Kick Funky Smells to the Curb: The Definitive Guide to Cleaning Soccer Gear!

During my youth soccer days I would come home and take my cleats off in the middle of the kitchen. And believe me when I say that you did not want to be in that kitchen to smell the terrible odor of my cleats and soccer bag. As an adult, I now have a better appreciation for what my parents had to put up with so to save all the soccer moms out there I wanted to share several suggestions of how to clean cleats and get rid of their horrible smell. (I know my mom wishes she had this guide years ago!)

Not only will these tricks improve the air quality in your home but it is also important to clean equipment regularly to get rid of bacteria, to keep your gear in good condition, and to avoid skin rashes or irritations.  

Easy Cleaning-

If you are short on time, try one of these quick on the go cleaning methods:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda or Epsom salt in a coffee filter and then place the filter in your shoes or bag.
  2. Soak paper towels in bleach and place them in your cleats.
  3. Spray your shoe with a special shoe deodorizer that can be found at most sporting goods stores.
  4. Place a few dry tea bags in your shoes and bag to soak up the moisture, which will help eliminate bacteria and odor. 
  5. Put a dryer sheet in each cleat after every time wearing them.
  6. Pour rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe out the insides of your cleats. 

For best results, make sure to try these methods over-night for longer lasting solutions to help get rid of all the built up bacteria. If necessary, repeat these methods a few times a month to keep your soccer gear clean and fresh. 

Deep Cleaning- 

Have a couple of days of rest after a big soccer tournament? These methods are more time consuming but are sure to zap all the smells away:

  1. Fill up a sink or big bucket with hot water and a mild detergent.

a. Soak your cleats and other gear that you want clean for 10 minutes.

b.  After your gear has soaked in the water, scrub off the dirt and rinse off the soap.

c.  Dry off your cleats with a towel and put it outside in the sun to air dry. Remove the insoles from your cleats and let them dry in the sun as well.

d.  After your cleats are completely dry, place them in a freezer bag and keep them in your freezer overnight.

e.  For extra protection place baking soda in a coffee filter in your cleats for a couple of hours after removing them from the freezer. Your shoes should smell like new again!

     2.   Fill up two coffee filters or old socks with coffee grounds. Tie the ends of the filters or socks tightly together with a rubber                band so the grounds do not spill. Place the filters in  your cleats and let them sit in your cleats for 12-24 hours. 

These methods are great for cleaning shoes, cleats, bags, shin guards, and other sports accessories. 

Have a killer method for getting rid of smelly soccer gear? Send in your suggestions to for a chance to be featured in a future post!