Wash shoes in the washing machine - how to

Washing shoes in the washing machine works, but requires care. Learn how to wash shoes and follow our guide to minimize damage to the washing machine.

Machine wash shoes - 3 tips

Many shoes in synthetic materials, man made materials and cotton can be machine washed. Here are three tips on what to consider before throwing your shoes in the washing machine.

1. Read the washing instructions

Check if your shoes have care advice or washing instructions. If it does not appear in the shoe, you might find it on the brand's website. When it says to hand wash, you can sometimes still wash in a machine, but then it's done at your own risk. In that case, use a delicate washing cycle and 30 degrees. Adjust the amount of detergent according to how much you fill the machine, half full machine - half the amount of detergent.

2. Prepare the shoes

Remove the insole before putting the shoes in the washing machine. The insoles are best washed by hand. Remove any shoelaces. Put the shoes in a laundry bag. The shoelaces can be in the same bag but may sometimes need to be soaked and rubbed a little extra with detergent or dishwashing liquid before. If you don't have a laundry bag, you can use an old pillowcase.

3. Treat the washing machine gently

If you decide to wash shoes in your washing machine, be sure to protect your machine. Brush off the soles of the shoes and poke away any stuck gravel to prevent scratches in the drum. Put some towels or similar together with the shoes so they dampen the sound of the shoes in the machine and protect the drum from bumps.

Wash your dirty sneakers by machine, by hand or give them a quicker cleaning

Three ways to clean sneakers

Gym shoes belong to the footwear that will have to withstand the most among your footwear. They can get really dirty on the outside and really sweaty on the inside. For both your own and others' comfort, taking care of your sneakers is a good thing.

Machine washing sneakers

It's quite often possible to wash sneakers and gym shoes in the washing machine. Read the washing instructions in the shoe if available or on the brand's website what they recommend. It's often the outer soles of the shoes that get damaged by machine washing. The glue that attaches the sole to the upper of the shoe can be affected by heat and the material can turn yellow so wash in cold water unless the washing instructions indicate that warmer water is fine. Use a laundry bag and preferably one that prevents microplastics from getting flushed into the water. Sneakers and gym shoes in leather or suede should not be machine washed as the materials become damaged when they dry.

Wash sneakers by hand

If you choose to wash your gym shoes or sneakers by hand, we have some tips to help you along the way.

  1. Knock the soles together outdoors to remove loose dirt.

  2. Remove the insoles and shoelaces and wash them separately with detergent.

  3. Dust off the tops and outer soles with a brush.

  4. Bring out a bowl of lukewarm water with a little detergent.

  5. Dip a brush into the water and brush the shoe on the outside and inside with circulating movements. Repeat until you see stains and dirt disappear.

  6. Change to clean water, rinse the brush and repeat the brushing until all the dirt is gone.

  7. Scrub the outer sole with, for example, Hemfrid's Universalpasta on a microfiber cloth or use a dampened miracle sponge.

  8. Fill the shoes with newsprint so that they dry faster and keep their shape in the meantime. Replace the paper when it's wet.

  9. Let stand until completely dry and then put the insoles back in and insert the shoelaces again.

Quick cleaning of sneakers

If your sneakers are not very dirty but need a quick cleaning, here's how.

  1. Knock together the soles outdoors so everything that's loose falls off.

  2. Remove the shoelaces and insoles and wash them separately with laundry detergent or dishwashing detergent.

  3. Brush off the tops and outer soles to remove loose dust.

  4. Wipe the entire shoe with a damp cloth.

  5. Remove stains that remain on the top with, for example, Hemfrid's Universalpasta or other mild scrubbing agent on a damp microfiber cloth.

  6. Scrub the outer sole with the universalpasta on a microfiber cloth as above or use a dampened miracle sponge.

  7. Allow to air dry.

  8. Insert the soles and thread the shoelaces.

Let shoes and sneakers air dry

Whether you've washed shoes or sneakers by machine or by hand, it's best to let them air dry. The heat from a dryer or a drying cabinet can adversely affect the adhesive that's often used for the soles. Fill the shoes with newsprint. It helps them stay in shape and not collapse while drying. When the shoes are dry, put the insoles and shoelaces back in again.

Sometimes it may be enough to wash or switch out the shoelaces and insoles to give the shoes a new life

Wash shoelaces and insoles

Shoelaces and insoles are the parts of the shoes that can really show dirt. Sometimes it may be enough to wash them to give the shoes a real boost. You can machine wash the shoelaces in a laundry bag, but the soles should be washed by hand.

  1. Remove the insoles and shoelaces and place them in a tub or sink with lukewarm water and detergent or dish soap.

  2. Squeeze them first for a while to dissolve the dirt and then leave them in the water for an hour.

  3. Squeeze a little more and use a brush to scrub the more stubborn stains.

  4. Rinse clean.

  5. Allow to air dry.

If your soles or shoelaces are beyond rescue, it may simply be time to buy new ones. It's a much lower cost than buying brand new shoes, but they give the shoes new life and are a good investment.

Check if you find washing instructions inside the shoes or on the brand's website under care advice

Wash Converse and other white fabric shoes

When white shoes are no longer white but have assumed a gray or yellow color, it's time for cleaning! If the shoes are made of fabric or synthetic material, it is often possible to wash them in a machine or at least by hand. Check if you find washing instructions inside the shoe or on the brand's website under care advice. Shoes in silk or satin you should not wash yourself, they are best left to a specialist.

Machine wash white fabric shoes

In case it's possible to wash your white fabric shoes in a machine according to the washing instructions or if you choose to take a chance, do this.

  1. Remove the insoles and shoelaces. The shoelaces can go in the same machine but become cleaner when they're not left in the shoes. You should wash the insoles by hand.

  2. Put the shoes and shoelaces in a washing bag and put in the machine together with some towels that both dampen the sound and protect the drum.

  3. Wash at 30 degrees on a delicate wash cycle. Warmer water can dissolve the glue that attaches the sole to the upper.

  4. Let air dry and put some newsprint in each shoe. It helps keep shape and speeds up drying.

  5. Add the dry freshly washed insoles and shoelaces again.

Wash white fabric shoes by hand

Here's how to wash white Converse and other white fabric shoes by hand.

  1. Fill a tub with lukewarm water.

  2. Pour in a small amount of detergent and mix.

  3. Dip one shoe at a time into the water and use a brush, such as an old toothbrush, to remove stains.

  4. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

  5. Let the shoes air dry with newspaper inside.

Housewife tips for clean white shoes

To get white shoes clean, you can try these housewife tricks.

Get clean shoes with toothpaste

Put some white toothpaste on a dry discarded toothbrush and rub the stains with it. Let it work for a while and wipe off the toothpaste with a damp cloth.

Clean shoes with bicarbonate

Put on dish gloves. Spray the upper on the shoes with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Sift over bicarbonate and it starts to bubble and fizz. Let the process finish and brush with an old toothbrush on the most stubborn stains. Allow to dry and brush off or vacuum off excess bicarbonate.

Wash suede shoes and leather shoes

Washing suede and leather shoes is not recommended. These natural materials do not enjoy getting soaked. They lose their shape and dry up. You brush and impregnate suede shoes to clean and protect against moisture. You lubricate leather shoes with shoe grease and polish with shoe polish to maintain them.

Bad smell in shoes easier to get rid of than you might think

Get rid of bad odors in shoes and sneakers

Bad smell in shoes easier to get rid of than you might think. Try these tips for fresher kicks!

  1. Wash the insole. Remove the soles and wash them with detergent or dishwashing liquid.

  2. Let the soles air dry before putting them back in the shoes.

  3. Sift the inside of the shoes with plenty of bicarbonate. Leave overnight and vacuum or shake out the next morning. The bicarbonate attracts moisture and at the same time neutralizes bad smells.

  4. There are special balls that you can buy that removes the musty smell.

  5. Replace the soles with a pair of new fresh ones if your old ones can no longer be refreshed.