It happens all the time; you finish your game, put your cleats in your bag, and the following week you take them out for the first time! Cleaning and drying your cleats is the ultimate way to ensure you get the best out of them. And it really does not take that long to keep them in top shape. Here is an important guide to help you keep your cleats in tip-top shape.
After the game: It is important that before you put your cleats in your bag, they should be cleaned off of any substance. If you are playing on a grass surface, bang the cleats together to remove any grass or dirt that may be lodged on the sole. Use a cloth to wipe off any scuffs. Similarly, if playing on turf wipe off any excess dirt.
Bringing them home: After you clean your cleats, it is important to have some sort of a cleat bag to put your cleats in. This will help keep them away from the rest of your gear. When I was younger I just used a plastic bag. Now I use a soccer bag that has plenty of room for my cleats to breath.
When you get home: As soon as you get the chance, it is important to get those cleats out of your bag and ready for the next training session or game. If you have white or light colored cleats this is a very important stage in guaranteeing the color stays sharp. Use a wet rag and wipe the cleat down really well, you only need to lightly wet the rag. An old toothbrush works really to clean off any dirt on your studs/blades.
Drying: After you have the cleats cleaned, roll up some old newspaper and stuff them inside the cleat nice and tight. The Newspaper helps dry the inside. Place the cleats outside, in a dry area away from sunlight. Sunlight will only dry the leather of the cleats and make them crack. It sometimes helps to have them in an area where there is a gust of wind.
Storing for the next time: After you have washed and dried your cleats, use some Chelsea leather food to soften the leather. If you have black cleats, you can also use some black Shoe polish. You should now have a clean pair of cleats that are ready to go back into a shoe bag!
FACT: Cleaning and drying your cleats can DOUBLE the time that they last! That means only having to buy one pair instead of two!