Nowadays, so many brands have cleaning kits out there to use on your sneakers. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried a number of different kits and solutions and there are so many good ones out there. But a lot of times, those premium kits with all the trimmings come at a premium price.
Thankfully, you don’t always have to shelve out a lot of money for a decent kit, when you can fashion one with a few cheap alternatives and creativity. When I was a broke college student, I wasn’t spending my money on sneaker cleaning kits, because it went to sneakers, amongst other things. But my homemade kit more than made up for my lack of a name-brand offering.
To make your own kit, I suggest starting off with the following:
Have a container of some sort to hold your kit.
Whether it is a mesh bag, or a plastic container, or otherwise, you will want something to hold your kit. And they don’t cost much. First, all of your materials are in one place, and second, it’s easier to store everything this way. Get you something to keep everything in.
Laundry and/or dish detergent works wonders.
That’s right. The very thing you use to wash your clothes and/or your dishes (hopefully those are mutually exclusive), you can also use to clean your sneakers. So unless you’re wearing funky clothes and eating off dirty dishes, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Hold on to those old toothbrushes.
Don’t throw them away, and don’t use them on your mouth again either. Instead, keep them in your kit to use on your sneakers. The bristles may not be as strong as they need to be on your teeth, but they may just do the trick on certain textures/materials on your shoe.
Another case for toothbrushes in general is that they are cheaper than your name brand cleaning kit brush, and they are smaller and easier to use on delicate spots and materials on the sneaker than the bigger brush you would typically have with the name-brand kit. Also, they too, come in different levels of coarseness.
Get some microfiber towels.
Your local hardware store probably sells them by the dozen for cheap. Get a few good sturdy microfiber towels to wipe soap and dirt off of your sneakers. Microfiber towels are the best thing to clean and wipe sneakers with, so it would do you good to have some in the kit.
A suede brush and eraser makes you versatile.
You can find a decent pair at your local convenience store hanging on the side of an aisle, more than likely. I’m even willing to bet it’ll be a Kiwi set, too. Regardless, they’re good and they will work on any suede/nubuck sneakers and parts on sneakers. This duo is an important part of your kit, and should not be forgotten about.
Don’t forget the Rain ‘N Stain.
A kit isn’t complete without your water/stain repellant. This is the first line of defense for your sneakers. Going out into the wild without your repellent is like driving a convertible in inclement weather: It’s something you can do, but may not necessarily want to do. Repellant also makes it super easy to remove and rid any stains or scuff you might pick up on your shoe, so this is definitely something you need to have handy.