Can You Wash Shoes In the Washer?

Does your favorite pair of shoes are dirty and need a wash? If you are wondering whether you can wash your shoes in the washer, let me tell you the answer. Yes, you can! But not all shoes are washable. 

Washing shoes is not so complicated. If you are confused and completely clueless about how to get started, we have got you all covered!

Here, in this article, we will be explaining the complete procedure of washing shoes in a washer and everything you need to know about washing shoes. 

Read on to find out what type of shoes are washable, some valuable tips for washing shoes in a washer, mistakes to avoid, and much more.

Can You Wash Shoes In the Washer

Can I Put My Shoes in the Washing Machine?

Whether to wash your shoes in a washing machine or not largely depends on the material used in the shoes. You can simply check the label to find whether it is safe to machine wash your shoes or to try some other method.

Canvas shoes, trainers, and kids’ shoes which are made up of materials like cotton, nylon, and polyester, are generally suitable for getting washed in a washer. These materials are usually not ruined by cleaning detergents and are also durable.

On the other hand, we see that shoes made from stuff like animal-based fabric, rubber, leather, and suede cannot be put in a washer and require hand washing with specialized care.

Be careful if your shoes feature some delicate embellishment such as embroidery, sequin, beading, or something with silk as they are prone to damage.

We would suggest you do not wash them at home and take them to some cleaning specialist.

Can Sneakers Go In the Washer?

Can Sneakers Go In the machine

For runners, the most important concern is about their sneakers. Yes, sneakers can be easily washed and cleaned using a washing machine! The process is quite simple, which we will discuss later in the article.

Is It Safe to Put Shoes in the Dryer?

The simple answer is never! After washing the shoes, you must not put them in the dryer for drying purposes. The high temperature in the dryer can damage the glue that binds the shoe together. Moreover, some types of fabrics can also get shrunk by this.

A Step by Step Guide for Washing Shoes in a Washer

If washing shoes is not so complicated, then it’s not that simple, too, like just throwing the shoes in the machine and letting it do the rest.

There are some preparatory steps to be taken and a proper procedure to be followed.

Firstly make sure that you have the below-listed things around you.

  • Liquid laundry detergent (we suggest you get a liquid one as it does not leave any residue behind like powdered detergents)
  • Mesh bags or some old pillowcase
  • Old towels
  • An old, soft toothbrush

You may also need some other things too, but they might not be necessary.

Step 1: Remove Laces and Insoles

Remove the laces from your shoes. If you can remove your insoles, put them out as well to clean them separately.

Check the label to see if the insoles are machine washable. If not, you can do it manually. You can clean the insoles with an old toothbrush.

  •  Rub them lightly with soapy water.
  •  Take a sponge and absorb the moisture.
  •  After that, sprinkle some baking soda to deodorize and leave them overnight.
  •  You can brush off the baking soda and put the insole back in the shoes the next day.

For laces, put them in a mesh bag before tossing them in the washer. This would prevent them from tangling up in some moving part of the washing machine. 

Step 2: Clean the Mud and Stains from the Shoes

If your shoes are way too dirty and completely immersed in mud, you must first clean the excess debris manually with warm soapy water. 

You can use a damp rag or a brush for scrubbing. For corners and tiny spaces, you may use a toothpick to get the muck out. 

If there are some stubborn stains, you must clean them out manually before putting the shoes in the washer.

Unless you have leather shoes, you can remove most of the stains by dipping a cotton swab in white vinegar and wiping it on the surface. 

For leather shoes, mix water in the vinegar at half ratio and use that mixture to clean the shoes.

If you have white sneakers to wash, the recipe is a bit different.

  •  In 2 tsp of laundry detergent, add 2 tsp of baking soda. 
  •  Dilute it with 4-5 tsp of water. 
  •  Take a brush and apply it to the stained surface. 
  •  Leave it for several hours and then scrub it with a nylon brush. 

After this comes to the main thing which is explained in step 3.

Step 3: Put the Shoes in a Mesh Bag and Throw Them in the Washer!

Take some old towels and ensure that they are color-fast. These towels are to be stuffed in the washer along the shoes to balance the wash load.

Now place your shoes in a mesh bag and put them in the washer. Zip up the bag or tie a knot.

This would prevent the shoes from banging around the inner space of the washer while getting washed.

Step 4: Set the Washing Machine

After putting the shoes in the machine, here are the points to note.

  • Put the machine on a gentle wash cycle 
  • Opt for cold water instead of warm water. Warm water can potentially damage the glue that holds the shoe together. 
  • You may select a slow spin option or simply set it no spin. 
  • Add the liquid detergent. 

Step 5: Dry the Shoes

Once the wash cycle is complete, it is time to dry! 

  • Take out the mesh bag from the washer and pull out your shoes.
  • To dry your shoes, you can always put them in a well-ventilated area and allow them to air-dry.
  • To fasten up the process, you may stuff in a small towel inside the shoe so that it absorbs maximum moisture. In addition, this would greatly help the shoes in retaining their shape while they dry.
  • The drying process may take several days as well. So you should always wash your shoes when you have ample time before having to wear them.
  • Once it’s all dried, you can place the insoles and laces back.

And your shoes are now ready to go!

Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Shoes in a Washer

We have made each step clear enough, but here is a quick summary of the things to avoid at any cost while washing.

  1. Shoes made up of leather and suede are never to be put in a washing machine.
  2. Always use cold water for washing shoes. Warm water can ruin the fabric and also may allow the color to bleed.
  3. Remove the insoles and shoelaces before putting the shoes in the washer. Laces are to be put in another mesh bag and washed separately, while insoles are to be cleaned by hand.
  4. Use liquid detergent.
  5. Lastly, not put the shoes in a dryer and always prefer air-dry.



And that’s it! Washing shoes is not that difficult but does require some extra effort. 

Now whether you are playing with your kids on muddy ground or wearing your favorite shoes at work every day, you do not need to worry about the stains.

I hope by now you are all set to kick off the dirt and stains resting on your shoes!

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Steven Settles Author

Steven Settles is an ISCET-certified master in appliance repair. He has aced the National Appliance Service Technician Certification Exam, showcasing his exceptional diagnostic and repair skills. With an in-depth understanding of the latest repair technologies and a keen eye on evolving industry standards, Steven is a go-to expert for any appliance issue.

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