How To Clean Air Jordan 1s: Step By Step Guide

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One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to Air Jordan 1s is how to clean them because keeping your sneakers in deadstock condition isn't always as straightforward as it may seem.

Fortunately, we've put together a step-by-step guide to talk you through some of the dos and don'ts when it comes to keeping your best basketball sneakers looking fresh 24/7.

Whether you're trying to remove the dirt to resell, or simply readying your best sneakers for summer, here are our top tips to help keep your Jordan 1s in excellent condition all year round..

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How To Clean Air Jordan 1s?

The following technique is what we believe to be the best way of cleaning leather Jordan sneakers based on Nike's recommendations.

We've chosen to base our guide on leather Jordans as it is the most commonly used material used to construct some of the best Jordan 1 colourways around.

With that covered, here's everything you'll need to clean your sneakers.

What You'll Need:

  • Soap
  • Cloth
  • Soft-bristled Brush
  • Wet Wipes
  • Shoe Cleaner
  • Toothbrush
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Step 1: Remove the shoelaces from your Jordan's and place them in warm water with a mild cleaning detergent Leave them here whilst you continue with the rest of the sneakers.

Step 2: Grab a soft-bristled brush and begin to work away any excess dirt and debris from top to bottom. The idea here is to remove the larger chunks of dirt and mud to avoid spreading them across the sneakers later on in the cleaning process.

Step 3: Once most of the major dirt has been removed, we'd recommend using wet wipes to remove most of the remaining mud.

Image of Air Jordan 1's being cleaned with a sneaker wipe.
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Credit: Lifestyle Asia

Top Tip: Baby wipes work well for this as they're formulated to be gentle for the skin so shouldn't damage your Jordans.

Step 4: Add a small amount of mild soap to warm water and dip your soft-bristled brush in before gently scrubbing your Jordans in a circular motion. Alternatively, you can pick up a dedicated shoe cleaning agent like this Angelus Easy Cleaner.

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Angelus Easy Cleaner product image of a clear bottle containing light green shoe cleaner.
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Credit: Angelus

Top Tip: You can use an old toothbrush to remove the dirt in some of the harder-to-reach areas.

Step 5: Rinse away the excess soap once finished and wipe dry with a microfibre cloth. You should notice your Jordan's to be significantly cleaner at this stage. Any remaining scuffs should be easy to remove by working away at them with the cloth.

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Step 6: Remove the laces from the water and, once dry, relace your sneakers. If you're unsure how, then check out our step-by-step guide on how to lace Jordan 1s right here.

Top Tip: Make sure you leave your shoes to dry naturally and away from any direct heat or sunlight.

Once you're finished cleaning your Jordans they should be good to go. As an aside, check out our list of the best places to buy Jordans right here.

What About Other Materials?

Jordan 1s are typically made of leather, but Nike often employs other materials to create more individualistic and distinctive designs.

For example, these Jordan 1 "USA" low-tops featured in our list of the best Jordan 1 Lows include suede blue overlays across the white leather base.

Air Jordan 1 Low "USA" product image of a white sneaker with blue suede overlays and red Swooshes.
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Credit: Nike

With so many different colourways out there, here are our top tips for when you encounter an alternative material.

Suede

Although not often found on a pair of Jordan's, suede does occasionally make its way into a design, like with these "Grey Green" mid-tops featured in our list of the best Jordan 1 Mids.

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Air Jordan 1 Mid "Grey Green" product image of a pair of white, grey, and green sneakers.
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Credit: Nike

Unfortunately, suede is notoriously difficult to clean, but it's not impossible.

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Nike recommends using a suede brush or towel to clean away surface debris, working with the material rather than going against the grain.

You could always try a suede eraser to rub away any stubborn marks on the surface of your shoes as well.

To find out more, check out our guide to cleaning suede shoes right here.

Canvas

Canvas can sometimes be used to create the uppers of Jordan 1s, for example, these "Chinese New Year" low-tops include red and black cotton layers.

Air Jordan 1 Low "Chinese New Year" product image of a pair of red, white, and black sneakers with Chinese-inspired patterns across the upper.
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Credit: Nike

Thankfully, canvas is a bit easier to clean than suede as you can pretty much just use the same technique as leather. As opposed to just wiping off with a cloth though, canvas material will need some time to dry by itself.

This is something we've also touched on in our guide to cleaning Air Force 1s and canvas shoes right here.

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Flyknit

Nike's Flyknit material very rarely finds its way onto a pair of Jordan 1s.

However, if your Jordan's do feature the material, then we'd advise following the same steps as leather, but use a very mild soap solution that doesn't contain any harsh chemicals.

We'd also recommend leaving them to dry naturally rather than applying any kind of heat to them once you've finished cleaning.

This is something we cover more extensively in our guide to cleaning football boots and mesh shoes, so if you want to find out more, head on over for our top tips.

Things To Avoid Doing When Cleaning Air Jordan 1s?

It's important to treat your Jordan 1s carefully when cleaning them as one wrong move or product can sometimes result in irreversible damage.

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One of the main things we'd recommend avoiding is using a washing machine or tumble dryer at any stage in the cleaning process. The intensity of the spin, water, and heat can damage the delicate materials and can lead to cracking and deformation of shape.

Along similar lines, we'd also suggest not using any direct heat to dry your sneakers once you've finished cleaning. Again, this can cause the leather to deform or crack.

Furthermore, avoid using wired brushes or rough sponges because they can leave permanent scratches on the surface of your shoes, particularly if you own predominately leather sneakers.

Our final tip is to avoid any cleaning products containing bleach as it can cause staining on top of cracking the leather through drying out the material.

Read More: Best Jordan 1s Under 200 Available Now