Tall Mens Fashion Advice

How To Wash Shoes: w/ Photos

Use our step-by-step guide to learn how to wash shoes in the washing machine so you can keep them looking brand new for longer.

Machine washing shoes is easy and straight forward to do, and can help to make your shoes look brand new for longer. 

Make sure to remove both your shoelaces as well as your insoles before putting your shoes in the washing machine. Be sure to place your shoes into a mesh laundry bag and use liquid laundry detergent while they are in the wash. 

Air dry your shoes and allow them to dry for a day or two before wearing again. You can find ways to dry your shoes without a dryer.

While your cleaning your shoes think about washing your shoelaces.

If your shoes are extremely dirty,  you will need to give special attention to them. Especially if you have created creases, because the dirt will sit in the depth of the crease and be extremely hard to get out if baked in.

You can get the creases out of your shoes, or if your ahead of the game, you can learn how to not crease your shoes.

Things You'll Need:

  • A washing machine 
  • A mesh laundry bag
  • Liquid laundry detergent 
  • A damp cloth
  • A soft brush 
you will need a washing machine for washing your shoes
Washing machine
you will need a damp cloth for washing your shoes
Damp cloth
you will need liquid laundry detergent for washing your shoes
Liquid laundry detergent
you will need a washable bage for washing your shoes
Laundry bag (pillow)
you will need a soft brush for washing your shoes
Soft brush

How To Wash Shoes

Carefully follow the directions below to properly wash shoes in the washing machine. If you’re looking to wash New Balance 550 (like the picture below) I made a specific guide.

this is a photo of a pair of new balance 550's being washed

1. Remove the shoelaces

Remove the shoe laces from the shoes. If you also want to wash your shoelaces at this time, read our step-by-step guide on how to clean shoelaces.

this is a photo of shoelaces removed from shoes before they are washed

2. Remove the insoles

Remove the insoles from the shoe and wash separately. Insoles are typically made from a very absorbent material, which means that putting them in the washing machine can leave them waterlogged for days. Hand wash shoe insoles by using a damp cloth or soft brush to remove debris.

this is a pair of New Balance 550 shoes with removed insoles

3. Pre-treat scuffs and stains

Pre-treat scuffs and stains on your shoes that may not come off in the wash. Use a brush or damp rag to remove dirt and debris from your shoes before placing them into the washing machine.

this is a photo of New Balance 550 shoes and a towel and a brush

4. Put shoes in washable bag

Put the shoes in a washable laundry bag and place them into the washing machine. You can use a mesh bag or pillowcase if you do not have a laundry bag (usually mesh.)

this is a photo of shoes in a pillowcase

5. Add liquid detergent with the shoes

Add liquid laundry detergent to the washing machine. Do not use powder laundry detergent and do not use bleach. 

this is a photo of a laundry bag with shoes in it and detergent ontop to be washed

6. Delicate wash cycle for your shoes

Adjust the settings on the washing machine to a delicate/gentle wash cycle and wash with cold water (how long does a washer take?).

this is a photo of a washing machine on delicate cycle to wash shoes

7. Take shoes out right away to dry

Allow the shoes to air dry in a cool place with lots of sunlight. The ultraviolet light given off by the sun actually helps to brighten whites, if your shoes happen to be white.

this is a photo of New Balance 550 shoes air drying

8. Dry for 1-2 days

Be patient let shoes dry fully, which may take a day or two, depending on the environment where they are drying.

this is a photo of new balance shoes on a window sill drying in the sun rays
this is a photo of washed shoes drying for 1-2 days

If you are needing your shoes in the same day as washing them you can also dry the shoes in a dryer. I must warn you that this is not a smart option if you want your shoes to last a long time.

Better understand the drying process with our article how long does a dryer take & how hot does a dryer get.

I would only suggest you do this is the shoes are old and look worn already. You will most likely alter the fabric and could even shrink the shoes.

Once your shoes are clean follow our guides on different ways to lace them up.

Different types of stains will need some extra love from you.


Most kinds of shoes are allowed to be washed in the washing machine, however you should avoid putting shoes made of leather, suede, rubber and vinyl in the washing machine. 

Washing shoes in the washing machine is a highly effective way to wash them. Hand washing dirty shoes with a damp cloth and soft brush is also a good way to wash shoes. 

Written and reviewed by
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
Paul Marlow, standing at an impressive 6'7 (201cm) and weighing 225lb (102kg), is a mental health speaker, fashion expert, and ex-athlete who excels at helping tall men find well-fitting clothing and teaching them how to style it effectively. As a model in the fashion and film industries, Paul shares his expertise in tall men's fashion, offering valuable advice on measurements, tailoring, and alterations. In addition, he founded Never Alone, an organization that provides mental health and therapy inspiration, and started the Mental Growth Newsletter to support those facing mental health challenges, drawing from his own experiences.

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