How to wash white sneakers in washing machine (steps and tips)

As an Amazon affiliate, we earn a commision from qualifying purchases.

Learn how to wash white sneakers in washing machine in this guide

To be honest, white sneakers can be a nightmare to clean for a lot of people.

But the good news is that you can make cleaning your white sneakers a little bit easier by using your washing machine.

Below are the steps to follow when it comes to cleaning white sneakers in washing machine..

How to wash white sneakers in washing machine

There is one thing you should know before you do this: Unfortunately, there are some white sneakers which you should not put in a washing machine.

For instance, leather, suede, and rubber sneakers are, on the whole, a no-no for the washer.

Sneakers made of other materials are, however, generally fine to clean in your washer.

So with that out of the way, here is how to wash white sneakers in washing machine beautifully, if they are made of machine-washable material….

How to Wash White Sneakers in Washing Machine

Step 1:

Remove the loose dirt (if any) from your sneakers by, for example, banging them together before placing them in the washer.

You can as well try to clean dirt using an old toothbrush dipped in soapy water (brush it away carefully).

Step 2:

Remove the shoe laces and insoles.

Step 3:

Put the sneakers in a mesh wash bag or pillowcase for protection.

Also, add the shoes laces in the catching laundry bag (you don’t want the laces to get tangled while in the washer) and insoles.

Once all the pieces are securely in, toss your mesh bag in the washer.

Step 4:

Throw in some old (dry) towels (put a couple). Your sneakers might bang around a lot in the washer without some towels.

Ideally, the towels should be white to prevent potential discoloration. 

Step 5:

Add some laundry detergent inside for enhanced cleaning performance.

Use liquid detergent since powder detergent might get stuck inside your sneakers.

Step 6:

Start the wash cycle!

You want to have your sneakers washed on a gentle wash cycle so be sure to select delicates plus cold water temp setting to avoid possible color issues or shrinkage.

Let the wash cycle run to the end.

Step 7:

Remove your sneakers (and everything else) from the laundry bag

Let your sneakers sit out and completely dry – it can be several days before your sneakers, shoe laces, and insoles air dry fully.

Never put sneakers (or indeed any shoes) in the dryer- the heat from the dryer is too much and no shoe will withstand it!

That’s it..

You have now gotten the better of dirt and your sneakers should be looking clean and crisp.


Cleaning white sneakers in a washing machine: Helpful tips

Quicken drying up

To quicken drying up, you can stuff the insides of your sneakers with clean newspapers – they will soak up the excess water making your sneakers to dry up a little bit faster.


Try the bleach trick (but be careful!)

You can may be attempt the bleach trick but only if your sneakers are really nasty.

But there is a huge caveat: If you want to give bleach a try, be sure you don’t have a colorful insole because it can easily bleed the color.


Stay away from the sun

Do not dry your white sneakers in the sun- it is likely to yellow them!


How to eliminate bad odors

If your sneakers are super smelly, you can freshen them up a bit before washing them in your laundry machine.

Just sprinkle baking soda (3 tablespoons) into the inside (of your shoes) then let it sit overnight in your sneakers.

This usually helps to clear bad odors.


Consider washing your shoelaces by hand

You can choose to wash the shoe laces by hand.

If you want to take this route, perhaps the best way to wash white shoelaces is by letting them soak in a cup of bleach (but add just a little).

They usually look pristine after that.

Consider washing the insoles by hand too

Since the insoles can become extremely water-logged once washed in a machine, it could be a good idea to hand wash them separately too (if removable) in warm water+ a good detergent.

Scrub off the dirt and grime using a shoe brush or old toothbrush and rinse them thoroughly.


Don’t use warm/hot wash

Don’t use warm or hot wash as it can make your sneakers white color to fade and the fabric to shrink (which means your shoes will no longer fit).


Do Different Sneaker Manufacturers Have Different Instruction For Cleaning?


That is why you should make it a habit to check the washing instructions–they are usually found under the tongue of the shoe- before washing new sneakers (and any other shoes) in a washing machine.

It can help you avoid making a costly mistake.

And the good thing is that there are several good methods you can use to clean your white sneakers and make them sparkling white again.

These include:

  • Washing them in soapy water with a nailbrush -Depending on the material, you can wash them clean by scrubbing your sneakers with soapy water –using a nailbrush (or something similar)- in the bath then letting them dry naturally.
  • Using Clean Magic Erasers – these have always worked wonderfully on white shoes.
  • Oxiclean + laundry detergent – Your white snealers will come out looking almost brand new if you wash them with OxiClean and laundry detergent. You add equal parts of OxiClean and detergent in warm water (a bucketful) then soak them overnight. You then rinse your sneakers off in cold water before letting them air dry. 


Final words

There has been a raging debate about whether it’s safe to wash white sneakers in a washer for the longest time but the truth is that it’s possible (for the most part) to wash your white sneakers without any damage in a laundry machine.

Just follow the steps (and the tips) we have specified in this article to clean your dirty sneakers.

Believe it or not, they will come out looking a whole lot whiter!



How to wash Nike shoes in washer (step-by-step)

How to wash Adidas shoes in washing machine (step-by-step and important tips)

Can shoes be washed in a washing machine?


Leave a Comment