How to Clean Cleats – And Other Gear Like Melin Hats or Backpacks

Staying active and finding new sports and activities can be a ton of fun. At the same time, trying to keep up with the gear of next hobbies can be a drag. There’s nothing like finding a fun new hobby only to realize it comes with a side hobby of being a mechanic or maintenance manager. 

How to clean gear is a key part of that maintenance. This goes for everything from cleaning a Melin hat, washing cleats, or clearing out a hydration pack. Many pieces of gear can not fit in a washing machine or dryer, or simply can’t get clean via these mechanical methods. Below is a walk through of our favorite way to wash gear. This works for all sorts of active wear but is especially good for hats, shoes, and tough gear that can hold up to a good scrub. It is effective on items that wind up sitting in sweat or getting caked in dirt. 

For items like baseball cleats this works especially well. Sometimes we have to wash things more than once to really get them clean. An easy way to tell is by checking how dirty the water is after just soaking the piece of gear. Baseball diamonds are notorious for the fine grained brightly colored dirt that will stain white uniforms. A rinse of cleats typically winds up with a water soaking bucket that better resembles a mud bath than it does soapy water.

Cleaning Dirt Stained Baseball Cleats

Step One: First, find a bucket that is large enough to hold the gear. If the pieces you plan to clean are ones that will float you’ll also want a weight to hold them down for a bit. For weighing things down a simple rock will do just fine.

Bucket with laundry soap for cleaning hats

Step Two: Next, get some powered laundry detergent. Take a scoop of it and toss it into the bucket. It should be obvious what the goal is, to replicate a washing machine without risking ruining a nice appliance. Cleats in a washing machine is not a great idea. The hard soles and cleats will bounce around so it is best to choose a delicate cycle, but even then the sheer volume of dirt that can come out of a single pair of cleats can do wonders on the inner workings of a washing machine. 

laundry detergent in a glass jar

Step Three: Grab the cleats that you are washing and first remove the laces. Set them aside for soaking and cleaning as well. They can go in the same bucket, or done separately. Then toss the cleats into the bucket and start filling it up. It should be pointed out that all of this can be done outside with a hose, and makes for the perfect chore for a growing athlete. Not only will they wind up with clean gear but they can learn about taking care of their gear and taking responsibility. This should not be overlooked as a benefit when you consider that many club, college, and higher level scouts have gone on record that they keep track of players that carry their own bags and take pride in their appearance.

Step Four: The next step is to soak the shoes or cleats. This can be done for a couple minutes or a few hours. If the bucket it left out in the sun it’ll be the same effect as washing them in a machine with heated water. After that, grab a simple brush and start scrubbing.

baseball cleats post cleaning

The picture above is from less than 1 minute of scrubbing and squeezing out the tongue of the cleats. While it’s true that you can still see some small matches of dirt what the picture does not show is how improved the smell is from the shoes. That is more than half the reason to keep a pair of cleats clean. Sweaty shoes, especially damp ones tossed in a bag and thrown into a dark corner, are notorious for their smell.