How To Clean Knit Sneakers: 5 Expert Tips

Knit sneakers have won our hearts with their blend of comfort and style. They’re a top pick in our closets for both workouts and casual outings. But as with any favorite shoe, they’re bound to pick up a little dirt along the way. The big question we often face: how do we get them clean without causing any harm?

We’ve spent time finding the best solutions. No matter if you’re tackling a minor smudge or a major stain, we’ve got your back. Dive into our easy-to-follow guide, and let’s give those knit sneakers the care they deserve.

What To Be Cautious When Cleaning Knit Shoes? 

When cleaning knit footwear, it’s important to be cautious and use the proper techniques to avoid damaging them. First, you should avoid using harsh chemicals and detergents that can weaken the knit fibers or cause discoloration. 

Second, you shouldn’t scrub the shoes too hard or use tools like a hard brush, as this can cause pilling or snagging of this material.

Lastly, you need to be careful not to immerse the shoes in water for too long, as excessive moisture can cause shrinkage. 

By following these precautions, you have finished the first steps of cleaning your knit sneakers.  

Read more: How To Clean Leather Sneakers

Gathering Your Supplies 

Now that you’ve known all the precautions, you can move on to prepare your supplies. 

Stain Remover Method

These are the vital items you should prepare:

  • Mild detergent
  • Soft brush 
  • Cloth 
  • Warm water 
  • A stain remover 

Steam Cleaner 

These are the things you must have:

  • Steam cleaner 
  • Soft brush 
  • Mild detergent 
  • Cloth 
  • Warm water 

Hydrogen Peroxide 

You’ll need to have these things prepared before you start: 

  • Hydrogen peroxide 
  • Baking soda 
  • Soft brush 
  • Cloth 
  • Warm water 

What Are The Detailed Instructions To Clean Your Knit Shoes? 

When you’ve finished preparing all your tools, it’s time to put the instructions on cleaning knit sneakers into practice. 

Prepare Your Shoe Cleaning Solution 

Preparing the cleaning solution is an essential step in all the cleaning methods for knit shoes. For the stain remover method, you will need to mix a mild detergent with warm water and apply it directly to the stain. 

The steam cleaning method requires the use of a steam cleaner filled with water, which will produce steam to clean the shoes. 

For the hydrogen peroxide method, you’ll need to mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to create a paste to apply to the affected area later. Regardless of the method you choose, it’s crucial to prepare the solution correctly to achieve the best results.

Remove Excess Stains And Odors

Before beginning the cleaning process, removing any excess stains or dirt from your footwear is important. This can be done using a soft brush or a cloth. 

By doing this, you’ll prevent any dirt from being pushed deeper into the fabric during the cleaning process. This step is crucial for achieving the best results when learning to clean knit sneakers.

Scrub your shoes carefully inside out.

Wash Your Sneakers 

Once you have removed excess stains, it’s time to wash your knit products. To do this, you need to apply the prepared cleaning solution to the sneakers using a soft brush or cloth, scrubbing gently in circular motions. 

If you’re using the hydrogen peroxide method, mix it with baking soda to form a paste before applying it. You should also pay special attention to any dirty areas and make sure to cover the entire shoe. 

After scrubbing, you need to allow the solution to sit on the sneakers for a few minutes to loosen any remaining dirt or stains. This step will vary depending on your chosen method, so refer to the instructions carefully.

Rinse With Clean Water 

After washing your shoes with the cleaning solution, it’s important to rinse them thoroughly with clean water. You can use a damp cloth to remove any leftover cleaning solution from the shoes. This will also help remove any remaining dirt or residue from the cleaning process.


Air drying is the best method for drying your shoes after cleaning. It would be best if you take note to avoid using a dryer, as this can cause the fabric to shrink or become misshapen. You can also stuff your products with white paper towels or newspaper to help them retain their shape as they dry.

Let your products dry before wearing again.

Read more: How To Clean White Canvas Sneakers

Is Machine Washing A Good Option For Knit Sneakers?

When we talk about knit sneakers, a common question we encounter is whether it’s advisable to toss them in the washing machine. Knit materials, especially those used in fashion-forward sneakers, often merge aesthetics with functionality. But how do they fare against the rigorous cycles of a machine wash?

Pros and Cons of Machine Washing Knit Sneakers


  • Efficiency: Machine washing can save time compared to hand washing.
  • Deep Cleaning: Certain cycles can help in removing deep-set dirt which might be difficult to remove by hand.
  • Convenience: Just pop them in and let the machine do the work.


  • Wear and Tear: The aggressive spinning can strain the knit fabric.
  • Color Fading: The colors might fade or bleed.
  • Shape Alteration: There’s a risk of the sneakers losing their original shape.

Considering both sides, machine washing does offer convenience, but it’s crucial to know the best practices if you decide to go this route.

Read more: How To Clean Canvas Sneakers: Step-By-Step

Best Practices for Machine Washing Knit Sneakers

  • Use a Gentle Cycle: Always opt for a delicate cycle to minimize wear.
  • Cold Water Is Best: Using cold water helps in preserving the color and integrity of the knit.
  • Use a Mesh Bag: Putting your sneakers in a mesh laundry bag can protect them from direct friction against the machine drum.
  • Mild Detergent: A mild or sneaker-specific detergent is advisable. It cleans effectively while being gentle on the material.

Remember our misadventure last summer? We decided to machine wash a beloved pair of knit sneakers without a mesh bag, and the aftermath wasn’t pretty. The lesson was clear: Always use protective measures!

Drying Advice to Prevent Shoe Warping

Table: Drying Techniques and Their Benefits

Air Drying (room temperature)Preserves shape, no risk of shrinkage.
Stuffed with Paper or TowelsHelps retain shape as the shoe dries.
Avoid Direct SunlightPrevents color fading and material breakdown

In our collective experience, it’s essential to avoid wringing out the sneakers or using a machine dryer. The high heat can cause the knit material to warp or shrink. Instead, gently press the water out, reshape them, and let them air dry.

To sum it up, while machine washing is an option for knit sneakers, it’s imperative to approach it with care. By following the practices we’ve shared, you can enjoy the convenience without compromising the longevity of your trendy footwear. Remember, as with any fashion item, taking a little extra care can go a long way in maintaining its charm!


Caring for knit sneakers can seem a bit tricky at first, but with the steps and tips we’ve shared, it becomes a simple task. We’ve walked through the basics together, finding the best ways to keep those shoes looking fresh and new. We trust that our guide will help you in keeping your knit sneakers in top shape. Shoes are an essential part of our style story, and with the right care, yours will continue to shine bright. Here’s to many more steps in clean, stylish sneakers!

You can review all these steps in this video and get practice now: 


  1. Can You Put Knit Shoes In The Dryer?

    Yes. However, it is not recommended, as the high heat might cause your products to shrink or lose shape. 

  2. Is Knit Footwear Durable? 

    Yes. Knit footwear is generally durable, but its lifespan can vary depending on the quality of the knit material and how well they are cared for. 

  3. Do Knit Sneakers Stretch Out After Cleaning?

    Yes. Knit sneakers may stretch out after cleaning, depending on the cleaning method used and how the sneakers are dried. When sneakers get wet, the fabric fibers can become more pliable and stretched out, especially if they are not dried properly.

Jena Oralie

Jena Oralie

Jena Oralie, the fashion designer and fashion role model of Outfitoza. She had a totally modern, intense look: a unique blend of masculine and feminine. He has more than 10 years of experience in shoe design and other foundations of fashion, starting at a young age and accumulating experience.