April 12, 2021

How to Wash Climbing Shoes

by Roger

Climbing shoes are subjects of all sorts of abuse. Still, they are amid the ground and you as you walk. It would be best to wash your climbing shoes each time you are done climbing to maintain them in their best condition. 

Climbing shoes are open to dirt, grunge, and environmental contaminants. Sweat also accumulates on the inside, consequently providing moisture ideal for the growth of fungi. As such, their durability gets abated. Still, they can disappoint you at the wrong time and even turn out to be hazardous.

But can you wash your climbing shoes? Yes, washing can help in making your climbing shoes more durable and safer to use. And so, to speak, there are two ways on how to wash climbing shoes. That’s either by hand-washing or machine washing, as elucidated below. 

Table of Contents
Is it possible to wash your climbing shoes

How to Clean Climbing Shoes by Hands 

Before cleaning your rock climbing shoes, you have to harmonize a large bucket and lukewarm water. Also, you need to have a mild detergent and soft cleaning brush, preferably a toothbrush. Note that the steps below are applicable for cleaning approach and climbing shoes.

STEP I. How to clean climbing shoes 

You have to fill your bucket or tub with lukewarm water. The reason for the little temperatures is to help loosen tough dirt, tissue debris, and other fragments that need to be removed.

Remember using hot water will soften your sole, making the climbing shoe useless; hence you should avoid it. Coldwater, on the other hand, will not loosen grunge. It will also be infective in the removal of body oils and accumulated sweat. 

Step II. How to clean climbing shoes 

Find a mild detergent and keep off from harsh chemicals since they will destroy your shoes’ soles, padding materials, and the uppers.

Also, you should only add small amounts of detergent to the lukewarm water. Your rock climbing shoes may not get super clean due to sweat and dirt that becomes embedded into the materials. 

Washing your climbing shoes

Step III. How to clean climbing shoes 

Use a small brush to scrub off grime or dust prior to immersing the shoes into the water. Should there be particles on the inside, hold the shoes upside down knock them gently with your hand until they fall off. 

Step IV. How to clean climbing shoes exteriorly 

Again, you have to scrub the exterior part with the same brush. And the process should also apply to the sole and the tongue. The brush should be able to remove dirt and loosen stains. You should gently scrub it to avoid tearing.

Remember to fully immerse the shoes into the bucket since failure to do so will have dirt unloosened. Some germs may still stick on the inside. It would be helpful if you deep the climbing shoes in lathered water so that all places get sterilized with soap.

Related Article: How Long Does Fungus Live in Shoes?

Step V. How to clean climbing shoes internally 

How to Wash Rock Climbing Shoes

Still, with the small brush, scrub the inside of your climbing shoes after soaking them in water.

Ensure you clean all the inaccessible places and use your fingers if needed. After scrubbing, immerse them again in the lukewarm water, this time removing the loosened dirt. 

Step VI. Rinse the shoes thoroughly 

Pour away water containing detergent off the bucket. You will have to clean and fill it with clean lukewarm water.

Immerse in your shoes and agitate them vigorously. Once done, swish them to get rid of soapy water and residual dirt. Repeat this step until you get clear water in the end. 

Final step

After rinsing your shoes, you will have to shake them out of the water thoroughly. A clean towel will also help absorb moisture water from the shoe material.

After this part, you should let the wide-open in direct sunlight. Here the breezing and the direct heat will speed up the drying process. Remember you should not wear them until they are completely dry. 

How to Clean Your Climbing Shoes by Using a Washing Machine 

Before you use a washing machine to clean your shoes, you must know that it will destroy leather shoes. Therefore, only use it if you are cleaning synthetic climbing shoes. 

Steps involved in machine washing 

Turn on your machine and set it to a gentle mode. Proceed by adding a mild detergent to the wash water. Also, you should avoid using bleach. Once done, you have to run the wash cycle. 

After the cycle, remove your shoes from the machine and dry them with your hand. Remember never to place your shoe in a hot dryer as it will destroy your shoe sole and the parts of the washing machine.

Air is the most recommended mode of drying, and you can apply the hand wash drying procedure at this point. 

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, cleaning climbing shoes is not a painstaking process. It’s a simple DIY. In case you realize odor while cleaning, you can add baking soda in the cleaning water to get rid of the smell and deodorize them after drying.

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About the author 


Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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