How to Clean Nike Air Force 1s so They're Good as New

Discover the quickest ways to keep your Air Force 1s looking like they're fresh out of the box.

Published April 24, 2023
white air force 1 sneakcers

Dirty shoes rank pretty high on a sneakerhead's list of the worst nightmares. While Air Force 1s might not be Air Jordans in terms of how tenderly people treat them, they're still bright white and can be a nightmare to keep clean. Thankfully, there are all sorts of different ways to clean Air Force 1s that can help you maintain the unboxed look while pounding the pavement in them.

How to Clean Air Force 1s

There are so many different ways you can clean up your dirty Air Force 1s, and all of them only require a little elbow grease and a handful of ingredients.

Use a Cleaning Eraser

One of the simplest ways to clean a pair of white Air Force 1s is to get a household cleaning eraser, dip it in water, and take it directly to the shoe. Of course, if you're worried about smudging or staining, you can spot test a patch on the sole and the leather upper before running it all along your shoe.

However, while you're cleaning with an eraser, you might get some streaking from the dirty water in the sponge that accumulates while you clean. To avoid this, simply wipe them off with a damp towel as you go and really wring out any excess water from your sponge before starting.

Use Micellar Water

Micellar water is a gentle facial cleanser that many people use today. If you've got some on-hand, you don't have to go out and buy some fancy shoe cleaner. Instead, pour a few squirts of micellar water onto a towel or microfiber cloth and wipe down your shoes. Just dry them off once you're finished.

Use Non-Gel White Toothpaste

One of the wackiest ways to clean up your white Air Force 1s is by taking an old soft-bristled toothbrush and some non-gel white toothpaste to it. After you rub the toothpaste into your shoes, let it sit for about 15 minutes and wash it off with a damp microfiber cloth.

Use a Professional Leather or Suede Cleaner

If you're really precious about your Air Force 1s, then you might not be comfortable mixing up your own DIY solutions or using non-shoe cleaners on them. Rest assured, you can always use a professional leather or suede cleaner on your shoes.

How to Spot Clean Your Air Force 1s

If you accidentally stepped in some mud or scuffed your shoe against your car's tires, you can make a quick DIY vinegar and baking soda mixture to clean it up.


  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Microfiber cloth


According to Nike, this recipe is the best spot cleaner for you to use on your Air Force 1s:

  1. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar, and one cup of water.
  2. Stir until everything's dissolved.
  3. Dip the cloth into the mixture and rub at the spots.
  4. Continue dipping and cleaning as needed to remove the stains.
  5. Wipe the moisture off with a clean towel.
Helpful Hack

For really stubborn stains, you can attack it with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

How to Make Your Stinky Air Force 1s Smell Good Again

Just because you cleaned your Air Force 1s doesn't mean you've cleared up the funky smell that's seeped into the shoe. Here are a few tips for getting rid of those stubborn smells.

  • Pop a dryer sheet into your shoes for a few days.
  • Pour a little baking soda into either shoe for a day or two and then vacuum it up.
  • Freeze your shoes to kill off any bacteria that's causing the smell.

Ways to Keep Your Air Force 1s Clean

Monogramed Air Force 1 sneakers

Seeing as white on white is the most popular Air Force 1 colorway, there's a lot of cleaning in many people's futures. To cut down on cleaning time, try these different methods for preventing your shoes from getting dirty in the first place.

  • Only wear your white Air Force 1s indoors or in good weather.
  • Spray them down with a stain protector before you start wearing them.
  • Wipe off any dirt, grass, etc. that gets on your shoes right away.

Keep Your Sneakers as White as Snow

For how cool they look, white sneakers are one of the most high-maintenance shoes you can buy. They'll pick up stains out of nowhere, and you'll be cleaning them every few weeks. But you don't have to resign yourself to a dingy pair of Air Force 1s thanks to all these simple cleaning methods.

How to Clean Nike Air Force 1s so They're Good as New