Blog Post

The Juiced Guide To: Cleaning Sneakers For Resale

July 5, 2023

The likelihood is that if you are buying sneakers with the intention of reselling them to make a profit, you will buy a brand new pair and keep them in their original box, untouched. However, buying used sneakers and refurbishing them can also be a lucrative business, especially when the market for new sneakers is in a lull as many would argue it is now. When reselling used sneakers (and any sneaker for that matter) the number one thing that determines their value is their appearance and condition. Thus, knowing how to properly clean sneakers is of the utmost importance. And so, in this guide we will tell you how best to clean your sneakers so whether you’re reselling a pair you previously wore and no longer want, or are flipping used sneakers for profit, you can know what to do. 


Understanding the Importance of Cleaning Sneakers

As we mentioned briefly in the introduction, any buyer’s decision-making process is significantly influenced by the sneakers’ overall visual appeal. A well-cleaned pair of sneakers looks newer, fresher, and more attractive. This should hopefully increase the buyer’s willingness to pay a higher price for them, as they get the perceived value of a new pair at a fraction of the cost.

Not only does cleaning improve the sneakers’ appearance, but it also helps preserve their structural integrity. Dirt and grime can cause material degradation over time, something nobody wants, especially if you’re looking to make money off a pair.

Understanding Different Sneaker Materials


Different materials require different cleaning methods, and this is further complicated by the variety of materials used across different brands and these days, the variety of materials used in the same shoe. Some of the most common materials include canvas, suede, and mesh, and each has its own set of cleaning considerations.

Canvas: Canvas is a common material in sneakers, especially in brands like Vans and Converse. Canvas is usually fairly easy to clean and can typically handle a gentle scrub with a brush, warm water, and mild soap. However, aggressive scrubbing can lead to colour fading, so always use a gentle hand. 

Suede: Suede sneakers, a material becoming increasingly common in the likes of Nike Dunk Lows, are a bit trickier. Water can damage suede, leading to spotting or discolouration. Specialized suede erasers and brushes are the way to go with these, and a protective suede spray can also help prevent future stains.

Mesh: Mesh is often used across a variety of different brands from Nike to New Balance. Any mesh should be cleaned gently using a soft brush and soapy water to prevent snags or tears in the material.

Despite our brief overview, you should know that each brand may also have specific cleaning recommendations, so it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s care instructions before you start the cleaning process. The key is to understand that not all sneaker materials are created equal, and what works for one pair might not work for another. Tailoring your cleaning method to the material of your sneakers can be time-consuming but ultimately this time spent should be reflected in the money you make off your used sneakers.

Juiced’s Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Clean 1

Pre-Cleaning: The most important thing here is to remove loose dirt and dust before applying any cleaning solutions. Using a soft brush or a dry cloth is probably enough to get the job done but for more stubborn dirt, especially on the soles, a toothbrush can be a great tool. 

Cleaning the Upper: A soft cloth is your best bet when it comes to cleaning the upper part of a sneaker. Apply a small amount of your chosen cleaning solution (a mild laundry detergent or a sneaker cleaning product will work on most shoes) mixed with warm water. Then, simply gently rub the sneakers, before wiping them with a damp cloth to remove the remaining cleaning solution. 

Cleaning the Sole: Unsurprisingly, the soles of a sneaker can often be the dirtiest part. For this, a toothbrush can again come in handy. Apply the cleaning solution and scrub carefully. For tough stains, baking soda mixed with a small amount of vinegar can be an effective treatment. However, most buyers don’t expect their soles to be spotless on a used shoe so don’t stress too much if you are struggling with one or two spots.

Laces: Remove the laces and soak them in warm soapy water. You can also throw them in a laundry bag and put them in the washing machine for a more thorough cleaning. Once clean, make sure they are completely dry before lacing them back up. Here imparticular you should consult your manufacturer’s guidelines as not all laces are the same. 

Insoles: If your sneaker has removable insoles, take them out and clean them separately. This helps eliminate any odor-causing bacteria. If not, then try your best to give them a brief clean whilst they remain in the shoe.

Drying: Finally, you will want to dry your hopefully spotless sneakers. Air drying is often the best method as you should never use direct heat or put sneakers in the dryer as this can warp the shoes and cause damage.

Final Touches

Before you list your sneakers for sale, give them a once-over. Check for any missed spots, ensure the laces are clean and neatly tied, and that the sneakers smell fresh. If you are still unhappy then consider a sneaker whitening product to restore the fresh, clean look of white sneakers. Additionally, to keep the shape of the sneakers intact, stuff them with acid-free tissue paper while they dry.

That is all for this week’s edition of The Juiced Guide To. Be sure to come back next week for an all-new comprehensive guide, which will cover a new topic! If you want to learn how to resell anything from sneakers to collectables, tickets, NFTs, and much more then consider signing up for Juiced for free here.