Argh, you got your new kicks all dirty. Don’t worry there is a simple way to clean mesh sneakers. Actually I will show you two methods that you can follow in this post. Just pick whichever one works best for you.

Clean Mesh Sneakers

Before I begin!

In this post I will be showing you two ways in which you can clean the mesh on your shoes. They are both very easy ways for you to do this.

One of the ways that I will discuss is to brush the dirt off. It’s not a particularly hard process for you. You just need to have the items that I will list.

The other way is even easier. All you really need is a washing machine. This way will not only clean the mesh on your shoes but also the whole shoe as well.

So it is up to you which option that you choose. And whether you have the listed items in your home, (which you should have anyway).

Not only do I give you step-by-step instructions on how to clean your shoes but I also start each method with an instructional video.

I find that videos are the best way for you to understand the steps that you will need to take. The quality of both these videos isn’t great I must admit but they show you exactly what you need to do.

Want to whiten your mesh sneakers?

If you want to get your white mesh sneakers whiter then please head on over to Our Everyday Life. There you will discover the power of vinegar and how best to use it.

2 Easy Ways to clean your mesh shoes:

Easy Way – Brush The Dirt Off

This method is very easy for you to do. You just need to scrub off the dirt with a toothbrush, or any ordinary scrubbing brush. Don’t scrub too hard though. If the process doesn’t work then you will just need to repeat it.

Credit: Chris Rodriguez

What You Need:

  • Shoes (yeah I got that)
  • 2 Cups
  • Warm water in first cup
  • Water and soap in second cup
  • Toothbrush
  • Cloth/rag (non-colored preferably)

Step 1 – Prepare Yourself

First you will need to prepare everything for you to begin the process of cleaning your shoes.

Simply fill up one cup with warm water. Don’t make it too hot though as this may damage your shoes. The second cup will be filled with a mixture of warm water and soap.

You can use ordinary hand soap that you have in your bathroom. This may either be liquid soap or a bar of soap. If you have a bar of soap then just leave it in the cup of water for a while to get a mixture of soapy water, (as explained in the above video).

You can always use your sink or a couple of buckets instead if you wish. It’s entirely up to you.
Then get your toothbrush or an ordinary scrubbing brush. Make sure that the bristles on the brush are not abrasive. You do not want to rip the mesh on your shoes.

It would be best if the cloth or rag that you use isn’t colored as the color may run into the shoes.

Step 2 – Scrub Your Shoes

Next what you will need to do is to dampen the mesh on your shoes. For this get your brush and dip it into the cup of warm water. And then scrub your shoes.

Then put the brush into the cup of soapy water and scrub your shoes. Make sure that you cover the entire mesh with the soapy water.

After that dip your brush back into the warm water again and then scrub your shoes again.

Tip: A circular motion works best.

Step 3 – Dry Your Shoes

Then get your cloth or rag and pat-dry your shoes.

If you don’t think that they are completely dry then you can always leave them for a few hours or overnight. Leaving them in outside in the shade is also a good idea.

Step 4 – Repeat The Process

You may find that the dirt or stains haven’t disappeared after completing this process. You will probably find though that some of it has gone.

What you need to do is just repeat Steps 1-3 until you are satisfied with how clean your shoes are.

Please let me know if this method works for you.

Easier Way – Use The Washing Machine

If you do not fancy scrubbing your shoes clean and prefer an even simpler method then you can always chuck them into the washing machine instead. But wait before you do that there are a few tips and instructions that I would like you to follow.

Credit: Tommy Today

Now this method will not only clean the mesh part of your shoes, but the whole shoe as well. So if they are dirty all over then this is great choice for you.

What You Need:

  • Shoes (yep, got them)
  • Pillow case(s)
  • Rubber band(s)
  • Sock
  • Laundry detergent
  • Washing machine
  • Towels
  • Small towel (only if you have a top-loader)

Step 1 – Prepare Your Items

Yep simple start, you just need to prepare everything before you begin to use the washing machine. There’s not too much preparation involved though with this method unlike the previous one.

Depending on how many shoes that you need to clean you may need more than one pillow case. The case will hold your shoes while they get washed in the machine.

Tip: It’s best if you use an old pillow case instead of one that you are already using. Even an old jersey will do. You just need to tie up the ends, (as instructed in the above video).

Step 2 – Get Your Shoes Machine Ready

Then take out the insoles from your shoes and the shoe laces as well. You don’t really need to wash the insoles. Placing them in the washing machine may actually damage them so I would suggest for you not to clean them.

Next put the shoes into the pillow case(s). Then what you need to do is to twist the opening end of the case and tie it up with a rubber band. You may want to wrap the band a few times to make sure it holds during the wash cycle.

Then put your shoe laces into an old sock. Either tie up or use a rubber band to seal the opening of the sock.

Tip: There’s no real point cleaning the shoes, (or any part of your shoe), before putting them into the washing machine. If there is still dirt on your shoes afterwards then you can always scrub them clean using the above method.

Step 3 – Put Your Shoes and Laces In

Next it’s time to get your washing machine ready to start the cleaning. If you have a top-loader then it’s a good idea to wrap a small towel around the spindle. This will help the shoes from getting too bashed up from the spinning.

Put the pillow case(s) filled with your shoes and the sock with your shoe laces into the machine.

Tip: Put in some extra towels into the wash as well. Again this will help prevent your shoes getting knocked around too much.

Step 4 – Start The Washing Cycle

If your washing machine is like mine then you may want to set the water level to Auto. If not then small/medium should suffice. But it’s up to you. It’s your machine after all so you should know what works best for you.

Then set the temperature to cold. You don’t want anything higher than that as it will damage your shoes. And we don’t want that do we?

Then set the machine for a delicate wash.

And then put in some laundry detergent as you would normally do.

Finally, press Start and wait for the cycle to finish. While you are waiting you may want to check out the rest of my site 😉

Step 5 – Leave To Dry

Once the washing machine has finished its cycle then take the shoes and laces out of the machine. Remove them from the pillow case(s) and sock and then inspect them.

You should see that they are now clean, or at least they are mostly clean.

If you are not completely satisfied with the cleanliness of your shoes then you can always hand scrub them until you are happy with the state of them.

For this just follow the steps in the first method of this post.

If you are happy with how clean your shoes are then you can either leave them for a few hours or even overnight to dry. Placing them outside is also a good option as long as they are in the shade.

When you are happy that the shoes are as clean as you like them to be then re-lace your shoes and put the soles back in.

Tip: It is best not to use a tumble dryer or a hair dryer. The heat from either of these will cause damage to your shoes.

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope that this how to clean mesh sneakers post was both useful and helpful. If you think that this post will be helpful then please share it with family and friends using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Owain Couch

Making and repairing boots and shoes has been an occupation in my family for generations. I want to carry on the family business by helping you find the best footwear, as well as provide useful guides that will help make them last longer.


Stefan Vogt · February 15, 2018 at 1:20 am

Hi, this was interesting. I prefer the machine washing though. I like the video, very precise instructions. I would have forgotten to take the inner sole out. Also, the covering of the inner pole is a good idea. I think my mother in law doesn’t know this trick, because when she washes shoes it is a very loud happening, scaring everyone away lol. I’ll tell her now 🙂

    Owain Couch · February 15, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Make sure that the inner sole is removable. Some of them are stuck in the shoes and can’t be removed.

    Glad you learned that trick with the spindle. It’s a good one that I quite like.

Hammer11B · February 15, 2018 at 11:27 pm

Fantastic post Owain. I will definitely try the washing machine method. This is a huge money saving idea. Thank you for putting the information up here. I will be back for more time and money saving tips. Do you think this method would work with heavy boots?

    Owain Couch · February 16, 2018 at 4:47 am

    Hi Hammer, thank you for your comment and query. I plan to add more guides on how to all kinds of shoes and boots. So please keep checking back for those.

    With regards to heavy boots I would suggest brushing them clean by hand. Hope that helps.

Rachel Matatics · February 15, 2018 at 11:38 pm

I’m kind of afraid to put my shoes in the washer, lol. I’ll probably go the hand washing route. Even though it does take a bit longer I will definitely try this method. I have those items at home so it’s no bother to me.

Thanks, mate!

    Owain Couch · February 16, 2018 at 4:52 am

    That’s good to hear Rachel. Yes hand scrubbing will take a bit of work on your part but I feel that your shoes will be cleaner for it.

Sarah · February 16, 2018 at 12:18 am

Great info! I was actually trying to clean my converse the other day (I realize they’re not mesh) but was scared to wash them in the washing machine for fear of damaging them. Does throwing shoes in the washer affect how long they last? Just wondering for future reference..

    Owain Couch · February 16, 2018 at 5:18 am

    It all depends on what kind of shoes they are and what setting that you put the machine on to. If you do need to put shoes, or boots, into the washing machine t set it for a cold wash. A hot wash will do damage.

    I do plan to add more guides on how to clean specific shoes, Converse included. So please check back for that.

Philip · February 16, 2018 at 1:05 am

Hi Owain,

I have a horror story regarding a pair of sneakers I had and loved in my teenage years. They were a really cool deep blue swade fabric – really nice and stood out. I messed them up playing football, opps.

OK, I got a cloth and hot water and I ‘SCRUBBED’ – arrgggg! I completely ruined the swade on them and they looked pretty ridiculous forever after that.

I am older now and decided to have a bit of sense this time Google it. I am happy you had that video to show me as well on how to clean the mesh in sneakers as I was itching to ‘scrub’ again.

I tried and it worked just fine on the fourth and I am happy with the result and now my sneakers look as good as new – thank you for some sensible instructions – as I spent one hundred and 29 euros on them. Now I tempted to swap out my girlfriends toothbrush for the one I used hahaa just kidding – sh’e’d somehow know lol.

Take care and thanks again.

    Owain Couch · February 16, 2018 at 5:01 am

    That’s good to hear Philip. I will definitely be adding more how to clean guides covering all kinds of shoes and boots. The cleaning method really depends on what kinds of footwear you have. After all you wouldn’t chuck into a washing machine a pair of leather shoes, would you?

    Certainly not.

    If you, (or anyone else for that matter), spend good money on shoes then we obviously need to take good care of them. You don tell want to ruin them again like you did playing football, lol.

    But we all live and learn and that’s fine. I’m glad you learned.

    All the best Philip.

Jaden Ho · February 16, 2018 at 1:19 am

This is a great post and I am so happy about finding a new solution to clean my shoes. Thanks for your great tips and step on cleaning the shoes, my shoes are finally clean and looks brand new. I will share your post and keep my self updated for your new post by marking your post. Cheers!


    Owain Couch · February 16, 2018 at 5:10 am

    You’re very welcome Jayden. Please check out the rest of my site as I cover different methods for cleaning all sorts of shoes and boots. I will be adding more in due course.

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