Nike Air Force 1s are one of the most popular sneakers ever since their debut back in the early 1980s and for good reason. They’re sturdy, long-lasting, and come in pretty diverse designs which makes them the perfect shoes for everyday wear. However, because of how frequently we wear them, they also tend to get dirty easily. If you’re a sneakerhead, or simply someone who cares about their appearance, dirty shoes are simply not acceptable for you. This is why we’re here to tell you about all the different ways you can clean your Nike Air Force 1s and make sure that your shoes are in peak condition even after years of use. We’ll also be telling you some maintenance tips to help you increase the life of your sneakers.
Supplies You’ll Need
It is important to have everything you might need ready with you beforehand rather than realizing midway through the cleaning process that you’re missing a few essentials. Of course, there isn’t just one way of cleaning your shoes so what you’ll need for each method varies, but many things are common for every technique. You can find most of these around your house, or can easily purchase them from any convenience store.
Here’s what you should have with you:
- A container with warm water
- A toothbrush or a nail brush
- Stain Remover
- Baking Soda
- White Vinegar
- Paper napkins or an old towel
- Liquid Soap
- Laundry Detergent
- Household cleaning eraser
- Angelus flat white paint and a small paintbrush
Different Methods of Cleaning Your Air Force 1s
There are several options available to you when you start cleaning your shoes. This of course depends both on what supplies you have on hand as well as how dirty your shoes are i.e., what kind of stains they have on them. For normal dirt levels caused by simple everyday wear like accumulation of dust, mud, etc. A simple soap solution should do the trick. However, if your shoes have yellow stains on them or you’re aiming for a deep clean, you might consider using the baking soda or white vinegar method. And if you’re looking for a quick fix without having to put in too much effort, you can always opt to clean your shoes in the washing machine.
We’ll be explaining each of these methods in detail below and you can choose whatever works best for you. But before you go for any of these methods it is a good practice to rub off any excess dirt caked on using a dry brush or patting the shoes against each other. After that, wipe over the shoes with a damp cloth. Lastly, remove the laces from your shoes before you start cleaning them using any of the methods given.
Soap and Water
This is probably the easiest method to clean any shoes with a leather or rubber surface on the outside.
- Take a small container and fill it up with warm water
- Add a small amount of dish soap or laundry detergent in it and mix well
- Now take an old toothbrush or nail brush and dip the bristles in water
- Gently rub over the shoes with the brush, you can afford to go a little harder over areas where there is more dirt or there seem to be stubborn stains.
- After rubbing with a brush, always remove excess with a towel
- Repeat the same process for the inside of the shoes
- Once you’re sure they’re clean, fill them up completely with old newspapers, clothes, etc., and leave them out to air dry.
Instead of a brush, you can also use a microfiber cloth and it will also get the job done just as well. While cleaning make sure to focus on the seams between the midsole and the body as a lot of dirt tends to accumulate over there.
Baking Soda and White Vinegar
This method is best suitable for a spot treatment i.e. if you’re targeting specific, stubborn spots that you want to get rid of.
- Add one tablespoon of baking soda to two tablespoons of vinegar (preferably white vinegar)
- Mix the two ingredients thoroughly until they form a smooth white paste
- Use a brush to apply this paste to the spots you’re targeting and gently rub over them.
- Leave the mix on the surface for five minutes so it can extract any dirt
- After five minutes, take a damp towel and wipe the shoes with it
The most significant advantage of this technique is that baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer so it’ll not only make your shoes look clean, but also have them smell fresh and nice.
If you don’t have vinegar and baking soda on hand or are simply looking for another alternative, you can use any non-gel, white toothpaste. It works just as well on any stains, dirt, or scuff marks.
Simply apply a little toothpaste over a brush or a microfiber cloth and then rub over the desired area. Make sure to wipe off any excess dirt or debris beforehand with a damp cloth. After you’re sure that you’ve gotten rid of the stains, wipe away the toothpaste with a wet towel or cloth.
Throw them in the Washing Machine
If you’re looking for a solution that does not require much effort on your end, this method is for you.
- Remove the laces from the shoes
- Put the shoes and the laces in separate mesh bags and place them in the washing machine
- Make sure you either throw them in with a load or place other old clothes, towels, or sheets with the shoes so they don’t rattle around in the empty washing machine
- Use detergent as you normally would and make sure the water is not hot, go for a normal to cold water temperature
- Set the machine cycle to gentle and turn it on
- Once the shoes are clean, take them out and let them air dry. Do not use the machine dryer as the hot air can damage the glue holding the shoes together and reduce their lifespan
- When air drying the shoes, make sure not to put them directly in the sun or a lot of heat as it will cause the completely wet shoes to shrink in size and may also make them a bit stiff
It is not recommended to do this method frequently and a lot of precautions need to be taken even when using this technique.
Cleaning the laces
Other than when you use a washing machine to clean shoes, with every other method you have to wash the laces separately.
Make a soapy solution using water, or any cleaning agent like dish wash, liquid hand wash, etc., and soak the laces in it for approximately 30 minutes. During that time you can clean your shoes. After 30 minutes, take out the laces and use either a nail brush or a toothbrush and gently scrub the laces while they are still wet. Once done, leave the laces out to dry.
A simpler way of cleaning them is to simply toss them in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes. Unlike the shoes themselves, laces can also be dried using the dryer.
Maintenance Tips to Make Your Shoes Last Longer
To make your shoes look good as new for a long time and increase their lifetime, there are certain measures you can take.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or hot water on your shoes as it can damage not just the material of the shoes but also the adhesive holding them together
- Do not put them in the dryer, always air dry them in a cool, shady place
- Use a magic eraser to get rid of minor stains, dirt, etc. if you’re not planning on doing a thorough cleaning
- Never leave them fully submerged in water as it can later warp the shape of the shoes
- You can remove the creases on the shoes using a flat iron! Simply stuff the shoes with newspapers or old clothes and lift the tongue of the shoes. Place a damp cloth over the area of the crease and then go over it with a flat iron.
- As mentioned above, you can use baking soda to get rid of the odor on the shoes. Place the shoes in an airtight container, dust them with baking soda, make sure it reaches the inner corners, and then leave for 24 hours.
You can use any of the cleaning methods described above and with these tips, you should be all set to go!