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Can You Put Shoes In The Washer And Dryer [Best Practices]

Your favorite pair of shoes may have taken a beating as a result of your active lifestyle, and you want to know if you can put them in the washer and dryer for cleaning. We consulted a number of sources and have answers for you.

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Depending on the material, shoes can be washed in the washer, but they should not be put in the dryer. You can wash them in cold water, but never in hot water to avoid shrinking or damage. Shrinking and damage can also happen when shoes are popped into the dryer because the shoes are exposed to high heat.   

In this article, we'll walk you through the ways to clean your shoes safely while avoiding damage to your shoes and your washer. So keep reading. 

White and pink sneakers wash in the washer, Can You Put Shoes In The Washer And Dryer [Best Practices]

Shoe material 

The material of your shoes will determine whether or not you can put them in the washer. Cotton, canvas, polyester, and nylon shoes can be washed in the washing machine, whereas leather, suede, and satin require different cleaning methods. This is due to the durability of materials such as cotton, canvas, polyester, and nylon, which are less likely to be damaged by laundry detergents and spin settings in the washer.

Washing instructions tag

This is frequently found on the tongue of your shoes and can fade over time due to frequent use and washing. If your tags are no longer readable, you can always search the company website for washing instructions.

It is strongly recommended to check the washing instructions tag if you are unsure if the material of your shoes is machine friendly. If it is, proceed with the steps for cleaning the shoes in the washer. If not, you can use other methods to clean your shoes.

Washing shoes in the washer

You cannot simply throw your shoes in the washer once you have checked the washing instructions tag and determined that they are machine-washable. Cleaning your shoes requires preparation. Here are the steps you should follow.

Whirlpool details the steps of washing your shoes in a washing machine.

Remove all detachable parts

Before washing the shoes, remove the shoelaces and insoles. Shoelaces may become tangled if washed while still in the shoes. Put them in a separate mesh bag when washing them together with your shoes. Insoles, on the other hand, should be hand washed or simply wiped clean because they take a long time to dry.

Scrub dirt from your shoes

Brush off any dirt on the surface of your shoes with a brush with soft bristles or an old toothbrush. This can also be used to remove dirt or mud from the soles of your shoes.

You can clean your shoes with a solution of water and baking soda to remove any odors. Before wiping the shoes with the brush or rag, dip it in the solution. Before putting the shoes in the washer, make sure to wash them off.

Dirty white sneakers with brush and special tool for cleaning them

Put them in a bag

Prepare the shoes for washing by placing them inside a laundry bag or a mesh bag. These bags shield your shoes and your wash drum from damage. If you don't have any laundry bags or mesh bags, you can always use a pillowcase. Just make sure the bags are closed before putting them in the washer.

Woman putting pair of sport shoes in mesh laundry bag into washing machine

Put them in the washer

After placing the shoes and shoelaces in separate mesh bags, they are ready to be washed together. Wash them together with old towels to cushion your shoes to reduce the loud noise they will make during washing.

Adjust machine settings

To avoid shoe damage, adjust the machine setting to a gentler spin. Low spin speeds keep your washer balanced and protect both the wash drum and your shoes. To avoid warping and shrinking, change the setting to cold cycles.

Wash the shoes

When washing your shoes, make sure to use cold or low-temperature water. For shoes, it is also preferable to use liquid detergents rather than powder. This is to avoid leaving residues on the shoes after washing them.

Here are some recommended liquid detergents to use for washing your shoes.

Tide Ultra Concentrated Liquid Detergent works in all machines and water temperatures.

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Surf Excel Matic for Front Loaders was created for front-loading washing machines.

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Dry the shoes

The shoes must be dried after washing. You should never put them in the dryer. Instead, let them air dry. Putting shoes in the dryer may cause damage. This is due to the dryer producing a lot of heat, and too much heat can permanently damage your shoes.

Nike recommends two more ways of drying your shoes. One way is by stuffing your shoes with crumpled newspaper, replacing them as needed, until the shoes dry. Another is by hooking your shoes to a table fan and let it dry.

Will putting shoes in the washer damage the machine?

Clean sports shoes in washing machine drum

If not done correctly, putting your shoes in the washer can cause damage to the wash drum. That is why it is advised to store them in pillow cases, mesh bags, or lingerie bags. This will keep the shoes from becoming entangled in the tub.

Which is best for washing shoes, top load or front load?

Footwear hygiene - pair of dirty white sneakers in the washing machine

Washing shoes requires extra caution to avoid damaging both the machine and the shoes. When washing shoes, it is best to use the gentle cycle on the washing machine. As a result, any type of washer that is gentle on the shoes is the best option.

A front loader is an excellent option because it is gentle and uses less water. Top loaders can also be used to wash shoes, but make sure to use the impeller model.

Top loaders frequently have agitators that can be harsh on shoes. These agitators are used for heavy-duty washing in order to remove or reduce stains. Top loaders with impellers, on the other hand, are gentle washers because, like front loaders, they use less water.

To check if you have the agitator or the impeller model, you can watch the video below.

What are alternative methods for cleaning shoes?

If you are still unsure about washing your shoes, you can look into other methods of cleaning.

One option is to hand wash them. Brush dirt off the shoes' surface and wipe the soles clean. Soak the shoes in a basin or sink filled with water and laundry detergent. After a few minutes, scrub the shoes gently to remove all dirt and stains. Finally, let them dry naturally.

Another method does not require soaking and thus uses less water. In a small bowl, combine water and laundry detergent to make a shoe cleaning solution. After wiping the dirt off the shoes, scrub them with the cleaning solution and a toothbrush. Scrub the shoes gently, one section at a time. Then, using moist paper towels, wipe the solution off the shoes. After that, let them air dry.

Aside from these options, there are additional methods for cleaning your shoes depending on the material. Watch the video below for some pointers.

Can I wash shoes in the washer with clothes?

While it is possible to wash your shoes and clothes in the same load, it is not recommended. Washing your clothes and shoes together can cause damage to both.

During the cycle, your shoes and clothes will become entangled. Because shoes are heavier than clothes, they may stretch, tear, or damage the fabric of your clothes. Heavy pigmented clothing loses some of its color when washed, and these pigments may cause discoloration of your shoes.

Washing them all together may not get them clean. This is due to the fact that they require different water temperatures and washer settings.

In Closing

White and pink sneakers wash in the washer

If their material is machine-safe, shoes can be washed in a washing machine. If you are unsure about the material of your shoes, you can always check the washing instructions to see if they are machine-safe.

To avoid machine and shoe damage, always set the machine to gentle cycles and wash old towels together with the shoes.

While the shoes can be washed in the washer, they should not be dried in the dryer because the high temperature will cause the shoes to shrink and become damaged. Instead, allow them to air dry.

Check out the posts linked below for more information.

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