Washing shoes in the washing machine

After a long, hot summer, it’s inevitable that some of your favourite shoes are a little worse for wear. You might be wondering what to do with them. Scrub them down, air them out, throw them away? It surprises people to learn that you can put many shoes right into the wash. With the right care, getting your shoes fresh and clean is easy. 

Why choose machine washing for shoes? 

Cleanliness: The most obvious benefit is that machine washing can effectively clean your shoes, removing dirt, stains, and smudges that may have accumulated over time. This is particularly useful for sneakers, canvas shoes, and athletic shoes that tend to pick up dirt quickly. 

Convenience: Washing shoes in a machine is often more convenient than hand cleaning, especially if you’re dealing with several pairs at once. It can save you time and effort. Plus, it saves you from having to get too up close and personal with dirty, smelly shoes.

Maintaining Appearance: Washing your shoes in a machine can help maintain their appearance and extend their lifespan. Regular cleaning can prevent dirt and stains from becoming permanent. You are more likely to clean your shoes regularly if it’s as convenient as throwing them into the wash. 

Odour Removal: Machine washing can effectively remove odours from your shoes, especially if you add a deodorizer or use a mild detergent. The washing machine does a better job of eliminating odours than hand washing. 

Hygiene: For shoes that come into contact with sweaty feet or potentially dirty surfaces, washing them can help maintain good foot hygiene. Clean shoes reduce your risk of getting or re-infecting yourself with foot infections like athlete’s foot. 

Quick Drying: Washing machines always finish a load with a spin cycle. This cycle helps get rid of excess water in the items that are being laundered. Some shoes, especially those made of materials like canvas, can dry relatively quickly after machine washing, making them ready to wear sooner.

Before you throw your shoes into the washing machine, it’s important to know what kind of shoes can be washed. It’s essential you don’t throw the wrong types of shoes in the washing machine. 

Don’t clean any kind of leather shoes in the washing machine. This includes suede, patent, and treated leather. You should also avoid putting heeled shoes into the washing machine. They can damage the drum. 


Now, onto what you can wash! 

Canvas Sneakers: Canvas sneakers are the most popular shoes to machine wash. They are pliable and can usually handle the gentle cycle of a washing machine.

Athletic Shoes: Many athletic shoes are made with machine-washable materials. If there aren’t washing instructions inside, search the make and model to see if you can put them in the washer.

Sandals: Some sandals, like those made from rubber or synthetic materials, can be washed in the machine.

Plastic or Rubber Shoes: Shoes made entirely from plastic or rubber, like certain rain boots or gardening shoes, are usually safe for machine washing.

Cloth-Based Shoes: Shoes with a primarily cloth upper and minimal leather or suede accents can be machine-washed.

When washing your shoes in the machine, it’s important to follow a few key steps so that you do not damage them or the washing machine. 

You should wash your shoes on a gentle setting. This will help to preserve their shape and keep the soles from separating. Don’t wash shoes in water that is too hot, as this can also compromise the form and plastic elements on the shoes. 

Remove the laces and insoles before you wash your shoes. The laces can tangle and break in the washing machine. Removing the insoles will ensure a more thorough clean. 

If you can, wash your shoes in a mesh bag or even a pillowcase. This will help to protect them from excessive agitation and intense spin cycles. Choosing a gentle cycle will also help to prevent damage. 

Finally, never put shoes in the dryer. It can cause the shoes to warp or even melt. Thanks to the spin cycle, you shouldn’t have to wait more than a day for them to dry. If you want to speed up the process, put the shoes on a towel or in front of a fan. 

You don’t need to get rid of shoes that are smelly and stained. It’s as easy as chucking them into the washing machine! When you follow the right care instructions, your shoes will come out fresh each time, helping to lengthen their lifespan and keep your feet happy. 

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