When I get new shoes it always seems like the first thing to start looking worn is the shoelaces. Maybe it’s because I commute by bike. Maybe it’s because I like to exercise outdoors. Or maybe tall guys just never see puddles and mud on the ground ahead of them.

In any case, I used to simply buy new shoelaces over and over again, until I realized how easy it was to wash shoelaces quickly and easily at home. 

I’ve found that the two best methods to use for restoring shoelaces to their original condition are:

  • Washing shoelaces in the washing machine
  • Washing shoelaces by hand

Both methods are simple and extremely effective. Follow the steps outlined below so that you can clean your shoelaces properly, without having to buy a new pair every few weeks or months.

Table of Contents

  • Fastest way to wash shoelaces: By hand
  • Best way to wash shoelaces: With a washing machine
how to wash shoelaces

How To Wash Shoelaces

Total Time: 1 hr 45 min

Cost: $0.53 (one tide pod)

  • Buy Tide Pods for $55
  • Buy mesh laundry bag for $5.99

Supplies & Tools

  • Washing machine
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Mesh laundry bag
this is a photo of a washing machine needed to wash shoelaces
Washing machine
this is a liquid laundry detergent to wash shoelaces
Liquid laundry detergent
this is a mesh laundry bag needed to wash shoelaces
Mesh laundry bag

The two best ways to wash shoelaces is either by using the washing machine, or by using your hands. 

Follow the instructions below to learn how to do both methods so that you can keep your shoelaces looking fresh and clean, no matter how dirty they become. 

1. Remove the shoelaces

Remove the shoelaces from the shoes. 

this is a photo of shoelaces taken out of the shoes so they can be washed

2. Clean initial dirt off your shoelaces

If the shoes have dirt or debris on them, use a brush or rinse them under water in the sink in order to remove (how to wash shoes). 

this is a photo of tall paul cleaning the excess dirt off his shoelaces under the tap before they are washed

3. Spot treat stains on shoelaces

Spot treat any stubborn stains with bleach or Oxiclean before using the washing machine. 

this is a photo of a brush scrubbing stains on a shoelace

4. Put in mesh bag for washing

Place the shoe laces in a mesh laundry bag. If you don’t do this they will wrap around the washing machine parts and potentially ruin your machine.

this is a photo of shoelaces in a mesh laundry bag so they can be washed

5. Put mesh bag in with other laundry

Place the laundry bag into the washing machine with other types of laundry. 

this is a photo of the mesh laundry bag and other clothes put into the wash to wash shoelaces

6. Add detergent to the shoelaces

Add laundry detergent to the wash.

this is a photo of detergent being added to the shoelace wash

7. Run regular wash cycle for shoelaces

Run a regular washing cycle (how long does a washer take?) and wash with cold water

this is a photo of the washing machine turned to regular wash for washing shoelaces

8. Air dry the shoelaces

Once the spin cycle is complete, allow the laces to air dry instead of using the dryer. Hanging them from anywhere will work due to how thin they are. Your shoelaces will dry in a short time.

this is a photo of shoelaces being air dried on a door handle after being washed

How To Wash Shoelaces By Hand

Total Time: 60 min

Cost: $0

1. Fill water basin with water and laundry detergent

Fill a water basin with water and a splash or two of laundry detergent or dishwashing soap. If you have white shoelaces, you can also bleach them.

this is a photo of a water basin being filled with water and soap to wash shoelaces by hand

2. Remove your shoelaces and submerge into the water

Remove the shoelaces and place each of them in the soapy water for 20 minutes. Be sure to push the shoelaces down until the are water logged enough to sit just below the water line

this is a photo of shoelaces in soapy water to clean them

3. After 20 minutes clean the shoelaces in the water

Place your hands into the water and swish the shoelaces around. Get the soapy water flowing over them, also scrub them against each other to dislodge any dirt particles.

4. Rinse shoelaces off under direct stream of tap water

Pull the shoelaces out of the soapy water and put them directly into the stream of your kitchen sinks tap. Hold on to the shoelaces and squish and squeeze them until all the soap is gone.

this is a photo of tall paul rinsing his shoelaces

5. Squeeze the shoelaces damp and then air dry

Remove the shoelaces from the tap water and give them a few hard squeezes, getting rid of any excess water. Then hang the shoelaces outside to line dry, or let them flat dry on an absorbent towel. If you don’t have either, hanging them off the back of a chair will work just fine. All you need is the laces to get ample air contact to dry.

this is a photo of shoelaces hanging to dry after being washed by hand


The easiest way to wash shoelaces is by using the washing machine. Remove the laces from the shoes, place them into a mesh laundry bag, and run the washer on regular wash cycle. Once finished, air dry the laces instead of using the dryer. 

To machine wash shoelaces remove the laces from the shoes, place them into a mesh laundry bag, and place them into the washing machine along with detergent, and run a regular cycle. 

Fill a sink with warm water and mix in a few drops of bleach. Allow the laces to soak for 20 minutes before using your hands (you should wear gloves) to agitate and wash the laces. Once finished, remove the laces and allow them to air dry in the sun. 

Clean white shoelaces by using the washing machine or using your hands. If your white shoelaces are badly stained I would recommend filling a sink with warm water and mixing it with bleach. Place the laces into the water and allow them to soak for 20 minutes before scrubbing the rest of the dirt out with your hands or a brush.