How To Clean Climbing Shoes in 2022

How To Clean Climbing Shoes

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For gym, rock, climbing, and bouldering, a good pair of climbing shoes is essential, and knowing how to clean your climbing shoes is also crucial. This pair of shoes helps your climbing safety in an indirect manner, and they can have a significant impact on whether you climb successfully or not.

Climbing shoes are also subjected to a great deal of abuse and serve as a link between you and the earth you tread on. Climbing Shoes collect dirt, grime, environmental contaminants, and sweat, making it easier for fungus to grow inside them.

As a result, cleaning your climbing shoes on a regular basis is vital to keep them well-maintained and in the best possible shape. Before climbing, make sure your shoe is thoroughly cleaned because it can jeopardize your safety. First and foremost, safety!

However, cleaning your climbing shoes properly requires some research, but don’t worry, I’ve already compiled all you’ll need to know about cleaning climbing shoes for a safer and more enjoyable climbing experience.

The good news is that with the help of this book, you will discover how to keep your shoes clean, eliminate odors, and extend the life of your shoes.

How To Keep Your Climbing Shoes Odor-Free

I’m sure you’re wondering how to clean climbing shoes. Basically, you have two options for cleaning climbing shoes, depending on your preference or requirement. Hand cleaning is one option, while machine washing is another.

  • Hand washing for cleaning Cleaning with Hand Washing SHOES
Let’s start with the supplies you’ll need to wash your climbing shoes by hand.

Only four items are required: a large bucket or tub, mild detergent, tepid water, and a small, soft brush. If you don’t have any brushes, you can use a toothbrush instead.

Cleaning with Hand washing SHOES
  • Pour Water Into The Bucket
    Simply fill the bucket or tub with lukewarm water to make removing dirt and debris a breeze. Also, avoid using hot water because it might damage or destroy the sole’s rubber, and cold water isn’t as effective
  • .Make use of a mild detergent
    Shoes should be cleaned with a mild detergent.
    Sweat and filth can be readily removed with a moderate detergent. If you don’t have any detergent, removing sweat and residues will be tough because the water doesn’t get deep enough into the cracks and niches of your shoes.

However, keep in mind that harsh chemicals and detergents can harm the sole and upper liner of your climbing shoes.

If you have a pair of leather climbing shoes, strong chemicals will accelerate the wear and destruction of the leather. So be cautious!

Use Mild Detergent for Shoes
  • Remove the dust from the shoes before putting them in the water.
    Before putting your shoes in the water, brush off the dust with a little brush.

This will transform the little bits of chalk and dust from the shoes into mud and paste, which will clean them.

  • Put your shoes on backward.
    Turn your shoes upside down and carefully cushion the toe box to ensure that little fragments of chalk, gravel, and stone do not fall out.
  • Scrub the soles of your shoes
    Wet your shoes, then clean the upper, tongue, and sole of your shoes using the little brush. The brush will assist you in removing stains effectively and efficiently.

Clean the soles of your shoes, but first, soak them in lukewarm water to loosen the dirt and make it easier to remove.

  • Clean the insides of the shoes
    Then, using the little brush, gently clean your shoes from the inside. But don’t forget to wash the scrub from the outside because it’s unclear from the previous use.

It’s critical to clean the toe box and upper of the shoe, but if you can’t reach a corner, wipe and rub the area within the shoe with your fingertips.

After cleaning your shoes from the inside, dunk them in the warm soapy water. If necessary, soak the shoes in soapy water several times to eliminate any brown or colored water.

  • Using Lukewarm Water, Rinse Your Shoes
    Make sure the tub is empty of water before filling it with lukewarm water. Place your climbing shoes in the lukewarm water and wiggle them up and down, side to side.
Rinse Your Shoes With Lukewarm Water

Do this 2 to 3 times more to ensure that no soap or dirt remains in the container.

  • Make Sure Your Shoes Are Dry
    Shake your climbing shoe to get any remaining water out. After that, wipe the water off the shoe using a towel, soaking up as much moisture as possible. Then set the sneaker somewhere where there will be a light breeze.
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Also, avoid putting your shoes in direct sunlight because UV rays might harm the material. Allow your shoes to dry completely before putting them on.

When drying your climbing shoe, avoid using a hot dryer because it will harm your adhesive soles and maybe the rubber. Allow them to try everything in the air.

Machine washing

Let’s move on to the second method, which is only suitable for synthetic climbing shoes. If you have leather shoes, you must not follow this step since machine washing them would destroy them.

A machine washer that will readily clean your climbing shoes, a light detergent that will make your shoes spotless, and a small soft brush are all necessary materials for washing your climbing shoes.

  1. Remove the dust from your shoes.
    Before putting the shoes in the water, scrape the dust off with a small scrape. This will transform the small fragments of chalk and dust from the shoes into slop and paste, which will clean them.
  2. Put your shoes on backward.
    Turn your shoes inside out and lightly pad the toe box to ensure that small fragments of chalk, gravel, and stone do not fall out of the boots.
  1. Select a gentle washing cycle in your washing machine.
    For shoes, set your washing machine to a gentle cycle. 1 \
    Use the synthetics or delicates option if your washing machine has one. Synthetic climbing boots can be washed, but don’t use a machine that spins faster than 1000 rpm.

It’s better to set 500-800 rpm, in my opinion, because it works best at a temperature of 30-40 °C (85-100 °F).

Set Up Your Washing Machine To A Gentle Washing Cycle for shoes 1
  1. How do you keep your climbing shoes clean?

To kill bacteria, add a small amount of mild washing detergent.

We only use a very light detergent for handwashing. Synthetic detergent, on the other hand, performs well and can totally eliminate odors and microorganisms. Most importantly, do not use bleach since it will ruin your climbing shoe.

  1. Rinse Your Climbing Shoe With Water
  2. After completing the cleaning machine process, wash your climbing shoe with lukewarm water to remove any residue that the machine may have left.
  3. Make Sure Your Shoes Are Dry
    Dry to the touch is the source of the shoes.
    Remove any remaining water by shaking your climbing shoes. After that, wipe the water off the shoe using a towel, soaking up as much moisture as possible. Then set the sneaker somewhere where there will be a light breeze.

Avoid putting your shoes in direct sunlight since UV radiation might harm the material. Allow your shoes to dry completely before putting them on.

Completely Dry The Shoes

Also, don’t use a hot drier to dry your climbing shoes; it may ruin the adhesive soles and possibly the rubber.

When you’re out in the woods or camping, here’s how to keep your rock climbing gear clean.

What will you do if you are not at home and need to clean your climbing shoes?

Don’t worry, it’s easy to clean your climbing shoes even when you’re outside without using a tub or basket full of lukewarm water or detergent.

  1. Combine Rubbing Alcohol and Water
    Dilute some rubbing alcohol with a small amount of water. Brush the outer area of the shoe with a little soft brush. Remove any filth from the shoe using a soft cloth.
  1. Shoe Brushing
    Brush the regions that have been discolored due to sweat or grime with a soft brush. Brush the climbing shoes’ rubber portions; if necessary, use a paper towel.
  2. Mix the alcohol in a spray bottle and spray the shoes.
    Fill a spray bottle halfway with rubbing alcohol and softly spray the insides of the climbing shoes.
  3. Make Sure Your Shoes Are Dry
    Allow the shoes to air dry in a safe location.
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How Do You Get Climbing Shoes To Stop Smelling?

While we must wash everything we use on a regular basis because it is vital otherwise things would deteriorate. You should wash your climbing shoes frequently to keep them in good shape, but you should also follow basic safety tricks to keep them clean and odour-free.

Moisture and bacteria have made all of the climbing shoes unpleasant. Because germs grow in warm, damp settings, I recommend that you go climbing in a cold-weather location.

Keeping your climbing shoes as clean as possible is the greatest approach to practice avoiding the need to clean them.

This is what we should do right from the start, the first time we put on our climbing shoes. We must keep our shoes clean in order to keep them free of moisture, and we must dry the moisture as soon as it appears.

  1. Before putting on your shoes, wash your feet.
    Sweaty feet: 12 ways to avoid and treat them
    If you don’t use socks, wash your feet before putting on climbing shoes; this is critical since bacteria from your feet can enter the shoes through your feet.

Furthermore, rock climbing without socks is potentially hazardous since sweat and other bacteria can enter the climbing shoes and develop fungus.

Sweaty feet: 12 tips to prevent and get rid of them
  1. Put on a pair of thin socks
    Another method for avoiding odor and keeping your shoes clean is to wear thin and clean socks.

This step, in my opinion, is necessary for all types of shoes, not only climbing shoes. Because socks absorb sweat and remove dead skin cells shed by your feet, they are a good choice.

  1. Remove your shoes and place them in an open area.
    Store your shoes in a well-ventilated area so that sweat and bacteria can evaporate.

When you’re not climbing, take your shoes off.

It’s also a good idea to take your shoes off when you’re not climbing so that they can air out. This will assist the shoes in absorbing less moisture and smelling better.

  1. Invest in air fresheners.
    When your shoes begin to smell, you can remove them to allow them to air out, but you can also apply air freshener or deodorizing powders to help rid even the worst odors from your shoes.

However, while choosing air fres, be sure they’re suitable for touch with human skin.

  1. Drying Your Shoes Makes Them Smell Less And Makes Them Cleaner
    Allowing your shoes to dry after climbing is the best method to keep them clean. When your climbing shoes are sweaty or even slightly damp, put them in your bag.

Allow them to breathe for a while. Instead of putting them inside your luggage, one of the best ways is to hang them with a carabineer on the outside.

I’m sure you’ll get some funny looks and wrinkled noses from other passengers on the train or bus, but it’s better than throwing them in the bag. If you want to be a well-behaved individual,

  1. Leather Climbing Shoe Cleaning
    According to my research, leather shoes can live longer if they are properly cared for, which necessitates making certain efforts.

Using the right and appropriate methods and procedures, cleaning leather climbing shoes can be a simple task. So, let’s see what those tactics or procedures are!

Is It Possible to Wash Climbing Shoes?

Although leather is known for its endurance, this does not imply that we can handle it any way we want. We don’t want you to wash your leather climbing shoes in the machine, as some people have done so in the past.

Although it may appear to be a simple task to wash leather climbing shoes in the washing machine, doing so will severely damage your climbing shoes. When you submerge your leather climbing shoes in water (cold or warm), enough water will be absorbed into them.

You can let the water dry out of the leather later, but the longevity of your leather climbing shoes will undoubtedly be reduced. As a result, try to avoid putting them in the washing machine.

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A Simple And Effective Way To Clean Leather Climbing Shoes

Here is a convenient way to wash leather shoes that is simple, correct, quick, and safe.

  • Remove your shoelaces and set them aside
  • Using a dry towel, remove all dirt and debris from the surface of your shoes.
  • Make sure there are no dirt spots on the shoes’ surface, and if there are, wipe them away using a damp cloth or a shoe brush.
  • Add a splash of vinegar to whatever soup or cleanser you’re using
  • With the help of a shoe brush, gently apply this combination to the surface of the shoes and rub them in for a few minutes.
  • Wipe up all of the soup from the shoes with a moist cloth and let them dry at room temperature.
  • You can wear your leather climber shoes again after making sure they are entirely dry (do not wear them until they are completely dry).

The question that is frequently asked

Is it possible to wash your climbing shoes in the machine?

Climbing shoes should never be washed in the washing machine. When you use laundry detergent, it can destroy the rubber outsole, leather upper, and laces. When a shoe is washed, the shape, heel tension, and bespoke fit of the shoe can all be changed.

Is it necessary to clean your climbing shoes?

WASHING CLIMBING SHOES PRIOR TO CLIMBING IS NOT RECOMMENDED! If you wash your climbing shoes, whether synthetic or leather, they will break down faster. The adhesive will deaminate as well.

Is it true that water damages climbing shoes?

cleaning climbing shoes
If you leave them in the sun, they will not be damaged, fade, or shrink. With wet climbing shoes on, I’ve never had an issue with my feet slipping when DWS or SWB (shallow water bouldering – #Aquaglide).

What is the best way to clean climbing shoes using baking soda?

Soda (baking)
Baking soda can successfully treat the stench in your climbing shoes. Place two tablespoons of powder into each pair of shoes and scrub with lukewarm water to clean them.

Does the teabag keep your shoes from stinking?

To prevent the nasty odors generated by bacteria and heat, insert some unused tea bags in your stinky shoes. Teabags are incredibly absorbent and will absorb any moisture or odor rapidly. To save money, make sure you reuse your shoes for other household activities.

How do I get rid of stinky shoes for good?

In each shoe, put one sock in and fill the other with baking soda. Allowing them to sit overnight will help. To get rid of odor-causing bacteria and fungi, spray the inside of the shoe with Lysol. You can also use baking powder or foot powder for the same purpose.


I believe it is beneficial to know that you have learned how to clean your climbing shoes. Giving your climbing shoes a “makeover” every now and again is a smart idea. Cleaning your climbing shoes properly not only allows them to last longer but also relieves your climbing companion.

Additionally, good rock climbing shoe cleaning can assist you to increase safety and odor. Cleaning shoes is not difficult and does not cost a lot of money. Generally, rock climbing shoes may be washed and cleaned using common household solutions.

If you really care about your climbing shoes, make sure you preserve them properly so you may use them for many more climbs. Prevention, in my opinion, is the greatest approach to keeping your climbing shoes in top shape.

Climbing shoes may be washed with little effort, and they will last much longer, be more comfortable, smell better, and be safer, as well as receive less judgmental looks on public transportation.

I hope you learned something new from this article. Don’t forget to leave a remark in the box below.

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