Sometimes our shoes are so dirty that simply cleaning them by hand is not enough. Many then think about washing their shoes in the washing machine. But is that even possible? Yes, it is! However, there are some things to consider in order to do it properly. Here are the best tips plus instructions for machine washing. We also tell you which mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
Which shoes can you put in the washing machine?
Is it safe to wash shoes in the washing machine? It is best to wash them by hand. But stubborn dirt can often only be removed completely in the washing machine. The stupid thing about it: Not all shoes are suitable for machine wash! The crucial factor is the material of the shoes.
Basically, the following applies: Before washing, first check the information on the label of the shoe tongue. In some cases, you will find information about the material and the right way to clean them.
If the shoes are made of synthetic materials, they can be washed in the washing machine. This includes:
- running shoes
- tennis shoes
- fabric shoes
- ballet flats
- canvas shoes
These shoes must not be put in the washing machine:
- leather shoes
- suede shoes
- high heels
- shoes with embellishments
- high-quality running shoes
- rubber boots
Especially leather shoes are very sensitive and require gentle cleaning. If shoes made of pure leather are exposed to large amounts of water, the material can become porous and, in the worst case, get damaged. Pure leather shoes should only be carefully dabbed with lukewarm water and a cloth.
In the case of sports shoes, it is not entirely clear whether you can wash them in the washing machine or not. Synthetic sports or running shoes can usually be machine washed. However, many running shoes often contain a gel in the sole, which could be damaged by the high washing temperature in the machine.
Models made of mesh fabric should also not end up in the machine, as the individual fibers can come loose. If you want to be on the safe side, you should, therefore, wash them by hand. Is the insole smelly and sweaty? Then take them out and add them to your normal laundry.
Embellished shoes, for example, with pearls, studs or rhinestones, also do not belong in the washing machine. The embellishments could come loose in the machine and damage other materials. With espadrilles, on the other hand, there is a risk that the jute soles could come loose in the washing machine.
Washing shoes in washing machine: the right way to do it
1. Remove coarse dirt
Before the shoes end up in the washing machine, you should remove as much as coarse dirt as possible, such as mud or small stones. To do this, knock out the shoes properly and clean them with a brush or cloth and some water.
2. Remove the shoelaces
Before washing, remove all loose parts such as insoles and laces. Shoelaces can also be washed, but only if they are tied well together. Otherwise, they can get caught in the washing drum.
3. Use a laundry bag
If you want to wash shoes in the washing machine, it is best to put them in a laundry bag to prevent damages on both shoes and the washing machine. If you don’t have a laundry bag at hand, you can alternatively use an old pillowcase or a jute bag.
4. Do not wash shoes alone
You should never wash shoes alone in the washing machine, as the hard shoes could damage the washing drum. It is best to clean your shoes together with towels and sheets. These are less sensitive than clothes.
Washing temperature, setting & detergent: All you need to know
What setting to wash shoes in the washing machine?
Some washing machines have a special shoe washing program that you can use. If your washing machine does not have such a program, you should wash your shoes in a gentle or wool setting.
Very important: Do not spin-dry! The spin cycle could destroy the material of the shoes.
What is the best washing temperature?
You should never wash shoes in the washing machine at a temperature higher than 30 degrees. At higher temperatures, the shoe may become deformed and shrink and thus no longer fit properly. In addition, the glue can come off and leave yellowish stains on the shoes. This problem is particularly common with white shoes.
Which detergent should I use for shoes?
You can use normal washing detergent. Laundry detergent for delicate fabrics is even better, especially for shoes made of sensitive materials. In general, it is recommended to use very little detergent.
Important: Never use fabric softener! It can damage the material, deform the shoe, or loosen the glue of the sole.
Dry shoes properly after washing
After washing, dry the shoes outside or at room temperature. If it is too cold or wet outside in winter, you can also put the shoes near the heating. But: Never dry your shoes on the heater! The direct heat can soften the material and the glue. The hairdryer is also a bad idea.
Stuff the shoes with kitchen paper or newspaper to dry them. The paper absorbs the moisture in the shoe and ensures that it stays in shape. Change the paper every few hours to prevent mold growth caused by too much moisture. Repeat until the shoes are really dry.
Tip: It’s best to choose kitchen paper because the printer ink of newspapers and magazines may discolor the shoes.