Kids can ride a balance bike in thick boots, or they can ride in proper cycling shoes. If your kiddo owns a pair or several pairs of decent bike shoes, how do you clean them?
How do you get mud, dust, slush, grit, rain, and more from cycling shoes? Here, you’ll learn how to clean cycling shoes for kids and adults and leave them gleaming like something truly precious…because good biking shoes aren’t cheap.
Whether you’re looking to learn how to clean dirty SIDI cycling shoes or any other kind of shoes, even white ones, this is the resource you need. Here’s a video on how to clean kids’ and adults’ bike shoes.
Why Bother Cleaning Your Kid’s/Your Bike Shoes?
Well, cleaning bike shoes or anything else isn’t most people’s idea of fun. But there’s a reason cyclists do it from time to time.
When you take good care of cycling shoes, a bike, a bike helmet, or anything else for that matter, you boost its longevity dramatically besides seriously propping up the looks of the item.
Dirty bike shoes and cleats may not be that much of a deal, but they wear out faster besides looking like you’re messy and don’t care at all. Dirt cleats can actually cause problems when out riding in traffic though. If the cleats pack tons of gritty dirt, that can make clipping in and out of pedals difficult at the most critical moments of your adventure.
If you don’t care what anyone thinks (including all the neat kids in your neighborhood who think mud and dust shouldn’t stay on a kid’s bike shoes for too long), skip reading this post and do something else.
But if you’re all into squeezing all the amazing value you can get out of a pair of mountain bike or road bike shoes, stay with me.
This post is all about giving your son’s or daughter’s cycling shoes/bike shoes some good ole TLC so they can last that much longer while looking like new.
Below is a summarized version of how to take care of soiled cycling shoes and get more miles out of them:
How to Clean Cycling Shoes Without Damaging Them
After each ride through quiet woods and mellow single tracks, make sure to give your cycling shoes a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth. Dip a soft clean cloth in a clean mildly soapy water and wipe off the dust, muck, mud, sleet, snow trail salts, and everything else and get cracking.
What if your kid’s cycling shoes or your bike shoes are covered in filthy grime or crusted with messy mud? In this case, it’s best to dip the messy cycling shoes into a bucket containing mild dish washing soap. But before dunking the shoes, make sure to take the insoles out, brush away any loose crud, and untie and loosen laces or undo fastening buckles.
After soaking the cycling shoes for some time in mild soapy water, use a soft-thistle brush to scrub the muck, soil, and dirt off. As you scrub, focus a decent amount of attention on the cleats and buckles/laces. Next, rinse the soap and every other undesirable thing off the interior and interior of the bike shoes with clean cool water (soap-less of course).
Finally, put old newspapers inside the rinsed shoes and leave them indoors to air-dry. Alternatively, leave the shoes out in the sun to dry out. It’s unwise to dry off synthetic cycling shoes in direct sunlight as sunlight degrades synthetic materials.
NEVER place cycling shoes near a heat source such as an open fire or a radiator. And definitely don’t dry out the shoes in a dryer because that might damage them. If your shoes are smelly, use a natural or commercial deodorant to obliterate the offensive odor.
A Step-by-step Guide for Cleaning Bike Shoes
Follow the steps below, and you’ll be able to clean your kid’s MTB shoes or road bike shoes in no time and leave them sparkling.
Note: read the manufacturer’s shoe cleaning instructions to make sure you’re doing it correctly for the specific model you’re cleaning and deodorizing.
Step #1: Get Rid of Loose Dirt
If you’re like someone hubby is friend’s with, you’re not always able to clean your bike shoes every time you come back from a cycling outing, tour, or adventure. When you leave dirt on the shoes, it finally dries up and becomes pretty easy to scrape off using a brush or a rag.
Step #2: Undo the Laces, Straps, or Buckles
Some cycling shoes fasten onto the rider’s feet via traditional laces while others do so thru Velcro straps and buckles. What you need to do at this point is untie the laces or undo the buckles or peel off the Velcro straps. It’s not possible to clean any kind of shoes thoroughly with the fastening mechanism still on.
Step #3: Prepare a Cleaning Solution
Pour some cool water into a bucket (use your judgement to decide how much water you need).
Add mild soap/detergent in. Dish washing soap should do the job. Stir the ingredients with your hand or whatever to create a harmonized solution for coaxing the dirt and grime off the inside and outside of the shoes.
Step #4: Use a Soft-thistle Brush to Scrub Dirt and Grime Off
Soak the dirty bike shoes in the soapy solution for about 10-15 minutes.
Next, pick a sponge or a soft-thistle brush and start rubbing the shoes with it. This is the most important stage of the cleaning process. It’s the agitation you put in during this stage that loosens the dirt and grime up so you can wash it out of the kicks.
You want to use a brushing that’s not stiff because you don’t want to damage the shoes in any way.
When scrubbing, be sure to reach every nook and cranny of the shoes. Spend a decent amount of time getting the dirt from inside the shoes because there’s always tons of it hiding in there. Pay particular attention to the toes because lots of dirt and filth go there, especially if you’re into riding through wet, muddy conditions.
Step #5: Clean the Cleats
Cleats are simple (well, not so simple) pieces of metal with holes and make it possible to clip in when riding a road bike or mountain bike with clip-in pedals. They get dirty easy because they have actual holes into which dirt and grime sink and hide.
So, how do you clean these cleats?
When you soak the shoes, the dirt lurking inside the cleats loosens up and becomes pretty easy to remove. So, get a toothbrush and use it to dig out that dirt and that’s it. It’s simple and doesn’t take much time at all. And if it’s 6 months since the last time you replaced the cleats, consider replacing them instead of cleaning them.
Useless cleats (the ones you should replace now) make clipping out and in a real pain, and this can compromise your kid’s safety out riding.
Step #6: Deal With Odors If the Bike Shoes Are Smelly
How to remove smell from cycling shoes? The best way to deodorize smelly cycling shoes is to use an effective bike shoe deodorizer sprays. There’s a bunch of cycling shoe deodorizing sprays that many bike riders like.
The Rocket Pure Deodorizer Spray and the 10 Seconds Shoe Disinfectant Spray are examples of products that the biking community loves. Obviously not everyone loves these products, but use them all the time, and the work.So, simply spritz these sprays onto the affected shoes after cleaning them and drying them out.
But is there a natural way of removing the smell from stinky cycling shoes? Yes, you can always one of the most universally accepted natural stinky shoes deodorizer: baking soda.
The beautiful about baking soda is that it’s pretty inexpensive, not a hassle to find online and in physical stores, and easy to apply. Most importantly, baking soda is more or less harmless and most likely won’t harm your pricey bike shoes.
Also, baking soda isn’t odorous. You won’t have to Google up how to remove baking soda smell after using it to deodorize smelly bike-riding shoes LOL.
Here’s one more thing: baking soda treats the skin kindly. Unless you have a cut on your skin, this natural deodorizer shouldn’t cause irritation.
And here is…
How to Use Baking Soda to Treat Smelly Bike Shoes
- Clean your kiddo’s dirty bike shoes as described above.
- Once the shoes dry out completely, pour a teaspoonful of sodium bicarbonate into each smelly shoe and let it sit overnight.
- Baking powder eats up odors by dealing with the odor-causing bacterial colony that builds up inside the shoes when you store them without properly cleaning them. I also encourage you to get into the habit of putting baking soda into your kid’s and your bike shoes before storing them, whether dirty or clean.
Other Ways to Deodorize Old Smelly Bike Shoes
Another way to eliminate odor from smelly cycling shoes is to soak them in hot water mixed with a disinfectant such as Lysol. Use a generous amount of this disinfectant, put your shoes in and leave them soaked overnight. Air-dry the shoes and the smell should vanish.
Here’s another trick to remove smell from stinking bike road or mountain bike shoes: buy new insoles haha. One reason old bike shoes smell is that the insoles have absorbed tons of sweat and can’t stop smelling no matter what you do. Sometimes, simply replacing the old bike shoe insoles solves the odor issue.
And of course, cleaning the shoes after every use helps keep odor at bay.
How to Clean White Cycling Shoes
We all detest the splotches of grime that like discoloring white cycling shoes. Good news! You can actually remove them and get them white and shiny again.
The best way to clean white cycling shoes is to use a cleaner with a name the company should change right away: Magic Eraser. I wasn’t too enthusiastic or hopeful when I used this product for the first time to clean my son’s white MTB shoes. But the results were great, which is why I highly recommend the cleanser.
Clean the white cycling shoes normally. Then, spray the Magic Eraser on all the affected areas: laces, upper, toe box, every other area with stubborn stains. Leave the cleaner in for about 30 minutes, rinse it off, and dry off the shoe normally.
Can I Toss Cycling Shoes in the Washer?
You can toss some cycling shoes in a washer. I suggest putting in old towels alongside the shoes for a better result. But the best way to clean cycling shoes is the good old way: hand washing them and spot-cleaning whenever necessary. Don’t ask if it’s OK to dry cycling shoes in a dryer: just don’t do it.
How to Clean Peloton Shoes
Peloton shoes tend to be a tad bulkier than regular cycling shoes. But there’s no special cleaning method needed to get them smelling nice and clean. Simply follow the bike shoe cleaning steps above and you should be good.
Cleaning Cycling Shoes Wrap-up
Cleaning Peloton shoes, road bikes shoes, and mountain bike shoes for kids and adults is necessary if you like them nice and clean all the time. Form the good habit of giving the shoes a light clean after some light riding or a deep clean if they’re really dirty. Light cleaning is as simple as using a damp rag to wipe off the dirt both inside and outside of the shoes.
Deep cleaning bike shoes entails soaking them into mildly soapy water and using a soft-thistle brush or sponge to agitate the dirt. And if the shoes are stinky, use sodium bicarbonate or a recommended foot deodorizer/shoe deodorizer.
Machine-washing cycling shoes isn’t recommended, but it’s doable. But using a machine to dry out the shoes is a bad idea. It’s always best to air-dry the shoes.
Cleaning white cycling shoes can be tricky if you don’t know how to do it. Fortunately, there’s a little trick that works like magic when it comes to clearing dirty spots off white bike shoes: Magic Eraser.