How to wash kids’ shoes: Tips & tricks


How to wash kids’ shoes: Tips & tricks

We all know that kids have a propensity for dirt, and not only dirt, but mud. You do not need that in your house, and they do not need their feet to be that dirty! Whether your little tots have been playing in the rain or just had a serious day on the playground, we have plenty of tips and tricks to ensure that their Kiziks or any other shoe will look as good as new! 

Whether your child is itty bitty and toddling or your little one is starting to take some big leaps, we know how amazing it is to find a shoe that supports them in all their steps. We want to help you keep their favorite new slip-on, no-tie shoes feeling good and clean on their little feet!

We’ll cover some basic hacks for cleaning kids' shoes and the steps you can take to make their shoes sparkle like new. 

Let’s start at the door. You just found the forsaken shoes, and they are absolutely soggy. Head to the laundry room or wherever you have access to running water. 

Step 1: Preliminary inspection

Note that it will definitely take a full cycle for your child’s shoes to be washed and that they will likely need to be dried overnight. 

First, you have to discern the level of attention that your child’s shoes need. Whether we’re talking sand, paint, mud, or ice cream, there is no need to be concerned about getting your child’s shoes back on track. 

If the shoes look like they need to be scrubbed initially, grab an old toothbrush so you can navigate the eyelets and seams with ease. And if the shoes need an even deeper scrub, you can create a paste of baking soda and water to apply to any stains. 

Gently brush this paste onto the stains, and you should be able to lift the discoloration. This preliminary inspection will ensure that you take the right steps to clean your kid’s shoes.  

Step 2: Disassemble the shoes

To totally de-stink and clean the shoes, it’s a good idea to disassemble them. We’re talking about taking out the laces. 

Step 3: Detergent

Just using water is not a terrible idea, but it is safe to use detergent when cleaning shoes. Make sure to stick to liquid detergent or mild dish soap! Unfortunately, the powder will not be as reliable in this process. 

Choose a detergent labeled as gentle, sensitive, or light. You don’t want to hit the sneakers too hard with chemicals.

Step 4: Machine wash

We absolutely recommend spot-cleaning, but if you really feel they need a run through the wash cycle, there’s a right way to do it. Be sure to choose cold water and a gentle cycle. Before you put them in the washer, remove as much caked-on junk as possible (because who wants pebbles to end up in their washer?).

Cold water will ensure that there will be no harm to the colors or construction of your child’s favorite kicks. The goal with shoes is to make sure that regardless of details, whatever is happening in the washer will be gentle. 

Step 5: Drying the clean shoes

You can dry your machine-washable kids’ shoes safely in a few different ways. 

For Kizik shoes specifically, we recommend air drying them in direct sunlight. This technique will also work as a first option for most types of shoes, and as putting shoes in the dryer is not usually the best idea. The dryer can damage leather shoes and canvas shoes, so there’s always a risk when using it to get rid of excess moisture.

If opting for air drying, stuff the shoes with scrunched-up newspaper, paper towels, or old towels so that they are filled out to their normal form. The shoes will dry faster, not look misshapen, and will not be damaged whatsoever! We do not recommend putting Kiziks into the dryer at all.

Backup plan

If, for some reason, the above steps do not get your shoes squeaky clean, we do have a few other ideas to share. If you don’t have a washing machine available, you can also soak your shoes in a bucket of soapy water. And if you don’t have the baking soda this round, you can also try toothpaste! 

Gently scrub the toothpaste in small circles with a damp cloth, and you’ll definitely make some serious progress. 

If there are subtle scuffs on the shoes, you can also use an eraser. That’s right, the same eraser you use on paper. If this is a case of a bad stain on suede shoes, you can apply white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to the affected areas. 

If the shoes in question are made of leather, there are gadgets you can acquire to keep those shoes in tip-top condition.

What if the shoes aren’t that dirty?

Now, let’s say that your kids' shoes are not this dirty. Maybe it was two puddles instead of seven? 

Going for the toothbrush and skipping the washing machine is our recommendation. Of course, still allow the shoes to air dry afterward. You could also use a toothbrush to eliminate any scuffs without unnecessarily putting your kid’s shoes through the whole machine process. 

Let’s recap

Now, you should have all the tools necessary when the dirty little shoes come rushing through the doorway. Cleaning your kids' shoes and making them look brand new doesn’t have to be a headache, especially if your child is wearing a pair of Kiziks

Remember, you’ll need to take apart those shoes, lace by lace, and insole by insole (if removable), before washing. Once everything is in the washing machine with gentle detergent and on a gentle cycle, you can relax! You’re already halfway to the finish line.

Once your kids’ shoes are clean, you can decide how to dry them according to your time and preference. We recommend air drying for best results. 

Ultimately, your goal is to get those kids’ shoes extra clean, and we hope this guide has convinced you of how easy this process can be! Another consideration might be to include your child in this experience as a learning opportunity or a fun activity. 


Kiziks to pristine condition, especially if they help you throughout this process. It’s never too early to learn how to clean our messes and care for our belongings. 

Use a Clothesline or Drying Rack | Amplify for Change 
How To Clean 5 Types of Shoes Properly | The Spruce
Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer? | Emborahome

Written By: Chris Fry

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