How to Wash Shoes in Washing Machine

Washing shoes in a washing machine is fast and may be effective, especially for those difficult stains acquired from your running session.

For those runners who lack the time or just simply want to try out washing their shoes in the washing machine, it is advisable to follow these tips to avoid damage. But first, is it advisable to wash your shoes in the machine?

How to Wash Shoes in Washing Machine

Can you wash your running shoes in a washing machine?

It is one of the questions we ask ourselves when we see dirty shoes. After using your sports shoes, there are always spots that seem impossible to clean. But machine-washing shoes is not the most suitable or recommended by shoe manufacturers. This is because this process can actually damage the shoes, peel off the soles or crack the skin.

Some shoes are not made to be put in the washing machine. The glues and materials with which they are made of can deteriorate. Some shoes are made of leather such as nappa, suede or nubuck or combined. You should wash them less in a washing machine. And when you wash them, you should not wash them with excessive water. This can damage the shoe even more or make it fade.

However, if you have no other options than to machine-wash them, and you do not want the life of your sneakers to end up in the washing machine. We’ll leave you some instructions and steps on how to perfectly wash them in the washing machine.

Steps to wash shoes in a washing machine

Follow the steps below:

  • Remove the laces and insoles before putting the shoe in the washing machine. This is because the laces can go down the drain and the insoles may not be thoroughly washed.
  • Remove the dirt that the shoes carry before putting them in the washing machine. This will prevent the shoes from becoming more soiled or that the gum, mud or dirt water seeps through the washer. To do this, use a soft bristle brush, such as a toothbrush or nail brush with water and detergent.
  • For the shoelaces, use a mesh bag or grid so that they are not filtered by the washing machine.
  • The washing machine’s program for washing shoes must be on a short spin or without spin and with cold water. Without spinning, you will prevent them from hitting the washing machine a lot and damaging the shoes or the machine.

One of the most important things after washing the shoes is to let them air dry without being near a source of heat or sun-drying directly. The heat causes the glue to peel off and the sun can cause the soles to turn yellow. For the same reason, the dryer should not be used either.

5 steps to clean shoes manually

  1. Remove the laces and insoles, just as you should do before putting them in the washing machine. You will have to clean both the laces and the insoles separately. With a soft brush, remove dirt from the soles. This is another step that is also done when washing them in a washing machine.
  2. To clean the upper part of the shoe, make a mixture of warm water and laundry detergent, and apply it with the sponge or cloth. Place more emphasis on dirtier areas.
  3. With another clean sponge that is moistened with warm water, remove the excess soap that has been left on the shoe.
  4. Let the sneakers dry in the air, without any heat source nearby, or directly in the sun. Also, do not use dryers.
  5. If there is any stain left, you can repeat these steps again.

How to clean the shoelaces and insoles

You can wash the shoelaces in a washing machine. But follow the instructions above, that is, inside a cloth or mesh bag for washing machine. Another option is to wash them with soap and warm water mixture and with a brush.

To clean the insoles of the shoes, follow the steps of cleaning shoes by hand. That is, apply the mixture of warm water and soap with a sponge or brush and then rinse with another sponge. Finally, air-dry them completely before putting them on. In addition to cleaning them, you will reduce the smell and dirt they have taken on with use.

How to clean suede or nubuck shoes

There are sneakers that have nubuck areas or are completely made of suede. For this type of skins, you will have to use ammonia and/or vinegar.

Brush off the dust and dirt with a soft bristle brush. For those difficult spots that remain on the shoe, apply a mixture of warm water with ammonia if the color of the shoe is light or with vinegar if the color is dark, with a brush. Remove the rest of the mixture with a brush soaked in warm water and let them air dry long enough.

For oil or grease stains, apply a little baking soda or talcum powder, and leave it overnight.

How to clean canvas shoes

  1. Remove the laces and clean them separately with soap.
  2. Before washing the canvas shoes, shake them to remove dirt from the soles. Next, with a soft bristle brush, brush the cotton to remove dust.
  3. With the same brush and with a mixture of water, neutral soap and bicarbonate, rub gently around the shoe, focusing more on the areas where there are stains.
  4. To remove the remains of soap from the shoes, pass a damp cloth throughout the shoe until there is no soap or dirt left.
  5. Before letting them dry, put some paper inside each shoe so that it absorbs moisture and does not deform the shoe.


A trick for the problem of yellowed soles is to apply some vinegar on the sole, after having cleaned them with toothpaste. Above all, avoid direct contact with sunlight because this is what produces this effect most.

6 fatal mistakes you can make when washing shoes in washing machine

If you insist on trying the machine-washing method, we have prepared a list of the most common mistakes you can make with this method.

  1. You don’t pay attention to the type of shoes

There are different types of tennis that, under no circumstances, cannot be machine-washed:

  • Leather: can deform.
  • Suede: they will simply deteriorate.
  • Shoes with decorative elements: the accessories can be separated, but that may not be all. They can also damage the washer, damaging the mechanical elements or obstruct the drain.
  • Shoes with lights: may stop working.
  • Shoes with reflectors attached: these can also come off.
  • Shoes with deteriorating sole: for example, if it has taken off a little, while washing, it may come off completely.

In general, we advise you to consult the label: this will indicate whether or not you can wash the model in a machine or not.

  1. Washing the entire shoes

You should not do this. Before washing, you have to prepare the shoes, more specifically, “disassemble.” You have to remove the laces and the insoles.

  1. Forgetting that you can damage the washing machine

By omitting this point, you risk getting clean tennis but end up with a broken washing machine. This is how you should take care of the machine:

  • Do not wash more than two pairs at the same time.
  • Do not choose fast cycles.
  • Wash the shoes in a special mesh.
  • Remove dirt, sand and small embedded stones from the sole that can easily clog the washing machine mechanisms.
  1. Choosing the inappropriate program
  • You should wash at a temperature between 30 and 40 ° C. The colder water does not remove dirt and hot water simply deforms the footwear.
  • Use delicate programs, if it’s available on the machine. Some washing machines give you the option of “Shoe washing”.
  1. When you use powdered detergent

Powdered detergent is difficult to remove, so it can leave stains. It is better to use liquid detergents. If the shoes are white, you can add some Vanish bleach.

  1. You dry the shoes inappropriately

How to dry them properly:

  • At room temperature, away from heat sources.
  • Fill the inside with paper to avoid deformations. You can use kitchen rolls, napkins, cotton cloths, towels. But never use newspapers because printing ink can permeate the still-wet sneakers.
  • Using the electric shoe dryer is only advisable when the shoes are almost dry.


Have you taken note of all these tips and tricks to clean your shoes, whether manually or in the washing machine? From now on, it will not be any problem if you return home with muddy or stained tennis. In a moment, they will be like new. Remember, you have to be cautious when you have to use the washing machine method.

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