While replacing your shoelaces may seem like the easiest way to freshen them up, that can quickly become costly. Instead, you can keep your shoelaces looking new with a few items from your laundry room.
In this article, we'll talk about how to wash shoelaces, whether leather shoelaces or white shoelaces, in just a few easy steps.
How to Clean Shoelaces
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cleaning shoelaces. This is because they're made of different textures and materials. On top of that, you can hand wash or use a washing machine when cleaning shoelaces.
We've included three techniques on how to wash shoelaces based on the colour and material they're made out of.
1. Cleaning White Shoelaces
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a) Remove the laces from your shoes
It's easier and more effective to clean shoelaces when you remove them from your shoes first.
b) Brush off loose dirt
Using a scrub, brush, or your hands remove any loose dirt. Focus on any possible caked-on mud or dried dirt as well. It should come off easily with a little effort.
c) Make a bleach solution
Mix a solution made of 3 tablespoons of bleach (44.4ml) and 1 gallon (3.8L) of water. You can add some laundry detergent or soap to the water to help as well.
d) Place the laces in a mesh laundry bag
To keep them from tangling place the laces inside a mesh lingerie bag. Then place the bag in the cleaning solution for several minutes while you stir the laces around.
Use weight to keep your laces down and prevent them from floating. Be sure to wear gloves and avoid putting your bare hands in the bleach solution - it may irritate your skin.
e) Machine wash your laces
Keep your white laces in the mesh bag and then into the washing machine. The mesh bag will prevent the laces from tangling in the machine. Using hot water and mild detergent, place the machine in a gentle cycle.
f) Air dry your laces over a towel to absorb moisture
To prevent the laces from shrinking or riping avoid using a dryer. Not only can it damage the tip of the laces but also ruin the fibres that keep them working well. However, keep in mind that air-drying might take several hours.
g) Relace your shoe
Take the time to relace your laces properly. If your aglets were damaged while washing, you can use a piece of tape to wrap the ends and ensure they easily fit through the eyelets.
2. Cleaning Colored Shoelaces
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To clean coloured dirty laces, you can use the same steps as with white shoelaces with one minor difference. You should use laundry detergent instead of bleach to make sure the colours stay fresh.
a) Remove the laces from the shoes
For all laces, whether white, coloured, or leather it's easier to clean your laces effectively once you remove them from the shoes.
b) Brush loose dirt or grime from laces
Using a scrub brush or your hands, remove any loose grime or dirt. Any dried-up mud or dirt should come off easily with minimal scrubbing.
c) Fill a basin with warm water
Once you fill your basin or sink with warm water, add a small amount of laundry detergent or soap. This cleaning solution will be used to saturate the coloured laces. The soap will help loosen any dirt particles from the fabric of the laces and allow easier cleaning.
d) Let the shoelaces soak in soapy water
Allow the laces to soak in a laundry detergent solution to detach any surface grime. Stir the laces around to promote this action.
e) Use a small scrub brush
Using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the coloured laces. Be careful of the aglet area as this can peel or crack when handled roughly.
f) Refill your sink with fresh water
If there's any remaining dirt on the shoelaces, repeat the above steps until clean.
g) Place the laces on a towel or hang over a sink
Once you have clean coloured shoelaces, hang them over to a sink or drying rack. Don't place them in the dryer to avoid damaging the aglets or shrinking the laces.
h) Relace your shoes
Once you're done with the cleaning process and your coloured shoelaces are dry, it's time to relace them.
3. Cleaning Leather Shoelaces
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While you clean leather shoes, you might as well clean the leather laces they come with. The best way to wash shoes is by hand, and the same applies to leather laces.
a) Remove debris from the laces
Remove any dirt from your leather shoelaces by using a small shoe brush to save effort and spare the fabric. Since leather laces are not absorbent like synthetic fibres, they don't need extra handling because they have not absorbed the excess dirt they were exposed to.
b) Use saddle soap and warm water
Let the laces soak in warm water briefly, then gently apply soap to the whole lace shaft. Don't soak the leather shoelaces in the soap solution as this can discolour and ruin the leather shoelaces' tan. Instead, wipe the shoelaces using a damp cloth or rag.
c) Set your laces to dry
Allow your leather shoelaces to air dry but don't expose them to direct sunlight to avoid bleaching them or losing colour. Ensure they are completely dry before you move to the next step.
d) Apply a natural oil
Apply your choice of natural oil (like olive oil or coconut oil) to restore the leather's sheen using a clean rag. Ensure you use rubber gloves and work above a drop cloth as leather treating oils can stain surfaces. Allow the oil to soak in your clean shoelaces, where the oil will help soften and improve the leather laces' appearance.
e) Allow them to air dry for several hours
After your leather shoelaces air dry for at least an hour, wipe off any excess oil and wait until the laces are completely dry. Then replace them to avoid staining your leather shoes or damaging them. You can now rock your clean laces on your clean shoes.
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