How to Wash Shoes in a Washing Machine

Is it safe to wash my shoes in the washing machine? Should I actually use a washer for my shoes?

You can determine whether your footwear is machine washable or not by checking out the label. If yes, you can happily do it without any trouble.

But the actual challenge that people often face is, doing it the right way. Many do not know how to wash their shoes properly in the washer. This will lead to damaging your favourite sneakers. Hence, one needs to take proper care and follow the necessary steps while cleaning.

If you are not aware of the correct process, then you are on the right page. In this guide, we will discuss which shoes to wash and what are ways to clean them.

Here you will find all the information you need for cleaning the canvas shoes, sneakers, etc., in the washing machine. Additionally, we even provided some useful tips to take care of your shoes.

Let us get started.

Table of Contents

Which Shoes are Machine Washable?

How to use your Washer for Washing the Shoes? Step 1: Remove the Shoe Laces 

Step 2: Clean and Dry the Insoles

Step 3: Brush Your Shoes

Step 4: Place the Shoes in Mesh Bag

Step 5: Use The Gentle Cycle

Step 6: Air Dry Your Shoes

Step 7: Polish and Protect

Does the shoe’s material matter?Care tips for shoes with leather and suede materials:

Care tips for canvas shoes:

Frequently Asked Questions


Which Shoes are Machine Washable?

The very first thing you need to do is to determine whether your shoes are machine washable or not. But how do you find this out? Very simple. Check out the care label to see the washing instructions. This is a thumb rule one needs to follow. If you find the recommendations mentioned, you can proceed with the machine wash.

If your shoes are not for machine wash, it is strictly advised not to put them in a washer. This will damage the material of the footwear, making them unfit for use. Hence, follow the instructions carefully before you start the cleaning process.

The material that your shoes are made of is the crucial determining factor for the shoes. Here are a few materials that are safe for washing in the machines. Canvas and other athletic shoes made with nylon material or, cotton and polyester materials are on the list. Water and even laundry detergent cannot damage such materials, and hence your shoes are absolutely safe to put in the washer.

Among the various types of footwear available, some are compatible with machine wash, and some are not. These need extra care when washing and are hand wash recommended. Never put leather shoes or those with rubber material and vinyl in the washing machine.

Do you have shoes that contain delicate materials or fabrics? Do you have embroidered footwear? Do they have sequins or embellishments on them? You need special cleaning process and products for such of footwear. It is advisable to take them to a professional cleaner to avoid any damage to them.

We suggest you to be double sure of whether you can place your footwear in the washing machine or dryer.

How to use your Washer for Washing the Shoes? 

Let us come to the cleaning process. Washing shoes in a washer is not as complicated as you think. All you need to do is follow the basic instructions and the necessary steps. Be certain that you have some essential materials in hand before you start with the process. But even before that, check for the instructions on the care label of the shoes. See if the manufacturer recommends washing in the machine.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with the routine.

This is all you need:

  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • An old toothbrush with soft bristles
  • A cream cleanser
  • Old towels

Keep all the above items handy before you get started. Once you finish the preparation, follow the steps below one after the other.


Step 1: Remove the Shoe Laces 

The very first step in the cleaning process of your shoes is to remove the laces from them. You can either wash them by hand or place them in your washer. But, make sure that you place the laces in the mesh laundry bag that comes with a zipper. This helps the laces to remain untangled and prevent from getting wrapped against other items inside the washer during washing. If the laces are very dirty, it is preferable to wash them by hand using laundry detergent and a soft brush.

Step 2: Clean and Dry the Insoles

Let us move to the second step – cleaning the insoles. Always remember that you should wash the insoles separately. If they are machine washable as mentioned in the product care instructions, place them in the washer. If you wash your insoles in a washer that is not machine washable, it will leave them water-soaked for a long time. As a result, they may take more time to dry. Hence, refrain from doing it. You can clean those insoles easily by hand. This is what you ought to do:

Items you need:

  • Soft Brush or Old cloth
  • Water/ Soapy Water
  • Laundry detergent

Steps to follow:

  • Take a soft brush or old cloth.
  • Take some soap water or, you can add few drops of laundry detergent to a bowl of water.
  • Now dip the soft brush or cloth in this water and wipe the insoles gently.

This is how you can dry the insoles after washing them:

Items you need:

  • Sponge
  • Baking Soda

Steps to follow:

  • Take a sponge and place it on the insoles to absorb all the moisture in them.
  • After that, sprinkle some baking soda on them.
  • Allow it to sit overnight. This deodorizes the insoles and also helps in absorbing the remaining moisture in them.
  • Dust the baking soda in the morning.
  • After they are completely dried, place them back in the shoes.

Step 3: Brush Your Shoes

Let us say your shoes are very dirty and have too much mud on them. This is what you should do. Take a soft brush or an old toothbrush and use it to remove the debris from them. Try as much you can to get rid of it. Here is another hack. Try using a toothpick to clean the dirt from the tight areas.

Get rid of scuff marks

After removing the dirt, clean the scuff marks as well using a shoe cleaner. Here are the simple steps to follow:

Items you need:

  • Soft brush or rag
  • Shoe cleaner
  • Damp cloth

Steps to follow:

  • Take a soft brush or a rag and apply some cleaner to it.
  • Use the brush or rag to rub the scuff marks gently.
  • After rubbing, wipe them with a damp cloth.

Step 4: Place the Shoes in Mesh Bag

After you finish prepping and cleaning, it is time to place your shoes in the mesh laundry bag. The advantage of using this bag is that it prevents your footwear from banging to the walls of the drum during the wash cycle.

Place the mesh bag with the shoes in the washer. Along with it, add some old towels in the washer to balance the wash load. Never use new towels as they may leach dye, which could leave stains on your shoes.

Step 5: Use The Gentle Cycle

After placing the shoes inside the washer, choose the settings of the appliance. Make sure you put the machine in a delicate setting with a cold water cycle and a slow spin or no-spin option. Never use powder laundry detergent. If it does not dissolve properly in the water, it may get stuck in your shoes. Hence, it is always advisable to use liquid laundry detergent.

Step 6: Air Dry Your Shoes

After the washer finishes the wash cycle, remove the shoes, laces, and insoles from the mesh bag. You can air dry them.

If you want your shoes to be in shape after they dry, stuff them with clean rags or paper towels. This will also help in absorbing excess moisture from them during the drying process. If possible, dry them in a cool place where they can get sunlight. This is a natural and quick method of drying.

If you want to use a dryer for drying the shoes, we suggest you to select the air-only cycle. It is not advisable to use a hot setting as it may damage your shoes.

Step 7: Polish and Protect

This is the last and the final step. Once your shoes are completely dry, use the respective shoe polish for them, like black, white, brown, etc. The polish can help you add some final touch-up to the scuff marks on the leather shoes.

Now, use a leather conditioner to nourish and protect the leather from cracking for a long time. Fabric protective sprays are available in the market exclusively for canvas shoes. You can use these sprays for wiping any stains in between the cleaning routine.

Does the shoe’s material matter?

Yes. The material of the shoes is something you need to consider before putting them in the washing machine. Some materials might not be compatible with machine wash. Sneakers like canvas, leather, and others with mesh material need extra care. You should not wash them in a washer. Let us discuss the useful and essential tips to follow when cleaning such footwear.

Care tips for shoes with leather and suede materials:

If you want to retain the quality of your leather shoes and maintain their smoothness and shine, you should follow specific instructions. Here they are:

  • Leather shoes may get damaged in water. Hence, you need to be careful when cleaning them.
  • Do not put leather or suede footwear in the washing machine.
  • Do not let them air dry, as well.
  • Always wash these shoes manually with your hand to remove the dirt and keep them looking their best.
  • Use a cleaning solution for cleaning these shoes.
  • After washing and drying them, use a conditioner to nourish the leather and prevent it from cracking.

Care tips for canvas shoes:

You can wash footwear like canvas or others with fabric material either in a washing machine or by hand. These are capable of handling deep cleaning and also easier to wash. If you do not know which method to choose, check for the guidelines mentioned by the manufacturer. They will specify the recommended method of washing, and you can follow it.

Wash the squeaky sneakers as needed to ensure they are clean and spotless. They are undoubtedly the best fit for any outfit, further making you feel comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Shoes Go in the Dryer?
When it is time to dry your shoes after finishing the wash cycle, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. Here is a caution – do not put them in a dryer. The heat can damage the shoes, damage the glue, and may even separate the shoe from the soles. It may also make the material shrink. The other drawback to using a dryer is that it will warp the shoes permanently, misshape them, making them unfit for use.*This is what you can do to dry your shoes properly:*Firstly, find a well-ventilated space to dry your shoes where the sunlight reaches.*To properly dry your shoes, find a cool and well-ventilated space to let them air dry.*Shoes are usually for air drying. In any case, you have a short time for drying the shoes and want to hasten you can put them under a fan.*You can also stuff them with clean rags or paper towels to keep them in shape after drying.

2. How to store your shoes?
While using and cleaning is one thing, storing them carefully is another one. You may not wear your sneakers regularly or use your other footwear alternatively. In such case, store them packed in a shoebox, shoe bag, or any plastic tub. Always clean them before you store them. We recommend doing this without fail because the dirt and oil residuals on them may lead to the formation of yellow marks on them.

3. How to treat stains and scuff marks on Tennis and Athletic Shoes?
Having stains and scuff marks on the canvas or athletic shoes is common. But with immediate attention and proper cleaning method, you can get rid of them easily. Below are some necessary guidelines to follow that will help you remove the stains or marks.If you notice scuff marks on your leather or faux leather shoes, apply the shoe polish on them as a touch-up. If the marks are too dark that the polish may not do the job, here is what you can do:Items you need:*Baking Soda*Water*Bowl*Clean Cloth*Damp ClothInstructions:*Take some water in a bowl and add baking soda to it to form a thick paste.*Take a clean cloth and dip it in this cleaning solution.*Use this cloth to wipe away the scuff marks on your shoes gently.*After cleaning, take a damp cloth to wipe off the residues on them.*Try implementing this hack for darker shoes. It is advisable to use a permanent marker that matches your shoe colour. Use it to conceal the scuff marks and blemishes. It is a wonderful tip that gives you incredible results.


Here are the concluding words. You can wash your shoes in the washer provided they are machine washable. Following some precautions and essential tips to clean them can give you great results without causing any damage to your shoes.

I hope this article provided all the information you need to know about washing shoes in a washing machine. Now that you are aware, follow all the steps diligently and try them next time you clean them. Let us know your experience and the wonderful results you got after you tried.

Write to us in the comments section below if you find the information in this article helpful. Let us know if you have questions or if we missed out on any points. If you have any inputs to add to this article, please feel free to do so by posting them in the comments. We would love to hear from you.

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