Sparkle Up Your Sneakers
With spring blossoming onto the scene, who wouldn’t love to get their sneakers geared up for the season! Some people may find such cleaning tasks mundane or boring. Others keep procrastinating because they have a lot of work on their plate. This is why planning a shoe cleaning event will actually let the members have fun with the cleaning while providing a great rehabilitation session for their sneakers.
Things you will need
- Spray bottles filled with detergent (70 percent dish soap, mixed with 30 percent purified water).
- Spray bottles filled with water.
- Soft brushes or sponge (old tooth brushes work great as well.)
- Small towels or polish cloths.
- Tea-bags, lemon peels, or baking soda to absorb odor.
- Peanut butter, toothpaste, and white nail polish for added luster.
- Car polishing wax
- Tables for different cleaning stations.
- Shoe racks or shelves for drying.
***TIP*** Making different work stations for various cleaning steps will organize space, accommodate more people, and keep residents interested in the activity.
***BONUS*** A “How-To” card board can be pinned to each cleaning station explaining how to use all of the supplies. This will make it easier for first time cleaners to do the job without asking around or feeling uncomfortable.
Being exposed to dirt and grime, outsoles are usually the grubbiest part of the sneakers. Further, winter rains and snow can make shoes and boots look dull and dirty. Washing up your dirty shoes will make them look as good as new - ready to wear again, or prep for winter storage.
Step 1 - Clear away excess dirt using a soft-bristled brush (shoe brush or old toothbrush) to clean the outsole.
Step 2 – Be sure to take out the laces before applying detergent to the shoe. (The laces should be washed separately by hand or in a delicate machine wash).
Step 3 - Spray the detergent on the affected areas and clean using the soft brush or sponge, in circular movements.
Step 4 – Once clean, spray water thoroughly to wash away the soap and wipe dry the shoes using towels or polish cloths.
***TIP*** Make sure to provide cold water - as hot water can fade away shoe color.
Insole deodorizing station
While insoles may not be dirty, they’re sure to have some smell from long hours of wearing and sweat.
This cleaning station provides tea-bags, lemon peels or baking soda filled in empty match-boxes, which can be kept in the shoes to absorb odor and freshen the shoe up from inside out. These can be left inside the shoes while they’re left to dry.
Finishing glow station
While washing up with soap can drastically improve the overall look, it may not clear away the scratches or marks sometimes left on the mid soles (which are usually made from plastic or rubber). These parts of the shoes can be given an added luster by brushing them up with peanut butter or tooth paste!
***BONUS*** White nail polish can also be provided for owners of white, or partially white, sneakers. It covers up scratches really well and gives them a “brand new” look.
Believe it or not, car polishing wax can be used as a neutral shoe polish on shoes of any color. It will provide a waterproof coating on the shoes, and one tub of wax is enough to polish more than a hundred pairs of sneakers.
The drying station should be placed in a well-ventilated area, in the presence of indirect sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight may fade away shoe colors. The drying process can take a few hours so you can encourage residents to leave their shoes on-site, or take them back to their homes.
If you do have residents leave their shoes, make sure to keep them in view of management and use masking tape to add the owner’s name to the sole of the shoe. If residents have similar shoes this will avoid anyone accidentally taking someone else’s shoes back home.
All in all, this event can be an engaging and fun way to come together as a community, as well as getting the tedious task of shoe cleaning done in an enjoyable gathering.