How to Wash Shoes in a Washing Machine [Without Ruining Them]

Have you ever experienced a bad smell from your shoes when you kicked off after returning home from a long hectic working day? Well, most of us…

The foul smell irritates us and makes us replace the bad-smelling one with the new one and it cannot be possible always if those are your favorite shoes. 

In such situations, we all need a quick solution to get rid of the bad smell, and to give a new look to shoes is actually washing them, right? 

So, here again, washing is not everyone’s cup of tea, at least not mine. I prefer using a washing machine to the maximum extent, So let’s see how we can wash our shoes in a washing machine without actually spoiling them. 

let’s dive into our topic on how to wash shoes in a washing machine, carefully. So, most importantly you need to know the type of fabric your shoes have before putting them in the washing machine. Some fabrics which are animal-based are not meant for washing as they need proper cleaning, polishing methods to look shiny. And some fabric like cotton, nylon, PVC like kid’s shoes is safe to wash in the washing machine. However, there are some other materials that are labeled to be taken care of while washing. 

In a simple point, you need to check the care label that comes along with shoes before washing them in a washing machine

So, if you want to wash shoes which are wash-friendly then this researched article will be very useful to you, for sure.

How to Wash Shoes in a Washing machine?

As there are many types of fabrics in manufacturing shoes, some fabrics like leather need to be cleaned by the toothbrush, while some of them like satin-type, need to be washed with special care.

And now we are going to discuss the shoes that are made up of fabrics like cotton, polyester, nylon….and etc., which are wash friendly. 

As said earlier, check for the care label whether it is safe to wash or not. Then follow the below step by step procedure for clear understanding…

Step by step procedure to wash shoes in a washing machine

  • Before washing the shoes in a washing machine, you need to remove visible dirt on it.
  • Next, separate the insole, lace from the shoes. 
  • Take a laundry mesh bag or a pillow cover and drop these insoles, lace, shoes inside it.
  • Tie the bag tightly without any leak, as this will prevent the fabric of the shoes from the damage caused by hose walls.
  • And also helps the laces to get into the drain while draining water.
  • Now, put a towel/cloth (avoid whites) inside the hose and then place this mesh bag/pillow cover in it.
  • This will prevent us from the noisy washing machine where the shoes get hit to the hose wall while washing creating a huge banging sound.
  • Drop the detergent in the detergent slot and set the temperature to cool. Generally, we might hear about the warm water washing for perfect cleaning, but this warm water for shoe cleaning will fade out the color of the shoes.
  • Keep an extra rinse option to avoid any detergent/white marks on the shoes.
  • Now, turn on your washing machine and let it wash except drying.

Drying shoes in the washing machine:

You’re not done yet, drying is the crucial part of washing shoes in the washing machines. We generally keep the cleaned wet shoes in the dryer to remove all excess water in it.

But, this will create huge damage to the shoe’s fabric and its joints. The heat produced in the dryer will melt away the glue and also breaks the fabric lining…etc. 

So. It’s always the best option to air dry your shoes by placing them in a warm place. If you want to speed up the drying then place a paper ball inside the shoes, this will absorb the excess moisture inside the shoes.

For a clear understanding, you can take a look at the video below

We are done with washing wash-friendly care labeled shoes in the washing machine, now move on to the other types of washing/cleaning process.

Cleaning leather, suede, patent leather fabric shoes:

These animal-based fabrics are not meant to be washed with water, as they tend to damage more when they react with water. So, it all needs a cleaning process that does not damage its fabric.

If they get stained then wipe them off with a white vinegar solution i.e mixed with equal parts of water or rubbing alcohol and once they dry then rub them with a dry cloth.

Cleaning velvet, satin, white fabric shoes:

These fabrics are more delicate to handle. So, we need to clean them rather than washing them with water. 

To clean them we need a toothbrush, soap water, and dry paper towels.

Firstly, we need to make sure that the fabric is completely dry with dry dirt. Then take a toothbrush and brush the fabric in one direction i.e in the direction of grains in the fabric.

After removing the dry dirt, wet the area of the stain/dirt with a soapy solution.

Again brush the area in one direction like before. Then wipe it with a dry paper towel.

You can even use an electric brush for quick brushing. Remove the soap completely with the dry paper towel rinse again and again.

Now airdry the shoes in the warm place like under the shady sunlight.

Finally, you are done with washing/cleaning shoes with the utmost care taken…


To conclude, washing your dirty shoes in washing machine is as simple as that. The only thing we need to find out is its material made of, once that is know employ any one of the methods above to clean your shoes. Happy, running, and hiking. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What setting do you wash shoes in the washing machine?

To wash shoes in the washing machine you need to set the temperature to the cold with no spin, no dry option. Drying the shoes in the washing machine will damage the shoe fabric and glue lining as well.

How can I protect my fabric shoes?

You can protect your fabric shoes from damage by maintaining the regular dirt removing with a toothbrush. You can also buy stain repellents in order to make them water and dirt proof. But go through the protective guidelines before applying any products that come along with the shoe box.

How do you dry shoes overnight?

Newspapers do a better job for this, Take a sheet of newspaper and make it like a ball. Stuff this ball inside the shoes with opened laces, insoles and place it in a dry place inside the home. 

Can I dry my shoes with a hairdryer?

Yes, you can dry your shoes with a hairdryer but not more than one or two minutes long. As the excess heat will damage the shoes.

If you really want to simplify your mode of washing, just go through these articles below but these only helpful if you are having a washing machine.

  1. How To A Fix Shaking Washing Machine
  2. How To A Clean Washing Machine Drain
  3. How To Clean A Washing Machine Filter/Inlet Filter
  4. How To Use Bleach In Your Washing Machine

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Yo, I'm Sreekanth Devireddy, a technologist, designer and a passionate writer. Previously worked under tech giants as a Head Of Product Reviews. I love to review products and write buyers guide, that helps people to make the right decision at the right time.

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