How to Clean Bowling Shoes? Step-by-Step Guide

To clean bowling shoes, you can start by inspecting the shoes for any signs of wear, or contaminants in the soles. After that, pre-clean the shoe by wiping its outside and internal sections using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe it dry. Get a plastic bristle brush to clean the sole. Finally, sanitize the shoe by spraying it with 70% isopropyl alcohol solution and then deodorize it to remove the smell.

Apart from cleaning, you need to keep the shoes in good condition so that they can serve you for a long time. To get a clearer idea of this, let’s get started.  

Steps for Cleaning Bowling Shoes

When cleaning or sanitizing your bowling shoes, follow these steps to ensure they stay in good condition and remain hygienic:


  • Check the entire shoe for issues like broken laces, wear, contaminants on the sole (e.g., chewing gum), tears, etc.
  • Correct any problems you find or take the shoes out of service if needed.


  • Wipe the outside and internal sections of the shoe uppers after every use using a slightly damp cloth.
  • You can use a mild soft soap solution for cleaning.
  • Wipe the shoes dry after cleaning.

CAUTION: Do not wet the sole during this process.

Sole Cleaning:

  • Use a soft plastic bristle brush to clean the sole.
  • Brush the sole in the direction from the toe to the heel.
  • DO NOT use brass or metal brushes, as they can cause premature wear to the soles.

You can check this Bowling Tips: How to Care for Bowling Shoes video for help in this step. 


Source: Bowling for Beginners
  • Untie the laces or disconnect the Velcro strap.
  • Open the shoe as wide as possible and lift the tongue with one hand.
  • Spray the inside with a 70% Isopropyl Alcohol solution.
  • Air-dry the shoes thoroughly for at least 5 minutes before the next use.
  • Alternatively, you can use an ethanol-based solution meeting the relevant SDS description (e.g., Citrus Disinfectant).

CAUTION: Do not saturate the shoe, and note that ethanol-based disinfecting products may not be tested for long-term exposure.


  • After sanitizing, spray the shoes with a shoe deodorant, such as FreshCare, to maintain freshness.

By following these steps, you can keep your bowling shoes clean, sanitized, and in good condition for a better bowling experience.

Bonus: Find out which bowling shoes are the best options for you. 

What Happens if Bowling Shoes Get Wet?

If your bowling shoes get wet, it can mess up your game and even cause injuries because they might suddenly stop you while you’re getting ready to bowl. So, it’s a good idea to keep them dry. 

If they do get wet, make sure they dry completely. You can use a brush with tough bristles to fix the parts that got wet. Don’t wear your bowling shoes outside or to the bathroom because walking on dirty paths can make the soles rough and harder to play with. 

If your shoes get wet, either switch to a dry pair or cover them up, and if you still need shoes, you can borrow some from the bowling alley.

Bonus: If you have wide feet, check this to know which bowling shoes are the best

Maintenance Tips for Bowling Shoes

Apart from cleaning, you can maintain the bowling shoes for a longer time by the following techniques.

Bowling Shoes
Source: L Hong to Rtai
  • Make sure to get a shoe that properly fits your feet. This will ensure more comfort during bowling and less chance of wearing out. 
  • Wear the shoes only during bowling. Don’t walk around the center with these shoes and definitely avoid walking outside with bowling shoes.
  • Get a shoe that matches your bowling approach. You can also try to get a shoe with interchangeable soles. If you don’t have any interchangeable soles then go for slip-on shoe sliders, powders, and shoe brushes.
  • Always have a shoe bag and put your shoes there after bowling. 

By following these steps, you will get a comfortable bowling experience and have a show that can last for a long time. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can You Wash Bowling Shoes?

Yes, bowling shoes can be washed. But you can just clean it with a damp cloth. When you use a damp cloth, avoid the slide soles and then leave it out to dry in the dark, dry room. If the shoes start smelling then use deodorizing foot powder or spray. 

Which Way Do You Brush Bowling Shoes?

The best way to brush bowling shoes is by side-to-side. Of course, different bowling alleys have different approach materials. But you can brush it over through the sides for proper cleaning. However, if you are thinking about scuffing your shoes, then don’t and go for wire brushing instead. 

How Do You Clean Sticky Bowling Shoes?

You can clean sticky bowling shoes by using a damp cloth. Just grab a damp cloth and rub off the sole. After that, brush the shoes with a wire brush. Make sure to clean the rubber parts as well.


In conclusion, you can easily clean bowling shoes by using a damp cloth or wire brush to remove the dirt. However, keep in mind that if your shoes get wet, it is best to let them dry or use another shoe if you are in urgent need. Finally, you must maintain your shoes and to do that make sure to maintain a shoe bag to keep your bowling shoes. Follow this article to ensure that your bowling experience remains a comfortable one.

Brad Finnearty
Brad Finnearty is a passionate bowler and a retired senior who has devoted his life to the sport he loves. With decades of experience, Brad is a well-respected authority within the bowling community. He is a member of several bowling leagues, has competed in numerous tournaments, and has even won a few championships along the way.