How to clean climbing shoes

Written by andrew smith
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Climbing shoes are necessary equipment whether you climb indoors or outdoors. As with any shoe, however, climbing shoes can get filled with moisture, dirt and other debris. The insides and the outsides of these shoes also may begin to smell unpleasant after awhile. Cleaning your climbing shoes from time to time will keep the shoes looking nice and smelling nice and can even extend the amount of time you can use those particular shoes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Hard Bristle Brush
  • Mild Liquid Soap
  • Bucket or Sink
  • Three Cloths or Dish Towels
  • Paper Towels

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  1. 1

    Remove the laces from the climbing shoes if the shoes have laces. You can throw the laces in with your laundry in order to clean them. Air dry the laces when the wash cycle is done.

  2. 2

    Fill a sink or bucket with cool water.

  3. 3

    Put roughly one-quarter cup of mild liquid soap into the water. Stir the water so the soap mixes with the water.

  4. 4

    Dip the hard bristle brush into the water. Make sure all of the bristles are saturated.

  5. 5

    Scrub both the tops and insides of the climbing shoes. Remember that you don't want any bacteria or mould to grow inside the shoes, so you will want the bristles to be slightly more dry when cleaning the insides of the shoes than when scrubbing the outsides of the shoes.

  6. 6

    Place one of the cloths or dish towels under cool running water. Wring that towel out so it is not soaking wet.

  7. 7

    Wipe off the climbing shoes to remove any excess soap or debris.

  8. 8

    Dip a second clean cloth into the soapy bucket.

  9. 9

    Wipe off the soles of the shoes with the clean cloth.

  10. 10

    Use the third towel to wipe off the soles in order to dry them.

  11. 11

    Put two to three dry paper towels inside the climbing shoes. Then place the shoes either outside or in front of a fan or open window so they air dry. Depending on how wet the insides of the shoes are, you may want to replace the paper towels with dry towels an hour or so after cleaning.

Tips and warnings

  • Placing climbing shoes into your washing machine increases the odds of the shoes shrinking, so it is better to hand wash these items.
  • Never place climbing shoes in your dryer; doing so may shrink or ruin the fabric of the shoes.

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