How to Clean Cheer Shoes

Last updated on January 20th, 2022

It’s that time of year again when the cheerleaders are gearing up for their next competition. So naturally, this means new uniforms, shoes, and plenty of practice. But before you can hit the floor, your shoes need to be cleaned! Here is a simple guide on how to clean cheer shoes, so they’re looking good as new.

Cheer shoes are worn through several practices and several hundred tumbles throughout the season. Therefore, they are high-wear shoes! It is essential to clean your cheer shoes after every practice if possible, but it certainly isn’t possible for everyone.

How to Clean Cheer Shoes

Things You’ll Need

  • Bottle of vinegar
  • Bucket
  • Water hose
  • Clean, soft cloths

A Detailed Guide on How to Clean Cheer Shoes

Step 1: Determine the Type of Material the Shoe is Made Out Of

Before you do anything, it’s essential to determine what material the shoe is made out of. Some materials take longer to dry than others, and some can’t hold water at all (i.e., leather and suede). When your cheer shoes get wet, they take longer to dry because they don’t shed water as other fabrics do. Water gets absorbed into non-water resistant material, making them twice as heavy and moist, leading to stinky shoes.

Since this will be a task that may need to be repeated throughout the year, you might want to figure this step out early so you can always have your shoes ready for competition season! If your shoe felt greasy or oily when it got wet, it was treated with a water-resistant agent. This makes it harder for the water to escape through the shoe’s pores.

Step 2: Prepare the Shoe for Cleaning

Before cleaning your shoes, make sure the fabric is dry and not damp. If it’s still wet from rain or sweat, you could risk damaging the shoe by scrubbing too hard. When the shoe has wholly dried, begin this process, always respecting the markings of any additional materials added to the cheerleading shoe, such as glitter or rhinestones, for example.

Step 3: Brush Out Your Shoe

The first step to cleaning your cheer shoes is removing any visible dirt from the exterior of your shoe with a brush. This will save time before washing because you won’t have to focus on removing so many stains later. We’ve all seen those pink marks left behind after a pair of white shoes have spent some time on the dusty gym floor brushing before washing helps you avoid this problem.

Brush Out Your Shoes

In addition, by brushing your shoes after they’ve dried, you can remove most of the dust and debris that made its way into the shoe while it was sitting in a dark corner at school or practice.

Step 4: Fill a Bucket With Warm Water and Vinegar

Fill a bucket with warm water and add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of vinegar. This mixture is going to be your cleaning agent for your cheer shoes. Make sure you place a plug near the bottom of the bucket to drain excess water when necessary. You do not want any puddles forming! If using more than one color shoe, fill each accordingly. Do not allow colors to mix when water is added!

Step 5: Soak Your Shoe in Vinegar

Grab your bucket and fill it halfway with vinegar. The higher the acidity of the vinegar, the better it will work at cleaning your shoes. However, if you have a costly pair of cheer shoes only for competition, vinegar is probably not what you want to use to clean them because its acid can damage the material over time!

For these types of shoes, try using 1/4 cup of baking soda instead. Make sure to read our other article on cleaning cheer shoes with baking soda! When putting your cheer shoes in the bucket, be sure to put them right side up.

Step 6: Leave Your Shoes in the Vinegar for a Few Hours

You want the acidity of the vinegar to soak into your shoes and loosen any dirt or grime stuck on there from performing at competitions, so you should leave them in overnight if possible. But don’t stress! Sometimes we have practice early in the morning or another match that day, so here are some steps you can take if you have to do it shorter than 1-2 days.

Leave Shoes in the Vinegar

If your cheer shoes don’t need a complete cleaning but just a quick touch-up before practice/competition, then this method will work just fine! Grab a clean cloth and dip it into your vinegar/water mixture. Rub the dirty regions of your shoes with the fabric. If you are doing this for competition, make sure to do it right before!

Step 7: Rinse Your Shoes in the Water Hose

After your cheer shoes have soaked overnight, take them out of the vinegar mixture and hose them down with water. Rinse off any dirt or grime that is loose now that the acidity in the vinegar has done its job. After you do this, leave your cheer shoes outside to dry before putting them back into your gym bag!

Vinegar is a handy tool when cleaning most surfaces, but using it on some materials can be harmful. For example, vinegar will often strip away protective coatings on suede material which can cause even more damage! If you wonder if what your cheer shoe is made of will react badly with vinegar. It has a table of what materials react badly with vinegar and which ones are okay to use vinegar on.

Step 8: Air Out Your Shoes at Home or Put Them in the Sun

Suppose you can’t put your shoes outside to dry, no problem! Grab a clean cloth again and put some of the different mixtures of water/vinegar on it. Rub your cheer shoes inside (not outside) with this damp cloth. This will help air out any odors lingering inside your shoe that could make them smell unpleasant!

If you leave these shoes in your gym bag for too long, they’ll grow all sorts of nasty stuff like bacteria and molds that can get into your body when you wear them again.

Dry Your Cheer Shoes

If you want to speed up the drying process, leave your cheer shoes in direct sunlight! The UV rays will kill any harmful bacteria and dry out your shoe. If it’s raining outside, don’t fret! We have a solution for you too.

Step 9: Stick Your Cheer Shoes in the Oven!

This step isn’t necessary, but I thought I’d remind you that if you want to go this route, be careful and use common sense. Turn your oven on to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and once it’s ready, put your dance shoes inside with their laces sticking out of the oven. Leave them in there until they are almost completely dried (which should take about 20-30 minutes).

Be very careful and only leave them in there for a few minutes and then check after that. Please do not walk away because it will be tough to get the smell out of your cheer shoes starts to scorch!

Step 10: Give Your Cheer Shoes a Good Cleaning Once They Have Dried Out!

Now that you’ve given your shoe time to soak, rinse off any loose dirt/grime, aired them out (or stuck them in an oven), it’s finally time for the fun part – cleaning! Get some soap and water ready and scrub over each shoe with a toothbrush or cloth. Let the sudsy mixture sit on your cheer shoes for around 5-10 minutes before rinsing again with water.

This is the part where you’ll have to take a bit of extra care with your cheer shoes to prevent them from getting damaged! First, let your shoes air dry again before putting them back into their bag. If you want, you can also use a blow dryer to speed up this process.

Make sure that after all this hard work, the inside and outside of your shoe look clean and not dirty or stained! You have just completed the steps on how to clean cheer shoes!

You Can Check It Out to Clean Bowling Shoes

Step 11: Store Your Shoes Away Properly

I always recommend putting a protective layer between your shoe and its storage case/bag if it’s available. This will help keep dirt from sticking onto your cheer shoes when they are stored away.

Store Your cheer Shoes

In addition, I highly recommend that you immediately put them in their shoe bag and store it away in a safe place (like the top shelf of your closet where they can’t be knocked around). This step is crucial to prevent any damage when your shoes aren’t in use.

After these seven steps, you will have clean and fresh-smelling cheer shoes! You’ll be ready to rock next time you’re at practice or even competition for next week’s game! Also, if you follow these steps regularly, your shoes will last longer, so you won’t have to buy new ones every few months. These steps will help in how to clean cheer shoes.

Tips and Warnings


  • Before cleaning your shoes, make sure they are dry.
  • If you use a brush to remove dirt, make sure the bristles aren’t too hard.
  • Using a toothbrush instead of a sponge can help reach small areas and corners.
  • Before you start scrubbing, try using a towel or cloth to wipe away as much dirt as possible.
  • Use cold water when rinsing off after cleaning.
  • Clean your laces with soap and water to prevent them from becoming discolored or brittle -Tie up loose laces before washing them, so they don’t get tangled in anything else.


  • Don’t put your shoes in the washer or dryer.
  • Be careful not to get any of the soap inside the shoe, especially if it has a mesh top.
  • Don’t use hot water when cleaning because it can shrink leather and draw out the color.
  • If you’re using bleach on white shoes, be sure to dilute them with water, so there’s no chance of discoloration or damage to the shoe.
  • When drying your shoes, air dry them in a warm, well-ventilated area.
  • The use of a fan can help speed up the drying process as long as you’re careful not to let it blow any dirt back onto the shoe.
  • Be sure to place a dry towel down before putting the shoes so that no moisture gets trapped between them and anything else.
  • Make sure your towels are colorless before using them because colored ones may leave the dye on the surface of your shoe.
  • Using a hairdryer can be risky, but don’t hold it close for too long if you decide to try it. Use hot or cold heat instead of warm heat, which could discolor the material or damage the shoe.
  • Use a soft brush instead of a hard-bristled one because it won’t cause damage to the surface of your shoes.
  • After cleaning, make sure there isn’t any dirt stuck around the edges of your shoe – this can cause discoloration and is challenging to clean if you don’t get rid of all the dirt before attempting to do so.

What Can I Use to Remove Water From Cheer Shoes??

Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar onto each shoe’s sole and let it sit for several minutes. If this doesn’t work, place the shoes on their sides to make an “L” shape with one another. Let them dry out overnight. Before using your boots again, stuff newspaper into them to keep them from getting wet again while doing high kicks or splits.

Remove Water From Cheer Shoes

If neither of those options work, get small plastic bags large enough to fit over each of your feet. Hold the open end of each bag around your ankles, and then slide your leg into the bag. Fill the bag halfway with water and then tie a knot in each of the bags where they meet so that they will stay on your feet without slipping off. Place them in the freezer overnight, and you’ll have dry shoes for your next practice!


After reading this article, you should know how to clean cheer shoes. There are many different ways people can wash their cheer shoes, and it is essential to find the best way for your specific needs. It’s also always good to have more than one pair, so when one pair gets dirty or damaged, you will still be able to practice and do all of your routines with ease!

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