If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I’m a sneaker gal. In the spring and summer, sundresses and some sort of tennis shoe is my uniform; when temps drop in the autumn and winter, I just swap my lower-cut ones for high tops. The second thing to know about me is that I’m clumsy. I’m constantly tripping over cobblestones, curbs, and my own two feet. As a result, my beloved sneakers often bear the many scuffs and scrapes to prove it.
sneaBecause of this, I’m always searching for easy ways to clean and care for my sneakers. I’m willing to put in the work for my shoes that require special care, like my suede sneakers, but for everyday nicks and scrapes it’s been harder to find something that works. I wash my sneakers that can handle it, and I usually spot treat with a bit of gentle dish soap and a washcloth. A wet paper towel works for the smallest, surface-level scuffs. I’ve sat on my floor and applied a baking soda and water paste to my beloved Vans before scrubbing them with a toothbrush to lift out stains; I’ve even wielded many a Clorox wipe to remove mud from dirty rubber soles.
But I didn’t even know I was on the lookout for a new way to clean my sneakers when a link to the SneakERASER ($11 for a 3-pack), a double-sided sponge designed to clean sneakers, appeared in a recent edition of our Well+ newsletter. After purchasing a package to clean my shoes, I can genuinely say that this sneaker eraser made my beloved kicks look brand new and almost like someone without two left feet owns them.
The product, which first appeared on an episode of Shark Tank, is a double-sided sponge that’s a bit smaller than the palm of a hand. The white side is pre-moistened and is used to gently buff out stains, while the other orange side is used to wipe away residue and clean textured uppers. Each sponge comes pre-packaged in its own bag and the instructions say to add water to reactivate the sponge as it will dry out during cleaning. The material seems to be very similar to the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, a melamine sponge that uses gentle abrasion to conquer grime.
I purchased a three-pack of sponges and got to work on a pair of my canvas Vans slip-ons. I didn’t expect it to work on the canvas uppers (it didn’t), but I was pleasantly surprised at how thoroughly it lifted away scuffs, marks, and lingering mud stains from this past weekend’s rainy adventures from the rest of the shoe.
Pleased with my work on the Vans, I moved on to a pair of beat-up leather Reeboks, which is where the sponge really shined. This is an old pair that’s strictly used for messy activities like hiking, so they were pretty dirty. I didn’t expect it to work on the foam sole, and it didn’t, but the white leather uppers looked nearly new. I was impressed and shocked at how seamlessly the dirt and grime lifted away. My only frustration at this point was that I’d had to open a new sponge as the first had started disintegrating halfway through cleaning pair number two.
I next tried the sneaker eraser on a pair of Veja sneakers, which are all leather; I was happy with the clean, save for a few deeper scratches that I didn’t expect to lift away. My only complaints? The small size makes this sneaker eraser easy to carry around, but I had a tough time getting a good grip to buff my shoes. Additionally, the package says it’s normal for the white part to disintegrate and that the orange side can be used to clean up residue, but I found the sponge bits got all over the floor anyway. To clean everything up, I had to take another swipe at the shoes with a damp paper towel, which felt like an unnecessary step. If you’re going to apply any friction, I’d use this over a trash can.
Overall, this product is an excellent sneaker eraser that got the job done in a much shorter time frame than I’d spend scrubbing with baking soda and a toothbrush. I will keep these stocked for those on-the-go emergencies and for quick touch-ups for my sneakers with leather uppers. However, it would’ve been nice to get more than one use out of each sponge, and I’ll most likely stick to cleaning soles with a more heavy duty option.
SneakERASERS: Instant Sole and Sneaker Cleaner — $11.00
This double-sided, pre-moistened sponge makes quick work of dirt and scuff marks on leather and canvas uppers and rubber soles.
- Works on dirt and scuffs on leather
- Not necessary to rub or press too hard as gentle pressure gets the job done
- Pre-moistened surface makes it nearly mess-free to clean
- Double-sided sponge has one side for buffing and one for smoothing
- Individually wrapped so easy to carry in a handbag or backpack for quick cleanup
- Takes at least one sponge to clean a pair of shoes
- Disintegrating sponge can get stuck to shoes, and although it’s easy to wipe away, the small pieces can be messy
- Small, round shape makes it tough to grip and maneuver easily
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