How to Clean Your Ice Skates Right

You’re here to learn a thing or two about how to clean your ice skates right. And that’s what this post is all about.

Good ice skates whether beginner ice skates or pro-level ice skates aren’t cheap. They’re for the most part expensive pieces of rink gear that need proper routine maintenance to keep them looking great and posting peak performance.

You get tons of good from your ice skate boots. Now, it’s time to learn a thing or two about how to correctly clean and maintain them.

Also Read: Best Ice Skate Bag for Carrying a Helmet, Skates, and More

Cleaning ice skates isn’t particularly difficult or super technical. Nor do you require any kind of expertise, special supplies, or equipment. Before long, you’ll have learned every tip you need to know to get your boots, insoles, blades, socks, soakers, and skate guards squeaky clean.

How Often Should I Clean My Ice Skate?

Ice skates should be cleaned after each skating session. And always make sure to remove the insoles to air them out for smell prevention. Whether you skate twice a week or five times a year, clean the boots, toe pick, blades, hard guards, soakers (soft guards), laces, socks, and whatnot once you’re back home.  

How to Clean Ice Skates: Boots, Blades, Insoles, Laces

To clean ice skates, first, remove the insoles if they’re removable. Then, rub them with soapy water, or white vinegar if they’re smelly and finally air them out. Next, wipe down the boot with a damp microfiber cloth dipped into warm soapy water. To clean the laces, soak them for 30 minutes in mild laundry detergent mixed with water, or toss them in the washer alongside your regular load. To clean the blades, don’t use soap. Instead, rub the blades with a soft brush and water. And if there’s tough muck and grime on the blades, use hot water (no soap). Finally, rinse off any suds and air dry the skates, insoles, and laces for storage.

Also Read: Cold Feet While Ice Skating

That’s the short answer, and below is the process explained in a little more detail.

How to Clean Ice Skate Boots

How you clean the boot depends on the material it’s made of. You shouldn’t clean leather ice skates the same way you clean vinyl ice skates. Before kicking off the cleaning exercise, check the manufacturer’s website to learn what material they used to make the boot you want to clean. Many beginner ice skate boots are made from PVC.

How to Clean Vinyl and Microfiber Boots, Insoles, and Laces

A tip about cleaning microfiber and vinyl boots: Microfiber and PVC don’t work very well with soap. Unless the boots are really dirty and you believe using soapless water may not get you a great result, avoid using soap on these boots.

1. Remove the insoles and laces and clean them. The very first thing to do when cleaning ice skates is to remove the insoles and air them out if they’re not dirty. But if they’re dirty, use an old toothbrush to agitate the dirt. Put a little warm water (not hot water) in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of mild laundry detergent.

If you can’t remove the insoles, how do you clean the inside of ice skate boots? Prepare a water/white vinegar solution and rub the liquid into every part inside the boots. Then, air dry the boots and that’s it.

Stir the mixture with the toothbrush. Make small circular movements on the dirty insoles using the soapy bristles of the tooth, dipping the bristles into the soapy solution as frequently as needed. Finally, give the insoles a good rinse with clean water and dry them at room temperature.

To clean vinyl boots and microfiber boots, use a clean damp microfiber cloth (for vinyl) or a soft brush (for microfiber boots). Make a solution of laundry soap and warm water; use your judgment to add soap. Soap isn’t a must, but you can use it as long as it’s the mild kind.

Stir the contents to create a solution. Dunk the microfiber cloth in the soapy water and wring out excess water to make the cloth damp rather than wet. Wipe the dirt off the surface of the vinyl ice skate boots and air dry them at room temperature.

Don’t use any kind of artificial heat source to quicken the drying process because both vinyl and the material used to make the inner liners are synthetics, and they’re prone to melting or at least degeneration upon exposure to too much heat. So, dry vinyl boots the old natural way.

To clean the laces, pour some warm water into a small bowl or other any other small container with a wide top for easy access. Most ice skate laces are made from cotton, and warm water helps open these laces up so that dirt can come out easier.

Add a teaspoonful of mild detergent and stir with a hand and then soak the laces in the warm soapy water for half an hour. Make sure to press the laces down so that every part stays fully submerged for the entire duration. Finally, rinse the laces (you can use cold water) and air dry them.

Alternatively, toss the dirty laces in the washing machine along with other clothes, socks, and soakers. After the cleaning cycle completes, air-dry them, and you’re done.

How to Clean Leather Ice Skates

Leather boots can be tough to soften up when new, but post break-in, you’ve gotta love the nice worn-in feeling. Plus, leather strecthes better than vinyl, which I believe is why leather ice boots tend to fit better in the final analysis compared to other materials. But how do you clean leather ice skate boots?

To clean leather ice skates, don’t use soap and water because that’s the quickest way to make leather crack and detereorate. The best way to clean leather ice skate boots is to use recommended-for-leather cleaning products such saddle soap.

So, how do you clean dirty leather ice skates with saddle soap?

  • Use a clean moist sponge or a microfiber cloth to rub the surface of saddle soap to create a rich lather.
  • Work the saddle soap into the leather boots using the sponge or microfiber cloth. This process loosens up stubborn dirt and grime.
  • Use a dry sponge or cloth to wipe off excess saddle soap lather.
  • Dry off the leather quickly with a different piece of cloth.
  • Air-dry the leather ice skates.
  • Apply a good protectant to keep the leather boots looking nice and clean. Look around and you’re sure to find something many ice skaters in your location love.

Leather boot care tip: If the ice skates manufacture says the boot’s made from any kind of delicate leather, suede, or nubuck leather, don’t use saddle soap. Instead, use a suede cleaner such as the Kiwi Suede Cleaner or other similar product.

How to Clean the Blades

How do you clean ice skate blades safely? Use a dry towel or a soft brush to wipe off water, dirt, grit, and grime. It’s not a good idea to use soap on blades. If there’s any kind of hard-to-get-out grease or much on your edges, simply use hot water instead of cold water.

How to Clean Dirty Ice Skate Guards

To clean ice skate guards, get a nail brush or old toothbrush and give the hard guards a good scrub. Most importantly, reach every nook and cranny of the groove/channel on the hard guards to get out any dirt and grit. Failure to clean out the groove allows the grit and dirt time to grind into the blades, damaging them.

How to Clean the Socks and Soakers

Ice skate socks are typically thin and made from synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester. You can safely clean your ice skate socks in the washing machine along with other clothes. Soakers (aka soft guards) are normally made from a kind of water-absorbing terry cloth. And you definitely can toss them in the washer and air dry them afterward. Air-dry the socks, too.

Also Read: Ice Skates Guards and Soakers

How to Get Stains Out of Figure Skates

So how do you get black asphalt stains out of vinyl ice skate boots? The most effective way to get stubborn stains from PVC ice skate boots is to use a Magic Eraser. The melanin foam in the Magic Eraser is the miracle that gets the stain out.

Helpful tip: Even though Magic Erasers work well with PVC boots, overuse can lead to vinyl degradation over time. So, use Magic Erasers for stain removal with restraint.

Can you use a Magic Eraser to remove stains from leather ice skate boots? Oh, don’t use any kind of Magic Eraser to destain leather ice skate boots. Because it’ll damage the leather. And leather isn’t cheap. My advice is to stay away from bright-colored leather ice skates if stains worry you.

How Do You Polish White Scuffed Ice Skates?

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned figure skater, your leather boots will get scratched and scuffed. It’s inevitable. And for most skaters, scuffs aren’t a big deal. But what if your boots are white and leather, wouldn’t be nice if there’s something that could make the situation better?

Using a good shoe leather cleaner and applying white shoe polish afterward certainkly helps. However, you have to accept that there’s no way to make scuffs deeper in the leather go away. Fortunately, you can use skate tape or boot covers to make sure that the problem doesn’t worsen.

What If the Ice Skates Are Stinky?

Ice hockey and ice skating expends energy, and sweating happens. The sweat from the feet and moisture in general make for a great environment for bacteria and fungi.

It’s these fungi and bacteria that cause the offensive stench that reeks from your hockey skates.

So, what do you do to eliminate the stink and make your ice skates smell “normal” again?

6 Ways to Kill Ice Skate Stink

1. Embrace the Stench

You’ll sweat playing hockey or figure skating. And your skates will give off a kind of unholy odor. Accept it. Because it’s real, and reality is naturally stubborn.

If you love ice skating, you’ve got to be OK with the smell. It’s like marrying someone with kids from a previous marriage. You have to love the person and their kids too. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but you get the idea I believe.

Fortunately, there’s a bunch of practical and inexpensive strategies to diminish the stench and keep your skates wearable.

2. Air the Boots Out Post Skate

The smartest thing to do after each skate is to quickly give your ice skates a wipe-down with a microfiber dipped in soapy water and then to dry them out. The next best thing is to just air the boots out.

You may not always manage to clean the skates after each practice session. But airing out the skates is a zero-effort task.

Simply remove the insoles and dry them outside of the boot. I know from experience that this simple trick is the most effective way to keep the stink at bay.

If all you want to do is spray Febreeze or some other scented product on the boots and hope the funk goes away, you’ll sooner than later start noticing a pretty horrific smell wafting from the boots. Don’t nobody warned you, because I just did.

3. Use Vinegar + Water or Alcohol

Diluted white vinegar mixed with water is a cheap but effective way of dealing with funky ice skates. Isopropyl alcohol can achieve the same result.

Another smell elimination trick is to pour a decent amount of good ol baking soda into the boots and let it sit overnight. Dump the odor-saturated baking soda the next day and you’ll love how fresh your ice skates smell.

4. Spray the Inside of the Boots With Scented Lysol

Most of us love nice scents. And you can use them on your skates to make them smell nicer even if this won’t solve the real issue: bacteria and fungi. This is more of a quick and seemingly successful odor removal method. Scents mostly mask the funk rather deal brutally with the cause of the stench.

5. Put Dryer Sheets in the Boots

Dryer sheets are another way of tackling smelly skates. Put some in the boots and they’ll do the job.

6. Freeze the  Ice Skates for 48 Hours

If you’re married or live with Pop or Mom and they own the freezer, ignore this reason. Because you’ll get the “look” if not some real mean talking-to for wanting to contaminate the food in the freezer.

But if you live alone and pay your way, you sure can freeze the odorous ice skates for 48 hours to kill the stench.

Well, I read somewhere that freezing things doesn’t kill the cause of the stench, but there’s heaps of anecdotal evidence supporting that freezing skates gets them gear smelling nice again.

How and Where to Store Clean Ice Skates

Once you’re done cleaning your ice skates, be sure to dry them completely, both the boots and blades. No moisture should be on the blades because moisture encourages rust. And rust dulls blades, making it impossible to skate on them.

One place to store ice skates when you don’t intend to use for a long time is in a dry cardboard box placed in the closet. The closet itself needs to stay cool and dry at all times. Wrap the boots with a soft dry material.

To make sure that the leather portion of the boot stay nice and dry, apply a coat of figure skate shoe polish regularly.

Here’s one more ice skate storage tip: Loosen the laces and get the tounge out to promote air circulation throughout storage.

Putting It All Together

Clean your skates after each skating session by wiping them down with a damp soapy cloth or microfiber. If they’re stained, tackle the spot with any effective product. Then, rinse off the skates and dry them out completely. Finally, store the ice skating boots in a cool moisture-free environment.

As for smells, accept that skate gear will smell at some point. Embrace the funk. But it’s not a totes hopeless situation. Because you can air out the skates, use Lysol or other scented solution, apply white vinegar + water/baking soda, freeze the funky skates, or use dryer sheets.