When you start Google searching “How to clean cheer shoes?!” you know you messed up. Maybe you haven’t taken good care of them for the past couple of weeks (or months). Perhaps you’ve tried cleaning them with something that made the stubborn spots even worse.
Whatever the case might be, we’re bringing you a bunch of cleaning hacks to ensure you don’t attend your next practice with cheer shoes that are clearly falling apart.
What’s even worse about trying to clean your cheer shoes when you don’t even know what you’re doing – you end up damaging them and forcing yourself to buy new ones.
Cheer shoes are pretty much the most important equipment you need when you’re cheerleading. Truth be told, your cheer shoes protect you when you’re stunting, tumbling, and performing a pyramid.
They keep you safe, secure, and supported. They make sure you’re grounded and balanced at all times. And, they take all your money considering how expensive they can be.
Sure, keeping your cheer shoes sparkling bright can be exhausting. But, that’s one way (and the best way) to ensure your cheer shoes last longer, perform better, and keep you comfortable.
Washing machines and dishwashers can be of assistance for hardwearing cheer shoes, but you might also have to get down and dirty yourself. Hence, here’s everything you need to know on how to clean cheer shoes without damaging them.
How to clean cheer shoes?
“How to clean cheer shoes?”, “How to keep cheer shoes clean for longer?”, and “How to save money on cheer shoes?” are questions every cheerleader faces sooner or later. Cheerleading’s an expensive sport, whether you’re a competitive cheerleader or a student cheerleader.
Actually, cheerleading’s known as one of the most expensive student activities with the cost of competitive cheer typically ranging from $2,000-$3,000 per season. That’s why cheerleaders take good care of the equipment they use during the season – additional costs aren’t welcome, whatsoever.
Cleaning your cheer shoes can make them last longer, that’s a given. Machine washing seems great, but you shouldn’t wash your cheer shoes that way too often because the machine could wear them out sooner than you do.
But, you can take care of your cheer shoes with a couple of things you probably have lying around your apartment – an old toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, vinegar, warm water (of course), and even bleach. With a couple of simple tips and tricks, you’re guaranteed to have your cheer shoes looking better than ever.
1. Try the washing machine method for hardwearing cheer shoes
Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t try the washing machine method at all! When you Google search “how to clean cheer shoes,” you might be overwhelmed with the number of answers you get telling you to never machine wash your cheer shoes.
Sure, the washing machine can be quite tough on them. But, there are times when you simply need them to be cleaner and shinier than ever – and you can’t achieve that by hand.
Machine washing doesn’t have to damage your shoes, especially when you know what you’re doing. For starters, make sure you don’t wash sensitive, weak cheer shoes that way because they might end up falling apart after you dry them.
High-quality, hardwearing cheer shoes should be able to ensure machine washing from time to time. Protect them by wrapping them, washing them with other, softer clothes, or using those protective bags for sensitive clothes. Wash them on a delicate cycle – but, don’t machine-dry them.
Leave them to dry outside overnight to prevent them from shrinking or changing shape. And, you’re done!
2. Use the dishwasher for a quick (but efficient) clean
“Why on Earth would I put my dirty shoes in the dishwasher with the rest of my dishes?!” We know that’s probably what you’re thinking right now, but the hack works.
Women (and men) across the world seemed to have tried washing their shoes with the help of a dishwasher and we don’t see why you wouldn’t at least try.
We’re not suggesting you wash your cheer shoes that way every time you get them dirty. Machine washing can damage your shoes even when the machine wasn’t meant to be used for shoes.
Dishwashers can offer you a quick fix when you don’t have enough time to deal with your kind of dusty, kind of dirty cheer shoes.
Throw them on the top rack, choose a quick, low-heat program, and you’re good to go. Of course, you don’t have to wash the rest of your dishes at the same time to make sure no cross-contamination takes place (duh!).
But, don’t shy away from using dishwasher tablets for the task – we hear they’re pretty efficient in removing stubborn stains. Worth a shot, right?!
3. Dust them off with a toothbrush
But, what do you do when you’re wondering how to clean your cheer shoes by hand? Machine washing, as we have mentioned many, many times thus far, can damage cheer shoes which could be the reason why cheerleaders prefer to steer clear of that method.
Washing cheer shoes by hand can be just as efficient when you know what you’re doing. First off, a toothbrush (an old one, of course) can remove excess dust, dirt, and debris from your cheer shoes.
Whether you practiced stunting and tumbling on your lawn or you performed with the rest of the squad somewhere outside the gym, there’s a good chance you got your cheer shoes super, super dirty.
When the mud dries out, you can try brushing your shoes with a toothbrush. Most toothbrushes are hard enough to scrub off excess dirt but gentle enough to not damage your cheer shoes. Not to mention that you can also use the toothbrush to dust off your cheer shoes from time to time.
4. Remove stubborn stains with vinegar
Stubborn stains are the worst! Sometimes you spend hours and hours cleaning your cheer shoes only to check them after they have dried and notice they’re still stained. Hence, you turn to your good friend Google, type “how to clean cheer shoes,” and hope for the best.
Don’t worry, you probably already have exactly what you need to clean those stubborn stains. Turns out vinegar’s a powerful, natural cleaner that’s strong enough to remove the gunk from your shoes and gentle enough to not damage them.
That being said, you can choose to use vinegar straight out of the bottle or add some water to dilute the end product. Whichever method you decide to go with, put some of the product on a cotton cloth and wipe your shoes clean.
Rub some vinegar over the stubborn stains and allow them to soak before you rinse them out. Get some vinegar on a soft brush (or a toothbrush) and scrub the area. Other than that, you can use the water/vinegar mixture to keep your shoes clean.
5. Scrub them with toothpaste
While we’re ranting about how efficient toothbrushes are, we might as well mention the fact that toothpaste can be of assistance, too.
When you’re trying to remove grass, grease, or other spots from your cheer shoes, you might need to resort to something a little stronger than vinegar.
Toothpaste happens to be stronger, but that’s not the only reason why toothpaste works for removing spots. Toothpaste also has some texture (some types of toothpaste do, at least) that can buff and scrub your cheer shoes to remove the spots more efficiently.
Also, you don’t even have to dilute the toothpaste – squeeze a little bit on your toothbrush and scrub away! Scrub the spotted areas, but don’t shy away from scrubbing the outsoles, too.
6. Wipe them clean with a damp cloth
When you’re wondering how to clean cheer shoes, you’re not always wondering about how to remove stubborn stains. Sometimes you’re simply trying to figure out whether you can keep your cheer shoes clean for a longer period of time by taking care of them each time you take them off.
Actually, we would go as far as to argue that’s the best way to ensure your cheer shoes serve you for a long, long time. Whenever you’re done with practice, take a couple of minutes to refresh your shoes by wiping them clean with a damp cloth.
Now, you can use warm water or you can add a couple of drops of soap to make sure you’re getting rid of bacteria. You can even use wet wipes on those occasions when you don’t have the chance to use warm water and a wet cloth.
7. Try a bleach bath for white cheer shoes
Before we continue, we have to underline that bleach isn’t the best choice for everyone. Bleach can easily damage (and even ruin) your cheer shoes when you don’t know what you’re doing. But, bleach can also bring your white cheer shoes back to life when they’re really dirty.
Whenever you’re working with bleach, make sure to protect your clothes by wearing something on top (an apron, for example). Make sure to also protect your hands with rubber gloves. Dilute the bleach with water, depending on how sensitive your cheer shoes are.
Then, use a cotton cloth or a toothbrush to scrub your shoes clean and you’re done. Don’t bleach your shoes too often, and don’t bleach them when you notice they’re getting weaker.
8. Dry them off
When you’re done wiping, scrubbing, and brushing your shoes, leave them to dry overnight (or longer). Don’t machine-dry your cheer shoes to prevent them from shrinking.
Don’t dry your cheer shoes close to an open flame. Try to also avoid drying your cheer shoes close to a heating device. Trust me, cheer shoes are better off drying naturally to ensure they stay as safe, secure, and supportive as they were beforehand. Good luck!