A Comprehensive Guide to Washing Your Shoes in the Washing Machine

A Comprehensive Guide to Washing Your Shoes in the Washing Machine

Aug 24, 2023

Washing your shoes in the washing machine can save you time and effort while keeping your favorite footwear clean and ready to wear. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about washing shoes in the washing machine, including which materials are safe, how to properly clean them, and drying techniques. We'll also touch on some eco-friendly laundry tips, featuring Vove laundry detergent, which is effective at low temperatures.

Identifying Machine-Washable Shoes

Before washing shoes in the washing machine, it's important to determine if they are made of materials that can withstand the process. Canvas, nylon, cotton, and polyester are typically safe to wash in the machine, as they are durable and won't be damaged by laundry detergent. To be sure, always check the shoe's care instructions for washing recommendations.

Shoes to Avoid Washing in the Machine

While some shoes can be safely cleaned in a washing machine, others require hand cleaning or specialized care. Leather, suede, rubber, and vinyl should not be placed in the washer. Additionally, shoes made of delicate materials like silk or featuring beading, embroidery, or sequins should be taken to a shoe repair and cleaning specialist to avoid damage. Always double-check care instructions to ensure it's safe to wash your shoes in the machine.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Shoes in the Washing Machine

Washing shoes in the washing machine is simple, but it requires some preparation. Before you begin, gather the following tools and materials: The entire process of washing your shoes in the washing machine takes about 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the delicate cycle you choose. Keep in mind that shoes will need to air dry at least overnight for a complete dry. Step 1: Remove the Laces and Insoles Start by removing the laces and/or insoles from your shoes. Step 2: Wash the Laces To prevent laces from tangling or wrapping around drum parts, wash them in a securely closed mesh garment bag. For stubborn messes, use laundry detergent and a soft brush to manually scrub the laces. Step 3: Wash the Insoles by Hand Unless otherwise stated in the care instructions, wash insoles by hand to prevent them from becoming waterlogged, which could take days to dry. Clean and deodorize insoles by:
  1. Wiping them down with a soft brush or rag and slightly soapy water
  2. Using a sponge to absorb excess moisture
  3. Sprinkling insoles with baking soda and letting them sit overnight to deodorize and soak up remaining moisture
  4. Brushing off the baking soda in the morning
After the insoles have dried, you can place them back in your shoes. Step 4: Clean the Soles If your shoes have excess mud or debris in the soles, use a soft brush to remove as much as possible. You can also use a toothbrush or toothpicks to carefully remove debris from tight areas. To clean away scuff marks, apply shoe cleaner with a rag or soft brush, then wipe away with a damp rag. Step 5: Place the Shoes in a Mesh Garment Bag After cleaning the soles, place your shoes in a mesh garment bag to prevent them from tumbling around forcefully in the washer. Step 6: Prepare the Load Add the bag containing the shoes to the washing machine, along with a few old towels to help balance the load. Ensure the towels are old, as newer ones could release excess dye that could stain your shoes. Step 7: Wash the Shoes Set your washing machine to a delicate, cold water cycle with a slow or no-spin option. Use liquid detergent or laundry pods, as powder detergent may not dissolve properly and get stuck in the shoes. Vove laundry detergent is a great choice for effective cleaning at low heat. Step 8: Drying the Shoes Once the wash cycle is complete, remove your shoes and laces from the mesh garment bags and let them air dry. Stuff your shoes with clean rags or paper towels to absorb excess moisture and help maintain their shape while drying. Place your shoes in an area with plenty of sunlight to speed up the drying process. It's essential to air dry your shoes, as using a dryer can damage or warp them. However, if you have a dryer rack, you can use it in a pinch. Wrap your shoes in old towels to protect them and set your dryer to a delicate or air fluff setting. Stop the cycle frequently to check on your shoes and ensure they don't get damaged by tumbling or warm air. Step 9: Re-insert the Insoles Once everything is dry, place the insoles back in your shoes and restring the laces. Now you're ready to enjoy your like-new footwear!

Tips for Washing Shoes Without Ruining Them

To wash your shoes without causing damage, always follow the care instructions and use a cold, gentle cycle with a slow or no-spin setting. Place machine-washable shoes in a closed garment bag and let them air dry after washing. For shoes that should only be washed or brushed by hand, avoid placing them in the washing machine to prevent damage. These types of shoes include leather, suede, vinyl, and rubber. For dressier shoes with delicate materials or embellishments, take them to a shoe repair shop or specialist for proper cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will shoes break the washing machine? Shoes are unlikely to damage the washing machine if washed in a mesh garment bag or pillowcase on a cold, gentle cycle. This prevents them from forcefully tumbling throughout the drum and causing damage. Do shoes shrink in the washing machine? Shoes may shrink in the washing machine if washed on a hot water cycle. To prevent shrinking and damage, follow care instructions and use a cold, gentle cycle. Can I put sneakers in the washing machine with clothes? Adding a few old towels or garments to the drum can help balance the load when washing shoes. Use older towels and clothes to prevent dye transfers and stains that can occur with newer fabrics. What setting should I use to wash shoes in the washing machine? Use a gentle, cold water cycle with a slow or no-spin setting when washing shoes in the washing machine. Place them in a closed mesh bag with the laces and insoles removed to preserve their condition and protect your washer from damage. Now that you know how to wash shoes in the washing machine, you can confidently keep your favorite footwear clean and fresh. Don't forget to use eco-friendly laundry detergent like vove for effective cleaning at low heat, ensuring a sustainable and environmentally-conscious approach to shoe care.

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