The common mistake we are fond of is constantly washing our sneakers with water. While washing ensures that our sneakers are clean, removes odor, and maintains excellent foot hygiene, it can damage the shoe. For instance, washing may lead to material damage due to wear and tear, especially when the shoe material is not designed for constant washing. The shoes may start looking faded or deformed.
Constant washing can also lead to declined water resistance since the water-resistant properties in the shoe material diminish with continual washing. Finally, frequent shoe washing can lead to the separation or detachment of joint parts like sole separation. While the upper can be a one-piece material, it’s always joined to the sole with adhesives or stitches, and constant washing with detergents can cause weakness and subsequent separations.
What Are Alternatives To Shoe Washing?
The sneaker cleaning gels are the best alternatives for shoe cleaning. However, they are not fit-all shoe gel since running and walking sneakers are made of various materials, including mesh, suede, leather, and canvas. Therefore, it is appropriate to choose the best gels for each material.
For instance, mesh sneakers are cleanable with gentle, foam-based shoe cleaners. Such cleaning gels are formulated for cleaning delicate fabrics. They are water-based and easily remove dirt, odor, and sweat for mesh sneakers.
Unlike mesh sneakers, suede sneakers require a more special cleaning gel to protect and restore the suede’s texture. These gels are mostly in spray bottles and are sprayed directly to the surface; a soft-bristled brush is used gently to scrub away stains and dust.
Like suede sneakers, leather sneakers need more attention to keep the leather material nourishing and long-lasting. Hence, the leather cleaning gel has a conditioner that helps retain the softness and shininess of the leather. When applying the suede sneaker cleaning gel, use a soft brush or cloth, then buff the shoe with a piece of cloth to get a polished finish.
Finally, canvas sneakers require a gentle all-purpose cleaning gel as long as it is safe for fabric. These cleaning gels are often water-based and easily remove stains and dirt.
Other Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cleaning Gel for Your Sneakers
i) Dirt type or stain
Not all gels can remove all types of dirt or stain from sneakers. Instead, some gels are designed for specific stains like grass, mud, and grease. The grease or oily stain-cleaning gels have strong surfactants and degreasers for dissolving grease. They are often in spray bottles and must be applied directly onto the stain. Then, use a soft brush to rub the sneaker’s surface gently. Afterward, wipe away the removed stain with a clean cloth.
The mud-cleaning gel for sneakers is formulated with enzymes that can break down and dissolve dirt and mud. In contrast, grass stain cleaning gels have string bleaching and surfactant agents that remove green pigments.
ii) Consider Brand
There are several sneaker-cleaning gel brands. It is proper to buy known brands or those with positive reviews.
iii) Consider Ease of Use
Due to time constraints, it is proper to go for gels that need much effort or more tools to lean on your sneakers. Some sneaker cleaning gels need prolonged dwell time or more applications to eliminate tough stains, thus making the cleaning process lengthy.
Also, some cleaning gels have unpleasant solid odors for someone sensitive to such smells.
Safety is critical, considering that sneaker cleaning gels are chemically manufactured. When inhaled, some cleaning gels have harsh chemicals that irritate the eye, skin, and respiratory system. Hence, go for a gel that is safe on your skin and sneaker.
Check the label to acquaint you with the gel. Check for precautions or warnings before purchasing and using.
When a sneaker cleaning gel is unsafe for your kind of sneaker, it can damage it by causing fading, discoloration, and deformation. It can also reduce the shoe’s lifespan, leading to costly replacements.
Finally, after cleaning your running shoes, always air dry them properly by letting them dry naturally outside or in a ventilated place. Using heat sources like dryers or direct sunlight can damage the shoe.