What Shoes Can You Put In The Washing Machine?

What Shoes Can You Put In The Washing Machine

What brought you to this article must be the question if you can wash your shoes in a washing machine? Well, a simple answer to that is “YES”! But how? Read on the rest of the article where I have carefully researched and jotted down the Five (5) Steps to ensure how this can be done with ease.

The common myth is that you can’t wash your shoes at home and that too in a washing machine. Well, that is wrong! What we don’t know is that there so many type of shoes in the market that is labelled to be washable. This in result saves you great amount of effort, time and money with taking your shoes to a professional cleaner.

We have all been in that zone where we find out our shoes are so dirty that you just want to toss them out into the bin. Well then STOP! Because with these tips that I have come up with and basing my article on, you would be able to bring that shine and life back onto those shoes that have picked up dirt, grime and GOD KNOWS what else on them.

Should you wash shoes in the washing machine?

Should you wash shoes in the washing machine

This is a widely asked question by most of the people around the internet and honestly, the only answer to this is “IT DEPENDS”. And the only way to find out if you can wash your shoes in the washing machine is by going through the care-label that is stuck right on the insole or under the tongue of your favourite pair. Manufacturers go a great length to mention if the shoe is machine washable or not. You should always read this label before attempting my below-mentioned tips to machine wash your shoes.

A general rule of the thumb is that it is always recommended “NOT” to wash shoes made from animal fabrics, i.e. Leather or suede. Things would be a lot ugly if you end up washing these type of shoes in a washing machine. The only and the optimum way of cleaning such shoes is by using professional cleaning products if you are a DIY guy like me, or simply taking them to your local shoe repair shop should do wonders. Never risk putting a leather or suede shoe in a washing machine as water can easily damage these materials and you would be left with a bad looking pair that is going to do good to nobody. To top the list, shoes that are made from satin or beautiful silk shoes should also be kept far away from this technique. These should only be cleaned with special care.

On the other hand, it’s a different ballgame altogether when it comes down to washing your trainers in the washing machine. The second type of shoes that you can wash is your kid’s shoes that are prone to getting dirty almost on a daily basis. Well, you can’t stop the kids from having fun now, can you? Most of these shoe types comprise of materials such as cotton, nylon, polyester and these materials can easily withstand the beating of a washing machine on them. Some PU or PVC shoes are also machine washable but it is always advised to check the care-label and confirm if they are machine washable or not. Due to rapid globalization and the change in industrial standards, one needs to be wary of which type of shoes are not machine washable and which type of shoes that used to be washable are now not. That’s the bitter truth I tell you!

If your shoes are labelled with the tag “HAND WASH ONLY”, then under no circumstances the below steps are applicable to you. Walk away, you must!

How to wash your shoes in the washing machine: Step by step tutorial

Read the care-label (Most Important!)

The first and the foremost is to check and see if your shoes are machine washable or at all washable or not. If the label says otherwise, WALK AWAY YOU MUST!

The label on the shoe would clearly tell you the best way to wash them since the type of shoe varies a lot and we never know if the manufacturer intended the show to be washed at home.

All hope’s not lost. If the label says “DO NOT WASH “, let us not go by the book here then. You can under no circumstances now wash the shoes, but hey; who says we can’t “CLEAN” them? See what I did there! Take an old pair of toothbrush, and no; not your grandma’s; and scrub the surface with the obvious dirt or stuck particles in various areas in the shoe. Then take a not so damp cloth and wipe your shoes completely to ensure they look better than before.

Prep time!

The most important part in washing your shoes is to make sure to clear off any excess dirt there already is on the shoe by scrubbing it with a damp cloth. Use a toothbrush if you must, and brush off the eyelets, and other parts of the shoes that are stuck with dirt. Remove the laces and clean them separately using some liquid soap and Luke-warm water.

Not all the stains are the same, so often at times, you might need to pull them under running water for the more difficult dirt particles to come out. Following all the steps mentioned in this section would help your machine do its cleaning job on your shoes much more efficiently and effectively.

Noise-Cancellation Headphones? Oh Yes!

Get your hands on an inexpensive laundry bag. Throw your laces and shoes into them. This would ensure that they don’t get snagged from the inside of the drum. An alternative to a laundry bag would be to get yourself an empty pillow casing and throw the shoes and the laces in it. Tie it up properly and you are done with the prep work.

Get yourself a pair of headphones or earplugs and toss the bag into the washing machine. This is so that your ears are safe from the THUD THUD BAP BAP BAP THAA THA THUD noises when the machine is in operation along with the shoes in it.

Machine preparation

Under no circumstances should you be running hot water into the washing machine. This would seriously damage the colour of the shoes while the machine is in action and we wouldn’t want out expensive pair of shoes dying at the hands of discolouration. Set the water temperature to around 30 degree Celsius. This is the recommended temperature for any shoes that are washable. This rule is directly applicable to PU and PVC shoes since 30C washing will not damage the coating on the shoes, thus preventing them from harm.

Final Step!

Never ever, tumble dry your shoes. Always air dry them. This is because the glue that is used to hold the base together and other parts of the shoes starts to melt when shoes are dried in a tumble dryer.

Get hold of a newspaper and scrunch it into balls. Then slide them into each of the pairs. Use sufficient newspapers to do this in order to avoid the shoes to collapse during the drying phase. This also helps to absorb the excess moisture post-washing.


With this, we conclude our DIY to clean the shoes using our own washing machine at home. This would help you save couple of dollars and would give you the peace of mind as well.

If you liked my article above, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on how it benefited you. Would you try washing your shoes at home in a washing machine using our above tips? I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Zohaib Shaikh

Hi, I'm Zohaib. I too had been suffering from uncomfortable shoes throughout my life. Hope you like my comfortable mugshot!

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