How To Clean Shoe Laces

Dirty laces can make even the most beautiful pair of shoes look old and worn out. That’s why it’s so important to put in the maintenance work when it comes to your shoelaces as well as the shoes themselves. 

If you’ve noticed that your shoelaces are looking dirty, don’t make the mistake of buying a new set of laces straight away; try cleaning your laces first. 

The process for cleaning shoe laces can look different depending on what kind of laces you’re working with, but luckily, we’ve got 3 tried and tested methods to recommend in this article. 

Read on to find out how to get your laces looking pristine again!

Methods For Cleaning Shoe Laces 

Dish Soap

Did you know that the same dish soap you use to keep your plates and glasses clean is also suitable for cleaning shoe laces? 

The first step is to fill up your sink with warm water and add dish soap until bubbles form on the surface of the water. You don’t need to use too much. 

Once you have prepared your water and dish soap, lower your shoelaces into the water and leave them to soak for up to 20 minutes (no less than 15 minutes). 

Now and again, it’s a good idea to move the laces around in the water (without taking them out of the sink) to allow the dirt to dislodge itself. 

If, after 20 minutes, you still see some stains on your shoe laces, don’t despair! This can usually be resolved by scrubbing the laces in the soapy water with a spare toothbrush.

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Make sure you use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the laces in the process. After a few minutes of scrubbing, you should see a clear difference in the cleanliness of your shoe laces!

Be sure to air-dry the laces after washing since applying heat can cause your laces to shrink. 

Machine Washing 

Using your washing machine is probably the easiest way to clean your shoelaces. However, there’s always the possibility that your laces might get caught inside the washing machine or tangled up, so you should put the laces into a mesh bag before starting the cycle. 

Make sure to get rid of any debris that might be on your shoe laces before putting them in the washing machine since you don’t want any of that debris to block your filter or linger in the machine’s drum.

The simplest way to get rid of as much debris as possible in a short space of time is just to use a spare toothbrush to brush the dirt away under warm water. 

Once your laces are as clean as you can get them without washing and securely fastened in a mesh bag, you can go ahead and put them in the washing machine. Ideally, try to put the laces in with a load of washing so you don’t waste water machine-washing a single item. 

You don’t want to wash your laces on a setting that is too hot, so to be on the safe side, use a regular wash setting and don’t run the dry cycle. As we mentioned before, it’s best to air-dry shoe laces to prevent them from shrinking. 

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How To Clean Shoe Laces (1)

Homemade Cleaning Solutions 

While dish soap and machine washing are the most common methods of cleaning shoe laces, these recommendations aren’t much use if dish soap hasn’t worked for you and you don’t have a machine machine. 

Luckily, there is another option: use your own homemade cleaning solutions to restore your shoelaces to their former glory. 

The solution we’re going to recommend is more potent than dish soap, so this is the next logical step if you’ve tried the dish soap method with no success but don’t have the option to machine-wash your laces. 

All you need to make this solution is warm water and some kind of laundry detergent. If your laces are white, you should also use bleach to ensure a thorough clean, but don’t use too much. If you’re using a gallon of water, you’ll only need 3 tablespoons of bleach. 

Prior to submerging your laces in the cleaning solution, brush them with your spare toothbrush, just like you would if you were using a washing machine. Then, similar to the dish soap method, allow the laces to soak in the solution for 20 minutes. 

Rinse your laces as thoroughly as you can afterward so that no traces of bleach remain, and then hang them up to air-dry. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Wash Colorful Laces?

Some of the advice we’ve given in this article has been geared towards white laces specifically, simply because this is the most common color for laces. However, if your laces are black or a different color, you can still wash them – just don’t use bleach!

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The dish soap and washing machine methods are perfectly suitable for colorful laces. 

Is It Safe To Put Shoe Laces In The Washing Machine?

Machine-washing laces is one of our recommendations for cleaning shoe laces, so it’s definitely safe. However, you should always contain the laces in a mesh bag and never run the dry cycle in case it causes your laces to shrink. 

What Can I Use Instead Of Bleach To Clean Shoelaces?

If you’re not comfortable using bleach to clean your laces, you can substitute the bleach for either baking soda or vinegar. 

For a vinegar solution use a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar. Alternatively, put four tablespoons of baking soda into four ounces of water to form a paste. Then, apply the paste to the laces so it covers the material completely. After 15 minutes, rinse and dry.

Final Thoughts 

Cleaning shoe laces is easy if you have a washing machine, some dish soap, or some bleach and laundry detergent. 

You can also use baking soda or vinegar mixed with water to make cleaning solutions that are safe for shoe laces. 

Remember not to use bleach on shoe laces that aren’t white, and air-dry your laces where possible.