Soccer cleats are the unsung heroes of the game. They keep you grounded, propel you forward, and give you that extra edge on the field. However, they can also be a breeding ground for dirt, grime, and bacteria if not properly cared for.

To keep your cleats in top condition and ensure they’re always ready for game time, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to cleaning and maintaining your soccer cleats.

1. Remove loose dirt and debris

After every game or practice, knock your cleats together to remove any loose dirt, grass, or debris. You can also use a soft or old toothbrush to scrub away any remaining particles gently. Be sure to pay special attention to the areas around the studs and seams, as these can be hotspots for trapped dirt.

2. Clean the upper and exterior

After removing the loose dirt, prepare a bucket or basin with warm water and add a few drops of mild detergent. Using a sponge or soft cloth, gently scrub the upper and exterior of your cleats in circular motions. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers, as these can damage the material and reduce the lifespan of your shoes. To keep your sponge or cloth clean and effective, regularly rinse it in soapy water.

3. Address stains and discoloration

Create a paste using equal parts baking soda and water for stubborn stains or discoloration. Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes before gently scrubbing with a soft brush. After removing the stains, use a damp cloth to clean the area, and allow your cleats to air-dry.

4. Clean the insoles

Regularly cleaning your insoles helps to prevent unpleasant odors and ensures a comfortable fit. Remove the insoles from your cleats and inspect them for any signs of wear or damage. If needed, gently hand-wash them using mild detergent and warm water. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air-dry completely before placing them back in your cleats.

5. Deodorize your cleats

Consider using a natural deodorizer to keep your soccer cleats smelling fresh and clean. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda inside your cleats and let it sit overnight. In the morning, shake out the excess baking soda before putting your cleats back on. The baking soda will absorb any lingering odors, leaving your cleats smelling fresh.

6. Dry your cleats properly

Never place your cleats near a direct heat source, such as a radiator or heater, as this can cause the materials to warp or crack. Instead, stuff your cleats with newspaper or paper towels to help absorb moisture and maintain their shape. Place your cleats in a well-ventilated area to air-dry, and avoid direct sunlight to prevent fading.

7. Regularly inspect and maintain

Taking a few moments to inspect your soccer cleats regularly can save you time and money in the long run. Check for signs of wear, loose seams, or damaged studs, and address any issues promptly. Keep extra laces and studs on hand for quick replacements, and consider investing in a quality cleat brush to simplify the cleaning process.

Proper care and maintenance of your soccer cleats can significantly extend their lifespan and enhance your performance on the field. By following these simple steps, you can keep your cleats looking and feeling like new, ensuring that you’re always ready to conquer the pitch. Now, get out there and play!