How to clean Air Jordan 1 - Step by step guide

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Trying to figure out how to clean Air Jordan 1s can be tricky when you don't know where to start. Moreover, we appreciate that 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 lead you through some of the dos and don'ts when it comes to keeping your Jordan 1 Highs, Lows, or Mids clean all year around.


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

How to clean Air Jordan 1

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:


Step 1: Remove the shoelaces from your Jordans 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.

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, use a dedicated cleaning agent, like this Angelus Easy Cleaner featured in our list of the best leather cleaners, to get your shoes spotless.

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

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.

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 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.
Credit: Nike

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


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. In fact, some of the best Air Jordans ever made have included suede in their designs.

Air Jordan 1 Mid "Grey Green" product image of a pair of white, grey, and green sneakers.
Credit: Nike
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Unfortunately, suede is notoriously difficult to clean, but it's not impossible.


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 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.
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.

Things to avoid 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.

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