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A Guide To Washing Sneakers In The Machine


March 04, 2021

Whether you're a runner, a hater of high-heeled shoes, or someone with an obsession with practical yet fashionable shoes, chances are you might be a sneakerhead. However, while the handy shoes get the job done, it might take you a while to realize they need a clean.

While many may lean towards hand washing your sneakers, it is not entirely impossible to clean them in the washer. Although, washing your sneakers in the machine needs some prep, so you do not destroy your beloved shoes.

Grab your pair, or all fifteen of them, and take some notes. Your machine is handier than you think and can help you return your shoes to their sparkly clean glory. Therefore, we have compiled six handy tips to guide you on washing your sneakers in the machine.

Start with a Wash Day Prep

You want to ensure that your shoes are primed to receive the best care. Remove all your laces and use an old toothbrush to dry brush any dirt off the surface. Next, if they are heavily soiled, bang them over a trashcan to get out any excess grime.

If your sneakers are dirty, they are also probably stinky, so three tablespoons of baking soda in them the night before will act as a great deodorizer. Alternatively, you can skip this step and go straight to washing. Just spray them liberally with a laundry pre-treatment. 

Keep Laces Separate

Do not wash your laces together with the rest of your laundry, as it will mangle and tangle. The eyelet of laces also accumulates a lot of dirt and debris, so you want to ensure that it gets lost of water and detergent.

Moreover, use a wash bag, specifically a mesh wash bag, to keep your laces separate. However, if you do not own a mesh wash bag, you can choose to throw your laces in a pillowcase. This way, you will not end up losing them.

Provide a Protective Barrier

You have done steps one and two, so there is no need to spoil everything by tossing your sneakers directly into the washer. First, you want to create a protective barrier, grab some towels, about three or four to six to be sure.

This will keep your sneakers from being banged around and spare your neighbors or housemates from any noise. However, you may want to choose your non-favorite towels because it can get messy.

Use An Appropriate Detergent

Put down the powder detergent. That stuff is going to wreck your shoes. Powder particles will lodge inside your sneakers, thus crushing your overall sneaker experience. Therefore, utilize a regular liquid detergent to get the job done.

Also, don’t go overboard. The excess detergent will leave a residue that will stiffen your shoes. If you have white sneakers, please do not use bleach on them. Instead, use equal parts of hot water, vinegar, and baking soda, and use a brush to apply the solution.

Determine Your Cycle

You’re almost ready to hit start but first, determine your cycle. A gentle cycle will ensure your sneakers will face less friction. This is because of the slower speeds. Less friction, less wear and tear—a formula for the ages.

Next, ensure your washer is set to cold. Cold water is an ideal temperature to wash your sneakers. Now you can hit start. Depending on your machine, the process could take anywhere between 30 - 40 mins. Thus, listen to that podcast you’ve been ignoring.


Do Not Throw Them In The Dryer

Your shoes are ready, they are nice, clean, and there are tears in your eyes. Your babies are perfect but damp. Do not be tempted to throw them in the dryer. That will only lead to shrinkage and even melt the glue that holds your beloved shoes together.

Instead, air dry them by an AC unit, dehumidifier, or outside the window for a quicker drying time. Make sure to dry the inserts as well, separately for good measure. A pro tip? Stuff white paper towels (not newspapers) in your sneakers to help them keep their shape.