Pickleball Shoes

Cleaning Pickleball Shoes – Here’s How to Do it.

Cleaning Pickleball Shoes
Written by Alex

Staying longer in the court implies you get to sharpen your skills and learn a technique or two along the way but at the cost of getting your pair of kicks whiffy and full of debris.

And no matter how hard you try to avoid the potent “aroma”, there is a higher chance it will always make its way to the nostrils of your peers and buddies in the court, so don’t get surprised if they give you the stinky eye.

To save yourself from embarrassment, in this article, we are going to discuss a couple of techniques on How to clean Pickleball shoes which are finalized after going through plenty of trial and error.

Things You Will Be Needing

Here are a couple of things you might need, 

  • White vinegar
  • Plenty of Patience
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothbrush (Gentle one)
  • Towels 
  • Old Newspaper
  • Tree Or Eucalyptus Oil
  • Cleaning Soap
  • Bucket With Lukewarm Water

Once you have gathered all the Essentials, it’s time for you to categorize which shoe cleaning level you will be going through, 

1. Light Freshening Technique

This might be the most “entry-level” cleaning stage designed for anyone who has their shoes still partially in mint condition or doesn’t really want to go through an advanced phase and possibly ruin their shoes due to lack of experience, nevertheless here is how you could replicate it.

Removing The Insole

First thing first, remove the insole out of your shoe, this might take a while but trust me, it’s worth it if you really want to make your shoe squeaky clean and eliminate the gamgy environment.

Now lay these insoles in an open field or area where there is an abundance of sunlight, the UV rays will act as a natural disinfectant that will take care of any bacteria that has been clogging up the innards of your shoe. The natural rays of light will also kill these bacteria in due time.

Sprinkling Baking Soda

If you really want to get rid of any other form of smells, try using a liberal amount of baking soda, make sure you feel in the toe box and heel region, and let it sit for at least 3 hours so that it can do its magic of wicking away any possible moisture it might have accumulated after all this time.

Baking soda is by far one of the most effective forms of odor eliminator that can get rid of any lingering smell that is left after letting your shoe dry out in the sun.

2. Moderate Cleaning Technique

If you feel like your kicks have seen quite rough days and have gone through plenty of rigor on the court, they might be in desperate need of some moderate scuffing.


Use a gentle toothbrush, preferably a cheaper one because you don’t want to spend big bucks on an expensive set just to get rid of debris from your shoes to scrub the outer layer of the shoe, make sure you are gentle with it and use a circular motion, especially around the toe region.

Make sure you thoroughly clean the regions such as welts, sides, and the back as that is the place where your shoes will accumulate most of the dirt particles.

You can also shove the toothbrush to clean the inner regions such as the insole to get rid of any microbe harboring particles which are otherwise harder to scrub out with a cleaning cloth.

Using Vinegar

Never apply vinegar directly especially if you aren’t aware of the intensity of its acidity. Try to mix ½ white vinegar with ½ lukewarm water and use a microfiber cloth to properly soak into it before scrapping the interior and exterior region of your shoes. 

Don’t soak the shoe’s exterior too much, make sure you wring the cloth before rubbing on it especially if it’s made from mesh material, you don’t want the diluted form of acidity to ruin the tensile strength once it’s dried out.

You can also use a spraying bottle to sprinkle the innards with a thin layer of this diluted vinegar solution to get rid of any particles and lingering smells of the shoe, let it sit overnight to attain maximum results.

3. Rigorous Or Advanced Technique

Only follow this step if your pickleball shoes have reached the levels beyond recognition and cleaning is more of a “revival process” at this point. Depending on the material, if you do the process wrong, you might ruin the fabric so I would highly advise you to use caution.

Dip It

Use a bucket fill it with warm water and add ½ cup of white vinegar. Now dip your mesh or canvas material shoes and let them soak for a couple of hours by completely submerging them in the solution so that all form of pungent odors is eliminated thoroughly.

In this way, if your shoes have a lighter shade, it will also get rid of any “yellowing” and might return it to its mint condition, using a cleaning scrub for the exterior layer to effectively clean out dirt particles. 

However, if your Pickleball shoes are made from top grain leather or suede material you might want to use soap solution and instead of dipping your shoes in it, use a cleaning brush to scrub it in a circular motion to clean the seams, interior crevices because that’s the area where the natural body oil, debris and sweat odor is caked onto the leather over time.

Wrap it up

Once you are done, use an old set of newspapers and wrap your shoes in it, regardless of the material it is made of. Make sure to use a larger newspaper and fold those shoes plenty of times to make them almost airtight.

The newspaper will act as a wicking material to soak up the solution out of the fabric of the shoes and let it dry out as soon as possible. If you live in a humid region, make sure it has been wrapped for a couple of hours under direct sunlight.

Things To Keep Before Cleaning Your Pickleball Shoes

Before rushing in to get your pickleball shoes squeaky clean, make sure you follow my advice beforehand,

  • Gentleness is key, so be as delicate with materials like top grain leather, suede, or mesh that can be damaged by harsh scrubbing or chemicals, and even if you are using those detergents, try to use them carefully.
  • Natural cleaners like White vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can work wonders and are quite effective deodorizers without having any form of side effects.
  • If you’re not really sure how the stuff you are using is going to react on the material of your shoes make sure you spot-test before proceeding for a complete overhaul.
  • Letting your shoes sit in a damp or humid place potentially invites new bacteria and accumulates odors right away, so always air dry your shoes thoroughly, remember bits of patience are the key.

Final Word

While some individuals may insist on using refreshing sprays to make their kicks smell like a bouquet of flowers, I would advise against that because it might contain harmful chemicals that may ruin the fabric of your shoes. 

Remember, spot testing is your best friend, so make sure to utilize this technique as much as possible as it could save you quite a headache in your journey on how to clean pickleball shoes and return them back to their full glory.

About the author


Hello, I'm Alex, and welcome to PicklerSpot – your ultimate resource for all things pickleball! I've curated this blog to share my 5 years of expertise and tips to enhance your pickleball skills.

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