How to Clean Soccer Cleats (Nearly New Finish)

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I’ve got to admit, I’m one of those players who doesn’t like new cleats.

When I find a pair of cleats that I love, I want to use them as long as possible.

The one challenge is that soccer cleats get very dirty and very stinky VERY fast. That’s why it’s so important to know how to clean soccer cleats.

Today, we’ll share tried and true information about cleaning soccer cleats including:

  • Steps for cleaning cleats
  • How to handle stinky cleats
  • Getting white cleats white again
  • Deciding when it’s time to upgrade to a new pair

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of cleaning and de-odorizing soccer cleats.

muddy yellow soccer cleats

What Is The Easiest Way To Clean Cleats?

The easiest way to clean cleats is right after use. The longer you wait to clean them, the harder it is to remove mud and stains. 

Here are the basic instructions for cleaning your soccer cleats:

  1. Take off your cleats right after leaving the field. Wearing them on concrete can cause damage. 
  2. Smack the bottom of the cleats together to help knock off any loose grass and mud. 
  3. Use a dry toothbrush to wipe away dirt.
  4. Dampen an old toothbrush and use it to remove any lingering grime. 
  5. Mix laundry detergent and water. Rub to wipe away stains with a toothbrush or washcloth. 
  6. Use a clean, damp washcloth to wipe the cleats clean. 
  7. Dry the shoes inside at room temperature. 
  8. If you have insoles, remove them and wash them separately in the washing machine on “delicate.” 

How Do You Wash Cleats With A Toothbrush?

An old toothbrush is an excellent tool for washing your soccer cleats. First and foremost, make sure you use an old toothbrush that you no longer need. It’s best to use one just for your cleats, and no other cleaning jobs. 

  1. First, you can use the toothbrush dry to help brush away any dirt, especially if it has crusted on the cleats. 
  2. After that, rinse the toothbrush and then dampen it. Use a mixture of laundry detergent and water or dish soap and water.
  3. With the toothbrush, rub the mixture on the shoe. This helps loosen any stuck-on grime and stains. 
  4. Once you’ve got the grime off with the toothbrush, then use a damps washcloth to clean off the soapy residue. Use a dry one to wipe away extra moisture.
  5. Then it’s time for the cleats to dry. 

As you can see, a toothbrush is a handy tool for cleaning cleats!

If you struggle to clean your soccer cleat, take a look at the best soccer cleats on the market for your game in our ultimate guide.

How Do You Clean Metal Cleats?

Metal soccer cleats are used on soft ground, and thus they can get extremely dirty. Commonly, metal cleats are covered in mud and dirt. 

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Cleaning metal soccer cleats is very similar to cleaning regular soccer cleats. The key is to get started as soon as possible. Before heading inside, clank the cleats together to get as much mud off as possible. You may even need to take a stick to help scrape mud off the bottom. 

If the mud is still very wet, then take a rag or towel to wipe as much off as possible. Then, you can follow up with a toothbrush and the soapy mixture. Repeat the remaining steps of wiping with a damp cloth, patting dry, and then leaving to dry. 

One last step is to check that all of the metal studs are in good condition and on tight. Replace any worn studs and give them all a quick tightening. 

How Do You Clean Nike Superfly Soccer Cleats?

The Nike Mercurial Superly cleats are a very common selection. For this reason, many soccer players want to know how to clean Nike Superfly soccer cleats. 

In many ways, cleaning these cleats is very similar to cleaning other cleats. However, they do have “Flyknit” construction to be mindful of. 

  • Hit cleats together to remove loose mud. 
  • Use a dry toothbrush to remove grime. 
  • Use a wet toothbrush with a soapy mixture to scrub cleats. 
  • Pay attention to the fly knit ankle area. It may need more scrubbing. 
  • Allow them to dry. 

How Do You Dry Wet Cleats Overnight?

Drying wet cleats overnight is a fairly simple process. Dry the cleats indoors at room temperature. To help them retain their shape, stuff them with newspaper. 

A few things to avoid when drying cleats overnight:

  • Keep them out of direct sunlight. 
  • Do not place on a regular heater. 
  • Don’t leave them outside, especially if cold. 

How Can I Dry My Cleats Fast?

Sometimes, you do not have an entire evening to wait for your cleats to dry. Given the material of cleats, the dryer is not a wise option. 

Instead, here are some tips for helping cleats dry fast:

  • Loosen the laces to open the cleats up more. This helps air flow. 
  • Remove the insole and hang it to dry separately. 
  • Fill the cleats with loosely balled newspaper, paper towel, napkins, etc. 
  • Choose a dry (not humid) location. 
  • Place the cleats in front of a light fan or breeze. You can use a blow dryer on cool. 
  • Change out the newspaper every couple of hours. 

The tips above can greatly help speed up the drying process for cleats. However, it will still take a few hours. Do not use hot air to dry the cleats, as they will cause permanent damage.

Ideally, you should have an extra pair of cleats so that you can allow the wet cleats enough time to dry after cleaning them. 

woman holding smelly shoes

Why Do My Soccer Cleats Smell?

It doesn’t take a trained dog to identify that soccer cleats smell. If you’ve ever walked into a soccer locker room, the fact that soccer cleats can smell is no secret. 

Why exactly do soccer cleats get so smelly? 

Soccer players wear their cleats while playing, which means they wear them with sweaty feet. Feet produce odor-causing bacteria. 

Players often wear their soccer cleats many days in a row, not allowing them to fully dry out. This keeps the cleats moist, which allows the bacteria to thrive. 

Why Do My Son’s Cleats Smell Like Cat Pee?

Have you ever gotten a cat-pee-filled whiff of your son’s or daughter’s (or even your own) cleats? Of course, if you have a cat, then actual cat pee isn’t out of the question. However, there’s usually a different cause. 

Many customers complained about certain Nike soccer shoes smelling like cat pee. Nike uses Teijin in the Nike Mercurial Vapor 4 through 11. The Teijin synthetic material distinctly smelt of cat pee. 

If you do not have that type of cleat but still notice a cat pee smell, the reason may simply be the built-up sweat and dirt. Understandably, all types of soccer shoes can start to stink a lot over time. 

What Home Remedy Is Good For Smelly Shoes?

Stinky soccer shoes are a common problem. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve the smell of soccer shoes. 

Here are some of the best home remedies for smelly soccer shoes:

Boot Care

Start with prevention. Do you shove your soccer shoes back in your bag and leave them until you use them the next day? Do you store your soccer shoes in a ventless area? 

Proper boot care helps prevent smelly shoes. Allow the cleats to get air after you use them. Ideally, you should have two pairs to alternate between.

This ensures that one pair dries out and breathes enough before you wear them again. 

How Do You Get The Ammonia Smell Out of Shoes?: Baking Soda 

Baking soda helps remove bad odors. You can sprinkle baking soda in a coffee filter, then place it inside the cleats. Allow it to stay there for at least 24 hours, to soak up the smell. 

Ideally, you should do this every time you lay your cleats out to dry. 

Can Tea Bags Get Rid Of Shoe Odor?

Teabags are another common home remedy for shoe smell. Yes, they do help to get rid of shoe odor!

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Place a couple of dry tea bags inside each cleat. The tea bag soaks up excess moisture and helps eliminate the odor-causing bacteria. 

Rubbing Alcohol 

Rubbing alcohol also helps to kill bacteria and eliminate odor. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol. Then, use it to wipe down the inside of your cleats. Set them in a warm, ventilated place to dry afterward. 

Shoe Deodorizer 

On the go and for maintenance, a shoe deodorizer is a great option. They often contain baking soda and other ingredients to remove bacteria/ odor. 

Check out these Boot Bananas for a fun, simple way to deodorize cleats!

packed soccer duffel bag

How Can I Make My Soccer Bag Smell Better?

Since your soccer bag houses the cleats, it’s very easy for your bag to also smell bad. Here are some tips for making your soccer bag smell better:

  • Do not keep wet/ stinky cleats in the bag. Take them out to dry. 
  • Let the fabric breathe by opening up in fresh air. 
  • Take out dirty shingaurds/shing guard sleeves
  • Keep a large ziploc bag for dirty/sweaty clothes. 
  • Keep a deodorizer ball, dryer sheets, or a dry teabag in your bag. Rotate as needed. 
  • Remove everything and wash your bag once a month.

How Can I Make My Cleats White Again?

White cleats look incredibly sharp and sleek straight out of the box. But any player who’s ever had white cleats knows just how short-lived the crisp white faze is. 

Soccer cleats plow through grass and mud, often acquiring stains. Unfortunately, this causes them to look a lot less white and a lot more yellowed over time. 

Oftentimes, the cleats lose their nice white look long before it’s time to replace them. 

How Do You Get Grass Stains Out Of White Cleats?

The first step to making your white cleats whiter is to remove any grass stains. These can be difficult to get out, even with traditional cleat cleaning methods. 

To get grass stains out of your cleats, try the baking soda method. Use a mixture of baking soda, water, and hydrogen peroxide to coat the cleats. Cover the cleats and white laces in a coat of paste. Allow it to sit in the sun for a few hours. Then brush off the paste and enjoy whiter cleats!

Another trick is to hand wash with bleach. Only use this method on synthetic material (not leather), and wear gloves .mix one part bleach to 4 parts water. Scrub the mixture on the shoes with an old toothbrush. You can allow them to sit in the sun for a couple of hours with the bleach before washing it off. 

How Do You Remove Turf Stains From Cleats?

The grass isn’t the only thing that can stain your cleats. Even if you wear turf shoes or cleats only on turf, they can acquire strains. The rubber turf beads can cause scuffs and stains. 

Ideally, you should clean the cleats right away after use. This helps remove them before they set in. 

One strategy is to use an eraser. You can use a pencil eraser to rub off some turf marks. This works well for superficial marks. 

If any marks remain, then you should use a damp washcloth. Rub it over the marks. Use a toothbrush for stubborn marks. 

How Do You Prevent Grass Stains On Shoes?

Getting rid of tough grass stains can be a pain. This is why many people want to prevent grass stains, especially with white cleats. 

In reality, the best way to prevent grass stains is to treat them as quickly as possible. Fresh grass stains are the easiest to remove. Clean them from your cleats as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming stubborn long-term stains. 

How Do You Restore Football Cleats?

While you’ll need to replace your cleats eventually, some simple restoration tips can help them last longer. Here are the top steps for restoring football cleats:

  • Clean the cleats regularly. 
  • Use the methods above to de-ordorize cleats. 
  • Replace the insoles. 
  • Replace the laces. 
  • Polish the soccer shoes. 
  • Use gently balled newspaper or paper towel to hold the shape of cleats while drying.

How Long Should Soccer Cleats Last?

Cleaning cleats helps them look and work better for longer, but they still require replacement eventually. 

Many high-level professionals are seen sporting new cleats monthly, while more recreational players may have cleats last several years. On average, soccer cleats last around 6 months (or one season). 

Ultimately, how long soccer cleats last depends on:

  • Material. Leather cleats tend to last longer than synthetic. 
  • Size and design. Lightweight cleats wear down faster. 
  • Playing surface. Uneven surfaces wear down cleats more. 
  • Playing time and intensity. How often do you play and at what level?

How Do I Know If My Cleats Are Worn Out?

Time is not the best measure of when you need new cleats. Instead, you must assess the condition of your cleats. 

Here are the top signs your cleats are worn out:

  • The studs are shortened or missing. 
  • They are too stretched out, causing a loose fit. 
  • Worn, cracked uppers. 
  • No matter what you do, you cannot improve the smell. 
  • Parts of the cleats are tearing or ripping. 
See also  Picking Soccer Cleats (How To Choose)

When Should I Buy New Cleats?

You should buy new cleats when your current pair no longer assists your performance. If you need to tape, glue, or constantly repair your cleats, then it may be time to replace them. 

Pay close attention to the studs on the cleats. If the studs are very worn down, they won’t provide enough traction. 

If you notice any of the signs above of worn cleats, then consider buying new ones. Ultimately, you want to get new cleats when your current ones are nearing their last days. You do not want to wait until your current pair is completely unusable, because then you will not have as much time to break in the new pair. 

Are Expensive Soccer Cleats Worth It? Do More Expensive Cleats Last Longer?

You can find soccer cleats at all price points. Many players wonder if more expensive cleats really make a difference, or if they’re better off shopping on a budget. 

In general, more expensive cleats tend to be of better quality. Many companies make cleats in several tiers so that people in every budget can find one. 

One example is the Nike line. 

  • Elite: $200+. Highest level of boots, supplied to professional players. They use the highest quality technology and materials. Good for high level players.
  • Pro: $100-$150. Second tier of boots. Share many qualities with Elite boots, but will have a more basic variation of some materials. Ideal for competitive players looking to stay in a budget.
  • Academy: $75-$100. The third tier of Nike boots. They use more basic technolgoies and materials. However, they follow the same colorway and overall appearance.
  • Club: up to $75. These are the last tier of soccer boots. Club boots look like the Elite ones, but they use more basic technolgoies. These are best for players on a budget looking for the Nike look and feel.

Which Soccer Cleats Last Longest?

Thick, well-made, leather soccer cleats tend to last the longest. 

As a rule of thumb, the thicker the material, the longer the boot will last.

World Soccer Shop

There are several different soccer cleats known for being very durable. Some of the cleats that provide the best durability and longevity include:

Does The Hot Water Trick Ruin Cleats?

The hot water trick can help you break in new soccer cleats fast, but does it ruin them?

Essentially, the trick is to submerge the cleats in hot water while on your feet. This helps to soften the leather, molding it to your foot. 

Using too hot of water can damage the glue holding the boot together, which can cause it to break much faster. 

As long as the water is not too hot, this trick is okay to use on your cleats. While you don’t want to make a habit of dunking your shoes in water, it is okay to do once to break them in. Just make sure to thoroughly let them dry before using them. 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that soccer cleats get dirty and stinky. Cleaning them regularly helps cleats to look and function (and smell) better for longer. 

There are plenty of simple home remedies for cleaning both the outside and inside of your cleats. It’s equally as important to ensure they dry properly as well. 

Ultimately, having a couple of pairs of cleats to rotate helps you give each pair enough time to dry before using them again. 

Eventually, the time will come to replace your cleats. If you play often at a high level, you may need to replace your cleats more often than if you play casually. 

Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade | + posts

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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Soccer Products FAQ

Can I Use Running Shoes for Soccer? 

You can play soccer in running shoes, but you won’t have the best performance unless you wear cleats or soccer boots.

Why are soccer balls black and white?

Soccer balls are traditionally black and white because when soccer was first shown on TV it was in black and white, so the mix of black and white on the balls helped viewers see the ball easier. 

How hard and what pressure should a soccer ball be?

The FIFA regulations say that the soccer balls should have a pressure between 8.81757 psi (0.6 atm) and 16.1655 psi (1.1 atm). If you’re playing soccer with friends, then opt for a pressure amount from the lower range.

What is the size of goals in soccer?

5-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-7 and under-8 soccer games
7-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high again. Such soccer goals are for under-9 and under-10 soccer games
9-A-Side has dimensions that are 16-ft wide by 7-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-11 and under-12 soccer game
11-A-Side or full-size soccer goal has dimensions that are 24-ft wide by 8-ft high for the under-15 and over. Whereas, for the under-13 and under-14, it is 21 ft wide by 7-ft high

What is the soccer ball size and weight for each age group?

Size 1 - 3 years or under - 18 to 20 inches - 195 to 205 grams
Size 2 - 3 to 5 years - 20 to 22 inches - U4 - 250 to 280 grams
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