How to Wash Brooks Shoes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Brooks running shoes are used by athletes worldwide, but the regular wear and tear that comes with sports can leave them covered in dirt. In order to keep your shoes looking pristine, it is important to regularly clean them using proper techniques. The problem is, how to wash Brooks shoes?

This article provides a comprehensive guide for washing Brooks running shoes. We will provide tips on both hand washing and dry cleaning methods, as well as advice on drying, replacing, and other shoe care tips.

Can You Wash Brooks Shoes?

Wondering how to wash Brooks shoes? Hand washing Brooks running shoes with mild detergent and warm water is the best method for cleaning them while extending their lifespan. Avoid using harsh chemicals or washing Brooks shoes in a washing machine, as this can cause damage over time.

Brooks sneakers getting dirty while running through puddles

When and Why Should Brooks Running Shoes Be Cleaned?

It is important to regularly clean Brooks running shoes, including both the outside and inside, in order to maintain their lifespan, increase performance, and prevent odors. Cleaning your running shoes should be done at least every 2 weeks, depending on how often you wear them.

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Pro Tip:

Look out for signs of discoloration or an unpleasant smell, which may indicate a need for more frequent cleaning.

icon run

Pro Tip:

Look out for signs of discoloration or an unpleasant smell, which may indicate a need for more frequent cleaning.

Here are the main reasons for cleaning your Brooks running shoes regularly:

1. Prolongs Lifespan

Cleaning Brooks running shoes regularly is essential for prolonging their lifespan. As the shoes get exposed to dirt, debris, and sweat, these substances can cause damage to the material, which may diminish its overall performance.

Regular cleaning helps to remove any accumulated dirt that could affect longevity, and maximizes your enjoyment.

2. Maintains Performance

Dirt, sweat, and debris gather inside the shoe over time, making them fester and accumulate bacteria, which can reduce cushioning and support. The breathability of the upper material can also be affected if dirt builds up over time, leading to discomfort when running.

3. Prevents Odor and Bacteria Buildup

Regularly cleaning your Brooks running shoes is essential to keeping them looking and feeling their best. Not only does it help maintain the performance of the shoes, it also prevents odor build-up and bacteria growth, which can harm your health and ruin the look of your shoes.

How to Wash Brooks Running Shoes

Washing Brooks running shoes properly can significantly extend their durability and life. Read on to learn more about the best ways of washing, cleaning, and drying your Brooks running shoes!

1. Hand Wash with Mild Detergent and Warm Water

When it comes to cleaning Brooks running shoes, the best method is to hand wash them with mild detergent and warm water. This proven technique is gentle enough so as not to damage the material of the shoe, while still being effective at removing dirt, debris, and stains from the surface.

A good cleaning solution usually includes a gentle soap or detergent mixed into warm water. Use a soft cloth or brush to gently scrub off any debris, and then rinse with lukewarm water.

2. Avoid Machine Washing

Can you wash Brooks running shoes in the washer? It is important to avoid using a washing machine when cleaning Brooks shoes in order to prevent potential damage. Washing machines use strong agitation and high temperatures, which are not suitable for the delicate materials used on these shoes.

The combination of agitation and hot water can cause fabric, glue, leather, mesh, and stitching components to break down quickly over time.

How to Clean Brooks Running Shoes – Dry Method

To get rid of any dirt or debris on the uppers of a Brooks running shoe without using water, try the dry cleaning method:

1. Using a Soft Brush

A soft brush is an important tool for cleaning Brooks running shoes. It provides efficient dirt and stain removal, without damaging the delicate shoe material. The soft bristles allow for gentle brushing, loosening the dirt or mud from the surface and lifting tough stains away with ease.

By using a firm but gentle hand when brushing, you can customize the pressure being applied to different parts of the shoe in order to ensure effective cleaning without causing any damage.

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Pro Tip:

The soft brush can be used not only on uppers, but also around outsoles and midsoles for thorough cleaning results.

icon run

Pro Tip:

The soft brush can be used not only on uppers, but also around outsoles and midsoles for thorough cleaning results.

2. Gently Cleaning with a Damp Cloth

This method helps loosen any dried mud or grime, as well as other substances that might have built up on the surface of the shoes overtime.

It’s important to use lukewarm rather than hot water when cleaning with a damp cloth, as hot water can damage the material of your running shoes. Additionally, using mild detergent in place of soap can help ensure that you don’t break down the glues or adhesives that keep your shoes together over time.

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How to Properly Dry Brooks Running Shoes

After washing your Brooks running shoes, try these methods for drying:

1. Remove Insoles and Allow Shoes to Air Dry

By removing the insoles and allowing the shoes to air dry after a wash, you can help to preserve your Brooks running shoes. This is an important step that helps maintain their shape, prevent moisture buildup inside them, and prolong their lifespan.

Natural air flow will ensure any trapped liquid can evaporate from the shoe. Not only does this keep odor away, it also prevents bacteria growth, which in turn stops discoloration.

2. Use Newspaper, Charcoal Bags, or Rice Method

Using newspaper, charcoal bags, or rice to dry Brooks running shoes is an effective way to absorb moisture and eliminate odors. Newspaper absorbs moisture quickly, while charcoal bags trap odor particles, preventing them from ruining your shoes.

Rice can also be used as a natural absorber. Place it in a sock or cloth bag before putting it inside the shoes. When drying your Brooks running shoes using these materials, make sure to remove the insoles and allow them to air dry separately.

Our Recommendation

Brooks Ghost 14 neutral running shoes

Brooks Ghost 14

These Brooks shoes offers plush comfort, a responsive ride, and versatile support. Ideal for runners seeking a smooth and cushioned experience on every stride.


Breathable and durable upper material.

Outsole (tread feature):

Durable rubber with a crash pad.



Comfort and Fit:

Soft sole and secure fit.

Special Features:

DNA Loft cushioning for adaptive support.



Best For:

Versatile comfort and support for various distances in every run.

Brooks Ghost 14 neutral running shoes

Instructions for Cleaning and Drying Brooks Ghost 14 Running Shoes

Want to know how to wash Brooks Ghost shoes? Follow our step-by-step instructions for cleaning your favorite Brooks.

Illustration of washing Brooks shoes

Steps to Clean the Outside of Your Brooks Ghost 14

Cleaning the outside of Brooks Ghost 14 running shoes is important to maintain performance and prolong their lifespan.

1. Brush off Mud and Dirt

Use a soft brush or damp cloth for large spots of dirt on the shoe exterior or in between crevices. First, shake off any loose debris. Then use a microfiber cloth or soft-bristled brush (an old toothbrush works well, too), along with some water (avoid submerging the leather parts), to wipe away dust and grime buildup from the surface of your Brooks. Work slowly over all sections, while avoiding harsh scrubbing, which can damage fabric materials such as nylon mesh uppers.

2. Remove Shoelaces and Wash Them Separately

It’s important to remove shoelaces before washing your Brooks running shoes, and even wash them separately. Doing this helps maintain their quality and prevent possible damage.

3. Rinse with Warm Water

Warm water helps to dislodge dirt, sweat, salt crystals, and other debris that accumulates due to daily use of a running shoe. It also rinses away detergents used during pre-rinsing or hand washing, so as to ensure all residue is removed prior to drying.

Make sure not to use excessively hot or cold water when rinsing, as extreme temperatures may cause damage to the materials of the shoes.

4. Let Air Dry

After cleaning your Brooks Ghost 14 running shoes, it’s important to let them air dry. Allowing the shoes to air dry is essential for preserving their quality and prolonging their lifespan.

Air drying helps to maintain the structure of the shoes, preventing changes in their shape or curvature due to heat or excessive moisture.

Steps to Clean the Inside of Your Brooks Ghost 14

To ensure your Brooks Ghost 14 Running Shoes remain fresh and last as long as possible, it is important to routinely clean the interior of your shoes with the right materials.

1. Remove Insoles

Removing the insoles provides direct access to mud and dirt that has collected inside of your shoes (this might not be easy, or even possible, from the outside).

Additionally, cleansing and drying the removable insole helps maintain good foot hygiene, since it absorbs a lot of sweat after wearing the shoes for a long time.

2. Hand Wash with Mild Detergent

When it comes to cleaning Brooks running shoes, the best option is hand washing with a mild detergent and lukewarm water. Using a mild detergent helps ensure that the materials of your shoes won’t be damaged by harsh chemicals or bleach.

3. Rinse with Warm Water

Warming up the water helps to better remove any dirt, grime, and bacteria that can cause odors, without sacrificing quality or causing wear of the materials.

It’s important to be gentle when rinsing, as hot water can damage the shoe’s material over time. Additionally, make sure that you clean both the inside and outside of the shoes thoroughly for maximum effectiveness.

4. Let Air Dry

It is essential to let Brooks running shoes air dry instead of using heaters, hairdryers, or washer/dryer machines. Heat sources can not only stretch or warp the materials of the shoes, but also compromise their water-resistant capabilities.

People running in clean Brooks shoes

Additional Care Tips

To keep your running shoes looking good as new, use these 3 simple tips:

1. Replace Insoles Regularly

Regularly replacing the insoles in Brooks Ghost 14 running shoes is crucial to maintaining foot health and the longevity of your shoes. Properly fitted, high-quality insoles provide shock absorption, impact protection, and support for runners as they pound the pavement.

If you use worn-out or improperly sized insoles, you may suffer from discomfort and develop blisters or other potential injuries. It’s important to replace insoles after about 400 miles of use in order to gain the maximum benefit from them.

2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals

This means avoiding cleaners that include bleach and other strong substances. Instead, use gentle cleansers that are designed specifically for shoes or delicate fabrics. Look for mild detergents, nonabrasive solutions such as natural cleaning agents, nontoxic solutions like eco-friendly products, or even just ordinary mild soap.

3. Store Shoes in a Dry Place

Moisture buildup from damp or humid environments can cause mold and mildew growth, leading to damage of the material and even odor. It can also reduce the lifespan of your shoes, as materials may break down prematurely due to regular moisture exposure.

A breathable fabric shoe bag stored inside a well-ventilated closet is ideal for Brooks running shoes. It helps protect them from dust, dirt, bacteria odors, extreme temperatures, and direct UV light.

How Often Should You Replace Brooks Running Shoes?

When it comes to replacing running shoes, mileage and usage play an important role. A good guideline to follow is roughly 4-6 months for someone running an average of 20 miles per week, or 300 miles on average.

Of course, this timeline can vary based on how frequently you run or the surfaces you run on. Your shoes’ lifespan could be shorter or longer depending on these factors, as well as variability in foot strike and body weight load when running.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Brooks Running Shoes

How to Clean White Brooks Shoes for Running?

Begin by removing the shoelaces and brushing all surfaces of your shoes to remove dirt, mud, sand, and other debris that might be embedded in the fabric. Next, use a damp cloth or soft brush with some mild detergent for cleaning gently. For tougher stains, a slightly abrasive brush may be used. However, it’s important not to scrub too hard, as this could damage the fabric.

How Do I Remove the Smell from Brooks Running Shoes?

The best way to remove unpleasant odors from your Brooks running shoes is to first manually clean them with mild detergent and warm water, then allow them to air dry completely. It’s also important that you replace the insoles on a regular basis, since they fight bacterial growth within the shoe.

Can I Use Harsh Chemicals to Clean Brooks Running Shoes?

No, it is strongly recommended that you do not use harsh chemicals to clean Brooks running shoes, as they can potentially damage the material of the shoes. Harsh chemicals can leave residue on the fabric and cause discoloration or wear down protective coatings.

What Is the Best Way to Wash Brooks Running Shoes?

To start, remove the shoelaces and insoles from the shoes and wash them separately with mild detergent and warm water. Rinse off any remaining cleaning solution with warm water before allowing them to air dry completely.

Final Thoughts on How to Wash Brooks Shoes

Whether you’re a dedicated runner or an occasional gym enthusiast, looking after your Brooks shoes is essential for prolonging their lifespan and performance. It’s important to clean your running shoes regularly and be aware of cleaning techniques that will keep them in good condition.

Hand washing with mild detergent and warm water is the best option when it comes to cleaning Brooks running shoes. Pay extra attention to areas with stains or dirt buildup, as this will help prevent further damage to the outside of the shoe.

Rinse away excess detergent, then leave the shoes out in the open air to dry naturally, avoiding direct sunlight if possible. For tough mud on outsoles, use a soft brush together with cold water before rinsing off any residue left behind by traditional hand washing methods.

How often do you wash your Brooks running shoes? Please share your tips in the comments below.

Also Read:


  1. Brad Lanphear. How to Clean White Sneakers, According to Sneakerheads https://www.menshealth.com/style/a44080418/how-to-clean-white-sneaker (accessed November 16, 2023)
  2. Brooks. True Grime: How to Clean Running Shoes https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/blog/gear-maintenance/how-to-clean-running-shoes.html (accessed November 16, 2023)
  3. Gabriele Messina et al. “Is it possible to sanitize athletes’ shoes?.” Journal of athletic training vol. 50,2 (2015): 126-32 https://meridian.allenpress.com/jat/article/50/2/126/74095/Is-it-Possible-to-Sanitize-Athletes-Shoes
  4. Jennifer Chesak The Smart Girl’s Guide to Healthy, Happy Feet https://www.healthline.com/health/tips-for-healthy-feet-footwear-hygiene (accessed November 16, 2023)
  5. Melissa Maker. Clean my Space. How to Clean Running Shoes https://cleanmyspace.com/cleaning-secrets-running-shoes/ (accessed November 16, 2023)

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