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The "Magic" Shoe Cleaning Formula

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Summer fun can turn those bright, white tennis shoes to dingy gray.  But when you are “Making it Do”, you don’t just throw them away… and luckily you don’t need to go around looking grungy either.

It’s “Magic” Shoe Cleaning Formula to the rescue:

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This recipe is for a top loading washing machine:

  • 1 cup laundry detergent
  • 1 cup dishwasher soap (granulated, not liquid)
  • 1 cup bleach
  1. Set washing machine on lowest water level (mini, small, etc.) and fill with water
  2. Add magic formula ingredients, one at a time to the water
  3. Put shoes in washer (more than one pair make the formula more effective as they bump into each other and helps make them more clean.)
  4. Agitate shoes on the longest wash cycle.
  5. IMPORTANT: Make sure to double rinse shoes.
  6. Put shoes outside to dry or air dry over a floor vent in your home.  (I recommend stuffing wet shoes (particularly leather) firmly with newspaper as they dry.  This keeps them from shrinking.  The same goes for shoes caught in rain storm.)

I have a front loader washing machine…. and needed to adapt the recipe to work for me.  Front loaders use a lot less detergent generally,  so I halved the amounts of the dish soap and laundry detergent.  And instead of adding everything directly to the tub, I put the ingredients in the detergent tray.  I filled my bleach tray to the max line… but I’m not sure how much that was.  I would guess roughly 1/3 cup.

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These tennies don’t look brand new… but they look awesome compared to before.  Another “Make it Do” way to spruce up old tennis shoes is to get new laces.  This really gives them a new lease on life.  Now let’s hit the courts.

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4 Responses to “The "Magic" Shoe Cleaning Formula”

  • Hi there! Thanks for the tip! I use the granulated dish washing detergent to soak really bad stains. I put the stained items in a sink of pretty warm water, add about 1/2 cup of the granulated dish washing detergent, a capful of laundry soap and swish to dissolve. After that I just let the mix just soak for about an hour. Rinse out and then wash as normal (I use an extra rinse cycle to be sure). I have used this on delicate baby girl clothes that were turned dingy by new jeans, or the nefarious red sock. I also did this with a pair of my husband’s wool dress slacks that he wore to the job site, took to the cleaners and the stains still didn’t come out. The soak and rinse did the trick! (except that I did not wash them…I got them in the shower and rinsed the heck out of them! You can also make a paste of the two and smear it on the yucky sweat stains under the arms….fabulous!! Sorry for the giant comment!

    • I love these tips! I have never used the granulated dish soap on clothing… But with my son and summertime, I struggle with stains! Right now I have clothes with mud, grass stains and blackberry juice waiting for me. Best, Calli

  • What are the chances? My son came home from tennis camp and jumped in the shower. Later that night when we went into brush everyones teeth, we noticed his shoes in the shower! He had decided they needed to be cleaned, so stuck them in with him! You know they must be bad when a ten year old {sloppy} boy thinks they need cleaning!

    So I obviously had to wash them. Can you imagine to my grateful surprise, this post! I’m so excited to see how they turn out. They are in the wash as I type!

  • mary:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This recipe of yours saved our shoes! AMAZING!

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