How to Wash Ballet Shoes: Keeping Your Dancewear Fresh and Clean

Ballet shoes are an essential part of a dancer’s wardrobe, providing comfort, support, and flexibility. However, with regular use comes the need for cleaning to maintain their pristine condition. In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of washing ballet shoes effectively while preserving their quality and longevity.

Gather Supplies

Before diving into the actual cleaning process, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:
1. Mild detergent or baby shampoo
2. A soft cloth or sponge
3. Warm water (not hot)
4. Towels for drying

Preparation Tips

Before immersing your ballet shoes in water, it is essential to prepare them properly:
1. Remove any loose dirt or debris from the surface by gently brushing with a soft cloth.
2. Check if there are any removable parts like ribbons or elastics that can be detached before washing.
– If applicable, detach these components carefully to avoid damaging them during the wash.
– Set aside separately for individual treatment if needed.

Hand Washing Method

Follow these simple steps to clean your ballet shoes using gentle hand washing:
1. Fill a basin or sink with warm water—just enough to submerge your shoes comfortably.
2. Add a small amount of mild detergent or baby shampoo to create a soapy solution.
– Avoid harsh chemicals as they may damage delicate fabrics and materials commonly found in ballet shoe construction.

Focusing on Specific Areas:

– Outer Sole: Gently scrub away grime using circular motions with a soft sponge soaked in soapy water.
– Inner Lining: Wipe down the lining using the same technique as above, removing any built-up sweat or odor.
– Canvas or Leather Upper: Dip the soft cloth into the soapy solution and gently wipe the upper surface to remove stains.

3. Rinse your ballet shoes thoroughly under running water to eliminate any residue of soap or detergent.
4. Squeeze out excess water gently without wringing them forcefully, preserving their shape throughout.

Drying Process

Proper drying is vital to prevent damage and maintain your ballet shoes’ integrity:
1. Use a clean towel to pat each shoe dry carefully.
2. Gently stuff the shoes with paper towels or cloth scraps to help them retain their shape during drying.
– Avoid using newspaper as ink may transfer onto the fabric.

Avoid Exposure:

– Sunlight: Keep your ballet shoes away from direct sunlight as it can cause fading and material deterioration.
– Heat Sources: Avoid placing them near radiators, heaters, or other heat sources that could warp or shrink the material.

3. Allow sufficient air circulation by leaving your dampened ballet shoes in a well-ventilated area until completely dry.
– Ensure they are positioned away from humid environments like bathrooms.

Reassembly and Final Touches

Once your ballet shoes are fully dry, follow these steps for reassembly:
1. Reattach any ribbons, elastics, or removable components that you had set aside earlier for individual treatment.
2. Double-check that all fastenings are secure but not too tight that they restrict movement while dancing.

Tips for Maintenance:

– Regular Cleaning Schedule: Establish a routine cleaning schedule based on frequency of use (e.g., weekly).
This will help keep dirt buildup at bay and extend the lifespan of your dance footwear,
ultimately saving you money in replacement costs down the line!


Taking care of your ballet shoes by washing them properly is crucial for dancers looking to maintain their performance and prolong the lifespan of this essential dancewear. By following these easy steps, you can ensure that your ballet shoes remain fresh, clean, and ready to support you in every grand jeté and pirouette. Happy dancing!