How To Clean Shoelaces


Most people pay so much attention to their shoes that they almost forget about their shoelaces. But just like your shoes, your shoelaces can wear off and get dirty after several uses. In most cases, your laces may even be the first to get muddy than the rest of your shoes. Your laces may get dragged on the ground, especially if they’re not tied properly. Furthermore, since shoelaces are often made from absorbent materials like cotton, they can quickly accumulate dirt and dust in no time. Ultimately, wearing dirty laces over your clean shoes or sneakers can only ruin the entire look.  (1)

Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to buy new shoelaces from time to time and toss the old ones badly covered with dirt. This quick guide will show you different methods to clean shoelaces and make them look new again, regardless of the shoelace styles you may have. 

Cleaning shoelaces through a washing machine

  1. Remove the shoelaces from the shoes

Separate the laces first from the shoes regardless of whether you’re planning to clean both your shoes and shoelaces or just the shoelaces. This applies especially if your shoes have no tie shoelaces or elastic laces. These laces were designed to be kept secured in the shoes using shoelace clips or anchors without having to tie or untie them. You may check out some elastic shoelaces Australia stores that sell shoes with elastic or no-tie shoelaces. These laces are perfect for kids, athletes or seniors who’d like to save time and effort from tying their laces and reduce the risk of stepping on their own laces. (2) 

Once you’ve removed your shoelaces from the shoes, take a closer inspection to see if there is any stuck-on grime. You can use a toothbrush to remove the dirt and run the shoelaces under a stream of water. If there are any noticeable stains, rub a small powder of laundry detergent on the specific area to remove stains. For black shoe laces, you may use a stain remover and leave the laces for 20 minutes to let the formula remove all the stains, including the less visible ones.

  1. Contain shoelaces inside a mesh laundry bag

Avoid throwing your laces in the washing machine right away as they’ll only tangle with the other items during the wash cycle. Preferably, place the shoelaces inside a mesh laundry bag to keep them separated and safe from being tangled. You may also add a bit of laundry detergent or bleach to the load. Once done, you may run a regular wash cycle, including the mesh lingerie bag that contains your laces.

  1. Let your shoelaces air dry

As much as possible, avoid loading your clean shoelaces in the dryer as the heat may cause them to shrink, or the aglets may distort or melt, especially if they’re made of plastic. 


Cleaning shoelaces by hand

If you wish to be more in control of cleaning your shoelaces, you may also wash them by hand. 

  1. Create a cleaning solution

Mix a little powder of detergent into warm water. If you’re cleaning solid-white laces, you may add a bit of bleach for more intensive cleaning. Then, submerge the shoelaces into the mixture for at least 20 minutes.

  1. Start the cleaning process

After soaking the shoelaces in the cleaning mixture, get a pair of gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals, and you may start scrubbing your laces with a toothbrush or shoe brush. You may also do this while soaking the laces under running water. Apply stain remover if you spot some stains or grime. Then, do this process until your laces are totally clean and free from dirt or stain. Once done, rinse your shoelaces with running water or wash them in a bucket of clean water.

  1. Let them air dry

As mentioned, it’s safer to let your shoelaces dry than to put them in the dryer. You may hang them using a household hook or an actual hanger.


Cleaning yellowed or stained shoelaces using stronger bleaching treatment

This last method is for cleaning laces that are already yellowish or heavily stained, in which a laundry detergent or a simple bleach won’t anymore suffice. You'll need to use a stronger bleaching treatment to make your stained or yellowish shoelaces look new again.   

  1. Mix a stronger bleaching treatment for the water

Fill a sink or a bowl with at least one gallon of hot water. Then, mix at least three to four tablespoons of strong bleach. Before soaking the laces into the mixture, remove any visible dirt or grime from the laces using a toothbrush. 

  1. Soak the laces in the bleach solution

When doing this, make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from the strong effects of the chemical. To keep the laces submerged under the bleach solution, you may place a small plate or any heavy items on top of it. Let the laces soak this way for five minutes. Remember, soaking your laces for longer than the intended time may weaken and remove the essential oils from the fibres of the laces and damage them. So, don’t extend the time. (3)

After five minutes, extract the laces from the cleaning solution and continue washing them by hand or with the washing machine. If there are still a few visible yellow stains, you can add a half cup of bleach. Once done, you may hang your laces and let them air dry. 

Wrapping up

Regardless of which cleaning method you choose, you can make your shoelaces look new again. Meanwhile, if some of your laces are simply beyond repair, it may be best to throw them away, check out shoelaces Australia shops, and stock up on some extra laces.



  1. “Shoelace”, Source:
  2. “Why Elastic Laces Are Beneficial For The Sports Persons”, Source:
  3. “Shoelace Maintenance”, Source: