Shoes get dirty just like any other item of apparel. Cleaning your shoes in your washing machine can be a great way to freshen them up. Read on for best practices when it comes to putting your shoes through a machine wash cycle.
Are Your Shoes Machine Washable?
Step one is to determine if your shoes can handle being put through the washing machine. The material the shoes are made of is the big factor here. You should only machine wash shoes if they’re primarily made of fabric or textiles. So, canvas sneakers are a “yes,” but leather boots are definitely a “no”!
Additionally, shoes that feature lots of detail or ornamentation are probably not well-suited to going through a wash cycle. The agitation of the washing machine can loosen glue or stitching, resulting in a ruined pair of shoes rather than a clean pair.
Give Your Shoes some Pre-Wash TLC
When you’re ready to wash your shoes, take some time to pre-treat any stains or marks. This will help make sure the cleaning process is a success!
You can use an eraser-type cleaning pad to address marks or scuffs. For spots or stains, you can pre-treat with stain remover products as needed.
Get Ready for the Wash Process
As you’re pre-treating any stains, you should also strip the shoes down to the bare essentials. Remove the laces and insoles (which can be washed, but will clean up better on their own). Take out any inserts and orthotics—you can clean these by hand if they need a bit of a spruce.
Once your shoes are on their own, it’s helpful to put them in a wash bag of some kind. A lingerie bag will work for this purpose, as will a pillowcase. If you use the latter, just make sure you secure it so the shoes stay inside. A rubber band or a loose knot should do the trick.
Putting the shoes in a bag will keep them from banging around too much in the washer. This will reduce the wear and tear on your shoes and on your appliance!
If you’re washing shoelaces or cloth insoles, you can pop those in a separate lingerie bag. They can go along for the ride as long as they’re not attached to the shoes themselves.
Finally, try adding a couple of towels to the machine. This will help balance the load and reduce the noise quotient as well.
Choose the Right Cycle, Water, and Detergent Combo
When you’re ready to start the wash, pick the shortest cycle you can so that your shoes get the minimum amount of bouncing around. The gentle cycle is often the best bet, but check your machine since each one is different.
For water temperature, select “cold.” A warm or hot wash could damage your shoes by loosening the glue that holds parts together or shrinking different sections of fabric.
In terms of detergent, pick a liquid laundry soap (powdered soap can cake on different shoe surfaces). You definitely don’t need as much detergent as you’d use for a normal load. A small amount will go a long way!
Skip the Dryer and Air Dry
Once your shoes are done in the wash, take them out and let them air dry. The heat of the dryer could cause irreparable damage.
In order to restore the shape of your shoes, you can stuff them with old newspapers or rags. This will help keep any weird dimples or ridges from forming and brings the added benefit of soaking in some of the water!
You should be prepared to wait a while for your shoes to dry. Depending on the material they’re made of, it could take a few hours or even overnight for them to dry completely. Make sure you budget for that drying time before you make plans to wear your shoes again!
Cleaning your shoes in the washing machine can work miracles. Just follow these steps so that you can take care of your shoes and your washing machine in the process.
If you have questions or need assistance with your washing machine, call the team at Morris County Appliance Repair. We provide washing machine repair and general appliance services in Rockaway and the greater Morris County area. With over 50 years of combined experience, we’re ready to handle any appliance repair issue you might encounter. Morris County Appliance Repair—You Can Count On Us!