How to wash shoes in the washing machine (2024)

Can you put shoes in the washing machine? Yes! Many of us don’t realise that there are lots of different types of shoes that can be washed in the machine, helping to save you time and money. Whether you’ve enjoyed a muddy walk through the park, or your kids have come home from school with mucky trainers from their P.E. lesson, muddy shoes may have a little more life left in them, so don’t throw them out just yet. We’ve got everything you need to know about how to wash shoes in the washing machine.

Should I wash shoes in the washing machine?

Whether or not you should wash your shoes in the machine really depends on what your shoes are made of. You can determine whether or not your shoes are washable by checking the care label, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to machine wash any shoes that are made from animal-based fabrics, like leather or suede. Water can easily damage these materials, so it’s best to use cleaning products that have been specially designed for these fabrics, or you could take your shoes to a professional cleaner.

Likewise, shoes made from delicate materials like satin or silk, or those that are embellished should be cleaned with specialist care. However, there are many other types of shoes that can be safely washed in the machine.

It’s easy to wash trainers in the washing machine, and kids’ shoes, because they’re often made from textiles such as cotton, nylon, and polyester and these materials are able to withstand a machine wash. Some PU or PVC shoes may also be machine washable, so be sure to check the care label to see if you can save time here. After all, why labour over the sink hand washing shoes if you could simply pop them in the machine? Surely the time is better spent with your family or enjoying some much needed ‘you time’?

If the care label of the footwear states ‘hand wash only’ then remember that you may still be able to machine wash your shoes on a ‘hand wash’ setting. Just proceed cautiously.

Washing shoes in the washing machine: A step-by-step guide

Here’s your simple guide on how to wash shoes in the machine quickly and easily:

Step 1: Read the label

Before doing anything else, always read the care label on your shoes to see whether or not they can be washed. The label will suggest the best way to wash shoes based on the type of fabric they’re made from. If your shoes cannot be washed fully (either in the machine or by hand) then an old toothbrush can be used to remove obvious surface dirt. You may also be able to use a damp cloth as an alternative to washing.

Step 2: Prepare your shoes

To prepare your shoes for the washing machine, remove the laces and scrub any loose dirt from the surface – you can use an old toothbrush to get into smaller areas like eyelets and a larger, stiff-bristled brush for the surface of the shoe itself. For more obvious or stubborn dirt, hold the shoes beneath a running tap to remove excess debris and stains. Taking time to prepare your shoes like this will help the washing machine do its job effectively and efficiently.

Step 3: Protect your shoes (and your ears!)

It’s a good idea to pop your shoes, and your laces, inside a mesh laundry bag to protect them from becoming snagged on the inside of the drum. 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.

Step 4: Prepare your machine

Rather than opting for a warm wash, keep the water temperature at a cooler 30 degrees to prevent the colours of your shoes running or fading. This is especially important if you’re washing PU or PVC, as you don’t want to damage the coating. Use a good colour detergent, like Persil Colour Washing Capsules. Pop one cap into the drum before adding your towels and then your shoes.

Want more information about washing shoes in the machine? Just keep scrolling...

Step 5: Air dry

It’s a good idea to air dry your shoes, rather than tumble drying them. The high heats in the tumble dryer can cause some of the glue to melt, leaving your shoes vulnerable to breaking. Put your shoes in a warm place, and pop some scrunched up newspaper inside. This not only helps to absorb excess moisture, but also makes sure your shoes dry in the correct shape so you know they’ll be as comfortable as ever.

Whether we’re racing from one meeting to the next or just trying to keep up with the kids, our shoes are certainly put through their paces and we bet you’ve come across some pretty unusual stains. Whatever your oddest shoe stain is, our handy washing tips can help you out and there’s even more advice on stain removal in theWashing Tips & Trickssection.

How to wash shoes in the washing machine (2024)


How to wash shoes 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.

How many shoes can you wash in the washing machine? ›

HOW MANY SHOES CAN BE WASHED AT ONCE? You can typically wash 2-3 pairs of shoes at a time, depending on the size of your washing machine. Make sure each pair of shoes is in its own laundry bag, and add an additional amount of Laundry Detergent per pair (read all detergent labels.)

How long to soak shoes when washing? ›

Fill up a basin with cool water and Soak: depending on the shoes, you may be able to submerge them. Make sure there's enough room for the water to freely move around the shoes. If they have leather or suede pieces, stick to spot cleaning the fabric areas. After 15 minutes (or more), remove the shoes.

Can shoes be washed inside washing machine? ›

Generally speaking, shoes made of canvas, nylon, cotton and polyester can safely be washed in a washing machine; however, those made with leather, suede, rubber or vinyl should not be placed in the washer.

How to wash shoes in washing machine without 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.

What soap to use in washing shoes? ›

Any liquid dish soap will work for cleaning your shoes. Use about 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) of soap so the water is sudsy but still clear. Stir the cleaning solution so it's evenly mixed. Then, using a soft cloth or toothbrush, gently scrub the shoes with the mixture, working in circular motions.

What do you soak shoes in before washing them? ›

Pour a tablespoon of baking soda into each shoe and shake gently to distribute the powder. Tackle spots and stains before laundering by soaking them directly with stain-removing spray. Place shoes and laces in a mesh laundry bag for delicates. An old pillowcase is a good substitute if you don't have a mesh bag.

How do you dry shoes after washing? ›

Wrap a towel or sheet around the outside: Wrap something soft and absorbent around the outside of your shoes to dry the outer areas. Place in a dry area: Keep your shoes indoors, away from direct sunlight, in an area that is dry and well-ventilated.

How often should you wash your shoes in the washing machine? ›

"The time frame usually varies from person to person, but if you're wearing [the same] shoes every day for the gym, for work, etcetera, you may find that you need to clean your shoes... every two to four weeks," says board-certified podiatrist Mohammad Rimawi.

How to get odor out of shoes? ›

Spray Disinfectant

6 Another method: Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spritz your shoes. Like disinfectant spray, rubbing alcohol kills bacteria. 7 Just be sure not to oversaturate your shoes with rubbing alcohol and other disinfectants. A light mist will do.

Can shoes go in a dryer? ›

You can probably use the dryer if the shoes are made of cotton, canvas, nylon, or polyester. Avoid machine drying animal-based fabrics, such as leather or suede since it dries the fabric and can make it crack. You may not want to dry shoes with sequins or other embellishments because they may fall off.

How long does it take shoes to dry after washing machine? ›

Make sure the air is blowing on or at the shoes. It doesn't even have to be into the shoes, although that works best. Just getting the heat and air movement will help them dry quickly, as in less than 12 hours. Wet shoes at night turn into dry shoes in the morning.

What is the fastest way to clean your shoes? ›

Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to a bowl of water then dip in a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush and use it to gently scrub the shoe uppers. Follow with a clean, wet paper towel. Repeat until all soap suds and dirt are gone. Let air dry indoors.

Do you dry shoes after washing? ›

If you need to wash your tennis shoes, you can put them in the dryer if you want to speed up the drying process. You should remember a few things to keep your shoes looking and feeling the best. Depending on what materials your shoes are made of will determine the drying process.

Can shoes go in the dryer? ›

Why You Shouldn't Rely on Your Dryer. Not only will your shoes get beat up as they tumble around the dryer, but the heat can also cause your shoes to shrink. Since the perfect fit makes the difference between a supported run and a painful one, you don't want to risk any change to the shape or fit of your shoes.

Can you put shoes in a front load washer? ›

Remove the soles and wipe them clean, as sometimes these cannot be washed. Wash your shoes with something else, like a towel, so the shoes don't bounce around and cause any damage to your washing machine. Use a front loader washing machine if possible – they're much gentler than most top loaders.

Can you put Jordans in the washer? ›

Nope. It's much safer for your trainers – and your washing machine – if you hand wash them. Putting your Jordans in the washing machine could damage the glue in them, eventually causing them to fall apart (which would be a bit embarrassing if you've popped out to the shops).

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Stevie Stamm

Last Updated:

Views: 6031

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Stevie Stamm

Birthday: 1996-06-22

Address: Apt. 419 4200 Sipes Estate, East Delmerview, WY 05617

Phone: +342332224300

Job: Future Advertising Analyst

Hobby: Leather crafting, Puzzles, Leather crafting, scrapbook, Urban exploration, Cabaret, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is Stevie Stamm, I am a colorful, sparkling, splendid, vast, open, hilarious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.