cleaning shoes in washing machine

How to Wash Shoes in a Washing Machine

Washing dirty shoes

Your brand-new spotless shoes quickly turn into wrinkled soiled shoes; that is, if you don’t take real good care of them. And let’s be real, there’s many more important things to concern yourself with than some footwear. Thus, when you need your shoes most, you find them quite (ehm) unpleasant to look at. Well, don’t fear! A complete guide on how to wash your shoes in a washing machine is here!

Are your shoes, machine washable?

Unfortunately, you can’t just throw anything in a washing machine. Some shoes are just not meant to be with water, e.g., formal shoes. Leather, suede, rubber and vinyl shoes should not be anywhere near water. The washing machine will ruin them. So, you’ll have to clean them by other means. On the other hand, shoes made with materials like nylon, cotton and polyester, e.g., athletic and canvas shoes, can be easily washed in a washing machine. You can also check your shoe care instructions.

Now, if your shoes are machine washable, proceed.


What you’ll need

  • cleaning shoes in washing machinenon gel toothpaste
  • a toothbrush
  • laundry detergent
  • a pillow cover/mesh bag
  • 2-3 Large old bath towels

First things first, take out the laces and insoles. If the laces and/or insoles are dirty, you can clean them separately with some toothpaste/detergent and a toothbrush.

Now, before you wash your shoes in the washing machine, first grab a wet towel/cloth and wipe the excess dirt off the shoes. After that, squeeze about half the amount of toothpaste you use on your teeth onto a toothbrush and brush the soles of the shoe; or the whole shoe if need be. You can also dip your toothbrush in soapy water instead of toothpaste, if you prefer that. And finally, after around 10 minutes, wipe off the toothpaste residue with a wet towel or cloth.

Put your shoes in a mesh bag so that they don’t tumble around in the washer. If you don’t have a mesh bag, you can use a pillow cover. Make sure to tie the end of a pillow cover after putting the shoes inside. Alright, now you are ready to wash your shoes in the washing machine!

How to Wash your Shoes in a Washing Machine step-by-step

Okay! It’s time to get to washing your shoes:

  1. First put 2-3 large towels into the washing machine to provide padding for the shoes. Keep in mind, you’re washing dirty shoes, so don’t use new and/or white towels.
  2. Put your shoes (which are inside a mesh bag/pillow cover) in the washing machine on top of the towels.
  3. Time to add the detergent; use liquid detergent. Why? Because well, it’s simply better for this sort of thing. If you have to use powder detergent, then make sure the powder is dissolved completely, otherwise it can get stuck inside the fabric of the shoe which looks even worse than dirt! (unless the shoes are white, that is)
  4. Now, let’s get into the settings. You want to use cold water rather than warm or hot water because warm water can mess with the shoe glue, particularly in the toe area. Put it on delicate and select the low-spin/no spin option; mostly because it’s unnecessary.
  5. Let the washing machine do its thing.
  6. After the wash cycle is complete, take your wet shoes out and leave them to dry out in sunlight.
  7. This might take 5 hours to a whole day. If you’re in a hurry, you can use the dryer; although, I would not recommend it as it can damage the shoes. You can set it on delicate if you really need your shoes dried quickly.

After all that, your shoes must be looking alot better than before! You might even have the feeling of wearing brand new shoes again!

Well, now you know how to wash your shoes but, let’s be real, this is not a process you would like to repeat often. That’s why you should allocate some of your time for some shoe care. Keep your shoes in places dust can’t reach. After you have used them, be sure to wipe them with a cloth so that the dirt doesn’t get into the fabric. And so on. It’s a little tedious but it pays off in the end. Though, you will still have to wash your shoes every now and then; and that’s just life.

Enjoying your new clean shoes

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