How To Clean Shoe Laces

How To Clean Shoe Laces? 5 Easy Ways!

Your shoelaces, much like your shoes, can endure wear and tear from being soaked in muddy water or from daily use. However, there’s no need to discard them unless they are worn out. Instead, you can thoroughly clean them and re-lace your shoes.

There are five simple ways to clean your shoelaces. You can either toss them in the wash or grab a toothbrush and scrub them with soap. In case of tough stains, you can bleach them, scrub them with baking soda, or apply toothpaste, then wash them as usual.

Cleaning your shoelaces is a quick and effortless process. If you would like a step-by-step guide for each cleaning method mentioned above, continue reading!

Why Do Your Shoelaces Get Dirty?

Sweat is one of the most common causes of dirty shoelaces. Your feet sweat throughout the day, and this sweat can seep through your socks and into your shoelaces. Over time, the moisture can accumulate, leading to bacteria growth and a foul odor. 

To prevent this, make sure to wear a fresh pair of socks every day and take off your shoes whenever possible to let your feet breathe. You can also use a foot powder to absorb excess moisture and keep your feet dry.

Another reason why shoelaces get dirty is exposure to outside elements. Whether you’re hiking through muddy trails or walking on dusty sidewalks, your shoelaces are bound to come into contact with dirt and grime. 

To combat this, try investing in waterproof shoes with deeper treads for better grip to reduce the amount of dirt that sticks to your shoelaces. You can also clean your shoes regularly with a damp cloth or brush to remove any surface stains.

Certain activities, like playing sports or working out, can cause your shoelaces to get dirty quickly. During these activities, you may sweat more than usual and come into contact with even more dirt and debris. 

One effective way to keep your shoelaces clean during these situations is to wear sweatbands around your ankles to absorb the sweat. You can also use a protective shoe spray that repels water and stains to keep your shoes and shoelaces clean.

You may also find that certain types of shoelaces are more prone to getting dirty than others. For example, white shoelaces tend to show dirt and stains more easily than darker colored ones. 

Additionally, flat shoelaces tend to have a greater surface area for dirt to accumulate compared to round shoelaces. To keep your shoelaces looking clean, opt for darker colored round laces, which are easier to clean and less prone to showing dirt.

Why Should You Clean Your Shoelaces?

Before proceeding with the ways you can clean your shoelaces, let’s take a look why you should clean your shoelaces. 

  • Hygiene Reasons: Let’s begin with the most obvious and essential reason – hygiene. Shoelaces come in contact with various surfaces, from wet pavements to dirty surfaces, and can easily accumulate dirt, dust, and bacteria. When left uncleaned for an extended period, they can ultimately add to bad odor problems and even foot infections. Therefore, taking a few minutes to give your shoelaces a quick wash or scrub can alleviate such risks and maintain good hygiene.
  • Aesthetic Reasons: Shoelaces are not just a practical aspect of footwear but also an essential design element. They come in various colors, styles, and lengths to match your shoes and mood. Dirty shoelaces can ruin the entire look of your footwear, making it look old and worn out rather than fresh and trendy. By keeping your shoelaces clean, you can extend the life of your shoes and keep them looking their best, making them a worthy fashion investment.
  • Financial reasons: Replacing the shoelaces of your shoes every few months can add up to the overall cost of the footwear. However, cleaning the shoelaces periodically can help extend their lifespan, thus saving you money in the longer run. It enables you to save up on additional costs that you might have to incur on new pairs of shoes or shoelaces.
  • Environmental reasons: Keeping your shoelaces clean is not only good for your shoes and wallet, but it also has a positive impact on the environment. Unclean shoelaces can be more harmful to the environment than you think. Washing them helps remove any pollutants or toxins that might have accumulated from harmful substances that could affect the soil or water quality.
  • Convenience reasons: Cleaning your shoelaces does not take up too much of your time or effort. It is relatively easy to do, and all you need is water, soap, and a scrubber. You do not even have to remove the laces completely from your shoes while cleaning, making it a quick and easy process. In other words, making it a habit to clean your shoelaces regularly can save you time and effort in the long run.

Five Ways To Clean Your Shoelaces

Now, here are the different ways to clean your shoelaces. Also, to clean colored shoelaces effectively, it is important to use color-safe bleach. However, if you have leather shoelaces, make sure to use a leather shoe soap specifically designed for cleaning leather materials.

Throw Them In Your Washing Machine

The most convenient way to clean shoelaces is by using a washing machine. To ensure effective cleaning, match the load color with the color of the shoelaces. For instance, if you are washing white shoelaces, include them in a white load. 

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to clean your shoelaces using this method:

  1. Remove the laces from the shoes. This will make it easier to clean them.
  2. Use your hands or a brush to brush away any loose dirt or grime from the shoelaces.
  3. Place the shoelaces into a small mesh laundry bag or a knotted pillowcase.
  4. Put the bag with the shoelaces into the washing machine.
  5. Wash the shoelaces using a normal cycle and detergent.
  6. After the washing cycle is complete, hang the shoelaces over a towel rail to air dry. Avoid using a dryer to prevent damage to the aglets.
  7. Finally, lace up your shoes with the freshly washed shoelaces.

The process to establish a baseline is straightforward. It provides a foundation for the subsequent steps that need to be followed, excluding handwashing.

Scrub Them With An Old Toothbrush

To ensure the safety of your shoelace aglets, it is best to wash them by hand. Fortunately, this process does not require many tools and can yield satisfactory results.

To clean your shoelaces without a washing machine, follow the steps below:

  1. Start by removing the laces from your shoes.
  2. Take a good look at the shoelaces and remove any visible dust or debris.
  3. Soak the shoelaces in warm water for a few minutes. This will help soften any grime or remaining debris, preparing them for the next step.
  4. Grab an old toothbrush and some laundry soap. Use the toothbrush to gently brush the wet shoelaces with the grain, brushing along the length of the shoelaces rather than the width.
  5. Be sure to brush over the entire length of the shoelaces. If you encounter stubborn dirt, use small circular motions, but be gentle to avoid damaging the shoelace or aglets.
  6. Rinse the shoelaces thoroughly with clean, warm water, using your hands.
  7. Place the wet shoelaces over a towel rail or sink and allow them to dry completely.
  8. Once dry, re-lace your shoes with the cleaned shoelaces.

If you come across a tough stain on your shoelaces, you can try one of the following methods to remove it before giving them a final wash either by machine or by hand.

Try Bleach 

To effectively remove stains from your shoelaces, it is recommended to use the washing machine method. To accomplish this, follow these steps:

  1. Dust away any large or visible pieces of dirt and debris from the shoelaces.
  2. In a well-ventilated room and while wearing kitchen gloves, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing a 3:1 ratio of water to bleach in a container.
  3. Wet the shoelaces before submerging them in the bleach solution. By wetting the shoelaces beforehand, you will be able to dip them in the bleach solution quickly.
  4. Leave the shoelaces completely submerged in the bleach solution for 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on how soiled the laces are.
  5. After soaking, wash the shoelaces using either the handwashing or machine wash methods.

If you still notice stubborn stains after attempting the treatment mentioned above, you have the option to repeat the procedure until you are satisfied with the results.

Alternatively, if you prefer not to use a chemical solvent or want to encourage your kids to clean their own shoelaces, there are several alternative methods you can try to effectively clean your shoelaces.

Clean Your Shoelace By Using Baking Soda Paste

To effectively clean and whiten stained shoelaces, baking soda can be used as an excellent cleaning agent. When combined with a mild acid like vinegar or lemon juice, baking soda works even more effectively. 

This gentle and bleach-free method provides an ideal way to remove stains from shoelaces. To get the best results, follow these steps:

  1. Start by removing the stained and dirty shoelaces.
  2. Use your hands to brush away any large pieces of dust.
  3. In a bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 4oz of water to create a paste.
  4. Cover the shoelaces with the baking soda paste and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Rinse away any residue using warm water.
  6. Finally, choose either the hand wash or machine wash method to remove any remaining residue and leave your shoelaces sparkling clean.

To brush the solution, use a toothbrush and rub it with the grain of the shoelace. It’s important to note that baking soda, being a mild base, should not compromise the aglets or color of your shoelaces.

Use Your Toothpaste

If you find yourself in a pinch without bleach or baking soda, toothpaste can also be used as an alternative. However, it’s important to be cautious when using toothpaste to clean your shoelaces, especially if they are white. 

Colored toothpaste runs the risk of staining your shoelaces with its own color. To clean your shoelaces with toothpaste, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the shoelaces from the shoes.
  2. Brush off large debris from the shoelace using your hands or a small brush.
  3. Wet the shoelaces in warm water.
  4. Prepare an old toothbrush by loading it with suitable toothpaste — generally, a gel toothpaste works best.
  5. Brush the toothpaste onto the shoelace with the grain and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  6. Continue to brush the shoelace to ensure thorough cleaning.
  7. Rinse the shoelaces using warm water.
  8. Wash away any remaining toothpaste by either washing it with your hands or in the washing machine.

One alternative method of cleaning shoelaces, although not the most convenient, is by using toothpaste. In addition to treating stains on shoelaces, toothpaste can also be used to clean shoes.

Should You Replace Your Shoelaces When It’s Dirty?

Shoelaces can be made up of different materials such as cotton, polyester, or even elastic. These materials can affect the lifespan of the laces themselves, but the frequency of use can expedite their dirtiness. 

Over time they can also accumulate moisture and sweat, which can lead to odor and stains. If you are running or participating in other sports activities that require more footwork, then it would be a good idea to replace shoelaces as frequently as possible.

Another determining factor would be the type of shoes you wear. If you are wearing boots and other sturdy footgear on rough terrains, then the laces will be exposed to more wear and tear, making it necessary to replace them. 

For athletic shoes, laces should also be replaced frequently considering all the exercises involved and the possibility of accidents like fraying or even snapping during usage.

If your shoelaces are not that old and are just a bit dirty, then cleaning them thoroughly before considering a replacement could be an option. You can use a soft-bristled brush with a mild detergent and water, or even put them in a laundry bag and wash them with your clothes. 

The key to clean laces is to ensure that they are free from dirt and completely dry before re-lacing them. Using a shoelace cleaner could also help to maintain their cleanliness and appearance.

When it comes to children’s shoes, replacing shoelaces could be a matter of preference, especially if they enjoy playing outdoors. Kids will always be kids, and their shoes and shoelaces may need frequent replacements as they are more likely to get themselves dirty while playing. Replacing them could be more costly in the long run, so bear in mind that this is merely a matter of preference.

How Often Should You Wash Your Shoelaces?

It is recommended that you wash your shoelaces once every two weeks. However, this may vary depending on the amount of activity you engage in every day. If you wear your shoes for daily activities such as work, gym, or sports, then you should wash your shoelaces more frequently – once a week. 

On the other hand, if you wear formal shoes only occasionally, you can wash your shoelaces once a month. This will help maintain their cleanliness and prevent dirt accumulation.

Now, let’s talk about how to wash your shoelaces. You can either wash them by hand or toss them in the washing machine. If you decide to hand-wash your shoelaces, you can use warm water and mild detergent. Soak them for a few minutes, then scrub them gently using a soft bristle brush. 

Rinse them thoroughly, and hang them to dry. If you prefer to use the washing machine, put them in a laundry bag to prevent tangling and damage. Use a gentle cycle with warm water and mild detergent. Once the cycle is complete, remove them from the bag and let them air dry.

If your shoelaces are made of delicate material such as silk or satin, you should hand wash them with cold water and mild detergent. Avoid using hot water as it may damage the fabric. Also, do not scrub them too hard to prevent damage.

Another way to keep your shoelaces clean is to prevent them from getting dirty in the first place. You can do this by spraying them with a water and dirt repellent spray. This will help repel dirt and stains, keeping your shoelaces cleaner for longer.

What Shoelaces Don’t Get Dirty?

If you are too lazy to clean your shoelaces, these are the shoelaces that don’t get dirty: 

  • Elastic Shoelaces: Elastic shoelaces are a popular choice for people who are always on the go. They’re not only easy to use, but they also provide a snug fit to your feet, making them perfect for running, hiking, or any other physical activity. The good news is that elastic shoelaces don’t get as dirty as fabric or leather shoelaces because they don’t absorb dirt or water the same way that other materials do. They also come in a variety of colors, so you can choose the ones that best match your shoes.
  • Silicone Shoelaces: Silicone shoelaces are an innovative alternative to traditional shoelaces. They come in various shapes and colors, and you can mix and match them to create a unique look for your shoes. Silicone shoelaces are also extremely versatile and can fit any shoe size or type. Additionally, they’re waterproof, which means that they won’t be affected by wet conditions, making them an excellent choice for outdoor activities.
  • Teflon Shoelaces: Teflon shoelaces have a non-stick coating that makes them resistant to dirt, dust, and other pollutants. They’re also very durable, which means that they’ll last much longer than other shoelaces. Teflon shoelaces are ideal for industrial boots or any other work boots that require sturdy and reliable shoelaces. Even after several wears, they’ll look as good as new, and you won’t have to worry about them getting dirty.
  • Rope Shoelaces: Rope shoelaces are a classic favorite for many people. They’re made from high-quality materials and are perfect for those who want a dapper look that’s fuss-free. Rope shoelaces are also easy to clean; all you need is water and mild soap, and they’ll be clean in no time. Furthermore, they’re not likely to get dirty because they are tightly knotted, leaving no space for dirt and water to penetrate.
  • Hickies: Hickies are trending shoelaces that you can use to replace traditional laces. They come in a variety of colors, and you can customize the tightness of the fit to your feet. Hickies are effortless to use and come with several unique features, such as even pressure distribution and shock absorption. They’re also easy to clean because they’re made from silicone.

Final Words

Cleaning your shoelaces can be done in various ways, depending on the level of staining. If your shoelaces aren’t heavily stained, a simple hand wash using an old toothbrush or tossing them in the next wash cycle will do the trick. 

In the case of stubborn stains, you have multiple options such as using bleach, baking soda, or even toothpaste. Rest assured, you don’t have to sacrifice your shoelaces, as a quick wash can effortlessly restore your old kicks to their former glory.

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