How to Clean Your Baseball or Softball Cleats

- July 5, 2021
how to clean baseball and softball cleats

During a game, your cleats can pick up lots of dirt, mud, grass, and debris. Often, we see questions such as “how do I clean white softball cleats?”, “how do I remove turf stains from cleats?”, “Can you wash cleats in the washing machine?”

Cleaning your baseball/softball cleats immediately afterward is part of the game to get you ready for the next big game. Pro’s cleats look pristine every time they step out onto the field, and these tips will help prevent smelly baseball cleats by keeping them in the same shape to extend their life and to ensure you get the most out of every play.

GEAR BAG MUST-HAVES

Here are some of the items we believe will go a long way in keeping your cleats in tip-top shape.

  • Putty Knife or Popsicle Sticks
  • Shoe Trees
  • Paper Towels
  • Extra Shoe Laces

AFTER THE GAME

Because some games get especially muddy, put your cleats in a plastic bag to protect your gear and baseball bag from getting dirty. Take them home and wait for the mud to dry. Please don’t wait too long because the caked-on dirt will make it even harder to clean them.

CLEANING YOUR CLEATS: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Step 1 – Get Rid of Excess Dirt

The most important areas to clean are the sides and the bottoms of your cleats, more so around the spikes, as these give you good traction on the field. Start by removing your laces and insoles. Next, clap the cleats together, then use a putty knife, a firm toothbrush, or a wire brush to remove as much dirt as possible.

Step 2 – Lather & Wash

Lather soap into a wet cloth and work the soap in and around your shoes. Any mild detergent should work just fine. Please pay special attention to any cleats that may have dirt or mud around them. 

You may use a scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush in this step if the dirt/or mud is caked on too thick. When that’s done, submerge the bottom of the cleats in clean, warm water to remove the dirt that you’ve just scrubbed off while wiping off the uppers with a damp cloth. Repeat until you achieve the desired results.

If possible, remove the insole, and place these insoles and laces inside a pillowcase. Then, run them both through the washing machine on cold/delicate. Doing so helps eliminate existing odors.

Only use as much water as needed to remove the dirt. Never fully submerge your cleats in water. Doing so may damage the insides and may cause the leather to crack once it dries. Also, avoid hot water as it can also ruin leather cleats. 

Once done, dry your cleats thoroughly with a towel.

Step 3 – Drying Your Cleats

When drying your cleats, never store them in direct sunlight, use a hairdryer, put them in the dryer, or use any external heat source to get them dry after washing them. Placing them near a radiator or in the dryer will warp the shoes, especially if they are made of leather.

Allow them to air dry at room temperature. Placing your cleats near a dehumidifier works just as well too. Never store them wet since the build-up of moisture leads to odors. Stuffing your cleats with newspaper will help to absorb excess moisture.

Re-lace your baseball cleats after they’re dry.

Step 4 – Use Leather Conditioner

Once your shoes are dry, apply some leather conditioner to them to keep the leather pliable and in good condition. Don’t overdo it, though – You still want the leather to maintain its shape as you make those hard cuts on the field.

Step 5 – Storing Your Cleats

Once they’re nice and dry, sprinkle the insides with powder and insert a pair of shoe trees.

You can use shoe trees or stuff them with newspaper to help them keep their shape in between games.

Saddle soap your leather cleats at least twice during the season. Please do this before you store them away at the end of the playing season as well. 

While your cleats may not need to be cleaned like this after each game, you should put them outside after each game to eliminate the built-up moisture. 

TAKING CARE OF CLEATS

In taking good care of your cleats, you need to respect the fact that even the best baseball cleats cleats won’t last as long as they should if you don’t take good care of them.

Below we’ll list ten (10) steps you need to take to ensure your cleats are always game ready and in pristine condition for seasons to come.

  1. When you first get yourself a pair of baseball cleats, sprinkle some talcum powder inside them. The talcum powder will keep your feet from getting overly sweaty and keep your feet comfortable and cool even in the sweltering heat.
  2. Do not wear gym socks. While gym socks may be great for sneakers and similar types of shoes, they are bad for your cleats. They stretch your baseball cleats out of shape, especially at the back of the shoe where the heel is. Since gym socks can make your feet sweat excessively, buy several pairs of sanitary socks. These are high socks that are traditionally white and are used by baseball players.
  3. Shoelaces – Pack extra shoelaces in your baseball bag, preferably similar to those that came with your spikes. Also, loosen laces when taking off your cleats, rather than stepping on the back of your heel to get your feet out of them.
  4. Buy an additional pair of affordable cleats to use as your practice pair. Doing so will keep your precious metal spikes from wearing out prematurely, or worse, getting destroyed.
  5. Only wear your cleats when you’re out in the field to prevent them from wearing out prematurely. 
  6. Do not leave our cleats in the car. On hot days, the extreme temperatures that build up in cars will damage your cleats.
  7. If you own metal cleats, check them periodically for any broken or missing spikes, as well as any rust that may be forming around them. 
  8. If you’re worried about smelly baseball/softball cleats, apply foot powder directly on your feet.
  9. Keep a putty knife in your bag or nearby during games. Running the blade down the shoe can temporarily clean the cleats of any caked mud on a rainy day.
  10. Can you wash cleats in the washing machine? Never put your cleats in the washing machine, or use a dryer, radiator, vent, or hair dryer to dry them.
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