How to Clean Soccer Cleats that Stink
We’ve all been in the situation where after wearing cleats for months on end, they begin to develop an unpleasant odor. It can almost be tempting to just throw your cleats away when it gets to that point. However, there are several techniques you can use to help get your cleats smelling good as new. So in this article, we’re going to be going over how to clean soccer cleats that stink.
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1. Clean your Cleats
Cleaning your cleats is a crucial first step in the process to remove odor. cleaning your cleats will also help keep them in good condition so that they will last you longer. Below is the process that I use for cleaning my cleats. If you want an even more in depth guide on cleaning your cleats, check out the following article.
Scrape off Excess Mud
A great way to get off excess mud from your cleats is by allowing them to dry and then lightly tapping the sole plates together. This usually dislodges any caked on dirt between the studs. You can also use a metal knife or spoon to remove any remaining mud.
Remove the Laces and Insoles
It’s a good idea to remove the laces and insoles on your cleats before cleaning them. Wash these items separately in the washing machine, making sure to follow the manufacturers instructions. Then simply return the laces and insoles to the cleats after they have been cleaned and dried.
Use a Soft Brush to Clean the Upper
Using a soft bristle brush is key here, as you don’t want to damage the material on your cleats. This step will help remove finer pieces of dirt that may still be on your cleats. If you don’t have a cleaning brush available, an old toothbrush also works well for this.
Fill a Bucket with Warm Soapy Water
You don’t need to worry about adding cleaning chemicals at this stage. Just filling a bucket with warm water and a bit of dish soap will suffice. Make sure the water is not too hot, as this could potentially damage your cleats.
Lightly Rub with a Damp Cloth
After wetting a cloth with the warm and soapy water, you can begin to lightly clean the cleats. Use circular motions to get into every crevice of the cleats, being sure to clean both the upper and the inside.
Avoid soaking your cleats with water. Just lightly wet the cleats.
2. Dry your Cleats
Now that you have cleaned your cleats, you’ll want to dry them completely. This is important, as odor causing bacteria tend to thrive in moist environments. Drying your cleats is very straightforward and can be done overnight.
Start by stuffing your damp cleats with paper towels. Newspapers and other absorbant materials will also work well for this. After packing your cleats tightly with the paper towels, place them outside in the shade. If you need to keep them inside, just place them in a well ventilated area. Then leave the cleats to dry overnight. In the morning, remove the paper towels and let the cleats air dry for another few hours.
3. Use Deodorizing Spray
Now that your cleats have been cleaned and dried, it’s time to address any odor that may still be remaining. Deodorizing spray can be found online as well as at most sporting good stores. This is a great first line of defense against smelly cleats. Deodorizing spray may also be useful for your soccer bag as well.
4. Coat with Baking Soda
Baking soda is great for absorbing unwanted smells.
Simply sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda in your cleats, and leave them to sit overnight. In the morning, brush out the baking soda, and you will be left with fresher smelling cleats.
5. Spray with Vinegar
Vinegar is used to both deodorize and kill bacteria. This makes it a great cleaning solution.
Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Generously coat the inside of your boots with the spray, and then leave them to air dry outside.
6. Leave Citrus Peels Overnight
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits have a strong natural smell due to their essential oils.
Leaving citrus peels in your cleats overnight can help both neutralize and mask the odor from your cleats.
7. Use Tea Bags
Tea leaves are remarkably effective when it comes to deodorizing. Several studies have shown that black tea has molecules that help kill odor causing bacteria.
Simply leave a tea bag in each cleat until the odor becomes noticeably diminished. Try leaving them in overnight for the best results.
8. Use Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds work in a similar way to tea leaves, in that they are good at absorbing and masking odors.
When using coffee grounds in your boots, you’ll want to first place filter papers in the bottom of your cleats. This will ensure that coffee grounds don’t make their way into the crevices of the cleats.
Cleaning your cleats and getting them odor free is a great feeling. However, if you’re not careful, your cleats may end up smelling again. It’s important to take preventative measures to ensure that your cleats are kept in good condition. Check out the following tips for preventing your cleats from building up an odor.
- Allow your cleats to dry completely before wearing
- Use dry socks before putting on your cleats
- Dry your cleats immediately after they get wet
- Store your cleats in a well ventilated area
- Clean your feet daily with soap and water
Using the above tips will ensure that you rarely have to deodorize your cleats in the first place. Another great method to prolong the life of your cleats is to rotate between multiple pairs. If you have several pairs of cleats lying around, you can alternate between wearing one pair for practice and another for games. This will reduce the wear and tear on your new cleats, and will also help keep them odor free.
If you’re looking for a more complete guide on taking care of your soccer cleats, check out the following article.
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