How To Clean Bicycle Shoes? [Different Cleaning & Drying Methods]

How To Clean Bicycle Shoes

Bicycle shoes are necessary for effective pedal stroke and the best riding experience. Shoes provide good grip and balance while cycling. It not only makes you comfortable but also important for safety. The sturdy shoes and inner paddings provide good support to your feet. 

But do you get the best service when your bicycle shoes are dirty? No, you don’t. It is because a filthy bicycle shoe would not give you comfort and ease. Besides, if you don’t clean your bicycle shoes from time to time, it’s condition and quality will degrade. Its safety features would degrade, soles would wear out, and the shoe material would not be the same. Its longevity would be affected. 

This is why cleaning your bicycle shoes is important. But how to do that in the simplest way? How to clean bicycle shoes effectively? If these are your questions, I am here to answer. Stay with me and get all your doubts cleared through this article!

4 Different Methods To Clean Bicycle Shoes:

You can clean and wash your bicycle shoes in different ways. Depending on which method you prefer, you can choose the way you want. Also, the results may differ depending on how dirty your shoes are. If you wash regularly, mild cleaners would work. Otherwise, you have to use harsh cleaners. 

Let us look into the 4 different methods to clean bicycle shoes that you can follow:

Method 1: Apply Washing Liquid Soap And Brush:

The most common way to clean bicycle shoes is to use a mild dishwashing liquid or liquid soap. If you wash your shoes regularly, a mild cleaner would suffice.

But before you focus on washing the shoes, you need to take out the insoles from the shoes. You can wash the insoles in a machine or simply dip them into soapy water in a bucket. You must clean the insoles separately and thoroughly so that they don’t stay smelly and dirty anymore.

Now, to clean the outsole and the entire shoe, you first need to immerse the shoes in soapy water. To make the soapy water, mix dishwashing liquid/ liquid soap with water in a bucket or sink. Mix them well to make bubbles and then put the shoes in them for 30-60 minutes. 

To deeply clean the shoes and take off the dirt, you have to use a toothbrush to clean the corners, outsole, lace area, etc. If you find any marks or stains, rub those areas too. Then rinse them off with cold water to wash off the soap. 

Method 2: Use Toothpaste:

Cleaning shoes with toothpaste may sound weird to you but it works like magic. Just the way it cleans your teeth, the fluoride in toothpaste cleans your shoes too. 

Hard and stubborn stains and marks can get off your shoes with toothpaste. Take a pinch of toothpaste on a spare toothbrush. Now wet the shoes fully so that the toothpaste can be used on them. Now rub the toothbrush slowly over the shoes and let the stains, marks, and dirt get off the shoes. 

You can expect a fine finish with toothpaste. It would deeply clean your shoes bringing back their original color. After cleaning, wash them off with cold water. 

Method 3: Apply Magic Eraser:

Before you use an eraser, I should mention that it is a harsh agent and shouldn’t be used on leather. Many have used them on leather shoes and seen horrible results. Also, you should use only a bit of an eraser. Excessive usage would damage your shoes. Use it only if your shoes are extremely dirty.

Before scrubbing, add some drops of water to the eraser. Now, squeeze the eraser a bit so that the bubbles would come out. Then scrub off the shoes to clean out the dirt. After cleaning, you have to wash the shoes thoroughly with clean water to rinse off all the extra chemicals. 

Method 4: Use A Microfiber Cloth:

If you don’t like any of the methods mentioned, simply put on some soapy water and use a soft microfiber cloth to rub off the dirt. 

Microfiber cloth is gentle on your shoes. If it shows only a little dirt, you can use a microfiber cloth and soapy water to make the shoes look new and clean again.

How To Clean Smelly Bicycle Shoes? (2 Effective Methods)

If your bicycle shoes are smelling bad, it is because of the germs and fungus created due to sweating and pollution. In that case, you need to clean as well as disinfect the shoes to get rid of the odor. 

The process I would mention has to be quick as the agents are strong. You can’t do this for so long as it would otherwise damage the shoes. 

Method 1: Clean With Warm Water:

Take a bucket full of warm water. Now add some bleaching powder or liquid. Use only a bit. Mix it and immerse the stinky shoes into the solution. Now, take a brush or a scrub pad to gently rub all over the shoes and wash the inside of the shoes too. Once you are done with scrubbing the shoes, you should now rinse off the shoes with plain water and then let them dry. You can re-dry the shoes under the sun. 

Method 2: Use Rubbing Alcohol

Another method of getting rid of smelly shoes is to use rubbing alcohol. Take some rubbing alcohol on a rag and rub the rag all over the shoes and inside the shoes as well. Rubbing alcohol would kill all the germs and remove the stink. After that, use disinfectant wipes for a fresh and polished finish. 

Both the techniques effectively kill germs and remove the bad smell from the shoes. Do any of these methods whenever your shoes are stinky.

How To Wash Grease From Bicycle Shoes?

Your bicycle shoes may get in touch with grease, oil, and chain lubricant as well. These are some common things that may make your bicycle shoes dirty. But sadly, these materials don’t get off your shoes easily unless you apply the right technique. 

The best way to get rid of grease of any type is to spread some baby powder or cornstarch over the greasy area. It would loosen up the grease and dry it out a bit so that you can easily wash them off. Keep the cornstarch or baby powder on the grease for an hour or so. 

Then you have to follow the normal cleaning procedure. Apply washing liquid and thoroughly rub the surfaces with a brush. Clean the greasy areas too and rinse off with plain water. You can also consider using disinfectant wipes for a finishing touch. And that’s it!

How Can You Disinfect Bicycle Shoes? (3 Simple Steps)

Sometimes, cleaning may not suffice. Cleaning means simply taking out all the dirt and visible stains or marks from the shoes. But do we actually disinfect the shoes by the normal cleaning? Not always. 

As you use your bicycle shoes regularly, they may not only get dirty but can become stinky too. Sweat and dirt can make germs and fungus grow inside your shoes if you don’t wash them often. So, how can you get rid of the germs? To do so, you need to disinfect the shoes well to avoid any foot infections. 

There are three steps to disinfect your bicycle shoes properly: 

Step 1: Wash The Insoles:

Before you start disinfecting your shoes, you have to take out the insoles. You can soak the insoles in detergent or mild soapy water to clean as well as disinfect the soles well. 

You must clean the insoles regularly as they soak up sweat and dirt daily that can give birth to germs. 

Step 2: Use Rubbing Alcohol:

Rubbing alcohol is the best agent to disinfect shoes. It deeply cleanses the surfaces as well as kills the germs immediately. 

Take a rag and pour some rubbing alcohol on the rag. Now thoroughly wipe off the inside and outside of the shoes. Make sure to rub each corner of the shoe so that no germ can stay there. 

Take only a little rubbing alcohol. Some shoe materials can be sensitive to rubbing alcohol. So, make sure that you apply only a little. Excessive alcohol can corrode materials. 

Step 3: Use Disinfecting Wipes:

The magic tool is here. You would get disinfecting wipes in the market that are excellent for quick disinfecting. 

Take a wipe and rub it all over the shoe. Wipe off the inside of the shoe too. You can be assured that your shoes are germ-free after using the disinfecting wipes

Remember that sun-drying also kills germs and fungus. But as it also fades out the color and gloss, it is recommended to avoid it. However, you may keep your shoes in the sun for 15-30 minutes to make them fresh and germ-free. 

How To Dry Your Bicycle Shoes? (3 Different Methods) 

I have mentioned four methods that you can use to clean your shoes and get rid of the dirt and stain. But after cleaning, you should dry your shoes well so that they become usable again.

Also, drying is important as water and soap would destroy the shoe material if they settle inside. Thus you must dry out the shoes after cleaning. 

Now, how to dry the bicycle shoes? Let us look into 3 methods:

Method 1: Dry Under The Sun:

The very usual way to dry your shoes is to simply put them on your balcony or roof under the sun. While this is an effective way to dry the shoes quickly, it may also fade out the color of the shoes. 

If you are using shoes made of pure fabric, you can go for this option. But other materials may fade or become weakened if you put them under the sun. Drying leather shoes under the sun is the worst idea. So, only put fabric shoes under the sun for drying. 

Even if you want your leather shoes or shoes of other materials under the sun, you must not keep them there for long. You must follow one of the steps mentioned below to dry the shoes initially and then keep the shoes under the sun for 30-40 minutes to let the remaining water dry out. 

Method 2: Use Paper:

Paper is the best material to soak up water. The difficult part of drying out the interior of the shoes can be solved by using newspapers or simple soft paper. 

Scrunch up some newspaper and put them inside the shoes. While it is difficult to dry out the interior, newspapers would easily absorb the water from the inner pads and fabric. After that, you can put your shoes under the sun for the final drying. But the major part of the task would be done by the newspaper. 

To dry out the upper portion, use a normal paper or microfiber cloth to wipe off the water. 

Method 3: Use Silica Gel Or Rice:

The best idea of drying out the bicycle shoes is to immerse the wet shoes into a bucket of rice. Rice has the magical power to quickly soak up the water. If you wipe off the water out of the shoes and then dump them inside a bucket of rice. The rice would absorb the water and your shoes would dry out. Now, you can place the shoes under the sun to make them fresh and let the wetness go away. 

If you have tiny pouches of silica gel, then you can place your shoes around a bunch of silica gels and later re-dry them under the sun for a better result.

Can You Machine Wash Bicycle Shoes?

While many people may consider it a good idea to wash bicycle shoes in the machine, I don’t recommend it as it can distort the shape of the shoes. It would clean your shoes well, but the pressure and cleaning procedure can be too harsh for your shoes. 

However, if you don’t have enough time, you may consider it as a good option. In that case, don’t put your shoes alone in the machine. Put some towels and the shoes inside the machine. Add cold water and a very mild detergent to machine wash your shoes. Remember to take out the insoles and place them in the machine separately. 

Never dry your bicycle shoes in the machine. Follow any of the aforementioned methods of drying your shoes for the best result. 

Can You Dry Bicycle Shoes With A Dryer?

The best method to dry shoes is to place the wet shoes inside a bucket of silica gel packets or rice that would soak up the extra water. Then you can dry the shoes under the sun for a better result. 

But never ever do the mistake of drying your bicycle shoes with a dryer or a heat source. Heat would weaken the material of the shoes and also fade out the color of the shoes. Your shoes become fragile and less protective if you use a dryer to dry the bicycle shoes. 

Though a dryer seems like a tool to dry out your shoes quickly, it would ultimately damage your bicycle shoes and reduce the life of the shoes. Therefore, it is never recommended to use a dryer to dry bicycle shoes. 


You have learned a lot of ways to effectively clean bicycle shoes. You have also learned how to dry and disinfect bicycle shoes. Now, you have a complete idea of how to clean bicycle shoes. 

Are you ready to clean your bicycle shoes and make them look all new and fresh? Wash your shoes today and prepare for a relaxing ride with the best experience

You may also want to read:

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How To Clean Bicycle Helmet?
How To Wash Leather Cycling Gloves?
How To Make Cycling More Comfortable?
Bicycle Helmet For Adults: All You Should Know
Bicycle Helmet Size Chart: Know Your Size And Fit
Bicycle Helmet For Kids: Know Before You Choose
Cycling Tips For Long Rides: Enjoy A Comfortable Ride
How To Do Cycling To Increase Height?
How To Ride A Bicycle For The First Time
How To Track Cycling On iPhone?
How To Plan A Cycling Route?
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Shamim Ahmed

My journey with cycling started in 2011 and I have been cycling since then. I am a self-taught bicycle enthusiast who has collected a lot of knowledge about it through the years. On this blog, I share my passion and experiences with cycling, as well as insights and recommendations. This blog is also useful for any riders out there who want to improve their cycling skills and techniques.

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