Light-up shoes glowing in the dark ready to be washed

Can You Wash Light-Up Shoes?

Light-up shoes, often beloved by children and nostalgic adults alike, bring a touch of magic to one’s footwear. These illuminating sneakers are embedded with LED lights that can sparkle, flash, or glow in a variety of patterns and colors. But like any other shoe, they get dirty and require cleaning. Yet, due to their electronic components, they pose a unique challenge: Can you wash light-up shoes without damaging them?

Light-up shoes can indeed be washed, but with care. To maintain their luminescence and functionality, it’s best to opt for methods like gentle wipe downs, thorough hand washing, or by using dry baking soda. Always prioritize the safety of the LED components, avoid submerging in water or using harsh detergents, and let them air dry naturally.

Tackling dirty light-up shoes is possible with these detailed cleaning methods.

Wipe Down and Spot Cleaning Light-Up Shoes

Light-up shoes, while dazzling, can attract dirt and smudges, especially on the outer surface. A straightforward and effective way to maintain their shine and appearance is by employing a gentle wipe down and spot cleaning approach. This method prioritizes safety to ensure that the LED features remain undamaged.

  1. Gather Supplies: Prepare a soft cloth, a bowl of lukewarm water, and mild soap.
  2. Prepare the Cleaning Solution: Mix a few drops of mild soap with lukewarm water in the bowl.
  3. Dampen the Cloth: Dip the cloth into the mixed solution, wringing it out so it’s damp but not excessively wet.
  4. Begin Spot Cleaning: Focus on areas that are visibly dirty or have stains. Gently rub the spots using the damp cloth until the dirt lifts off.
  5. Wipe the Entire Shoe: After spot cleaning, go over the entire shoe with the cloth to ensure an even clean.
  6. Address the Sole: The shoe’s sole can often be the dirtiest part. Use a slightly more dampened section of the cloth to scrub any dirt or grime from the sole.
  7. Final Rinse of the Cloth: Rinse the cloth with clean water and wring out excess moisture.
  8. Go Over the Shoe Once More: With the rinsed cloth, wipe down the shoe one last time to remove any soap residue.
  9. Air Dry: Allow the shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated space. Avoid placing them under direct sunlight.

This method ensures that the shoes stay clean and the electronics stay safe, extending the life and luminescence of your favorite light-up shoes.

Thorough Hand Washing Light-Up Shoes

When your light-up shoes are subjected to more than just the regular scuffs or light stains, a deeper cleaning method becomes necessary. Hand washing, while a bit more involved than a simple wipe down, can be highly effective without jeopardizing the functionality of the LED lights.

  1. Prepare Your Supplies: Have on hand a soft brush, bucket or basin, lukewarm water, and a gentle detergent.
  2. Battery Removal: Before anything else, if the shoe design allows, take out the batteries. This step ensures added safety for the electronic components.
  3. Fill the Basin: Pour lukewarm water into your bucket or basin until it’s about half full.
  4. Add the Detergent: Pour in a modest amount of your gentle detergent and stir until a soapy solution forms.
  5. Begin Brushing: Dip your brush into the soapy water and gently start to scrub the outer surface of the shoe. Always use soft, circular motions to prevent any potential damage.
  6. Focus on Stains: If there are any persistent stains or dirt patches, apply a bit more pressure with the brush while ensuring you don’t press too hard on areas with LEDs.
  7. Rinse Thoroughly: Empty your basin and refill it with clean water. Now, gently rinse the shoe by swishing it around in the water to get rid of any soap.
  8. Excess Water Removal: Gently press the shoes between two clean towels to absorb any extra water. Ensure you don’t twist or wring the shoes, as this might damage their structure or the LEDs.
  9. Ventilated Drying: Position the shoes in a spot with good airflow, letting them air dry naturally. Refrain from exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources, which could harm the electronics or fade the shoe’s color.

By hand washing, you’re providing your shoes with a thorough cleanse while still taking precautions to protect the special features that make them stand out.

Cleaning Light-Up Shoes With Baking Soda

When it comes to light-up shoes, this non-liquid approach is a game-changer, ensuring your footwear remains dirt-free without risking any water damage to the embedded lights.

  1. Preparation: Gather your materials, which include baking soda, an old toothbrush or a soft brush, and a lint-free cloth.
  2. Battery Considerations: Always remember to remove the batteries from your light-up shoes, if the design allows, before initiating any cleaning process.
  3. Sprinkle Away: Distribute baking soda generously across the shoe surface. Make sure every part of the shoe, especially the soiled areas, gets a good covering.
  4. Brushing Action: With the brush, work on the shoe surface with gentle circular motions. Concentrate on spots that appear more stained, but be careful around areas with LEDs.
  5. Absorption Time: After the initial brushing, allow the baking soda to sit on the shoes for approximately 20-30 minutes. This resting phase lets the baking soda absorb and pull out impurities from the material.
  6. Shaking Off: Once the absorption time lapses, gently clap the shoes together to shake off excess baking soda.
  7. Final Touches: For residual baking soda that’s a bit stubborn, take your lint-free cloth and give the shoes a gentle wipe-down.
  8. Air Them Out: Position the shoes in an airy spot, ensuring any minuscule baking soda particles evaporate and leave your shoes fresh and clean.

The beauty of this method lies in its simplicity and effectiveness, especially for those wanting a moisture-free cleaning solution. Your light-up shoes will not only look clean but also smell refreshed, thanks to baking soda’s odor-neutralizing capabilities.


How do I clean the lights on my light-up shoes?

The lights on light-up shoes are delicate and require special attention during cleaning. Use a damp cloth that has been lightly soaked in a solution of lukewarm water and mild soap. Carefully clean around each LED, making sure you don’t press aggressively. Ensure the cloth is damp, not wet, to prevent excess moisture from seeping into the electronic components. After cleaning, gently pat dry with a soft towel.

Can I submerge my light-up shoes in water?

Fully immersing light-up shoes in water is risky. The electronic components inside these shoes are sensitive to moisture. While a brief encounter with water, like walking through a puddle, might not cause immediate damage, prolonged submersion increases the chance of malfunction.

If you need to give them a deeper clean, opt for methods that don’t involve soaking, such as spot cleaning or a careful hand wash. Do not put light-up shoes in the washing machine.

Should I remove the batteries before washing my light-up shoes?

Absolutely, if your shoe design allows for battery removal, always take them out before any cleaning process. This step reduces potential risks associated with moisture contact, like corrosion or short-circuiting. Once the shoes are clean and completely dry, you can safely re-insert the batteries.

Can I dry my light-up shoes in the dryer?

Putting light-up shoes in a dryer is not recommended. The intense heat and tumbling can damage the wiring, LEDs, or other electronic components. It’s better to let them air dry in an area with ample airflow. Place them so that they are upright and open, which will help speed up the drying process.

Can you use bleach to clean light-up shoes?

Bleach is a powerful cleaning agent, but it’s too aggressive for light-up shoes. It might not only discolor the shoe material but also potentially damage the wiring or LEDs. Instead, stick to mild detergents or soaps that are gentle on both the shoe material and electronics.


Cleaning light-up shoes requires a gentle touch and careful consideration to protect the electronic components. While machine washing is possible in some cases, it’s not the most recommended method. Spot cleaning or hand washing with mild detergents is preferable.

Remember always to remove batteries before any washing method and avoid drying the shoes with direct heat or sunlight.