How to Wash Smelly Soccer Cleats

If you’re a soccer player, then you undoubtedly know the struggle of trying to achieve that perfect balance between playing hard and keeping your cleats smelling fresh. From sweaty practices to mud-soaked games, there’s no way around it – every soccer player needs clean cleats in order to perform their best on the field.

How to Wash Smelly Soccer Cleats

Thankfully, there are easy steps you can take to get rid of that nasty smell and ensure your cleats remain odor-free. In this blog post, we provide simple tips on how to wash smelly soccer cleats – so they stay fresh game after game!

Why My Soccer Cleats Are Smelling?

Smelly soccer cleats are unfortunately a common problem for many athletes. Cause of the smell is usually a combination of sweat and bacteria from in wet or muddy conditions, and the more you wear them without cleaning them, the worse they will get. Fortunately, there are some easy steps that you can take to remove the smell and make your soccer cleats fresh again.

The first step in getting rid of smelly cleats is to identify why they are so bad in the first place. Usually, it’s because of sweat and bacteria buildup, but it could also be due to mold or mildew if you have left your shoes in damp conditions for too long.

Knowing what is causing the smell will help you determine which cleaning method to use. It’s also important to make sure you are using the right type of detergent for your shoes, as some can actually do more harm than good if used on certain materials.

In addition to finding the source of the smell and making sure you have the right cleaning supplies, it is important to follow a few other tips when washing smelly soccer cleats. Make sure that you remove any dirt or debris from your shoes before beginning the cleaning process, as this will help ensure that all areas are thoroughly cleaned.

What Takes the Smell Out of Cleats?

Use an Odor-removing Spray

The most effective way to remove odors from your cleats is to use an odor-removing spray. Sprays are designed to target the bacteria that cause smelly odors, eliminating the source of the smell and leaving your cleats odor free. Be sure to follow all instructions on the label when using a cleaning product on your shoes.

Additionally, you can place smelly cleats in a plastic bag with a few tablespoons of baking soda or vinegar to help absorb existing smells. Leave this overnight before rinsing away the powder with cold water. Finally, it’s important to keep your cleats as dry as possible between wears.

Make sure they have plenty of time to air out after each game or practice, and avoid storing them in damp areas such as a bag or locker. Doing these simple things can go a long way toward keeping your cleats smelling fresh and clean.

In addition to using odor-removing products, you can also take preventative measures to ensure that your cleats don’t become smelly in the first place.

Wearing socks made from materials designed to wick away moisture will help absorb sweat and keep your feet dry during activity.

Similarly, wearing breathable shoes with good ventilation will keep air flowing around your feet and reduce moisture accumulation inside the shoe. Taking these steps can help minimize odors before they start.

8 Methods on How to Wash Smelly Soccer Cleats

1. Soak in Vinegar

Vinegar is a Natural Disinfectant

One way to wash smelly soccer cleats is to soak them in vinegar. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will help to kill any bacteria that may be causing the odor. Simply fill a bucket with water and add 1 cup of vinegar. Soak the cleats in the mixture for 30 minutes, then rinse with clean water.

If your cleats are particularly smelly, you can leave them to soak overnight. While this method is effective, it can also cause the color of your cleats to fade over time. Though this can be an effective way to remove odor, it is important to consider the impact it will have on the look of your cleats.

2. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective way to remove odors from soccer cleats. The baking soda will absorb the sweat and bacteria that are causing the smell. Simply sprinkle baking soda on the inside of the cleats and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, brush off the baking soda and rinse the cleats with clean water.

If the smell persists, repeat this process until it is completely gone. You can also make a paste out of baking soda and water to scrub the cleats with a soft brush. This should help to remove any remaining odors and make them smell fresh again. To prevent the odor from returning, be sure to dry the cleats completely before storing them.

3. Wash with Soap and Water

Washing smelly soccer cleats with soap and water is a simple but effective way to remove odors. Be sure to use mild soap so as not to damage the material of the cleats. Simply wet the cleats and scrub them with soap, then rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

You can also use a brush or an old toothbrush to help scrub away dirt and grime that may be hiding in the cleats. After washing, let the cleats dry completely before putting them away. If possible, allow them to air dry in an open space. This will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew which can cause bad odors.

4. Use Essential Oils

Essential Oils Can Also Be Used

Essential oils can also be used to freshen up smelly soccer cleats. The oils will help to mask the odor while also disinfecting the surface of the cleats. Simply add a few drops of essential oil to a cloth and wipe down the inside of the cleats. Let them dry completely before putting them on again.

For an extra boost of freshness, you can also add a few drops onto the insoles of the cleats. Be sure to use essential oils that are safe for fabric. If you are unsure, test a small area first before applying it all over. Also, be sure to keep essential oils away from the eyes and mouth to avoid irritation.

5. Freeze Them

Another way to freshen up smelly soccer cleats is to freeze them overnight. This will kill any bacteria that may be causing the odor. Simply place the cleats in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer overnight. In the morning, take them out of the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature before wearing them again.

For best results, repeat this process every few weeks to keep your cleats smelling fresh. If you have especially smelly cleats, you may want to freeze them for longer than one night. Although this method won’t make your cleats brand new, it should help keep them from becoming excessively smelly.

6. Dry Them in the Sun

Drying smelly soccer cleats in the sun is a great way to freshen them up naturally. The sun’s UV rays will help to kill any bacteria that may be causing the odor. Simply place the cleats in direct sunlight for a few hours, then store them in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use them again. Make sure you avoid leaving them in the sun too long, as this can cause the cleats to dry out and crack.

7. Store in a Dry Place 

Once your soccer cleats are completely dry, store them in a dry place until they are ready to be used again. A closet or drawer is ideal, but anywhere out of direct sunlight will work. Be sure to check your cleats periodically for any signs of mold or mildew so you can address the issue as soon as possible. With regular maintenance, your soccer cleats should stay fresh and odor-free for years to come.

8. Replace the Insoles

Replacing the Insoles

The insoles of your soccer cleats can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to smelly feet. If your cleats are smelling especially foul, it’s worth replacing the insoles. If you don’t have any new ones on hand, try using baking soda as an alternative to absorb odors and bacteria. Sprinkle a good amount onto the insole, let sit for 15 minutes, then brush off the excess with a clean cloth or paper towel.


Taking proper care of your cleats is essential for keeping them looking their best and prolonging their life. By following the steps above, you can keep your soccer cleats clean, free of odors, and smelling as good as new.

If you’re looking for even more ways to maintain your shoes, consider consulting with a professional shoe cobbler who specializes in cleaning and treating all types of athletic shoes.

With just a little extra effort and some simple maintenance tips, your soccer cleats can be an effective part of your game-winning strategy and keep them looking great all season long! So if you want your experience on the field to be as successful as possible, don’t forget how to wash smelly soccer cleats and make sure that you have a pair that can hold up against anything.

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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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