How to clean mesh shoes: Step by step guide

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Figuring out how to clean mesh shoes can be tricky at times if you're not sure where to begin.

Fortunately, we've put together step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process. We've also included a few top tips along the way to ensure your sneakers, no matter how old, come away looking spotless.

Although it may be getting colder, we feel it's still a good time to learn this skill with the lightness and breathability of mesh shoes making them regular features among some of the best sneakers for summer.

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So whether you're trying to prepare your best CrossFit shoes for your next training session, or you're looking to tidy up your best basketball shoes ready for your next game, then we've got you covered right here.

How To Clean Mesh Shoes

The following is what we believe to be one of the most effective ways of cleaning a pair of mesh sneakers like these Nike Roshe Runs, for instance.

Nike Roshe Run product image of triple-black mesh sneakers.
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Credit: Titolo

If you're trying to figure out how to clean other kinds of materials though, check out our guides on cleaning leather, suede, and canvas shoes right here.

What You'll Need:


Step 1: Remove your shoelaces and place them in a large bowl containing warm water and mild soap. Leave them to soak whilst you continue to clean the rest of your sneakers.

Top Tip: Adding a small amount of baking soda can help remove stubborn stains from white laces.

Step 2: Use a soft-bristled brush, like this Jason Markk Shoe Cleaner featured in our list of the best suede cleaners, to gently remove any loose dirt from the exterior of your shoes.

Jason Markk Shoe Cleaner product image of a brown brush being used on a bright orange sneaker.
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Credit: Jason Markk

Step 4: Mix some shoe cleaner into another bowl of warm water as per the manufacturer's instructions. We'd recommend something mild like Angelus Easy Cleaner for mesh shoes.


Step 5: Apply the solution to your sneakers with a cloth in gentle, circular motions. For more ingrained stains, you may find using your soft-bristled brush works best.

Top Tip: You can use an old toothbrush as well if you're struggling to get into a few harder-to-reach crevasses.

Step 6: Once clean, lightly dry your shoes with a towel to ensure they're not left to dry soaking wet.

Step 7: Stuff old newspaper into your shoes then leave them to dry with your shoelaces naturally, away from any direct heat or sunlight.

Step 8: At this point, we'd recommend adding a protective layer to minimise how often you need to clean them. Check out the likes of Crep Protect featured in our list of the best sneaker protector sprays. Again, use per the instructions.

Crep Protect product image of a purple and black spray can with yellow details.
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Credit: Crep Protect

Step 9: Leave your sneakers dry from the spray.

From here, your mesh shoes and shoelaces should be clean and ready to wear, so simply re-lace them and put them on. Make sure you check out our list of the best shoe deodorizers as well to keep your sneakers smelling as fresh as they look.


How Often Should You Clean Your Mesh Shoes?

As mentioned in our guide to cleaning running trainers, there's not really one set rule as to how often you should be cleaning your shoes. Most of the time it comes down to personal preference and what you use your shoes for.

For example, if you're into trail running in mesh shoes, then we'd recommend cleaning them after every run to avoid excess dirt building up which, in turn, can reduce your levels of grip.

Skechers product image of a pair of multi-coloured mesh trail shoes consisting of yellow, blue, and black.
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Credit: Running Northwest

However, for sneakers you wear in your everyday life, then you probably will only ever need to clean them to remove any light marks from wear and tear.

Therefore, you'd probably get away with only cleaning them every few weeks.


Things To Avoid When Cleaning Mesh Shoes

The number one rule when it comes to cleaning any sneakers is to avoid using a washing machine or tumble dryer.

According to leading trainer manufacturer ASICS, the excessive amount of water, along with the extreme heat, can damage the fabric and adhesives, thus causing your sneakers to essentially fall apart.

Asics product image of a pair of dark blue running shoes in the woods.
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Credit: Feet First Clinic

We'd also suggest you take this a step further by avoiding any direct heat or sunlight in the drying process. Warm temperatures can cause your sneakers to deform and lose their shape over time.


Another useful tip is to stay clear of any harsh chemicals like bleach during the cleaning process. Although bleach may seem like an easy solution, especially when cleaning white sneakers, you can actually end up damaging your shoes if you don't dilute the mixture properly.

Finally, avoid using wired brushes or rough sponges because they can sometimes pull apart the mesh fabric and stitching which is difficult to fix thereafter.

Read More: Best Running Shoes Under 100 Available Now