How to Clean and Wash Brooks Shoes: 6 easy Steps

Your dirty Brooks shoes can be super uncomfortable and unsightly. Dirt caked on the outsoles also affects the traction. The grime can also get to your feet through the mesh uppers. This grime and debris make your feet feel like they are grinding on sandpaper.

While Brooks shoes are not high maintenance, you still need to keep them clean. Luckily, the process is fairly straightforward. You only need mild soap, an old toothbrush, a microfiber cloth, and a few minutes to spare.

But how do you clean different Brooks shoes like running, tennis, or walking shoes? Also, how do you clean other shoe parts, like the insoles and laces?

With my over 10 years running experience, you can be sure of only getting factual and helpful information.

This article will give you a detailed breakdown for cleaning different Brooks shoes. We also tell you how to clean all parts of the shoes. Better yet, we show you how to clean white Brooks shoes. Plus, we will tell you whether you can clean your shoes in a washing machine. Ensure you read to the end so you do not miss any of this important information.

How to Clean and Wash Brooks Shoes 6 easy Steps

How to Clean Brooks Running Shoes

Your Brooks running shoes will probably be the dirtiest and hardest to clean. You will need to deal with a lot of grime and dirt caked on the soles. There is also all manner of debris on the uppers. The process should, however, get easier as you do it more.

Here is how to clean Brooks Running Shoes the right way, starting with a list of everything you need:

What You Need

  • Mild soap
  • Old toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • A bucket of warm water
  • Shoe cleaner kit (optional)


Start by removing the shoe laces and insoles from the running shoes. It is always recommended to clean them separately. Also, removing the insoles and laces makes the job easier. You will have better access to every part of the shoe.

Also, remove as much dirt from your shoes as possible before washing them. Doing this makes cleanup easier. Use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub off dirt and debris clinging to the uppers. And do the same for the outsole. Just do it gently so you do not damage the shoe.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Directions

Once the laces and all the insoles are out and the dirt is brushed off, you can start the actual cleanup. Remember that the steps below are for hand-washing your Brooks shoes. Hand-washing is the cleaning method recommended by the manufacturer.

Step 1: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

The first step of the actual cleaning will still involve some preparation. Here you need to prepare the cleaning solution by adding the mild detergent to the warm water. If you are using a store-bought cleaner, follow the instructions on the package.

Use a small amount of detergent. The chemicals in some detergents can be harsh on delicate shoe materials. It will be an even better idea to use a detergent that is indicated safe for cleaning shoes.

Step 2: Scrub the Outsoles

Next, scrub the outsoles to remove all the grime and debris. Here you can use a brush with hard bristles if necessary. Be careful not to damage or puncture the outsole material.

You should also leave the outsoles to dry completely before scrubbing them. Wet outsoles are messy, and you will not want to touch all that grime. 

Sometimes, the caked-on dirt can be hectic to remove. In such cases, you should hose the soles and scrub more aggressively. Do this until you get dirt from every nook and cranny.

Step 3: Clean the Uppers

Cleaning the uppers should be easier. The most important tip is to be gentle. This part of the shoe is more delicate.

The best way to do it is by soaking the microfiber cloth in warm soapy water and using it to scrub it clean. You can also use an old toothbrush or any other soft bristle brush. The brush will help make it easier to remove any stuck dirt.

A shoe cleaner also works perfectly. Just make sure it is meant for the specific uppers’ material. Some shoe cleaners are quite harsh. They are only meant for tough materials like canvas and leather.

Once the shoe uppers are clean, you should rinse them thoroughly. Make sure you get rid of all the soap before drying the shoes.

Step 4: Wipe the Inside

Make sure you complete this step if you hate stinky shoes. Many runners do not pay much attention to the shoe’s inside. is important to thoroughly wipe it with a soft microfiber cloth and warm soapy water. Also, make sure you pat it dry and air the shoes.

Step 5: Dry the Shoes

Pat your shoes dry using a clean microfiber cloth. You can also air dry them if you want but avoid leaving them in the sun. Also, make sure the room is well-ventilated when air drying.

Another effective shoe-drying method is stuffing them with towels or newspapers. You should, however, avoid stuffing white Brooks running shoes with newspapers. The ink from the paper can stain them.

Step 6: Clean the Laces and Insoles

You can clean the laces and insoles in your washing machine. Simply place them in a pillowcase or mesh bag and run them on a gentle cycle. We will look at shoe insole cleaning in more detail later in this article.

Pro Tips and Precautions

  • Never use detergents with harsh chemicals to clean your Brooks shoes.
  • Do not clean with bleach, even when dealing with serious stains. Bleach can damage the shoe material.
  • Avoid submerging or soaking your Brooks running shoes in water.
  • Never twist or wring your shoes to dry them, as this often misshapes them.
  • Always do a spot test when using a new cleaning product.
  • Read manufacturer care instructions before cleaning the shoes.
  • Treat any stains on your Brooks running shoes soonest possible.
  • Store your running shoes properly in a cool and dry place when not wearing them.

How to Clean Brooks Shoes Insoles

Most Brooks shoes will have removable insoles to make cleanup easy. But, like the shoe uppers, they are delicate. You need to be gentle when cleaning them. 


Step 1: Remove the Insoles

Sometimes you can clean the insoles with a soft cloth while inside the shoes. Still, this will not clean them thoroughly. You should only do it when in a hurry. Otherwise, you should take out the insoles to clean them.

Step 2: Choose a Cleaning Solution

Use a mild detergent, baking soda paste, or vinegar/water mix. These cleaning agents all work well and will kill bacteria and germs on the insole.

Step 3: Scrub the Insoles

Next, gently scrub the insoles using your preferred cleaning solution and a sponge. You can also use a toothbrush. Be gentle to ensure you do not damage the insoles.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Once you are satisfied the insoles are clean, you can rinse them. Use a lot of clean water to remove the cleaning solution. You should then finish by patting the insoles dry with a clean cloth and air drying them.

Pro Tips and Precautions

  • Avoid submerging the insoles and, instead, spot-clean any stained areas.
  • Do not soak the insoles in water for extended periods. The excess moisture will damage them.
  • Remove and air out your insoles regularly. Airing will keep them fresh and comfortable.

How to Clean Brooks Ghost Shoes

The Brooks Ghost shoes have mostly mesh upper and rubber soles. They also typically come in bright colors. Cleaning them will require a little more attention. Plus, you need to be extra gentle.


Step 1: Remove Laces and Insole

Like any other Brooks shoe, you should start by removing the laces. Also, remove the insoles with the DNA LOFT cushioning. You do not want to damage these delicate inserts during cleanup.

Step 2: Clean the Rubber Sole

Next, you should clean the rubber sole. The rubber sole on these shoes makes them perfect for outdoor running. Rubber is a tough material, but harsh chemicals can easily damage it. It is best to scrub the outsole with just water and mild detergent.

Step 3: Clean the Mesh Upper

Some runners prefer to submerge their running shoes when cleaning. We suggest avoiding this with the Ghosts, as they mostly have a mesh upper. The mesh upper means the water will end up inside the shoes. It is better to wipe the mesh with a clean cloth soaked in soapy water.

Step 4: Air Dry the Shoes

Once your Ghosts are clean, you should air dry them. Air drying also allows fresh air inside the shoes. They will hence end up smelling fresh and more comfortable wearing.

How to Clean Brooks Tennis Shoes

Cleaning Brooks tennis shoes is similar to cleaning most running shoes. Tennis shoes have a flatter sole with few nooks and crannies. These shoes will hence be easier to clean.


Step 1: Remove Laces/Insoles and Shake off Lose Debris

Start by taking out the laces on your Brooks tennis shoes. You should then also remove the insole and shake off any loose debris. This should get your shoes ready for cleaning.

Step 2: Wash the Shoes

Clean your tennis shoes with a mild detergent and a soft cloth. Tennis shoes will not be as dirty as running shoes. You will probably not need a brush.

Step 3: Spot Clean Stains

If there are any stains on the shoes, you can spot-clean them. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or soaking the shoes in soapy water.

Step 4: Dry the Shoes

Leave the shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated room for a few hours. Avoid the temptation of sun-drying or drying them in a dryer. Either drying method can ruin the fabric.

How to Clean Brooks Walking Shoes

Brooks walking shoes are designed for use on different terrains. They are also for both indoor and outdoor use. These shoes typically have a rough rubber sole and mesh uppers. Cleaning them will mostly follow the same steps as the Brooks Ghost shoes. You will, however, need to pay more attention to the insole. This ensures you deal with all the sweat from your walks.


Step 1: Remove and Clean the Laces

The laces on the Brooks walking shoe are mostly nylon or polyester. Cleaning them in the washing machine using the gentle cycle setting is best. You can also brush them clean using a soft bristle brush.

Step 2: Clean and Dry the Uppers and Outsole

A quick wipe with soapy water and an old toothbrush should take care of the uppers. You will need to scrub the outsole more aggressively. This allows you to remove all the caked-on dirt from your trail walks.

Step 3: Clen the Insole

The insoles need proper cleaning if you do not want your walking shoes getting stinky. Remove the insoles and clean them with baking soda paste or vinegar. These cleaning solutions will kill all the germs and bacteria.

Step 4: Dry the Shoes 

Lastly, remember to dry the shoes. Air-dry them or stuff them with crumpled newspapers. Also, make it a habit to remove the insoles and allow your walking shoes to breathe after walks.

How to Clean Brooks Adrenaline Shoes

Brooks Adrenaline shoes are one of the most popular running shoes from the brand. The cleaning process is similar to most of their other running shoes. But you will probably need to take better care of these shoes, as a pair goes for over $100. You hence want them to serve you longer to get value for money.


Step 1: Brush Off Loose Dirt

Start by brushing off any loose dirt or debris, especially if you have been using the shoes outdoors. If you have a shoe cleaning kit, use the provided brush. An old toothbrush also works well enough.

Step 2: Clean Thoroughly With Soapy Water

You should remove the inserts and laces and clean the shoes with soapy water. Soak a microfiber cloth in soapy water and use it to scrub your shoes. Make sure you clean everywhere, including around the lace eyelets. Also, remember to wring the microfiber cloth a little and use it to wipe the inside.

Step 3: Rinse and Dry 

The last step is to rinse the shoes and dry them. Rinsing thoroughly with clean water prevents the soap from staining the shoes. And like all other shoe types we have looked at, you should air dry them.


How to Clean White Brooks Shoes

It takes more effort to clean white Brooks shoes, but it is still doable. Unlike other shoe colors, they stain easily. You can also easily spread the stain or discolor the shoes if you do not clean them properly.


Step 1: Prep the Shoe for Cleaning

Start by removing the laces and insoles and clean them. You should then prepare your cleaning solution. Although you are dealing with white shoes, never use bleach. A shoe cleaner is the best here. It will be gentle on the material and help preserve the color. 

Step 2: Spot Clean Any Stains

Stains are almost inevitable for white shoes, no matter how careful you are. The best way to deal with them is through spot cleaning. Dip a microfiber cloth in your cleaning solution and use it to work on the stains gently.

Step 3: Clean the Rest of the Shoes

Once the stains are gone, you can clean the rest of the shoe. Use generous amounts of the cleaning solution to ensure thorough cleaning. Proper cleaning also helps preserve the white color. Remember to clean the inside with a damp cloth and scrub off all the dirt from the sole.

Step 4: Dry With Clean Towels

Another important step is drying the shoes. While you can still stuff them with newspaper, avoid using anything with print. The ink will stain the shoes. You are better off using clean towels or air drying the shoes in a well-ventilated room.

Can you Wash Running Shoes in the Washing Machine?

No, you should not wash running shoes in a washing machine. Technically it is possible, and the shoes will get clean. The only issue is that you can easily ruin them. Modern running shoes have delicate stitching and are held together with a lot of glue. They just cannot withstand the abuse from the washing machine.

Some running shoes might be safe for machine washing. First, check the manufacturer’s cleaning direction just to be sure. Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of washing running shoes in the washing machine:


  • It is quicker: A washing machine will wash and dry your shoes faster than you would do it by hand.
  • Better cleaning results: Washing machines will not miss a spot. They will clean the shoes more thoroughly and preserve the colors.
  • Convenient and efficient: There is little to do when cleaning shoes in a washing machine. Just pop them in and choose the right setting. Also, it is a more efficient process if you have to clean multiple pairs of shoes.


  • Can ruin your shoes: A washing machine’s spinning motion can damage the shoes. The constant agitation also ruins them.
  • Shortens shoe lifespan: Repeated submersion in water accelerates wear and tear. The exposure to chemicals in the detergents also makes the shoes wear out faster. If you keep washing them in the machine, your shoes will have a shorter service life.
  • No control over the process: Machine washing gives you little control. You just cannot dictate the cleaning process. You cannot choose where to spot clean, cleaning intensity or even water temperature.


Cleaning your Brooks shoes is a quick and easy process. You only need a soft cloth, an old brush, and a mild detergent. Next, remove the laces and soles and wipe or brush the shoes clean in a few minutes.

That said, you should never use harsh detergents or bleach. Also, avoid brushing or scrubbing the shoes too much. You can easily damage the delicate fabric. Plus, remember to check the specific manufacturer cleaning directions before getting started.

That’s all it takes to keep your Brooks shoes pristine and at top performance. Please share this article to help other runners who want to clean their shoes!

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