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How to Clean the Rubber Soles on Sneakers

by Kimbry Parker, studioD

Our sneakers carry us into all sorts of places, many of which are hot beds of grime, mud and germs. It's the rare person who feels blasé about tracking this dirt into the car and home -- but the first instinct to toss dirty sneakers into the washing machine can also get you into hot water, as doing so can damage the fabric and distort the shape of the shoes. Don't throw in the towel and let the dirt on the bottom of your sneakers win. Instead, give the soles a thorough hand washing to make their tracks invisible.

Smack the soles of the sneakers together a few times to get rid of the loose dirt, mud and debris. The best place to do this is outside.

Scrub the soles with a dry fingernail brush to further remove the dirt.

Fill a shallow pan with warm water and a small squirt of dish soap. Mix up the soap and water with your hands. Use only enough water in the pan so the soles of the sneakers will be covered when placed in the water.

Place the shoes in the pan of soapy water and wait 20 minutes.

Scrub the wet soles with the fingernail brush. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the crevices of the soles. Dip the soles into the water in between scrubs to continue to loosen the dirt. Remove the sneakers from the pan.

Wipe over the soles with a damp rag to remove any residue. Go over the rubber with a dry rag to dry the soles.

Items you will need
  •  Fingernail brush
  •  Shallow pan
  •  Dish soap
  •  Old toothbrush
  •  Rag


  • Be sure to only get the soles of the sneakers wet as extensive moisture can damage the rest of the shoe.

About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images