Can shoes be washed in a washing machine?

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Can we wash shoes in washing machine?

How does it feel walking in mud on a rainy day with your favorite pair of shoes or your children returning home from school on a games day with very dirty canvas shoes knowing very well you’re the one to clean the shoes?

Well, most of us have all been there and it’s sure not the most exciting feeling.

Unsurprisingly, many folks head over to Google and type “can shoes be washed in a washing machine?”..

Read on to discover the answer (and whether your washing machine will save you from this potentially back-breaking job)..

Can shoes be washed in a washing machine?

The answer is yes! Nearly all shoes can be washed in a washing machine (most show fabrics won’t get damaged- more on this later).

However, there are a few things you need to be careful with before putting your favorite pair of sneakers in the washing machine.

And the most important thing to bear in mind is that you must remove the laces and insoles – you do this to keep your laces from getting tangled.

Likewise, you don’t want the insoles damaged.

Now, for the laces, simply put them in a separate bag –or even a pillowcase (if you dont have an extra mesh laundry bag) – and throw them in the washer.

On the other hand, you should wash the insoles by hand – for the most part, it is not a good idea to put insoles in a washing machine.

How to clean shoes in a washing machine

Below are the steps to follow when washing your shoes in a washing machine:


STEP 1: Read the label.

Before washing the shoes in your machine, always read the label.

This is the best way to confirm whether it is safe to use a machine or not (depending on the fabric shoes are made from).

To be clear, shoes made from cotton, nylon, and polyester can almost always be washed comfortably in a washing machine.

Conversely, shoes made from animal fabric like suede and leather should not be washed in a washing machine because they can be easily damaged.


STEP 2: Prepare your shoes

Getting your shoes ready is also something very important.

As mentioned earlier, you start by removing the laces and insoles (you already understand why).

Next, you can try to ease the workload for your machine by first attempting to remove any loose dirt from the surface of the shoes.

Ordinarily, an old toothbrush will suffice for this.

However, a stiff-bristled brush may be needed if (stubborn) dirt is all over your shoes’ surface. 


STEP 3: Protect your shoes and your ears as well

Now put the shoes in a mesh laundry bag (Remember that your shoe laces are already in the bag).

Something else that is necessary is adding some towels in the machine.


Because you don’t want the machine to be very noisy while cleaning your shoes.

You see, if the load is unbalanced- and it will be if you just have the shoes in there- the machine might be extremely noisy when you run a wash cycle.

But when you make up the rest of your machine with a sufficient number of towels, they act as a buffer by stopping your shoes from banging against the drum (which protects your eardrums from the terrible noise).


STEP 4: Prepare your machine thoroughly.

It is the machine that is doing the cleaning job so it needs good preparation too.

First, check on the temperature and make sure for shoes washing it is cool (should often not be more than 30degrees).

This will help your shoes from running or fading, especially while washing shoes made of PVC or PU because they can change their coating very fast.

Also, ensure you put the right detergent (and the correct amount) in the machine- ideally, you should add the detergent before adding your towels then your shoes.

All that remains now is running the washer as per the cycle you selected.


STEP 5: Air dry the shoes

It is advisable to air dry your shoes.

This is because drying them in a dryer can cause an irreversible mess due to the high temperature- you risk melting the glue in your shoes making them vulnerable to breaking.

Some fabrics also shrink (and your shoe may no longer fit!).

So just put your shoes in a warm place and pop some scrunched-up newspapers inside and wait for them to dry completely.

This will help your shoes to dry in good shape.



We have just answered the question “can shoes be washed in a washing machine?” and just to recap, the answer is yes, most shoes can be washed in a washing machine.

This is a good thing because it will save on your time and your energy- it’s way easier and you won’t experience any back pains.

Don’t forget that practice makes perfect so it may take you a couple of trials to master the entire process.



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