Shoelaces can quickly become dirty and dingy from regular use. While it may be tempting to just toss them in the wash with the rest of your laundry, improperly washing shoelaces can lead to fraying, damage, and accelerated wear.

Fortunately, with the right techniques and care, keeping your laces looking like new is easy.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer to keeping your shoelaces clean: Handwash them in warm, soapy water. Use a small brush to scrub the laces clean. Rinse thoroughly and air dry completely before putting them back on your shoes.

Assess the Condition of Your Laces

Before you begin washing your shoelaces, it’s important to assess their condition. This will help you determine the best method and products to use for cleaning. Here are a couple of factors to consider:

Look for any obvious dirt or stains

Inspect your shoelaces for any visible dirt or stains. This could include mud, food spills, or other substances that have made their way onto your laces. If you notice any significant dirt or stains, you may need to take extra steps to remove them.

Check for fraying or damage

While assessing your laces, also look for any signs of fraying or damage. Over time, shoelaces can become worn out or develop weak spots. If you notice any fraying or damage, it’s a good idea to replace your laces instead of attempting to wash them.

This will ensure that your shoes stay securely tied and prevent any accidents while wearing them.

Hand Wash Shoelaces

When it comes to cleaning your shoelaces, hand washing is often the most effective and gentle method. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to hand wash your shoelaces:

1. Fill sink or tub with warm water

Start by filling a sink or tub with warm water. The water should be warm, but not hot, as hot water can damage the material of the shoelaces. Make sure there is enough water to fully submerge the laces.

2. Add a small amount of gentle detergent

Add a small amount of gentle detergent to the water. Look for a detergent that is specifically designed for delicates or hand washing. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can discolor or damage the laces.

3. Swish laces in soapy water

Place the shoelaces in the soapy water and swish them around gently. This will help to loosen any dirt or grime that may be trapped in the fibers. Allow the laces to soak in the soapy water for a few minutes to further break down any stains.

4. Use a soft brush to scrub

If your shoelaces are particularly dirty or stained, you can use a soft brush to scrub them gently. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the laces. Pay extra attention to any areas with stubborn stains.

Once you have finished scrubbing, rinse the laces thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining soap residue. Squeeze out any excess water and lay them flat to dry. Avoid wringing or twisting the laces, as this can cause them to lose their shape.

Remember, hand washing your shoelaces is a simple and effective way to keep them looking clean and fresh. By following these steps, you can ensure that your shoelaces stay in great condition for longer.

Thoroughly Rinse the Laces

When it comes to washing shoelaces, the first step is to thoroughly rinse them. This helps to remove any dirt, grime, or debris that may have accumulated on the surface. To do this, start by removing the laces from your shoes.

Then, run them under warm water, making sure to wash both sides of the laces. You can also use a gentle detergent or soap to help remove stubborn stains.

Pro tip: If you’re dealing with particularly dirty laces, you can soak them in warm, soapy water for a few minutes before rinsing. This can help to loosen up any dirt and make them easier to clean.

It’s important to note that different types of shoelaces may require slightly different cleaning methods. For example, if you have fabric or cotton laces, you’ll want to be careful not to scrub too vigorously as this can cause them to fray.

On the other hand, if you have synthetic laces, you may be able to use a bit more elbow grease to remove stains.

Why is thorough rinsing important?

Thoroughly rinsing your laces is important for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to remove any dirt or grime that may have accumulated on the surface. This not only improves their appearance but also helps to extend their lifespan.

Secondly, rinsing the laces ensures that any soap or detergent residue is removed. If left behind, these residues can cause the laces to become stiff or sticky, making them more prone to dirt buildup in the future.

Furthermore, rinsing the laces allows you to check for any damage or fraying. By inspecting them closely, you can identify any areas that may need repair or replacement. This is particularly important if you have expensive or specialized laces that are difficult to find.

Catching any damage early on can help you take the necessary steps to preserve them and prevent further deterioration.

Expert tip: For more detailed instructions on how to properly rinse your shoelaces, you can visit Their website offers a comprehensive guide on various shoelace cleaning techniques and products.

Allow Shoelaces to Air Dry

Lay laces flat on a towel

After washing your shoelaces, it’s important to allow them to air dry. One of the best ways to do this is by laying them flat on a clean towel. Make sure to arrange the laces in a way that they are not tangled or overlapping. This will help them dry evenly and prevent any potential damage.

Make sure laces are completely dry before re-lacing shoes

Before you rush to re-lace your shoes, it’s crucial to ensure that the shoelaces are completely dry. This may take a few hours or even overnight, depending on the material and thickness of the laces. Patience is key here, as putting wet laces back into your shoes can lead to unpleasant odors and potential damage to the footwear.

Pro tip: If you’re in a hurry and need your shoelaces to dry faster, you can place them near a fan or in a well-ventilated area. Just make sure to avoid direct heat sources like hair dryers or radiators, as these can cause shrinkage or distortion.

For more information on proper shoelace care, you can visit They provide helpful tips and resources to keep your shoelaces looking great and lasting longer.

Tips for Extending the Life of Your Shoelaces

Avoid putting shoelaces in the washing machine or dryer

If you want to extend the life of your shoelaces, it’s best to avoid putting them in the washing machine or dryer. The agitating motion and high heat can cause the laces to become tangled, stretched, or even shrink. Instead, opt for hand washing to ensure their longevity.

Did you know? According to Shoe Zone, machine washing shoelaces can increase the risk of damaging the eyelets or fabric of your shoes as well.

Hand wash gently to avoid damage

When it comes to washing your shoelaces, a gentle hand wash is the way to go. Fill a basin or sink with warm water and a small amount of mild detergent. Immerse the laces in the soapy water and use your hands to gently agitate them.

Pay attention to any stained areas and use a soft brush or cloth to remove the dirt.

Pro tip: You can also add a tablespoon of baking soda to the warm water to help remove any odors from your shoelaces.

Consider waxing cotton laces to improve water resistance

If you have cotton shoelaces and want to improve their water resistance, consider waxing them. This process involves applying a thin layer of wax to the laces, which helps repel water and prevent them from getting soaked in rainy or snowy conditions.

Fun fact: According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, waxing shoelaces can increase their water resistance by up to 80%.

Replace worn or frayed laces to maintain safety

It’s important to regularly inspect your shoelaces for signs of wear and tear. If you notice any fraying, thinning, or damaged sections, it’s time to replace them. Worn-out laces can lead to tripping hazards or even cause your shoes to become loose during activities.

Did you know? According to a survey conducted by a shoe manufacturing company, approximately 30% of people who experienced a shoe-related accident attributed it to worn or damaged shoelaces.

By following these tips, you can extend the life of your shoelaces and ensure that they remain in good condition for longer. Remember, taking care of your shoelaces not only improves their appearance but also helps maintain the safety and functionality of your shoes.


With the proper care and washing techniques, it’s easy to keep your shoelaces looking and performing like new. By handwashing and air drying your laces, you can remove dirt and grime without causing premature damage from machines.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to safely clean your laces and extend their lifespan.

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