices where dirt might accumulate.

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Cleaning Solutions

You can use a simple and effective cleaning solution made with mild detergent and warm water. Ensure the detergent is gentle to avoid damaging the shoe materials. Alternatively, there are various commercial shoe cleaners available designed specifically for athletic shoes, which can be more effective but are typically more expensive than DIY solutions.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process to clean indoor basketball shoes

Cleaning the Uppers

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into your cleaning solution and gently scrub the uppers of the shoes, focusing on any stains or dirty areas. Use the brush for tougher spots, being careful not to damage the material to clean indoor basketball shoes.

Cleaning the Soles

Apply the cleaning solution to the soles with the brush and scrub thoroughly to remove dirt and grime. Wipe the soles with a damp cloth to remove any soap residue.

Cleaning the Insoles and Laces

Soak the laces in a bowl of soapy water, scrub them gently, rinse with clean water, and let them air dry. Wipe down the insoles with a damp cloth and let them dry completely before reinserting them into the shoes.

clean indoor basketball shoes

Drying Your Shoes

Proper drying is crucial to prevent damage to clean indoor basketball shoes. Pat the shoes dry with paper towels or a clean cloth to remove excess water. Stuff the shoes with paper towels or newspaper to help them maintain their shape and absorb moisture. Allow the shoes to air dry at room temperature, avoiding direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can warp or damage the shoes. Do not use a dryer, as the heat can be too intense and cause damage.

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Maintaining Your Basketball Shoes

Regular cleaning is key to maintaining your shoes in good condition. Clean your shoes regularly to prevent dirt build-up. After each use, wipe down the shoes to remove surface dirt and sweat. When not in use, store your shoes in a cool, dry place and use a shoe bag to protect them from dust and dirt.

Dealing with Odor

To prevent and deal with odor, wear moisture-wicking socks to reduce sweat accumulation and allow your shoes to air out after each use. For odor removal, sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes and let it sit overnight to absorb odors. Use a disinfectant spray to kill bacteria and eliminate smells.

Explore: How to Use Baking Soda to Absorb Odors (Plus, Why It Works)

Handling Different Materials

Cleaning Leather Basketball Shoes

Use a leather cleaner or a mild detergent solution to clean indoor basketball shoes. Apply shoe polish after cleaning to maintain the leather’s finish.

Cleaning Synthetic Basketball Shoes

Use a mild detergent solution, avoiding harsh chemicals that can damage synthetic materials.

Cleaning Mesh Basketball Shoes

Gently scrub with a mild detergent solution, avoiding abrasive brushes that can tear the mesh.

Pro Tips for Prolonging Shoe Life

Avoid common pitfalls such as using harsh chemicals or bleach, which can weaken shoe materials. Also, avoid submerging shoes in water, which can damage adhesives and materials. To enhance shoe longevity, rotate between multiple pairs of shoes to reduce wear and regularly inspect your shoes for any signs of wear and address them promptly.

Explore: Difference between indoor and outdoor basketball shoes


Keeping your indoor basketball shoes clean is essential for performance, hygiene, and longevity. By following these steps and tips, you can ensure your shoes remain in top condition, providing you with the grip and support you need on the court. Regular maintenance not only enhances your game but also extends the life of your shoes, making them a worthwhile investment.


How often should I clean my indoor basketball shoes?

It’s best to clean your shoes after every few uses, especially if you play frequently. Regular cleaning prevents dirt build-up and keeps them in good condition.

Can I put my basketball shoes in the washing machine?

It’s generally not recommended as the machine can be too harsh and damage the shoes. Hand cleaning is safer and more effective.

What if my shoes get wet during cleaning?

Ensure you dry them properly by stuffing them with paper towels and allowing them to air dry. Avoid using direct heat sources.

How do I remove tough stains from my basketball shoes?

For tough stains, use a soft brush with a bit of baking soda or a specialized stain remover. Gently scrub the area and rinse with a damp cloth.

Can I use bleach to clean my basketball shoes?

Bleach is too harsh and can damage the materials of your shoes. Stick to mild detergents or specialized shoe cleaners for best results.

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Emily Scarlett

Writer & Blogger

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Emily Scarlett

A basketball enthusiast whose blog sheds light on the game’s complexities with passion and accuracy. Fans find her blog to be the best place to go for all things hoops-related because of how well she writes and how deeply she analyses things.

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