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Laundry 101: Can You Clean Shoes in a Washing Machine?

We’ve all been there: staring at a pair of dirty, smelly shoes and wondering how on earth we’re going to get them clean. Sure, you could take them to the local shoe cleaner, but let’s be real, who has the time or money for that? Luckily, you don’t have to! With a little bit of know-how and a trusty washing machine, you can clean shoes in a washing machine and have them looking (and smelling) like new in no time.

How to Clean Shoes in a Washing Machine

First things first: before you go throwing your shoes in the washer, there are a few things you need to know. Not all shoes are created equal, and some may not be suitable for machine washing.

For example, leather shoes should never be cleaned in a washing machine. The agitation and water can damage the leather, leaving it looking worse than before. Similarly, shoes with a lot of embellishments or decorations should be hand-washed to avoid any damage. When in doubt, check the tags for cleaning instructions, which can help you decide.

Now, onto the fun part: learning how to clean shoes in a washing machine.

shoes in washing machine setting

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need a washing machine (obviously), laundry detergent, a small laundry bag or pillowcase, and some old towels.

Step 2: Remove the Laces

Take out the laces from your shoes, and clean them separately in a small laundry bag or pillowcase. This will help to prevent them from getting tangled up in the machine, and will also ensure that they get just as clean as your shoes.

Step 3: Stuff the Shoes

Stuff your shoes with some old towels. This will help to maintain their shape and prevent them from getting damaged in the wash.

Step 4: Laundry Bag It Up

Put the shoes in a laundry bag or pillowcase to prevent damage from the agitation of the machine. This will also keep small parts of the shoe from falling off or getting lost during the washing process.

shoes in washing machine setting

Step 5: Set the Machine

Trying to find the right shoes in washing machine setting? Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle, using a mild detergent. Once the cycle is complete, remove your shoes from the washing machine.

Now that your shoes are clean, it’s important to dry them properly.

How to Dry Shoes

Step 1: Stuff with Paper

Stuff your shoes with newspaper or paper towels to help absorb any remaining moisture. This will also help to maintain their shape while they dry.

Step 2: Air Dry

Place your shoes in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This will prevent any damage to the material and help to preserve the integrity of the shoe.

Step 3: Be Patient

Allow your shoes to dry completely before wearing them again. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the material and the amount of moisture in the shoe.

And voila! Your shoes are now clean, fresh-smelling, and properly dried. Just make sure to check the material of your when you clean shoes in a washing machine, and always use a gentle cycle and mild detergent. And remember, if all else fails, you can always just buy a new pair of shoes.

Looking for more helpful laundry tips? Check out our guides on how to wash bath towels properly or the best way to keep white clothes looking new. Happy laundry!