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A close-up photo of gray shoes with gray laces.

Did you know that people have been wearing shoes with shoelaces for at least 5,000 years? Back then, people made their own shoelaces out of woven bark and other materials. Today, shoelaces are much more advanced and convenient.

Not to mention that they come in all sorts of stylish colors and materials to complement your shoes. But there is a problem; learning how to clean shoelaces can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Dirty laces can ruin the overall look of your shoes while harboring germs and bacteria. 

Unfortunately, you can’t clean all your shoelaces in exactly the same way, otherwise, you might end up ruining some of them. Keep reading and discover how to clean 9 different types of shoelaces.

1. Cleaning White Shoe Laces

Nike Air Jordan Pair with White Shoelaces

White shoelaces are some of the easiest shoelaces to clean, but there are still some problems you can encounter if you’re not careful. If you want clean white shoelaces, you’ll first need to identify what’s making them dirty in the first place. 

Your shoelaces might just have some loose dirt on them or they might be stained with some kind of substance. 

Many white shoelaces are made of cotton which can end up absorbing all sorts of dirt and debris. To clean your white shoelaces:

  • Remove them completely from your shoes. This will ensure that you clean every inch of the shoelaces and not just parts of them.
  • Then, apply some shoelace cleaner to the laces and let the cleaner sit for a few minutes. This will help loosen whatever debris might be stuck to the lace’s fibers. Then, you’ll want to toss the laces into the laundry bag.
  • For the best results, put the laces into a cloth or mesh bag first before putting them in the washing machine. This will prevent the laces from getting tangled or otherwise damaged.
  • After that, the laces should be clean and all you have to do is hang them up and wait for them to air dry. 

You can also wash your shoelaces by hand if you don’t want to put them in the washing machine for whatever reason.

  • You will want to let the laces soak in a mixture of warm water and detergent for about a half-hour. This will loosen any dirt attached to the laces.
  • Then, you can scrub the debris with a brush such as a toothbrush. If the white color of the laces seems a bit dull, try adding some bleach. Always wear gloves when working with a bleach solution to protect your skin. 
  • After you’re done scrubbing the laces, hang them up to dry. By then, they should be as good as new. 

This might sound easy and it is, but the process of cleaning your shoelaces will change according to what kind of shoelaces you have such as colored shoelaces or laces made out of unique materials.

2. Cleaning Colored Ones

Sneakers of assorted colors.

You might think you can clean colored shoelaces in a similar fashion as white shoelaces, but there are a few important differences you should know about. First of all, you will want to avoid any cleaning methods that might end up compromising the color of your laces. 

For example, you will want to avoid bleach at all costs

This will end up staining your colored laces and either make them look splotchy or make their pigment much lighter. This, of course, would ruin the appearance of your laces. You will also want to avoid any cleaners that contain peroxide

Peroxide is another bleaching agent that could end up discoloring your laces. Dish soap or laundry detergent should be safe for your colored laces. It is best to wash colored laces by hand because the washing machine may be too harsh and may end up making the pigment fade. 

Washing the laces in the sink, on the other hand, is much gentler and shouldn’t disturb the pigment too much. 

  • Soak the laces in a sink full of warm water and laundry detergent for about 20 minutes or so. 
  • Then, get a gentle toothbrush and scrub out any stains that might be on your laces. 
  • Drain the sink after that but don’t hang up your laces to dry just yet. After draining the water, fill up the sink again with clean water and rinse your laces. This will ensure that your laces are free of any small particles of debris. 
  • Then, you can dry your laces.

3. Clean Leather Shoelaces

Luxury Leather Gold Shoes Lace with Gold Tips

Leather shoelaces don’t usually pick up as much dirt as cotton shoelaces, so you won’t have to wash them as often. However, after enough time, you will need to clean your leather laces sooner or later. Fortunately, cleaning leather laces is quite easy.

You don’t need to bother with soaking the laces in water or throwing them in the washing machine. However, you will want to have some leather conditioner on hand so you can keep the leather in good shape. 

  • To start, get a soft cloth such as a microfiber cloth and pour some leather conditioner onto it. 
  • Then, rub the conditioner across the length of the laces, buffing out any spots of dirt that might be on them. 
  • Don’t be tempted to use soap or hot water as both of these substances could end up ruining the leather. 
  • After rubbing the leather laces with enough leather conditioner, you will find that the leather will have its rich leathery tone again and they should look as good as new. 

4. Cleaning Rope Ones

Rope shoelaces, as the name suggests, are like miniature ropes (smaller cords woven together). This is in contrast to traditional flat laces. 

The good thing about rope shoelaces is that they are not all that much different than cloth shoelaces except for their appearance. 

Many of them are still made of cotton and, as such, can be cleaned in the same way as other cloth shoelaces. The thing about rope shoelaces is that they tend to be quite sturdy due to their structure and their tight weave. Because of that, it should be quite easy to remove whatever dirt they pick up. 

  • Again, you will want to have a toothbrush with gentle bristles on hand. 
  • Soak your rope laces in warm water for about 30 minutes. If your rope laces are colored, you should avoid the washing machine at all costs and wash them in your sink instead.
  • A bit of dish soap or detergent will loosen any debris that might be stuck on the laces. 
  • Then, with your toothbrush, use the bristles to remove the dirt. 
  • After that, all you need to do is rinse and dry the laces and they should be as good as new.

5. Cleaning Waxed Shoelaces

Flat Waxed Black Shoe Laces with Gold Tips

Waxed laces are certainly very stylish, and they can provide your laces with a serious layer of protection. 

But how should you go about washing them? 

Fortunately, waxed shoelaces are very durable, so you won’t have to worry too much about damaging them. However, you should be cautious when exposing them to high temperatures as heat may soften the wax. 

  • Hand washing waxed shoelaces is your best bet. 
  • However, you can throw them in the washing machine as long as you put them in a cloth or mesh bag and keep the washing machine on a delicate cycle. 
  • If washing them by hand, soak them for 30 minutes to an hour in warm (not hot) soapy water. 
  • Squeeze the laces in your hands to release whatever debris they might be carrying. 
  • Then, hang them up to dry. 

6. Clean Glow in the Dark Shoelaces

Glow in the Dark Shoelaces

Many people are worried about cleaning glow-in-the-dark shoelaces because they are afraid of washing away the glow. However, the glow is sturdier than you might think, and washing the fabric should not cause the glow to fade. 

It should be safe to throw the laces into the washing machine or clean them by hand. 

  • If you want to put them in the washer, be sure to first put them in a cloth bag to protect them and keep them from getting tangled or caught on anything in the washing machine. 
  • Also, be sure to keep the machine on its delicate cycle. 
  • If you want to wash them by hand, soak them in warm water with some detergent or dish soap for about 20 or 30 minutes. 
  • Scrub out any spots of dirt with a toothbrush and rinse the laces before hanging them up to dry. 

The glow should still be in good shape after washing the laces.

7. Clean Diamond Ones

Diamond Shoelaces

Diamond shoelaces are, of course, made of faux diamonds, but even so, you should still be careful when cleaning them. 

If you’re too rough with the shoelaces, some of the fake diamonds could end up getting damaged or dislodged from the shoelaces. This would end up ruining the overall look of the diamond laces and wouldn’t leave them looking as luxurious as usual.

  • Fortunately, you can still use the same materials as usual: soap or detergent and warm water. 
  • However, you will want to be careful when rubbing the diamond shoelaces so that the shoelaces keep their integrity. You should be especially careful when rubbing the laces with a cloth or a toothbrush. 
  • Be sure to soak the laces first.
  • This may be enough to completely clean the laces, depending on how dirty they are. If they need a bit more cleaning, get a soft toothbrush to get any dirt spots or crevices. 
  • Once you’re done cleaning, pat the laces dry with a rag and then hang them to dry. 

8. Clean Velvet Shoelaces

Velvet is quite a delicate material for sure… 

For that reason, you will want to be careful when cleaning velvet shoelaces, otherwise, you might end up ruining the laces without meaning to. 

If your shoelaces are wet for whatever reason, wait until they’re dry.

  • Take a gentle toothbrush and brush away whatever dirt might be stuck to them. 
  • Then, using a gentle towel such as a microfiber towel, apply some warm water to whatever spots might be dirty. 
  • Avoid soaking the laces in water if you don’t have to. 
  • Exposing velvet to too much water could ruin the material. 
  • After you remove the debris from the laces, dry them with a towel. Again, try to use a microfiber towel as it won’t damage the velvet. 
  • Then, hang the laces up to dry to make sure that no moisture remains. 

9. Clean Reflective Ones

Sample Polyester Reflective Shoelaces

Reflective shoelaces are very stylish because they can seem like they have a glow of their own in the right light. 

To make sure they keep up their appearances, you will first need to consider whether your reflective laces are white or colored. 

  • If they are mostly white, clean them in the way you would clean normal white shoelaces.
  • If they are colored, keep bleach and peroxide away from them and clean them the way you would clean regular colored laces. 

But what if they have both white and colored portions? In this case, you will still want to stay away from any bleaching agents that might ruin the colored parts of the shoelaces.

  • Clean them as simply as possible with warm water and soap. This should maintain the integrity of the shoelaces and keep them in good shape.
  • Handwashing them is the surest way to keep the lace’s reflective properties intact.

Wrap-up: How to Clean Shoelaces

Clean white sneaker shoes in close-up photography.

Learning how to clean shoelaces isn’t as hard as you might think as long as you know how to approach the task. You will need to adjust your cleaning techniques depending on what kind of laces you have, whether you have white or colored laces, leather or velvet laces, and so on. 

Now that you know how to care for your laces, why not buy a few different pairs? Click here to explore some of our dope laces. 

Miles Anthony Smith

Miles is a loving father of 3 adults, devoted husband of 24+ years, co-chief sneakerhead (along with his wife Carolyn) at Loop King Laces, author, entrepreneur, investor, & owner of several businesses (AmaLinks Pro, Why Stuff Sucks, & Kompelling Kars). Miles has been featured in New York Magazine, Escapist Magazine, FashionSpot, Menswear Style, & Men Style Fashion. Loop King is trusted by sneakerheads JumperMan Kris, jumpmanbostic, ajinchicago, among others.


Gold Tip Shoelaces


Gold Tip Shoelaces


Gold Tip Shoelaces


Gold Tip Shoelaces