How To Clean Bowling Shoes

Bowling shoes are an essential piece of equipment for any bowler. They provide support, stability, and ensure proper sliding technique when you release the ball.

However, just like any other type of footwear, they require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them in top condition. So, how do you clean bowling shoes?

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process, step by step.

Why is it Important to Clean Bowling Shoes?

Cleaning your bowling shoes is essential for several reasons:

2.1. Health and hygiene

The more you use your bowling shoes, the more dirt, sweat, and bacteria they accumulate. Regular cleaning helps keep your shoes fresh and hygienic, preventing potential health issues like athlete’s foot or fungal infections.

2.2. Better performance

Clean shoes provide better traction and slide control on the lanes, ensuring optimal performance during your games.

2.3. Longer lifespan

Proper care and maintenance can extend the life of your shoes, saving you money in the long run.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Bowling Shoes

Before you start, gather the following supplies:

3.1. A soft brush

A soft-bristled brush is perfect for removing dirt and debris from the soles without causing damage.

3.2. A damp cloth

A damp cloth is useful for wiping down the uppers and removing excess soap solution.

3.3. Mild soap or detergent

Use a gentle soap or detergent that won’t damage the shoe material.

3.4. A dry towel

A dry towel helps absorb excess moisture and speeds up the drying process.

3.5. A shoe deodorizer

This helps keep your shoes smelling fresh and prevents the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.

Step-by-step Process to Clean the Soles

Follow these steps to clean the soles of your bowling shoes:

4.1. Removing dirt and debris

Use the soft brush to gently remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the soles. Make sure to get into the crevices and grooves.

4.2. Applying soap solution

Mix a small amount of mild soap or detergent with warm water. Dip the soft brush into the solution and gently scrub the soles.

4.3. Brushing gently

Using the soft brush, scrub the soles in a circular motion, being careful not to damage the slide or traction pads. Pay extra attention to any stained or dirty areas.

4.4. Wiping with a damp cloth

After scrubbing, use a damp cloth to wipe away the soap solution and any remaining dirt. Make sure to remove all traces of soap to prevent residue buildup.

4.5. Drying the soles

Pat the soles dry with a clean towel, then allow them to air dry completely before using or storing them.

Step-by-step Process to Clean the Uppers

Follow these steps to clean the uppers of your bowling shoes:

5.1. Mixing soap solution

Prepare another soap solution by mixing a small amount of mild soap or detergent with warm water.

5.2. Dampening the cloth

Dip a clean cloth into the soap solution and wring it out, so it’s damp but not soaking wet.

5.3. Wiping the uppers

Gently wipe the uppers of your shoes with the damp cloth, paying special attention to any stained or dirty areas.

5.4. Cleaning the tongue and laces

Remove the laces and clean them separately using the soap solution. You can also clean the tongue of the shoes by gently scrubbing it with the damp cloth.

5.5. Drying the uppers

Use a dry towel to pat the uppers dry, then allow them to air dry completely before re-lacing and using or storing them.

How to Clean and Maintain Interchangeable Soles

If your bowling shoes have interchangeable soles, remove them before cleaning the shoes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining the soles, as they may require special care.

Dealing with Stubborn Stains

For stubborn stains or marks on the shoes, you can use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab or cloth. Gently dab the stain with the alcohol, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Be cautious not to overuse the rubbing alcohol, as it can damage some materials.

Drying and Storing Bowling Shoes

Always let your bowling shoes air dry completely before storing them. Avoid using direct heat sources like hairdryers or radiators, as they can damage the shoes. Store your shoes in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, which can cause discoloration or material degradation.

Preventing Bad Odors

To keep your shoes smelling fresh, use a shoe deodorizer or sprinkle some baking soda inside the shoes after each use. Allow the deodorizer or baking soda to sit for a few hours or overnight, then shake out the excess before wearing or storing the shoes.

Tips for Keeping Bowling Shoes Clean

  • Always wear socks to prevent sweat and bacteria buildup.
  • Avoid walking on dirty or wet surfaces while wearing your bowling shoes.
  • Clean your shoes regularly, especially after heavy use or exposure to dirt and moisture.
  • Rotate between pairs of shoes to give them time to air out and maintain their shape.


Cleaning your bowling shoes is an essential part of maintaining their performance, hygiene, and longevity. With the right tools and techniques, you can easily keep your shoes in top condition and enjoy many successful games on the lanes. Remember, a clean shoe is a happy shoe!


How often should I clean my bowling shoes?

It’s recommended to clean your bowling shoes after every use, or at least once a week if you bowl frequently.

Can I put my bowling shoes in the washing machine?

It’s not recommended to put your bowling shoes in the washing machine, as it can damage the materials and structure of the shoes. Always clean your shoes by hand following the steps outlined in this article.

What can I use as a substitute for shoe deodorizer?

If you don’t have a shoe deodorizer, you can use baking soda as an alternative. Sprinkle some baking soda inside the shoes after each use, let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then shake out the excess before wearing or storing the shoes.

How can I prevent my bowling shoes from developing an unpleasant odor?

To prevent odors, always wear socks while bowling, clean your shoes regularly, use a shoe deodorizer or baking soda, and rotate between pairs of shoes to give them time to air out.

Can I use the same cleaning method for all types of bowling shoes?

The cleaning method outlined in this article is suitable for most bowling shoes. However, if your shoes have specific cleaning instructions from the manufacturer or feature unique materials, be sure to follow those guidelines to avoid damage.

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Written by Shannon Cothran

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