can i wash my shoes in the washing machine?

Posted by smol on



Yes is the short answer. 

But let’s keep 3 things in mind…

  1. Leather, suede, vinyl or rubber shoes won’t react well to the harshness of a machine wash and detergent so must be hand washed. And of course, if your shoes have fancy embroidery or sequins then you should definitely keep them out of the machine.

  1. Whilst it’s unlikely, remember loose shoes crashing around in the machine drum can cause damage. Always wash shoes in a mesh garment bag or pillowcase to prevent this from happening. 

  1. Shoes can also shrink in the machine especially if you pick a hot cycle. Follow the care label instructions and pick a cooler wash.

8 steps to clean shoes in the washing machine.

Once you’ve checked your shoes are made from either canvas, nylon, cotton or polyester then you should be good to go.

1. remove any laces. 

To prevent your laces getting tangled or snagged on something in the machine pop them in a mesh garment bag before they go in the drum.

2. removable insoles. 

If your insoles are removable it’s a good idea to take them out and hand wash them. Machine washing can saturate them which increases drying time. If they can be taken out then just wipe them with a clean cloth and some warm water mixed with smol plant-powered washing up liquid.

Pat them dry with a clean towel and sprinkle them with bicarbonate of soda  - it’s a great deodoriser and will soak up any moisture that remains. Just brush it off after a few hours. 

3. clean soles.

Use an old toothbrush to brush out mud from the soles then use a clean cloth warm water and washing up liquid to wipe away any scuffs. 

4. in the bag.

Pop your shoes into either a mesh garment bag of an old pillowcase that you can tie up at one end. You need to keep the shoes inside to stop them crashing about inside the drum as it turns. 

5. machine time. 

Pop your smol capsule into the back of your empty drum then put the bag containing your shoes into the machine drum. It doesn’t matter if you use a bio or non-bio detergent but you will get better stain removal on lower temperatures using a bio.  

It can be a good idea to add some extra laundry at this point too, maybe old towels, or pet bedding that needs a wash. it will save on the amount of loads you run (a great thing) and gives extra cushion to the drum.

6. cycle.

Choose a delicate cool wash with either no spin or a slow spin. We don’t recommend using a powder detergent because undissolved powder can get stuck in the shoes. 

7. dry.

When the wash has finished, remove your shoes from their bag and air dry them outside. Stuffing the insides with clean paper can speed up the drying and help them keep their shape. If your shoes are white - leaving them in direct sunlight helps restore their original gleam.  

DO NOT put them in the tumble dryer. The high heat can melt the glue in some shoes and separate the uppers from the soles. 

8. Replace laces and insoles.

Once your shoes are dry replace your insoles (if you removed them) and also any laces that you removed. 

And that’s it! Clean shoes in 8 short steps. Time to get out there and enjoy that new shoe vibe.


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