TL;DR: there is no right answer. But I usually say once a week.
For those that want to keep reading…
Cleaning Your Shoes is probably the best way you can show appreciation for your sneakers. It is also one of the most important parts about being a sneakerhead. I could go on ad nauseam (and I will; this is Clean Your Shoes after all), but one thing that is often never discussed or mentioned is in how often you should Clean Your Shoes.
Once A Week
So, while there is no real clear frequency to recommend, I’ve always treated the subject of cleaning my shoes like a laundry day, which I do once a week. So, I usually would clean my shoes once a week when I was first getting serious into this sneaker thing back in college.
Once a week is also pretty efficient: The sneakers you wore for that week get cleaned. Since most of us probably are only wearing a max of 7 sneakers in a given week, this is a very doable list. Open up your favorite streaming service, put on a good film, and get it done. I’ve probably seen any Michael Keaton Batman film or Paid in Full so many times over a cleaning queue.
Another benefit to keeping a weekly chore is that any sneakers due to be cleaned won’t have very long for stains to sit and settle in. The longer a mark/stain/cuff/blemish is on your sneaker, the harder it is going to be to remove the stain and get rid of it. Remember that now.
Now, once a week is easy to do a for a college kid with no money and their best sneaker is a Trainerendor (SB, not ACG). And it might be easy for you. But what if you don’t have the time or flexibility to dedicate one day or set time out of the week to clean your sneakers? Well, we can go two ways.
Multiple Times A Week
So maybe you don’t have a whole lot of time in one setting to knock out your sneakers. That’s normal for many working people today. But maybe you have little pockets of time here and there throughout your week to knock out a sneaker or two (you do).
As the days became shorter and the time moved faster, I found it harder and harder to clean my shoes every Sunday like I used to. But, what I did find that I could knock out one or two at any given time after work and in a few short days to over the course of the week, I got all my sneakers cleaned and back in the rotation. This is especially really helpful if you have sneakers that might need some special time to focus on, but not enough time to tackle big cleans in one setting. It is also even better than a single weekly cleaning because you could even take care of particular stains and marks even sooner.
When I entered the workforce as a somewhat productive citizen to (this very racist) American society, the once a week got harder to do, so I found myself halfway subscribed to doing it multiple times a week where I can. And chipping away at a cleaning queue can be a lot more satisfying and less daunting of a task.
Once A Month
So let’s say you can’t do once a week or multiple times a week. Well, it’s time to treat cleaning your sneakers to a monthly routine. Once a month is an easy time to commit: Just one day out of the month to clean some shoes. Of course, depending on the severity of the stains, you may or may not be able to wait a month if you want the most effective clean. But for small cleans that don’t much affect your sneakers, once a month is a nice, light, doable commitment to the expensive pieces of fabric that go on your feet.
This is the other method I subscribe to, simply because sometimes life gets in the way and I just gotta bang it out one day because I get tired of looking at them. This has happened a few times in the year of 2020.
Right After You Wear Them
A follower once told me that he did this. More power to you.
This isn’t a bad idea in fact it might even be the best idea, but it might be a bit much. But if you like that kind of routine, then by all means, go for it! Everyday you start with a full closet of clean sneakers. Who doesn’t like that? But, every evening you are cleaning your sneakers. Who does like that? Like I said, I think it’s a bit much, but I’m not opposed to it.
Whenever You Can
Don’t be lazy. Find a time to be diligent about cleaning your shoes. I say this because phrases like “whenever you can”, “I’ll get around to it”, “eventually”, “one day”, etc. usually mean never. So do yourself and your sneakers a favor and set a routine/time/schedule to Clean Your Shoes.