Rock climbing shoes are your trusty companions on the wall, but they can get pretty dirty and smelly with all those sends over time. Keeping your climbing shoes clean is essential not only for maintaining hygiene but also for preserving the shoes’ performance and longevity. At Alta Climbing, we know the importance of well-maintained gear, and preventative care, so here’s a comprehensive guide on how to clean rock climbing shoes. (Your friends will thank you for reading this.)

Why Clean Your Climbing Shoes?

Cleaning your climbing shoes helps:

  • Extend their lifespan by preventing material degradation.
  • Maintain their grip and performance on the wall.
  • Reduce odors caused by sweat and bacteria buildup.
  • Improve overall hygiene and prevent stank foot.


Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Climbing Shoes

1. Regular Maintenance: Wipe Down After Each Use

What You Need:

  • A damp cloth or baby wipes.

How To:

  • After each climbing session, use a damp cloth or baby wipes to gently wipe the inside and outside of your shoes. This removes dirt, chalk, and sweat, helping to prevent odors and buildup.

2. Deep Cleaning: Hand Wash Your Shoes

What You Need:

  • Mild detergent or soap.
  • A soft brush or sponge.
  • Lukewarm water.

How To:

  • Remove Laces: If your shoes have removable laces, take them out to clean separately.
  • Prepare Cleaning Solution: Mix a small amount of mild detergent or soap with lukewarm water in a bowl or sink.
  • Scrub Gently: Use a soft brush or sponge to scrub the exterior and interior of the shoes gently. Focus on areas with visible dirt or stains. Avoid submerging the shoes completely for long periods of time to prevent damage to the glue and materials.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Use clean lukewarm water to rinse off the soap. Make sure no soap residue remains as it can weaken the material.
  • Dry Properly: Stuff the shoes with newspaper or a towel to help them retain their shape and absorb excess moisture. Let them air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources, which can damage the materials.

3. Odor Control: Deodorizing Your Shoes

What You Need:

  • Baking soda or specialized shoe deodorizer.
  • Dryer sheets (optional).

How To:

  • Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes and leave it overnight to absorb odors. Shake out the excess baking soda the next day.
  • Shoe Deodorizer: Use a specialized shoe deodorizer spray to keep your shoes smelling fresh.
  • Dryer Sheets: Place a dryer sheet inside each shoe overnight for a quick and easy deodorizing solution.

Additional Tips for Shoe Care

  • Avoid Washing Machines: Never put your climbing shoes in a washing machine as it can damage the materials and alter the fit.
  • Rotate Shoes: If you climb frequently, consider rotating between two pairs of shoes to allow each pair to dry out completely between uses.
  • Store Properly: Store your climbing shoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving them in hot cars or damp bags for extended periods.


Maintaining clean and fresh climbing shoes is crucial for both performance, hygiene, and finding gym buddies. By following these cleaning tips on how to clean rock climbing shoes, you can ensure your shoes stay in great condition, providing you with the best grip and comfort on your climbs. At Alta Climbing, we believe in taking care of your gear so it can take care of you. Happy climbing, and remember—clean shoes climb better!