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How to rid your cleats of odor

14 May 2024

How to get rid of your cleats


Each of us knows the scent of new shoes when we unpack them from the box. However, nothing lasts forever, especially the odor of sports footwear. It's no wonder, considering it encounters various weather conditions and the foot sweats inside it. Over time, with regular use, your cleats simply won't escape the unpleasant smell.

With proper care, though, you can keep their aroma at an acceptable level, one that won't make you embarrassed and won't drive away the mice from the attic.

Let's look at a few tips on what the best football boot cleaner is and how to properly care for them.


Start caring for your cleats right from the beginning

Your cleats will be grateful if you start caring for them properly right from the beginning. Because only with consistent maintenance will they reward you with a longer lifespan.

After every training session or match, they deserve proper cleaning not only on the outside but also on the inside, where odors tend to accumulate the most. Practically speaking, you shouldn't overlook this step from the moment you put on your cleats.


It depends on the material

Football boots are made from various materials. There are synthetic, knitted, and leather boots, each of which requires a slightly different approach. Let's look at what football boot cleaners are the best and how to use them.

What you will need

For home shoe cleaning, you don't need any extra equipment. A few items that most households typically have will suffice.


  • a larger stiff brush,
  • a softer brush for details - an old toothbrush will ideally serve this purpose,
  • a bucket, basin, or sink with warm water,
  • a cloth,
  • newspaper.

 Synthetic football boots

Right after training, make sure to remove the biggest dirt from your smelly football boots so you don't drag it all home unnecessarily. Ideally, get a special bag for your shoes to prevent them from coming into contact with other clothing, especially when they're wet or muddy.

Your boots will thank you the most if you clean or hand wash them in the gentlest way possible. It might take a bit more time, but at least you'll help them last longer.

Avoid washing them in the washing machine, mainly because of unnecessary soaking. You can rinse the boots without fully immersing them to prevent water from accumulating where it's not needed. However, if you still decide to use the washing machine, choose a low-temperature program up to 30°C or directly a program for washing shoes.

Hand washing

Prepare a sink or container with warm water, into which you can add a small amount of soap. Use a stiff brush to gradually clean the entire boot, including the sole, but don't press too hard.

For smaller areas that the brush can't reach, use a small soft brush, cloth, or sponge.

If you're cleaning studded boots for soft surfaces and want to be thorough, unscrew the studs and clean the surface underneath them as well.

Then, dry the boots with a dry cloth and insert newspapers inside to absorb moisture. Let the boots air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area, and avoid using accelerators like heaters, hairdryers, or direct sunlight.

Knitted football boots

The surface of knitted football boots features a thin layer of silicone for protection against damage. In practice, the cleaning process is the same as for synthetic football boots, except that for areas without silicone (such as the tongue and fabric around the ankles), use a soft brush.

Similarly, let them dry naturally, without accelerators and direct sunlight.

Leather football boots

Leather football boots, as the name suggests, are made from natural material unlike the previous footwear. Therefore, caring for them is slightly different.

Firstly, discard the stiff brush, which could only damage the surface, and use a soft tool or simply a cloth or sponge instead. Wipe away all dirt with them, refine the details in the folds, and when it comes time for the sole, feel free to use a nylon brush again.

Fill the cleaned boots with newspapers again and let them dry freely in the room. The rule banning sunlight rays applies doubly here. This could cause the leather to crack.

Subsequently, at least once a month, but preferably more often, apply balm or cream to the boots to keep them soft, flexible, and more durable.

"Old wives" tales on cleaning the inside of cleats

"We've said we should avoid soaking the shoes inside if possible. But how to get rid of the odor then? Let us introduce you to a few natural cleat cleaners and tried-and-true old wives' tales.

  • Freezer Method

It sounds unbelievable, but if you wrap your cleats in a plastic bag and then leave them in the freezer overnight, you'll get rid of bacteria causing unwanted odor.

  • Tea Bags

Insert dry tea bags into your shoes overnight where they'll help absorb the odor emanating from your shoes.

  • Baking Soda Sprinkle

A few teaspoons of baking soda into each shoe, leave it overnight again, and vacuum it out the next day. The odor will be gone.

  • Vinegar

Mix vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio, spray it into the shoes using a spray bottle, and let it dry freely.

  • Cat Litter

As absurd as it may sound, cat litter also absorbs odors. Your cat will surely gladly lend you a few granules. Pour them into the shoes and after a few hours, empty them into the trash along with the odor.

  • Sage, Lavender, Rosemary

It wouldn't be proper old wives' tales if herbs weren't involved. Insert sage with lavender and rosemary into the shoes and let them sit for several hours or overnight. Thanks to their antibacterial and antifungal properties, they'll help eliminate the odor from your shoes, all in a completely natural way.

And finally, one recommendation. After cleaning your soccer shoes, don't forget to wash the bag in which you brought them home. Especially if you've previously placed muddy shoes in it."


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