How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine

How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine

Washing machine is a common household appliance that cleans our clothes efficiently, but did you know that it can also be a handy tool to keep your shoes looking fresh and new? Yes, you heard it right; you can machine wash your shoes!

From the everyday sneaker to your favorite pair of running shoes, a good wash can remove stubborn stains and give them a renewed lease of life.

But doing so requires more than just tossing them into the machine. It's crucial to follow the right steps to ensure they come out clean, without compromising their fit and comfort.

So, how exactly do you use the washing machine to keep your shoes looking good for longer? Let's take a look at some simple steps to follow.

What Types of Shoes are Safe to Wash in the Washing Machine?

Canvas, nylon, cotton, and polyester shoes are typically considered safe to wash in a washing machine. Athletic shoes made from these materials can handle a good scrubbing. You can also put canvas or pleather shoes in the washing machine.

However, avoid putting pleather shoes in the dryer, as pleather shoes can easily be damaged by heat. It's important to protect your shoes during the washing process. One way to do this is by placing them in a mesh bag or pillowcase.

On the other hand, certain types of shoes should not go in the washing machine. Dress shoes made from leather or suede are not machine-washable. The same goes for leather shoes and sandals.

These materials can warp or shrink in the machine, ruining your shoes. Always check the care label on your shoes before washing them.

Read related article: How To Clean Shoes With Baking Soda

Step-by-step Guide to Washing Shoes in the Washing Machine

Tools Needed:

  • Soft brush or old toothbrush
  • Sponge
  • Old towels for stuffing

Cleaning Supplies:

  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Mesh garment bag
  • Shoe cleaner

Read related article: How To Clean White Fabric Shoes the Right Way

Step 1: Remove Laces and Insoles

Before washing your shoes, remove the laces and insoles. This will ensure a more thorough cleaning and prevent any damage to these detachable parts. You can wash these separately by hand or in the machine.

Step 2: Prepare the Shoes for Washing

You can pre-wash the shoes and laces with a cleaning solution made of warm water, mild laundry detergent, and baking soda. Dip a sponge or soft brush in the solution and gently scrub any visible dirt or stains. Scuff marks on white shoes can also be removed with a baking soda paste so make sure to try that out. You can use an old toothbrush for this purpose.

Step 3: Scrub the Soles of the Shoes

Don't forget to scrub the soles of your shoes, as these often accumulate dirt and grime. Converse shoes made from canvas often have soles that can be easily removed for washing. Soak the soles in warm water and scrub with a sponge or brush.

For tougher stains, use a shoe cleaner specifically designed for the type of material your shoes are made from.

Step 4: Stuff Old Towels Inside the Shoes

Help cushion the shoes by stuffing old towels inside them. This practice is crucial as shoes can easily be washed when they have some form of internal support. More importantly, the towels will help the shoes retain their shape during the wash, preventing them from getting deformed.

Step 5: Place Shoes and Laces in the Mesh Laundry Bag

If you want to put shoes in the washing machine, it is important to have a mesh bag. However, if you don't have one, an old pillowcase is a good alternative. Once you have your mesh bag or pillowcase ready, it's time to place the shoes in.

Put the shoes in the mesh bag together with the laces. This method will help the washing machine work more efficiently and protect your shoes from any potential damage. Be careful to put the shoes in the washing machine correctly; if not placed properly, they can bang around, causing damage to both the shoes and the machine.

Also, include the shoelaces in the bag. They need cleaning too, and this way, they won't get tangled or lost.

Step 6: Choose the Right Settings

Once you put the shoes in a mesh bag, set your washing machine on a gentle cycle. This will keep the shoes clean without the risk of damaging them. It's important to avoid using bleach, as this could discolor or weaken the material of the shoes.

Instead, use a mild cleaning agent like dish soap or laundry detergent. These products are less harsh, making them safe for washing shoes. Remember, the aim is to clean your shoes, not harm them, so choosing the right settings and cleaning solutions is key.

Read related article: Can You Waterproof Mesh Running Shoes?

Step 7: Air Dry Your Shoes

After washing, the next step is to air-dry your shoes properly. To begin, remove your shoes from the washing machine and take them out of the mesh bag. Gently shake them to remove any excess water. You can also use a towel to absorb excess moisture from the surface of the shoes.

To expedite the drying process and help the shoes keep their shape, stuff them with newspaper or dry towels. The paper or towels will absorb the dampness inside the shoes and help them dry faster. Remember to change the stuffing every few hours until the shoes are completely dry.

Next, put your shoes in a high, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This is important because excessive heat can cause your shoes to shrink or warp. If you want to speed up the drying process, you can position a fan to blow on the shoes.

Finally, let the shoes sit overnight for a thorough drying. It's essential to ensure that the shoes are completely dry before wearing them again to prevent the growth of bacteria and odor.

If you follow these steps correctly, you should be able to rinse, wash, and dry your shoes without any issues.

Useful Tips When Cleaning and Washing Your Shoes

Here are some handy tips to keep in mind when washing your shoes, either in a washing machine or by hand:

  • Pre-treat Stains: If your shoes have any visible stains, pre-treat them with a paste made from baking soda and warm water before washing them. This will help loosen the stains and make them easier to wash out.
  • Soapy Water: For shoes made of leather, clean them using a damp cloth and soapy water instead of washing them in a machine. This method is gentle and won't damage the material.
  • Drying the Shoes: Always air dry your shoes after washing them. Heat sources can warp and shrink the material, damaging them beyond repair.
  • Clean Shoes Regularly: Don't wait until your shoes are filthy to clean them. Cleaning your shoes every time they get dirty can prolong their lifespan.
  • Avoid the Dryer: Never put your shoes in a dryer. The heat can ruin the material and cause them to shrink.
  • Use Old Toothbrushes: Old toothbrushes are great for scrubbing off stubborn dirt and grime from the soles of your shoes. They can also reach areas that a cloth or sponge might miss.
  • Test First: If you're unsure if your shoes can handle a machine wash, test a small, hidden area first to see how the material responds.

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Will Shoes Break the Washing Machine?

No, shoes are unlikely to damage the washing machine if done correctly. It's recommended to put your shoes in a mesh garment bag or an old pillowcase before placing them in the washing machine. This can protect both the shoes and the washing machine from potential damage.

Do Shoe Shrink When Washed in the Washing Machine?

Yes, shoes may shrink when washed in the washing machine, especially if they are washed on a hot water cycle. Heat can cause some materials to contract, which can make your shoes smaller. To avoid this, it's best to wash your shoes on a cold or warm setting. Always check the care label on your shoes for specific washing instructions.

Can I Put Shoes Together with Clothing in the Washing Machine?

Yes, it is possible to put shoes and clothing together in the washing machine. However, you should avoid overloading the machine. Too many items can cause the machine to work less efficiently and potentially result in damage. If possible, it's recommended to wash shoes separately. This can prevent them from staining your clothes, especially if the shoes are colored.

What Settings Should I Use?

When washing your shoes in the machine, it's best to use the delicate or gentle cycle with cold water. This setting is usually designed for items that need a softer touch. Using cold water can prevent color fading and helps to prevent your shoes from shrinking. Also, opt for a slow or no-spin option if available. High-speed spinning can potentially damage your shoes or the washing machine.

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