How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine: Full Guide!

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.

How to Wash Shoes

Washing Machine

Check the shoe’s care label to make sure it is safe to machine wash. Remove the shoelaces and insole from the shoes. Place into a mesh laundry bag and put the shoes into the washing machine. Add liquid laundry detergent to the washing machine, and adjust the settings to delicate/gentle wash cycle. Wash with cold water and allow the shoes to air dry once finished. 

This is How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine: Full Guide!

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. And follow our step-by-step guides to washing your clothes down to every single piece of your wardrobe.

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.

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

Continue reading to find out how to wash shoes in the washing machine. 

Which Kind of Shoes are Machine Washable?

Before cleaning your shoes it is critical that you first check the care label for specific washing instructions. Most shoes made from polyester (can you shrink polyester?), cotton, nylon, and spandex are safe to put in a washing machine. This would include most athletic shoes, walking shoes, casual shoes, and sneakers. 

If your shoes have embroidery or decorations like sequins or medals, they should not be placed in the washing machine. Dress shoes, heels, boots, suede shoes, vinyl shoes, and leather shoes, also should not be placed in the washing machine. 

How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine

Carefully follow the directions below to properly wash shoes in the washing machine. 

Things You'll Need:

  • A washing machine 
  • A mesh laundry bag
  • Liquid laundry detergent 
  • A damp cloth
  • A soft brush 

How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine:

  1. Check to make sure your shoes are machine washable. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Put the shoes in a mesh laundry bag and place them into the washing machine. You can also use a pillowcase if you do not have a laundry bag.
  6. Add liquid laundry detergent to the washing machine. Do not use powder laundry detergent and do not use bleach.  
  7. Adjust the settings on the washing machine to a delicate/gentle wash cycle and wash with cold water (how long does a washer take?).
  8. 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. 
  9. Leave the shoes to completely dry, which may take a day or two, depending on the environment where they are drying. 

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.

How to Wash Shoes FAQ

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
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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