How To: Clean Those Knit Sneakers You Love So Much

Welcome to a masterclass is cleaning your knit sneakers, which covers everything from Nike Flyknit and Adidas Primeknit to Converse AllStar Knits and all those other knit uppers you see on the market nowadays. With summer coming up and the weather getting warmer its time to dust off those Knit sneakers and show them off to the world.

The Best Way to Clean a Knit Sneaker

A word of warning before we get into the details of how to clean your knit sneakers: The instructions don’t convey the level of patience that’s often required in this type of operation. That’s not to scare you off, because it really is very straightforward. But time and repeat applications are often needed, and you should know that heading into things. cleaning a pair of knit sneakers is a good task to take on while, say, binge watching a series, what with all its downtime, or listening to a favorite podcast. May we suggest one you might like?

The tools you’ll need are:

  • A small bowl
  • Cool water
  • Mild soap, such as diluted liquid laundry detergent or dish soap, or sneaker cleaner like Jason Markk Shoe Cleaner or Crep Protect Cure
  • Two or more soft cloths, like washcloths or microfiber cloths
  • A soft brush, like an old toothbrush or a suede brush



And here’s what you’ll do with them:

  1. Start by diluting a small amount of detergent—about a teaspoon—in a small bowl of cool water. Fill the bowl no more than halfway up.
  2. Remove the laces and stuff the shoe with a balled up cloth, which will absorb excess liquid and provide resistance as you work on the exterior of the shoe.
  3. Dip a second soft cloth into the detergent solution, wring it out well and begin scrubbing at the soiled area of the sneaker. Use firm but gentle pressure, being careful not to abrade or snag the yarn.
  4. Repeat as needed until the sneakers are dirt-free, then rinse the rag in clean water and go over the entire shoe a few times to remove sudsy residue.
  5. If the shoes are badly soiled, use a soft brush, like an old toothbrush or a shoe brush designed for delicate materials like suede or patent leather, to work the detergent solution into the shoe, being careful not to snag the yarn or work the brush too hard, which will cause pilling and fraying.
  6. Pat the shoes with a dry cloth and allow them to air dry, repeating the cleaning process a second time if the shoes still appear dingy.
Machine Washing a Knit Sneaker

So look, I would prefer you not machine wash your knit sneakers. The problem with machine washing knit sneakers is that if anything catches on one of the yarns, the shoe could come unraveled or if you’re really stupid like someone we know, you end up shrinking the shoe on a hot wash! And obviously we don’t want that!


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