How to Clean Brooks Tennis Shoes

Are you tired of your Brooks tennis shoes looking dirty and worn out? Do you want to make them look brand new again? Well, you’re in luck because we have some tips on how to clean brooks tennis shoes and keep them looking fresh.

How to Clean Brooks Tennis Shoes

Keeping your Brooks tennis shoes clean is not just about maintaining their aesthetic appeal; it’s also crucial for preserving their functionality and extending their lifespan. Whether you’re an avid runner hitting the pavement daily or enjoy casual walks, your Brooks shoes inevitably collect dirt, dust, and possibly stains.

The process of cleaning these shoes involves a few simple steps and the right materials to ensure they remain in top condition. This guide will walk you through the best practices for cleaning Brooks tennis shoes, ensuring they continue to provide the support and comfort they were designed for.

What are the Benefits of Cleaning Brooks Tennis Shoes?

Regularly cleaning your Brooks tennis shoes provides a range of benefits, including:

  • Improved Aesthetic Appeal: First and foremost, cleaning your shoes helps them look better. Removing dirt and stains can make them appear brand new again.
  • Longer Lifespan: By removing dirt, dust, and debris from your shoes, you prevent premature wear and tear, ultimately extending their lifespan.
  • Better Performance: Cleaning your Brooks tennis shoes also helps maintain their functionality. Regularly removing dirt and grime ensures that the support and cushioning provided by your shoes remain intact.

Now that you understand the importance of cleaning your Brooks tennis shoes, let’s examine the steps for achieving clean, fresh-looking footwear.

Achieving Clean, Fresh-looking Footwear

What Will You Need?

Before we get started, gather the necessary materials to clean your Brooks tennis shoes. You will need:

  • A soft bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • Mild detergent or shoe cleaner
  • A bucket of warm water
  • A microfiber cloth or sponge
  • Newspaper or drying rack

Once you have these materials, you’re ready to begin the cleaning process.

10 Easy Steps on How to Clean Brooks Tennis Shoes

Step 1. Remove Excess Dirt:

Begin cleaning by loosening and removing any excess dirt from your Brooks tennis shoes. Tap the shoes together above a trash can or outdoors to dislodge any loose dirt. Then, use a soft bristle brush or an old toothbrush to gently scrub away the remaining dirt and debris from the surface, especially focusing on the outsole where dirt accumulates.

Be sure to clean in and around the grooves to ensure all dirt is removed. This step is crucial for preventing any surface dirt from turning into mud or grime during the wet cleaning process, making the shoes easier to clean thoroughly.

Step 2. Prepare Cleaning Solution:

Small Amount of Mild Detergent

Next, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing a small amount of mild detergent or shoe cleaner with a bucket of warm water. Ensure the solution is well mixed. This cleaning mixture will be used to remove the more stubborn dirt and stains from your shoes without damaging the material. It’s important to use a mild detergent and avoid harsh chemicals or bleaching agents that can harm the shoe’s fabric and color.

Step 3. Clean the Upper Part of the Shoes:

Dip a microfiber cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and gently wipe the upper part of the shoes. Focus on areas with stains or visible dirt. Apply the solution using circular motions to effectively loosen the dirt. For more stubborn stains, you may need to gently scrub the area with an old toothbrush. However, be cautious not to apply too much pressure, which could damage the material of the shoes. Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently while cleaning to avoid spreading dirt.

Step 4. Clean the Insoles and Laces:

After completing the upper part of the shoes, it’s essential to clean the insoles and laces separately to ensure a thorough cleaning. Remove the insoles and laces from your Brooks tennis shoes.

For the insoles, create a soapy mixture using mild detergent and warm water. Submerge the insoles in the mixture and gently scrub them with a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt and odor. If the insoles are heavily soiled, you may allow them to soak for a few minutes before scrubbing.

Place the laces in the soapy mixture and use your hands or a soft brush to work out the dirt and grime. Rinse them thoroughly under running water to ensure all soap residue is washed away. It’s crucial to clean the insoles and laces meticulously because they can harbor bacteria and contribute to unwanted shoe odors.

Once clean, press the insoles and laces between a towel to remove excess water and leave them to air dry completely before reinserting them into your shoes.

Leave Them to Air Dry Completely

Step 5. Rinse the Shoes:

After thoroughly cleaning the upper part of the shoes, insoles, and laces, the next step is to rinse your Brooks tennis shoes. Gently wipe away the cleaning solution with a damp microfiber cloth or sponge, ensuring not to soak the material. It’s vital to remove all soap residues to avoid attracting more dirt.

For best results, use a different section of the cloth or rinse the sponge frequently in clean water to ensure it’s soap-free. Patience is key in this step to ensure that the shoes are thoroughly rinsed without being submerged or overly wet.

Step 6. Air Dry Your Shoes:

Once you have successfully rinsed your Brooks tennis shoes, the next crucial step is to allow them to air dry. Avoid direct heat sources such as radiators or hair dryers, as these can damage the material of your shoes. Instead, place your shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the colors of your shoes and weaken the fabric over time.

To help maintain the shape of your shoes and absorb moisture, stuff them with newspaper or insert a drying rack inside. This also aids in speeding up the drying process. Allow your shoes to dry completely before using them again. Depending on the humidity and ventilation, this may take anywhere from several hours to a full day.

Step 7. Deodorize the Shoes:

After your Brooks tennis shoes have dried completely, the next step is to deodorize them to ensure they smell fresh. You can achieve this by lightly sprinkling baking soda inside each shoe. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that will help absorb any lingering odors without damaging the material of your shoes.

Leave the baking soda in your shoes overnight, then tap out any excess powder the next morning. Consider placing a dryer sheet inside each shoe for a few hours before wearing them again for an extra burst of freshness. This step is crucial for maintaining a pleasant smell, especially after cleaning thoroughly.

Maintaining a Pleasant Smell

Step 8. Protect Your Shoes:

After your Brooks tennis shoes are clean and dry, the next proactive measure is to protect them to extend their lifespan and maintain their appearance. Use a waterproofing spray or shoe protector designed for the material of your Brooks shoes.

Spray evenly across the surface of both shoes from a distance, as directed by the product instructions. This will help repel water and prevent stains from setting in the future. Allow the protector to dry completely before wearing your shoes. This step is critical if you frequently wear your shoes in wet or muddy conditions, as it adds an extra layer of defense against the elements.

Step 9. Regular Maintenance:

To keep your Brooks tennis shoes in top condition, regular maintenance is vital. Incorporate a cleaning routine based on how often you wear the shoes and the conditions in which they are used. For light soiling, a quick wipe with a damp cloth may suffice, but deeper cleaning as mentioned in the previous steps, should be done monthly or after heavy use in challenging environments.

Additionally, inspect your shoes regularly for signs of wear and tear, especially in high-stress areas like the outsole and around the toe box. Addressing minor issues promptly can prevent them from becoming serious problems, ensuring your Brooks tennis shoes remain comfortable, functional, and visually appealing for as long as possible.

Step 10. Storing Your Shoes Properly:

Proper storage is the final step in ensuring the longevity and maintenance of your Brooks tennis shoes. Avoid storing your shoes in damp or humid areas, as this can lead to mold and mildew, which damages the material and produces an unpleasant odor. Instead, find a cool, dry place, ideally with adequate air circulation.

If you won’t wear your shoes for an extended period, consider placing silica gel packets inside them to absorb any excess moisture. Also, avoid stacking heavy items on your shoes to maintain their shape and structure. Proper storage will keep your Brooks tennis shoes ready and in good condition for your next adventure.

Ready and in Good Condition

By following these steps, you can keep your Brooks tennis shoes clean, fresh, and in top condition for years to come.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Use a Toothbrush for Tough Spots: A soft-bristled toothbrush can effectively remove stubborn dirt and grime from the outsoles and hard-to-reach areas of your Brooks tennis shoes. Gently scrub the affected spots in a circular motion to achieve the best results.
  2. Freshen Up with Baking Soda: If your shoes have developed an unpleasant odor, sprinkle baking soda inside them and leave them overnight. The baking soda absorbs the odor, leaving your shoes smelling fresher. Shake out any excess powder before wearing them again.
  3. Condition Leather Parts: If your Brooks tennis shoes have any leather components, treat them with a leather conditioner after cleaning. This keeps the leather supple and prevents it from cracking over time, extending the life of your shoes.
  4. Air Dry Properly: Always allow your shoes to air dry away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Stuffing the shoes with paper towels can help them maintain their shape and absorb moisture from the inside. Replace the paper towels if they become too damp.
  5. Avoid Washing Machines: Although it might seem easy, avoid putting your Brooks tennis shoes in the washing machine. The harsh cycle can damage the structure and materials of the shoes. Always opt for hand washing to preserve their integrity and appearance.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can ensure that your Brooks tennis shoes stay in top condition for longer.

Always Opt for Hand Washing

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Do Not Use Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals or bleach on your Brooks tennis shoes. These can damage the shoe’s material and fade the colors. Stick to mild detergents or specialized shoe cleaners.
  2. Avoid Submerging in Water: Do not completely soak your Brooks tennis shoes in water. Submerging them in water can weaken the adhesive and materials, leading to quicker deterioration of the shoe.
  3. Steer Clear of Direct Heat: Never try to speed up the drying process by placing your shoes near a direct heat source like radiators, hairdryers, or sunlight. Direct heat can alter the shape of the shoes and damage the material.
  4. Don’t Ignore the Insoles: Simply cleaning the exterior of the shoe is not enough. Avoid the mistake of ignoring the insoles; they should be removed and cleaned separately to prevent the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.
  5. Do Not Use a Stiff Brush on Mesh Areas: While a toothbrush is great for tough spots, using a stiff brush on delicate mesh areas can cause fraying or tears. Always use a soft-bristled brush or cloth for cleaning these areas to keep your Brooks tennis shoes in the best condition.

By avoiding these things, you can maintain the quality and longevity of your Brooks tennis shoes.

How to Freshen Shoes Without Washing?

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your Brooks tennis shoes is important for their longevity and overall appearance. However, there may be times when you need to freshen them up without washing them. Here are a few tips on how to do so:

  1. Use Baking Soda: As mentioned earlier, baking soda is great for absorbing odors. Sprinkle some inside your shoes and leave them overnight. Shake out any excess powder before wearing.
  2. Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz the inside of your shoes. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it with a damp cloth.
  3. Dryer Sheets: Place some scented dryer sheets inside your Brooks tennis shoes and leave them overnight. The sheets will absorb any unpleasant odors.
  4. Freeze Them: Place your shoes in a sealed plastic bag and store them in the freezer overnight. The freezing temperature kills odor-causing bacteria, leaving your shoes smelling fresh.
  5. Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal is known for its odor-absorbing properties. Place a few pieces inside your shoes and leave them for a few hours before shaking them out.

By following these tips, you can freshen up your Brooks tennis shoes without having to wash them. However, it’s still important to regularly clean and maintain them for long-term use. 

Regularly Clean and Maintain Them

How to Remove Smell from Tennis Shoes?

No one likes the smell of stinky tennis shoes. Here are some ways to effectively remove odor and keep your Brooks tennis shoes smelling fresh:

  1. Wash with Baking Soda: Mix a small amount of baking soda with warm water to create a paste. Apply it to the inside of your shoes and gently scrub, then rinse off with cold water. This will help eliminate any lingering odors.
  2. Use Lemon Juice: Lemon juice’s acidity can neutralize odor-causing bacteria. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water, and apply it to the inside of your shoes using a cloth or sponge. Rinse with cold water after a few minutes.
  3. Tea Tree Oil Solution: Tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial properties. Mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle, spritz it inside your shoes, and let them air dry.
  4. Borax Powder: Sprinkle some borax powder inside your shoes and leave it overnight to absorb odors. Shake out any excess powder before wearing.
  5. Sun Dry: If the weather permits, leave your shoes out in the sun to dry. The UV rays will help kill bacteria and eliminate any odors.

Regularly cleaning and using these methods can keep your Brooks tennis shoes smelling fresh and free of unpleasant odors. 


Maintaining the cleanliness and freshness of your Brooks tennis shoes extends their life and ensures your comfort and footwear’s performance. You can keep your shoes in prime condition by adhering to a routine of gentle, effective cleaning methods and avoiding practices that could damage them. Remember, the key to longevity lies in regular maintenance, careful cleaning, and proper drying.

By following the tips and avoiding common mistakes outlined in this guide, your Brooks tennis shoes will continue to support your athletic endeavors while looking as good as new. Whether you’re an avid runner, a tennis enthusiast, or you simply enjoy the casual comfort of tennis shoes, taking the time to care for your footwear is a step towards sustaining its durability and functionality.

Hopefully, the article on how to clean brooks tennis shoes has provided you with helpful insights and practical advice to keep your shoes in top shape. With proper care, your Brooks tennis shoes will continue to be a reliable companion on all your adventures for years to come!

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Jennifer Branett

I am Jennifer, a passionate blogger since 2016. I like to write informative articles to help peoples in my free time. I am a family person. I have two kids who keep me busy all the time. I always try to give importance to my family. Sometimes it becomes challenging for me to maintain the time along with my family. But I never lose hope. I hope my articles are helping you in some way. If so, You can give me a thumbs up to my inbox, which means a lot to me. Thank you. You can email me at

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