3 Easy Ways to Clean Shoelaces

From bleach to baking soda, check out these top tips and tricks to clean your shoelaces.

Last updated: March 31, 2022
3 min read
How to Clean Shoelaces

One simple way to keep a pair of shoes looking fresh is to make sure the shoelaces are clean. Crisp laces help brush up the look of a pair of old kicks, especially white sneakers. To avoid having to purchase a new pair of laces each time they get dirty, here are three easy ways to clean laces with basic household supplies.

Three Easy Ways to Clean Shoelaces

1.In the Washing Machine

The simplest way to get shoelaces clean is to toss them in with the laundry. All you need is a washing machine, regular laundry detergent and a mesh laundry bag.

To prep shoelaces for a wash cycle, remove them from the shoes and use a spare toothbrush to brush off any stuck-on debris. Sometimes, simply running laces under warm water will remove a lot of the dirt. If the shoelaces appear to need some extra love and elbow grease, apply a stain-removing solution as you would on other clothing items.

Then, place the shoelaces in a mesh laundry bag and toss them in with the next load of laundry — the detergent does all the work. However, it’s best to skip the dryer. Air-drying prevents any shrinkage and keeps those little plastic tips on the laces (known as aglets) intact.

2.With Dish Soap

Another easy way to freshen up dirty laces is to hand-wash them in the sink. Dish soap is great for dealing with stains, as it helps loosen stubborn grime.

To clean your laces in the sink, put a stopper in the sink drain to fill up the sink with warm water, or fill up a bowl with warm water. Add enough dish soap to the water to create bubbles, and submerge your laces in the water. Soak them for 15 to 20 minutes, moving the laces through the water with your hands every so often. Any stains that are still visible should scrub away easily with a spare toothbrush. Rinse when done and hang to dry.

3.With Your Own Cleaning Solution

If the shoelaces require a cleaning solution stronger than dish soap, try mixing your own solution of warm water and a small amount of laundry detergent. If you have white laces, use bleach. You’ll only need a tiny amount of bleach or detergent to get the job done — a ratio of 3 tablespoons of cleaner for a gallon of water — but make sure there is enough water to fully submerge the laces.

Before submerging them, brush the laces off with the spare toothbrush. Submerge laces into the mixture and let soak — 20 minutes for detergent but only five minutes for bleach. When complete, remove the laces and rinse them thoroughly to get all the cleaning solution out. Hang to dry.

Tips for Using Bleach Alternatives

For alternatives to bleach, try concocting a solution with vinegar or baking soda, which are both effective cleaning solutions, though they require a little bit more hands-on effort.

For a vinegar mixture, use a 1:1 ratio — one part water to one part vinegar. Instead of submerging your laces, rub the vinegar mixture over your shoelace stains with a cloth or toothbrush, then rinse clean and air dry.

To use baking soda, make a paste with four tablespoons of baking soda and four ounces of water. Completely cover the shoelaces in the paste and let them sit for 15 minutes. Then, rinse thoroughly and hang laces to dry.