Should you wash your shoes in a washing machine?
When your trainers are looking scuffed, dirty or just a little past their best, it’s tempting to shove them in the washing machine and hope for a miracle. This technique can work wonders with some shoes, but can ruin others.
Can you put shoes in the washing machine? Yes, if you follow some simple guidelines, listed below and make sure that you avoid washing leather, rubber or vinyl shoes in a machine.
How to wash shoes in a washing machine
- First, check the manufacturer’s care label for your specific brand of shoes or sneakers. You’ll be able to find this online.
- As a rule, shoes made of canvas and materials such as nylon, polyester and cotton can be washed in a machine without damage or discolouration.
- Do not put shoes made of leather, rubber or vinyl in the washing machine as they will require either specialist or careful hand cleaning.
- If your trainers are embellished with sequins or other delicate materials, you should avoid putting them in the washing machine and take them to a cobbler or cleaning specialist instead.
- If your shoes are machine washable, start by removing any visible mud or dirt from the soles. You can dislodge large lumps of dirty by hitting the shoes together and then work away any smaller traces with a toothbrush or other soft brush. If there is a lot of dirt caked onto the soles, a wire brush can be used to remove it.
Use liquid detergent when washing shoes in washing machine
- If your sneakers are particularly grubby, you can help the stain removal process by using a spot-treatment spray (make sure it is suitable for the fabric that your shoes are made of).
- Next, remove the laces and any insoles and place the shoes in a mesh laundry bag with the laces (if they need a wash). Mesh bags work brilliantly as they let water circulate without tangling the laces. If you don’t own one, you can use a pillowcase instead.
- Put the bag in the drum with some old towels to balance the load. You can use any items that you don’t mind washing with your soiled shoes.
- Select a delicate cold water wash cycle with no spin.
- When washing shoes in washing machine, always use a liquid detergent as powder can clog and leave marks. Use about a tablespoon.
- When the shoes have gone through the cycle, leave them to dry in a warm room. To speed up this process, fold the tongue of your sneakers over the toe and stuff them with rags or paper towels.
- Hang your laces on the washing line or on a clothes dryer separately.
Once your shoes are dry to the touch, you can lace them and step out with confidence.