How to Clean Shoes in the Washer Without Ruining Them


A pair of dirty shoes can dampen your outfit and overall appearance. Luckily, you can easily clean them using your washer without causing any damage. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to clean shoes in the washer safely and effectively.

Step 1: Determine If Your Shoes Are Washer-Safe

Before proceeding, confirm that your shoes are suitable for machine washing. Most sneakers and canvas shoes can be washed in a washer, but avoid throwing in leather or suede footwear as it may cause irreversible damage. Always check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning recommendations.

Step 2: Prepare the Shoes

Remove any surface dirt and debris from your shoes using a brush or a damp cloth. Take out the laces, as they can get tangled or damaged during washing, and wash them separately by hand or put them in a laundry bag. Remove the inserts or insoles to prevent them from losing shape and wash them separately if needed.

Step 3: Use a Laundry Bag

Using a laundry bag or pillowcase is essential when cleaning your shoes in a washer. It keeps them from banging against the drum and reduces noise during the cleaning process. Place each shoe inside a separate bag or pillowcase and close it tightly to prevent the shoes from falling out during washing.

Step 4: Add Towels

To further reduce noise and potential damage, throw one or two towels into the drum with your laundry bags containing the shoes. The towels will act as padding, minimizing impact on both your shoes and the washer.

Step 5: Select an Appropriate Washing Cycle

Choose a delicate cycle on your washing machine, with cold water setting to avoid damaging your shoes’ fabric and adhesive materials. You may use regular laundry detergent; however, avoid using bleach and fabric softeners, which might be too harsh for your footwear.

Step 6: Dry the Shoes

After the washing cycle is complete, gently unwrap your shoes from the laundry bags and let them air dry. Do not use a dryer as it can deform your shoes or cause adhesive parts to come unglued. Stuff the shoes with paper towels or a clean cloth to help maintain their shape and absorb excess moisture. Ensure they are completely dry before wearing them again.


By following these easy steps, you can effectively clean your shoes in a washer without ruining them. Remember always to check the manufacturer’s care instructions and ensure that your footwear is suitable for machine washing. With proper cleaning techniques, you can keep your shoes looking fresh and extend their lifespan.