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How to wash shoes in the washing machine 2024

How to wash shoes

How to wash shoes in the washing machine 2024

Here are some tips for washing shoes in a washing machine:

  • Prepare your machineUse a closed mesh bag and remove the laces and insoles.
  • Choose the right settingsUse a gentle, cold water cycle with a slow or no-spin setting. You can also use liquid laundry detergent.
  • Select the right detergentUse an enzyme-based detergent to break down the bond between the fabric and stains. If the shoes look dull, add a scoop of powdered oxygen-based bleach to the washer drum.
  • Wash the shoesPut the shoes in the washing machine and wash them separately from removable insoles.
  • Wash the insoles by handUse a soft brush to clean the soles and insoles of your shoes by hand and let them air dry. 

You can only put shoes made from synthetic fibers like polyester, cotton, and nylon in the washing machine. 

What setting should I use to wash shoes in the washing machine? Wash your shoes in a gentle, cold water cycle with a slow or no-spin setting. Remember to place them in a closed mesh bag with the laces and insoles removed. This helps preserve the condition of your favorite sneakers and protect your washer from damage.

Washing shoes in a washing machine can be a convenient way to clean them, but it’s important to follow certain guidelines to avoid damaging the shoes or the washing machine. Here’s a general step-by-step guide on how to wash shoes in the washing machine:

Materials Needed:

  1. Shoes
  2. Pillowcase or mesh laundry bag
  3. Mild detergent
  4. Old towels


  1. Check the Care Label:
    • Examine the care label inside the shoes. Some shoes may have specific cleaning instructions or may not be suitable for machine washing.
  2. Remove Insoles and Laces:
    • Take out the insoles and shoelaces from the shoes. Cleaning these separately can be more effective.
  3. Pre-treat Stains:
    • If there are stubborn stains, pre-treat them by gently scrubbing with a soft brush or applying a small amount of mild detergent.
  4. Place Shoes in Pillowcase or Mesh Bag:
    • Put each shoe inside a pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag. This helps to protect the shoes and prevents them from banging around in the machine.
  5. Add Towels:
    • Place some old towels in the machine along with the shoes. This helps balance the load and prevents the shoes from slamming against the sides of the washing machine.
  6. Use Cold Water:
    • Set the washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Hot water can cause shoes to lose their shape or colors to bleed.
  7. Use Mild Detergent:
    • Add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach.
  8. Avoid the Spin Cycle:
    • Skip the spin cycle or set it to the lowest speed to prevent damage to the shoes.
  9. Air Dry:
    • After the wash cycle is complete, remove the shoes from the pillowcase or laundry bag. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally. Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can damage the materials.
  10. Reassemble:
  • Once the shoes are completely dry, reinsert the insoles and re-lace the shoes.


  • Avoid washing certain types of shoes: Some shoes, like those with leather or glued-on decorations, may not be suitable for machine washing.
  • Never use a dryer: Heat from a dryer can warp or shrink shoes. Always air dry them.
  • Stuff shoes with newspaper: To help them retain their shape while drying, stuff them with crumpled newspaper.

Always refer to the specific care instructions for your shoes, and if in doubt, consider hand washing or spot cleaning instead.

When you’re heading out with friends or family, you want to look your best from head to toe. Sometimes, that last bit can be a bit of a challenge – especially if your favorite pair of shoes is looking a little worse for wear.

Fortunately, cleaning shoes doesn’t have to be hard. If your shoes are machine washable, then washing your shoes in a washing machine can help you save time and achieve great results. Not sure how to get started? Our guide can show you how to wash sneakers and other shoes in the washing machine so you can dress to impress.

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Which shoes are machine washable? How to wash shoes

Before you begin cleaning, check your shoes care instructions for specific recommendations. Generally, canvas shoes and athletic shoes made with materials like nylon, cotton and polyester are safe to wash in a washing machine. These materials are durable and shouldn’t be damaged by laundry detergent. 

While there are some shoes that lend themselves well to machine washing, many other types of footwear require hand cleaning or specialized care. Shoes made of materials like leather, suede, rubber and vinyl should not be placed in your washer.

If your shoes are made of delicate material (like silk) or feature beading, embroidery, sequins, or other embellishments, take them to a shoe repair and cleaning specialist to avoid damaging them. Always double check your care instructions to make sure it’s safe to put your shoes through a washer and dryer cycle.

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How to wash shoes in your washer – a step-by-step guide 2024

Washing shoes in a washing machine isn’t difficult, but it does take some preparation. Before you get started, check the care and cleaning instructions for your shoes to ensure they’re washer/dryer safe. Next, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

  • Mesh garment bags
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • A soft brush, like an old toothbrush 
  • A cream cleaner
  • Old towels

Once you have all of your materials together, you can begin cleaning your shoes using the steps below.

  1. First, remove the laces and/or insoles from your shoes.
  2. Your shoelaces can be washed in the washing machine, as long as you put them into a mesh garment bag that is zippered or secured shut. This will keep your laces from getting tangled up in the washing machine or wrapping around moving parts. If your laces are especially dirty, you can clean them manually with laundry detergent and a soft brush.

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  1. Wash your insoles separately unless otherwise stated in the care instructions. Machine washing your insoles could leave them waterlogged, which means they could take days to dry. If your insoles are not machine washable, you can clean and deodorize them by hand. Use a soft brush or rag to gently wipe down your insoles with slightly soapy water. Next, use a sponge to soak up as much excess moisture as possible. Once that’s complete, sprinkle the insoles with baking soda and let them sit overnight to deodorize and soak up the remaining moisture. In the morning, brush off the baking soda. You can place your insoles back in your shoes once they’re completely dry.
  2. If your shoes have excess mud or debris in the soles, use a soft brush to remove as much as possible. You can also use a toothbrush or toothpicks to carefully remove debris from tight areas. Once the dirt is removed, you can also clean away scuff marks by using a rag or soft brush to apply a shoe cleaner. Gently rub the cleaner onto the scuffs, then wipe away with a damp rag.

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  1. After cleaning the soles, place your shoes in a mesh garment bag to keep them from banging around in your washer.
  2. Place the bag into the washing machine, along with a few old towels to help balance the wash load. Make sure the towels are old – newer ones could leach excess dye that could stain your shoes.
  3. Set your washing machine on a delicate, cold water cycle and select a slow or no-spin option. Powder detergent can get stuck in shoes if it doesn’t dissolve properly, so use liquid detergent instead.
  4. Once the wash cycle is complete, remove your shoes and laces from the mesh garment bags and let them air dry. You can stuff your shoes with clean rags or paper towels to absorb excess moisture and help your shoes keep their shape as they dry. If possible, place your shoes in a cool area where they’ll receive lots of sunlight. This can help speed up the drying process.

How To Wash Shoes In A Washing Machine Or By Hand

  1. Your shoes may take a few days to dry. While using a dryer is not recommended unless you have a dryer rack – the heat and tumbling can damage or warp shoes – you can use your appliance if you’re in a pinch. Wrap your shoes in old towels to protect them, and set your dryer to a delicate or air fluff setting. Stop the cycle frequently to check on your shoes and make sure they don’t get damaged by the tumbling or warm air.
  2. Once everything is dry, place your insoles back in your shoes and restring the laces. The only thing left to do is head out with your like-new footwear!

Can You Put Shoes in the Washer?

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Washing your shoes in the washing machine can be simple, but follow these tips from AHS on how to properly wash your shoes. When it comes to your washer, you don’t want to take shortcuts.

There’s nothing quite like a comfortable pair of tennis shoes. With each wear, you break your shoes in, molding them to the shape of your foot and ensuring the perfect fit. However, well-worn shoes do have one not-so-pleasant secret: odor. When your shoes start to smell a little funky, it’s tempting to throw them in the washing machine and let this household appliance do the dirty work for you.

Can you actually clean your shoes in the washing machine? Read on to learn more about putting your shoes in the wash and get some tips to help keep your favorite pair in tip-top condition.

Can you put shoes in the washing machine?

Set your washing machine on a delicate, cold water cycle and select a slow or no-spin option. Powder detergent can get stuck in shoes if it doesn’t dissolve properly, so use liquid detergent instead. Once the wash cycle is complete, remove your shoes and laces from the mesh garment bags and let them air dry.

What is the easiest way to wash shoes?

Instead, clean fabric shoe surfaces by hand with just some dishwashing detergent, warm water, an old toothbrush, and paper towels.

  1. Wipe down the fabric with a dry paper towel to remove any loose surface soil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in two cups of warm water.

How can I wash my shoes without ruining them?

You can keep your sneakers fresh with a few easy cleaning steps:

  1. Dry brush. Remove dirt from the outsole, midsole, and uppers using a dry, soft-bristled shoe brush. …
  2. Make a mild cleaning solution. Mix warm water with a small amount of laundry detergent.
  3. Wash laces. …
  4. frend Wash soles. …
  5. Wash and blot. …
  6. Air dry.

What kind of shoes can you wash?

If your shoes have become extra dirty or smelly, you may be able to refresh them in the washing machine. Canvas or pleather shoes can easily be washed on the gentle cycle and then air-dried. Don’t wash leather shoes, formal shoes (like heels), or boots in the machine. Instead, wash these by hand.

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What Causes Shoes to Smell?

Before explaining how to keep your shoes clean, it’s helpful to understand what causes smelly shoes. Shoes can smell for any number of reasons. First, there’s frequent wear. Shoes absorb sweat from your feet, and if they’re not allowed to dry out properly, you’ll start to notice an unpleasant odor. Try to wear a different pair each day to allow your favorites to properly air out.

Other reasons shoes may smell include not wearing socks (which help absorb sweat), fungus like athlete’s foot, or poor ventilation. Certain materials, such as leather, simply don’t allow your feet to breathe and can trap the sweat the causes odors.

Cleaning Shoes in the Washer

So, now that you know what causes your shoes to stink, it’s time to get back to the main question. Yes, it is possible to put your favorite pair of sneakers in the washing machine, but before you do, there are a few things you need to be aware of:

  • Wash sneakers or tennis shoes – This sounds like common sense, but it’s important to keep in mind. The washing machine is only for certain types of shoes, like tennis shoes or running shoes. Your favorite pair of leather or suede shoes should never go in the washer.
  • Remove laces and insoles – To keep your laces from getting tangled, remove them from the shoes and put them in a separate bag or pillowcase to go in the washer. Your insoles, however, should be washed by hand. Remove them from your shoes and use a solution of warm water and detergent to remove stains and odors. Allow them to air dry.

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  • Add towels – Before you throw your shoes in the washer, add a 4-6 old towels. This will keep the load balanced and help prevent your shoes from banging around while the cycle runs. You may also want to put your sneakers in a mesh laundry bag for extra protection.
  • Choose your cycle wisely – Use liquid detergent and cold water to wash your shoes. You should also choose a cycle with a low spin speed if possible. These are usually the delicate cycles. Using a low spin speed will help ensure your washer stays balanced.
  • Disinfect if needed – To prevent fungus like athlete’s foot, try adding a pine oil disinfectant at the beginning of the wash cycle. The disinfectant needs to be at least 80% pine oil, and you’ll need to run the washer on warm water in order for it to be effective.

Following these tips will help prevent damage to both your shoes and your washing machine.Related Washing Machine Articles: 
– How to Clean a Washing Machine

– Easy to Fix, Common Washer and Dryer Problems

Can They Go in the Dryer? How to wash shoes

After the wash cycle is done, it’s time to dry your shoes. A word of warning, though – don’t put your shoes in the dryer. The high temperatures can damage the glue that holds them together, and it may even cause certain fabrics or materials to shrink. Using the dryer can also permanently warp your shoes, which will affect their fit and performance.

To properly dry your shoes, find a cool and well-ventilated space to let them air dry. Generally, you should only wash your shoes when you can allow enough time for them to air dry, but if you need to speed things up a bit, you can put a fan on them. Stuffing some small towels inside your shoes will help them keep their shape as they dry.

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Alternative Methods How to wash shoes

If you can’t put your shoes in the washer, or you simply don’t want to run the risk of damaging them, don’t fret. There are a few easy ways for you to clean your shoes by hand. Try one of the following methods:

  • Hand wash fabric shoes – You can use a solution made of one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and two cups of warm water to hand wash fabric shoes. Simply scrub the shoes using the solution and a toothbrush, then wipe them off with a paper towel to dry. You can wash your insoles using the same solution.
  • Use vinegar on leather – If you’re dealing with leather shoes, you’ll want to use equal parts cool water and distilled white vinegar. Dip a cloth in the solution, then wipe your shoes down and let them air dry.
  • Deodorize – There are also easy ways to tackle shoe odor. Sprinkle your shoes with baking soda and let them sit overnight to eliminate odors.

Before you wash your shoes, play it safe and check the tags or the manufacturer’s website for recommended cleaning steps. Some shoes simply aren’t made to go in the washing machine, and throwing them in there may ruin them. Likewise, certain materials require specific handwashing methods. If you follow the recommended steps and use the tips above, you’ll keep your favorite pair fitting great and smelling fresh for months to come

How to wash shoes

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Is it OK to wash shoes in washing machine?

Shoes made from canvas, nylon, cotton, and polyester should be fine to throw in the washing machine. Most sneakers and tennis shoes are made from fabrics that can take the rough and tumble rigors of a machine wash. Certain shoes don’t belong in the washer, like those made from leather, suede, rubber, and vinyl.

How do you wash shoes in the washing machine without a mesh bag?

If you don’t have a laundry bag, an empty pillowcase is a good alternative. If you’ve ever tried washing shoes before, you’ll know that it can get a little noisy, so make up the rest of the wash load with towels. These will act as a buffer, helping to stop your shoes banging against the drum during the wash.

Can I wash my Nike shoes in the washing machine?

Frequently Asked Questions. Can You Put Sneakers in the Washing Machine? Nike does not recommend washing shoes in the washing machine. The best way to clean sneakers without damaging them is to brush them with a mild cleaning solution and let them air-dry

Can we dry shoes in washing machine?

Step 5: Dry Your Shoes After the Wash

The drying process requires equal attention after the wash. While air drying is a gentler option, you can machine dry some shoes in delicate settings. Placing dryer balls or towels inside the shoes can help absorb excess moisture.