How to Clean Nike Shoes with Mesh

How to Clean Nike Shoes with Mesh

Nike shoes with mesh are lightweight, trendy, and comfortable to wear. However, they require special care to keep them in tip-top condition. They are delicate to clean as scrubbing the mesh too roughly can cause it to wear, and the mesh traps all kinds of dirt. You can either clean your Nike shoes with mesh manually or in a washer.

Below are the detailed steps for each method. These methods work if your Nike shoe’s upper is made of mesh only or mesh and leather. If part of the upper is made of suede, you will require a special cleaning kit to clean the suede part, but you can follow the steps for cleaning the mesh parts manually.

How to Clean Nike Shoes with Mesh Manually

When cleaning your Nike mesh shoes manually, you want to prevent soaking the shoe’s interior with water. If the interior is soaked, the shoes will take too long to dry and can encourage fungus and mold growth. If you get into the habit of soaking your sneakers in water, it may cause the hem and adhesive to come apart.


1. Gather all the Items You Need for Cleaning

What You Need

  • Soft-bristled shoe brush
  • Medium-bristled brush
  • Liquid detergent
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Cleaning cloth or towel
  • Laundry bowl or bucket
  • Shoe Tree (optional)

2. Prepare the Shoes for Cleaning

Remove the shoelaces and insole. Insert the shoe tree inside the shoe and adjust it to fit the interior of the shoe snugly. If you do not have a shoe tree, you may fold a piece of cloth or paper towel and stuff it inside the shoe. It provides a firm surface when scrubbing the upper. A piece of cloth also prevents water from seeping through to the interior of the shoe.

Once you remove the shoelaces, use a soft brush to dust off the upper, including the tongue. Hold the brush perpendicularly to the shoe upper and make short and light strokes to remove dust and loose dirt. Go all around the upper, dusting it off—also, dust the shoelaces. Lay them on a flat surface and gently brush over them.

3. Presoak the Inner Sole and Shoelaces

Before you clean the shoes, presoak the inner sole and shoelaces to allow ample time for the dirt to come off.

Fill a laundry bowl or bucket halfway with water. Add 10ml of dishwashing detergent and stir with your hand until the solution is thoroughly mixed. You may also add white vinegar or baking soda to the soapy water for deodorizing and brightening effects.

Submerge the shoelaces and inner soles fully into the soapy water and let them soak as you proceed to clean the shoes.

4. Clean the Upper and Tongue

  • You need a detergent solution, a soft brush, and a dry cloth to clean the upper. Put a liter of warm water into a laundry bowl and add a tablespoon of liquid detergent.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals or detergents as they can damage the mesh material. Dishwashing liquid detergent is most preferable.
  • Using your hand, stir up the water until the detergent is thoroughly mixed. The solution should be soapy without being overly frothy or sticky.
  • Dip your cleaning cloth into the soapy water and wring off excess water. Gently scrub the upper and the tongue by making light, circular motions.
  • Keep dipping the cloth into the soapy water and cleaning the upper until you have satisfactorily done so around the entire shoe.
  • Then, rinse the cloth with clean water, wring it out, and wipe the upper and tongue to remove excess soap. If the shoe is too soapy, repeat this step several times.
  • Next, go in with the soft shoe brush. Dip it into the soapy solution and gently shake it to allow excess water to drip.
  • Gently scrub the upper section at a time, paying close attention to edges and seams if there are any. The brush will be able to reach dirt in the deeper layers of the mesh upper.
  • Once the shoe is clean, soak the cleaning cloth in clean water, wring it, and wipe the upper and tongue. Repeat this process until the entire shoe is thoroughly rinsed.

5. Clean the Midsole

Unlike the upper and the tongue, the midsole can handle harsher detergents and more aggressive scrubbing. Dip the soft brush into the soapy water and firmly scrub all around the midsole, taking more time on the stained parts. Then, dip the cleaning cloth in soapy water, wring the excess water, and wipe the midsole to get rid of dirt. Rinse the cloth, wring it out, and wipe around the midsole.

6. Clean the Outsole

You also need to clean the outsole to prevent dirt from transferring to the rest of the shoe and for a clean and crisp aesthetic the next time you wear them. Begin by scrubbing off any dirt or mud from the bottom of the sole using a medium bristle brush. If the shoe has traction grooves, make sure to remove any loose dirt in those spaces.

Then, dip the medium-bristled brush into the soapy water and firmly scrub the bottom of the sole. Occasionally, deep the brush in clean water to rinse off the dirt. Repeat this cycle until the sole is clean.  Dip the cleaning cloth into clean water and wipe the bottom to rinse it.

7. Repeat the Above Steps for the Other Shoe

8. Clean the Shoelaces and Inner Sole

Once both shoes are clean, put them aside and clean the shoelaces and inner sole. Take each inner sole and lay it on a flat surface. Using the soft-bristled shoe brush, make a long stroke along the length of the soles to clean them. Repeat this process for the top and bottom of the sole. Then, lay the shoelaces on a flat surface and scrub a section at a time throughout their length.

Pour out the dirty soapy water and fill the laundry bowl or bucket with clean water. Dip the inner soles and shoelaces in clean water to rinse them.

9. Air-Dry the Shoes, Shoelaces, and Inner Soles

Stuff the shoes with a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb excess water from the shoe’s interior and speed up the drying process. Then lay the shoes, shoelaces, and inner soles on a cloth rack away from direct sunlight or heat.

Make sure your air-drying location is well-aerated to prevent mold and mildew growth. Air drying is a much slower process than using a dryer – allow the shoes ample time to dry completely. Since this cleaning process limits the amount of water that gets into the shoes, the drying process should not take too long.

It is best not to put your Nike shoes with mesh in a dryer. The heat may cause the fabric and the sole to warp, damaging them.

nike white mesh shoes

How to Clean Nike Shoes with Mesh in a Washing Machine

What You Need

  • Washing Machine
  • Sneaker Bag or pillowcase and socks
  • Mild detergent
  • Soft-bristled brush


  1. Remove the shoelaces and inner soles from the shoes
  2. Run a soft-bristled brush over the shoes’ upper and tongue to remove any loose dirt and debris. Dust off the shoelaces. Also, scrub off dirt from the bottom of the soles
  3. Put the shoes into a sneaker bag or pillowcase. Fasten the sneaker bag’s Velcro strap or tie the opening of the pillowcase with a rubber band. The sneaker bag should have a pocket for laces; otherwise, put the shoelaces into a sock and tie a firm knot on the opening of the sock
  4. Put the pillow or sneaker bag and socks in the washer. Pour liquid detergent on them. If they need deodorizing, add a cup of white vinegar. If there is any space left in the washing machine, fill it up with rugs to prevent the shoes from hitting the sidewall when the washing machine is running
  5. Set your washer on “cold,” “Delicate,” and “medium” spin. Delicate minimizes agitation on the fabric, preventing excessive stretching. Cleaning the shoes in hot or warm settings may cause the fabric to overstretch
  6. Turn on the washer and allow it to complete the cleaning cycle
  7. Remove the shoes and laces and air dry them


While you can wash your Nike shoes with mesh in a washing machine, the best method is handwashing. It is more tedious and requires keen attention to detail, but it effectively preserves the mesh material.

Always air-dry the shoes and laces and ensure they are completely dry. Stuff the interior of the shoes with a paper towel to enable them to retain their form as they dry. If the shoes need deodorizing, add baking soda, vinegar, or essential oil to the soapy water you use for cleaning or into the washer if you are machine washing the shoes.

How to Clean Nike Shoes with Mesh FAQs

Can You Use Bleach to Clean Nike Shoes with Mesh?

You should never use bleach to clean mesh shoes. It weakens the mesh material and may cause colored mesh shoes to discolor.

What is the Best Method of Cleaning White Nike Shoes with Mesh

White Nike shoes with mesh stain easily. Therefore, you need to use cleaning chemicals that brighten them and get rid of stains without causing damage to the mesh fabric. Instead of using bleach to clean the shoes, use hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or baking soda.

Add either to the soapy cleaning water. To get rid of stubborn stains, you can put hydrogen peroxide in a dark spray bottle and spray it around the shoes, including the upper and the sole.

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