1. 1

    Scrub off any grime that has hardened. The first step in cleaning dirty shoes is to take them outside and slam them together to loosen the larger pieces of dirt and mud. It will take a lot longer to clean the shoes if you leave too much mud on them. [1]

    • If you want to avoid making a mess inside your home, slap the shoes together outside.
    • There are times when you need to use a butter knife or key to remove dried mud from the grooves of your shoes.
  2. 2

    A dry brush can be used to sweep away dust and dirt. The rubber components of your shoes should be brushed or scraped to remove any loose dirt before you start scrubbing. You'll have less of a mess to clean up after you make your cleaning solution if you remove as much as possible with a dry brush first. [2]

    • So long as you don't overdo it with the scrubbing, the dirt will come right off once you start using the cleaning solution.
    • Dry brushes like toothbrushes work well; brushes with steel bristles should be avoided because they can scratch the rubber outsoles of your shoes.


  3. 3

    Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of laundry detergent. However, you probably won't need as much baking soda or laundry detergent as you might think. Put a tablespoon of each into a small bowl and stir them together. If you don't think you have enough of anything, just make more. [3]

    • The abrasive properties of the baking soda will aid the soap in its cleaning mission.
    • Keep away from bleach-containing laundry detergents.
    • Cleaning shoes doesn't have to involve anything more complicated than a bowl of warm water and a few drops of dish soap if they aren't caked in mud. [4]
  4. 4

    Use your cleaning solution to give the rubber a good scrubbing. Apply the paste made from baking soda and laundry detergent using the brush, and then scrub it into the rubber part of your shoes. Most dirt and grime can be easily scrubbed away by moving the brush in a circular motion. [5]

    • If your shoes are made of fabric, you should probably avoid using this cleaning combination, as the baking soda can be difficult to remove.
    • If you want to clean the cloth parts of your shoes separately, you can do so by combining some detergent with water.
  5. 5

    The rubber should be washed with a different sponge or cloth. After working the cleaning solution into the soles of your shoes, rinse them off with a clean cloth or sponge drenched in clean water. Rinse the rubber thoroughly after each pass to remove the mixture. [6]

    • If the cleaning solution isn't thoroughly rinsed off, the rubber may take on a dull tint.
    • The shoes can become extremely hazardous if the detergent mixture is left on them.
  6. 6

    Make sure the shoe is completely dry. After rinsing the soap off the shoe, dry the rubber with a clean towel so that it is not slippery before putting the shoes back on. When the shoe is dry, you can evaluate the effectiveness of the cleaning solution and reapply it if necessary. [7]

    • Wet shoes may develop a foul odor if left in damp conditions.
    • Avoid potential injury by waiting until your shoes are dry and soap-free before putting them on.


  1. 1

    Put a little less than an inch of water in a pan. You should get a pan big enough to hold your footwear, fill it with water until just the bottoms of the shoes are covered, and then let them soak overnight. Warm water that is free of dirt and debris is ideal. [8]

    • Keep in mind that the water will rise as you add shoes to the pan.
    • Soaking one pair of shoes at a time is an option.
  2. 2

    Soap up the water for the dishes. When the water is at the right level, add a drop or two of mild dish soap and stir until completely dissolved. Water alone probably won't break up stuck-on grime, so dish soap is essential to the soak's success. [9]

    • Dish soap may not be the best option if you need to clean white rubber on white shoes, so you may opt for a very small amount of bleach instead. [10]
  3. 3

    Let the rubber soak for a few minutes. Put your shoes in water so that the rubber soles can soak for a few minutes. This should give it enough time to loosen any grime that's been firmly embedded in the rubber, making it simpler to scrub away.

    • Make sure that the water is only penetrating the rubber.
    • If the shoes are particularly grimy, you can soak them for longer than 15 minutes.
  4. 4

    Get rid of any lingering grime with a scrub brush. After letting the rubber soak for a while, take the shoes off and use the soapy water to scrub off any remaining dirt and grime. If you want to keep your shoes in good shape, you should stay away from steel bristle brushes. [11]

    • After this, the shoes can be re-soaked if necessary.
    • Wearing gloves while working with a bleach solution is recommended to prevent skin irritations.


  1. 1

    To begin, clean the rubber of any mud or dirt. If your shoes are white and haven't been caked in mud, nail polish remover can be used to clean the rubber soles and other parts without damaging the material. [12]

    • Before using nail polish remover on scuffs, you might want to wash the rubber parts of your shoes with one of the other methods.
    • Nail polish remover should not be used on the fabric upper of the shoe.
  2. 2

    Put some cotton in nail polish remover and rub it on your nails. When cleaning the rubber on your shoes with nail polish remover, a cotton ball is the most convenient tool due to its size and shape, which makes it ideal for getting into the crevices of the sole and removing any stray polish. [13]

    • When handling nail polish remover, you may want to protect your hands.
    • If the shoes are dirty, you'll need more than one cotton ball to clean them.
  3. 3

    Remove all scuff marks by scrubbing Scuff marks on the rubber soles can be removed with cotton balls soaked in nail polish remover. By doing so, you may notice that the sole in the scuffed area is noticeably whiter than the rest of the sole. [14]

    • To begin, scrub away any large scuff marks before moving on to the rest of the sole.
    • A few cotton balls may be required for particularly stubborn scuff marks.
  4. 4

    Use the nail polish remover to clean the rest of the sole. After the major scuffs and stains on the sole have been removed, use cotton balls soaked in nail polish remover to scrub the entire sole clean. [15]

    • Parts of the sole will look dirty even after you've scrubbed them to a brilliant white in some places.


Create New Discussion
  • Question

    In what ways are white rubber outsoles most easily maintained?

    Penny Simmons
    Penny Simmons
    Technician in the Care of Shoes
    A shoe care expert, Penny Simmons started the company Penny Loafers Shoe Shine Inc. Canada, Toronto Penny has been cleaning and shining shoes for over 25 years. Penny provides drop-off services, as well as shoe-polishing at events and from kiosks in Toronto's underground city, The PATH. The oldest shoe repair shop in all of Canada is owned and operated by Penny Loafers. Toronto Life, Saturday Night, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and The Toronto Star have all highlighted Penny Loafers Shoe Shine Company as one of the best in the city.
    Penny Simmons
  • Question

    Whether or not this will work on boots is currently unknown.

    Community Answer

    Yes The techniques should be effective so long as the boots are not completely made of cloth. You must take care, however, not to drown them.

  • Question

    Is there a way to remove mud from the rubber soles of my shoes?

    Community Answer

    Remove as much mud as you can from the footwear by scraping, and then rinse thoroughly with water. Then, utilize this manual.

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Penny Simmons

Penny Simmons is one of the authors of this piece. Penny Simmons is the founder of Penny Loafers Shoe Shine Company Inc and a shoe care expert. Canada, Toronto Penny has been in the shoe care business for over 25 years. Penny provides shoe shine services at various events, kiosks in Toronto's underground city The PATH, and drop-off locations. The oldest shoe repair shop in Canada is run by Penny Loafers Shoe Shine Company. Toronto Life, Saturday Night Magazine, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and The Toronto Star have all highlighted Penny Loafers Shoe Shine Company as one of the best in the city. There have been 523,828 views of this article.

Co-authors: 19

Updated: Sunday, October 24th, 2022

Views:  523,828

Categories: Articles of Particular Interest | The Maintenance of Footwear

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