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How to Wash Shoes in a Washing Machine Safely

No matter how careful you are, your shoes are bound to get dirty eventually. Cleaning them by hand can be a pain, but your washer can also be hard on them if you aren’t careful. Clean your favorite kicks the easy way without causing damage! Just follow our easy step-by-step guide on how to wash shoes in a washing machine safely.

Here’s How to Washing Shoes in a Washing Machine…

If your shoes are dirty, don’t just throw them straight into your washer! There is a specific process you must follow to keep them from getting warped or damaged. With the exception or leather or suede shoes, here’s how to wash shoes safely:

Pre-Wash Steps

In learning how to wash shoes in a washing machine, there are some small steps you need to take to prepare your shoes before you get started. Take a few minutes to do these things before cleaning shoes in the washer.

  1. Be sure to check the labels for any specific instructions
  2. Take the laces out of the shoes. You can toss the laces in a laundry bag and still wash them, but don’t leave them laced in the shoe.
  3. Remove the insole from the shoe (if it comes out).
  4. Use a small sponge or a toothbrush or even a cotton swab to wipe off surface dirt and debris from the exterior of your shoe.

You don’t want crusted-on mud on your shoes when you put them in the washer. Your insoles will most likely have to be washed by hand in order to protect them.

how-to-wash-shoes-in-a-washing-machine
Image from WikiHow

Load Your Shoes Properly

This step is perhaps the most challenging in how to wash shoes in a washing machine. Most people simply toss their shoes in by themselves and run the wash cycle. Cleaning shoes in the washer safely though requires a few extra steps.

To protect your shoes, place them in a laundry bag or even a pillowcase, and make sure the bag that you use is sealed shut. If it doesn’t zip, try tying it in a knot or even using safety pins.

Finally, if you’ve ever heard your washer during the spin cycle, you know your shoes are in for a rough ride. We recommend that you toss in some dirty towels or small blankets to fill the extra space and protect your shoes.

can-shoes-go-in-washing-machine
Image from WikiHow

Choose the Right Washer Settings

How to wash shoes in the washing machine requires the appropriate detergent and washer settings. You should always use heavy-duty, liquid detergent to get your shoes as clean as possible. Avoid washing shoes with powder detergent.

If your shoe tag gave you any tips for washing, now is the time to follow those rules. We recommend a gentle cycle and adding in some extra rinse time at the end of the cycle. If you can’t add a rinse to the washer, you may need to run a final rinse when the washing cycle is complete.

How to Dry Shoes Properly

The dryer is really where people tend to go wrong when they learn how to wash shoes in a washing machine. But can you put shoes in the dryer? Does putting shoes in the dryer damage the dryer?

Always use a low-heat setting when you are trying to dry shoes in the dryer. You may just want to get them partially dry and then let them air dry to finish. We recommend leaving your shoes in the laundry bag or pillowcase so they tumble and knock around a little bit less in the process.

How long does it take for shoes to dry? The total process time might take anywhere from just a few hours to even a few days depending on your dryer, the settings, and whether or not you decide to air dry them instead.

Understanding how to wash shoes in a washing machine will save you time and keep your shoes looking newer, longer. And for more handy laundry tips, check out our guides on how to clean a down jacket and the best way to wash towels.

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