01 August 2014

How to clean shoes - real dirty shoes

 It is the two year anniversary of the time that I went on trek as a Ma.  Wow, times flys....  But, in remembrance, I thought I would share with you my dirty shoes and how I cleaned them.  If you don't know what trek is, it is a very spiritual experience that we participate in as youth in the LDS chruch.  I went when I was a kid, and loved it.  I went again, grown up, and loved it more.  We are placed in little families, I was a Ma and so was in charge a little family, along with my Pa.  We had seven kids, two 'aunts' and an 'uncle'.  I am still very close with a lot of them.  Oh, and before we went, I knew none of these people... well, most....  So, what do you do on trek?  Well, you wander around in the middle of nowhere for three days pulling a handcart.  Yep.  Our lovely trek plans got changed, last minute, like, as we got there, and so somehow ended up on the dustiest, sandiest path that there was.  We quit dusting out our cups because we were eating dirt as we walked anyways.  Needless to say, my shoes were not white when I came home like they were when I left.  I figured I would just toss the shoes, not worth the cleaning, but they were real comfortable, so I thought I would give it a go.  Here is my process, in case you have some shoes to be cleaned.

Step 1: Take a before picture, you'll want it


Step 2: Dry scrub
Now, I had an old toothbrush just waiting for cleaning, I typically have one.  But, any brush will do, just don't brush your teeth with it afterwards....

Step 3: Take out the laces
I had to get this close up, I mean, look, the white, that is what they were right before trek.  Now, I have to tell you, although they don't want you to take new shoes, my old shoes were getting too worn in, so I got new ones a week before and just wore them out a few times, trying to break in the walking.  So, they were new, and then a week in the middle of nowhere happened to them.

Step 4: Seriously, get rid of the laces
It helps, not only can the laces now be cleaned on their own, but it makes it so much easier to dry scrub the shoes.  Get all the dirt out from the outside and inside and everywhere you can.

Step 5: Be amazed at the dirt
Eww, right?  Don't worry, I ate more than that in a day.  Click on the picture to get a huge shot, so tasty.

Step 6: Put the laces in the wash
Now, I put my laces in a bag to get washed.  If not, they may get all wrapped around the washer, and that is not a good idea.  Mine got all tangled in the bag anyways.  I just had this handy bag with all my camping stuff, but a laudry bag would work well, or you know, something fabric.  

Step 7: Wash
I ran the water, I think on cold, on the small load.  It worked lovely.  Just run it.

Step 8: Admire the cleaness
Now, they came out a color I hadn't seen for a long, long time.  They never have quite recovered completely, but the tint to them reminds me of all the good times I had walking my 30+ miles in them.

Step 9: Air dry
Now, one of the keys to the whole washing in the washer, is actually the drying.  Do not put them in the dryer.  Instead, let them air dry, perferably outside.  I loaded up the inside with paper towels to soak up the inner water as well as help them keep their shape.  I don't recall how long I left them outside, but it was well into the night, so a good part of the day.

I hope this was educational, or at least entertaining.  I know I was clearly amazed that they could have such a dramatic improvement.  And like I said, they aren't perfect, but they have character.  I still am able to wear them, not much more than just going to the gym, but I do love them and was glad I could save them.


  1. We leave our shoes outside, so I often have to clean them. You would be surprised what might crawl in there just overnight. Like a spider or a slimy frog.

  2. I never leave mine outside over night for that reason alone, I don't like bugs, so...


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