Lynsey Queen Of Clean gives tips on cleaning trainers
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Google search volume data has shown a 49 percent search increase for “how to wash shoes” this year. Furthermore, views for “winter walks” have reached 15.2 million on the social media platform, TikTok. With various DIY shoe-cleaning hacks trending on social media, such as using pencil erasers on scuffs and deodorising shoes with tea bags, one expert has shared exactly how to clean and dry shoes using a washing machine and other methods.
Vittoria Wellen‑Bombelli, is a buying assistant at wide-fit shoe specialists, Pavers. She has shared her six simple tips to clean and dry your mucky, stained shoes this season.
Washing trainers in a washing machine
Vittoria said although washing trainers in a machine is a “quick fix” for getting them clean, there is a risk of “damaging” the shoes. For light stains, it’s often better to stick to wiping them with a damp cloth, unless they specifically state otherwise.
She continued: “However if you would prefer to use the washing machine to clean your trainers, place them in a mesh bag or pillowcase and wash at 20°C to 30°C. If you’re washing your trainers by hand, you can add your shoelaces in with your regular washing to freshen them up and speed up the process.
“First, remove any tough dirt debris with a toothbrush or water, then place your shoelaces in a mesh washing bag for delicate items before a regular cycle.
“Do expect a degree of colour loss as well as some shrinkage, especially after several washes, and be aware that this could affect the binding of the upper to the sole.”
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Grab washing-up liquid for heavy stains
As the weather gets wetter, shoes will inevitably get muddier and damper. To remove heavy stains in canvas trainers, Vittoria suggested a mix of half a teaspoon of washing-up liquid with water to help lift any marks or stains before wiping with a sponge and leaving them to dry naturally.
She continued: “To keep the inside of your trainers fresh, remove the soles if possible and leave them out to air. Then go back in with a damp cloth to clean the inside of your shoes.
“Instead of using a shoe freshener spray for deodorising, sprinkle some baking soda in your trainers for a cheaper alternative – though you may have chalky footprints for a while.”
Do not put wellies in the washing machine
Wellies are made for mud and harsh conditions so cleaning them often isn’t as simple as popping them in the washing machine. In fact, Vittoria suggested “never” putting them in the washing machine.
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She said: “I would never recommend putting your wellies into a washing machine, as this could damage the rubber or plastic outer coating.
“Instead, the key to clean wellies is to just give them a hose down outside before entering your home, paying extra attention to the hidden dirt tucked in the grooves or any zips and buckles, ideally whilst the mud is still fresh and wet.
“If you don’t have a hose pipe, a bucket of water with a few drops of washing-up liquid will do the trick. While rinsing your wellies in the bucket, use a sponge or cloth to wipe away the wet dirt into the water.”
Allow shoes to air dry
Cleaning shoes is the first step, but ensuring that they dry effectively is just as important. Damp shoes can lead to mouldy and smelly shoes.
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Vittoria said: “When you’ve washed any pair of shoes it’s key to leave them to air dry, and for canvas-style trainers, preferably out on the washing line.
“It’s important to avoid trying to rush the drying process, so don’t be tempted to place your shoes on a radiator or use a hairdryer as a heat source, as this may cause damage to your shoes.”
Use newspaper to absorb extra moisture
Vittoria recommended putting newspaper in shoes to absorb any dampness left inside the shoes after they’ve been washed.
She said: “If you’ve cleaned the inside of any of your shoes, it’s important to make sure that they don’t remain damp, so grab some newspaper and scrunch it up inside your shoes to absorb any remaining moisture. You should then avoid wearing your shoes until they’re completely dry.”
Different boots require different treatments
Winter boots are making a comeback after spending months tucked at the back of our wardrobes. Before cleaning them, check the material to avoid causing any major damage.
Vittoria said: “It’s really important to identify what material your boots are made from before you start cleaning to avoid causing any damage.
“For leather boots, it’s crucial to adopt a gentle approach. To remove dirt from the outer boot, use a soft-bristled brush or a damp soft towel dipped in a warm cleaning solution to avoid scratching the leather material.
“Softer suede boots need even more care during cleaning. You should opt for a brush that is specifically for suede material to massage in a suede cleaning solution to remove stains. Always ensure that you carry out circular motions whilst cleaning suede and be sure to completely rinse the boots after cleaning to avoid patches forming in the drying process.”
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