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How to: Clean trainers in five minutes—or five seconds

How to: Clean trainers in five minutes—or five seconds

There’s a particular stomach-sinking feeling when you realise you've just got mud all over a pair of box-fresh trainers. Especially when they're white, pale, suede or all of the above—and when you've never managed to resurrect a pair of damaged shoes before.

But not if you're Thread senior stylist (and resident trainer expert) Sam Monaghan, who easily unmuddied a pair of trainers we would have considered close to ruined.

Here, Sam shows how to clean a pair of suede or leather trainers in five minutes … and what to do more quickly when they need only a slight sprucing up. 

If you have five minutes ...

What you need:

  • Jason Markk's shoe clean kit, photographed (£16). How is this worth it? Because you can use the brush and cleaner to clean any leather shoes, from trainers to brogues. Plus a little goes a long way, so one bottle will last for up to 100 cleans. 
  • A cloth for wiping the trainers down. Don't use paper towels or anything that could rub off on the shoes.
  • A towel to keep your table from getting splattered. (Be sure to wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt you don't care about, too.)
  • A bowl of water.

When to do it: When shoes are really dirty ... or when they don't look terrible but the five-second technique (at the end of this article) isn't making them look any better.

Step 1: Dip the brush in water

Step 2: Pour cleaner over the wet bristles

Step 3. Scrub the shoes. No need to be gentle; this brush isn't harsh

 Step 4. Dip the cloth in water

Step 5. Wipe the shoes down with the wet cloth

Step 6: Voilà! Good as new

Adidas trainers (£78)

And if you have five seconds ...

What you need:

  • Baby wipes. Sounds weird, but they get grime off fast, and they're at basically every corner shop.

When to do it: When shoes have attracted a bit of surface dirt and need a slight spiffing up.

 If you do this often enough, you'll rarely have to clean trainers properly.

Step 1: Procure baby wipes

Step 2: Polish rubber and leather parts of the shoe. Begin on the toe, where scuffs and dirt are most noticeable

 Step 3. If you have time, go over the sole to lift surface dirt

Step 4. Easy! Gone from slightly scruffy to neat and clean

Converse trainers (£65)

And if you can't be bothered to clean trainers at all ...

Try trainers that are dark-coloured and leather. The leather is easy to wipe clean and the dark colours won't show dirt quickly.