How to wash shoes in washing machine? [A Detailed guide]

Keeping shoes clean is quite a task, but in all honesty, it is simple and easy. Cleaning shoes does require some amount of caution, but no one out here is washing shoes every day. Some of us might be wondering if washing shoes in the washing machine is a good idea and how to wash shoes in the washing machine; the answer is ‘It depends on the shoes!’.

Shoe cleaning in the washing machine can be done provided the care instructions on the care label on your shoes suggest that you can wash your shoes in a washing machine. While some types of athletic shoes, running shoes, canvas shoes, sneakers, can be cleaned in a washer, some materials have to avoid machine washing like leather shoes and suede shoes, satin, heels, etc.

In this article let us discuss in detail the top tips when it comes to shoe cleaning in a washing machine, the pros and cons, and the kinds of shoes that can be washed in a machine. Let’s get started.

Is it safe to wash shoes in the washing machine?

Shoes In Washing Machine

Before you wash sneakers that you use on a daily basis or your most expensive leather shoes, always remember to read the care instructions on the care label. Whether you are going to toss your shoes in a washing machine or hand wash them depends on the care instructions required.

Materials like nylon, cotton, polyester, and canvas have certain durability for machine washing. On the other hand, leather, satin, and heels require attention even for hand wash.

Using the washer for shoe cleaning will save time and can be done worry-free if you own a mesh laundry bag or mesh bag and some liquid detergent. As long as you use the right wash cycle, a gentle liquid laundry detergent, and cold water to wash your shoes, we trust you are safe

How to wash your shoes in the washing machine without ruining them? [A Step By Step Guide]

how to wash shoes in washing machine

To clean shoes in the washer, here is a step-by-step guide that will help you and make things easy. These are the standard procedure used to wash shoes and we hope you will find these steps in the article helpful.

Read the care label:

Never forget to pay attention to the care instructions on the care label. They carry vital information on how to wash shoes and about the drying process. Based on the type of shoes that you own, the washing process might differ.

Athletic shoes, running shoes, canvas shoes, sneakers, can be washed using this method. To wash sneakers on a regular basis and keep them clean, you can most certainly follow these steps. Suede shoes and leather materials cannot be washed in the machine.

To confirm, take a close look at the care label to understand their cleaning method.

1. Laces and insoles

Insoles and laces cannot be ignored while washing shoes. Most times we forget to wash insoles and laces separately. We tend to wash sneakers along with the laces and insoles stuck inside. There is a reason to remove insoles and laces before you toss the shoes into a washing machine in the mesh bag.

Be it canvas shoes or other athletic shoes with laces, there is a good chance that they might run colour and ruin the other body of the shoe. Laces are also capable of getting tangled during the wash cycle in the machine.

Likewise, insoles may get ruined during the wash cycle. Hence it is advised to remove the insoles (if they are removable), even when you wash your shoes by hand. You can wash them in a separate mesh bag in another cycle or by hand.

2. Stains and dirt

You must concentrate on stain removal before the shoes go into the machine. Remove dirt from the soles, areas under the insoles, and other hard-to-clean spots by hand cleaning.

You can remove dirt from soles and insoles by using an old toothbrush. The small bristles on an old toothbrush can easily remove loose dirt. Once you have removed the loose dirt from the soles and other areas of the shoe, move on to stain removal.

A combination of natural ingredients like baking soda with liquid laundry detergent to treat stains. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda with a few drops of liquid detergent and water in a sufficient amount to make a paste. Scrub gently using the old toothbrush on the tough stains and allow this baking soda and liquid laundry detergent mixture to soak in for 10 minutes and then rinse or wipe off with a clean damp rag.

3. Wash cycle

One of the first things to remember before you turn on the machine is that always select a gentle cycle to wash shoes. A front load washer is more gentle in washing in comparison to a top loader. The materials of the shoes have to be dealt with care while cleaning and hence select a gentle cycle as the wash cycle.

Another step to avoid in the machine is the hot wash. When you use a hot wash to keep shoes clean you will damage the glue used in the shoe. Even while hand cleaning shoes, remember to avoid hot water to prevent melting the glue.

Using the right laundry detergent is also important. A liquid detergent is a far better choice than a powder detergent. Liquid laundry detergent will dissolve properly. Use a mild liquid laundry detergent to machine wash the shoes; strictly keeping away bleach, white vinegar, fabric softener.

You can also add in old towels along with the wash load. Adding old towels inside the washer will help the washer to balance the weight. Toss the shoes into a mesh laundry bag. The laces can also be washed in a mesh bag separately. Select the gentle cycle with cold water on the machine and turn it On.

4. Drying process

To keep the shoes dry, the common response is to use the dryer to rush the drying process. However, the high heat from the dryer is not ideal for the shoes. Air-dry the shoes under a fan or sun to avoid high direct heat. If you want to use the dryer rather than air-drying them, read the instructions again.

Some machines have a dryer model that has racks in them to dry shoes in a washing machine with action similar to an air dryer. You can also stuff in a damp rag or bits of old clothes inside the shoe to absorb excess moisture. When the excess moisture is removed you can air-dry the shoes faster.

What shoes can you not put in the washing machine?

Satin, leather, heels, and suede shoes cannot be washed in the washing machine. Before you put any shoe in the washer, always read the care label. Even for basic materials like cotton, you must read the instructions before you wash them.

How do you get rid of smelly shoes?

dirty shoes

Getting rid of smelly shoes is easy. Natural deodorizers like baking soda, white vinegar, and tea tree oil can be used to remove odor from an odor.

Mix equal parts of baking soda or white vinegar with water and add a few drops of tea tree oil to it. Store this in a spray bottle and spray it into the soles, insoles, and washed shoes. You can allow this to sit overnight.

Keep the shoes clean at all times after use. Use an old toothbrush to remove dirt and scuff marks before you enter your home. Wash shoes in long warm water rinse cycle when necessary. Warm water can help to kill the bacteria in the shoes, hot water shrinks the shoes.

Along with your warm water wash, you can also add a small amount of vinegar or fabric softener (a very small amount!) to your regular liquid laundry detergent. This will also help to remove the odor from shoes.

Remove washed shoes from the washer immediately. Do not let a damp shoe sit overnight. Stuff in old clothes inside the shoe to remove as much moisture as you can. Replace the damp clothes with fresh old clothes, repeat the action to ensure you air-dry the shoes completely. When you air-dry shoes, the direct sunlight will also kill the germs that are left untreated.

1. How do you dry sneakers after washing them?

As aforementioned, you can stuff in bits of old clothes inside the shoe to remove excess water content and then air-dry the sneaker.

2. Is it better to wash shoes by hand?

Yes! It is better and gentler to hand wash a shoe rather than to wash it in a washer, even if you are adding the shoe in the mesh bag before you toss them in the washer.

3. How many pairs of shoes can you put in a washing machine?

You can add 2 to 3 pairs of shoes to the machine for a single wash load. It is suggested to add in some old towels or old clothes to balance the load and weight.

4. Can you wash leather sneakers?

Leather sneakers can be washed in the machine provided the care label says you can do so. Follow the advice on the label strictly.

5. What is the best washing machine setting to use when cleaning shoes?

A gentle wash cycle with cold or mildly warm water and less spin time is the best setting to wash shoes without damage.

6. Can you use a hair dryer to dry the shoes?

You can use a hair dryer to hasten the drying time, but only for a minute or 2. Using direct heat on a shoe for a long will cause shrinking and melt the glue in the shoe.

Wrapping Up

That’s a wrap to the article. We trust the found the article helpful and now know how to wash shoes in washing machine without harming them. Share with us other tips and tricks you follow to make washing shoes easy.

About the Author

Neha Pik

Neha Tiwari, Member at

Neha is the one who is aware of current trends and best practices in our desi community. She also helps and educates people looking for a solution to their problems via online. Her work has been published on countless blogs and notable magazines.