How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine

How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine

Washing shoes in the washing machine isn’t difficult. Use these steps to wash shoes in your washing machine the right way. Never wash leather or suede shoes in the washing machine.


  • Always use a delicate and cold cycle when washing washable shoes.
  • There are a few kinds and parts of shoes that you shouldn’t wash in the washing machine.
  • A Home Warranty Service Agreement can help protect your washing machine against breakdowns.

1. Remove the laces and insoles

washing shoes remove insole and laces

Removing the shoes’ laces and insoles is an important first step.

Not all insoles are machine washable, so make sure you check for any instructions. Unless the insole specifically says to not wash it in a washing machine, you can use a washing machine. (Read Step 2 for tips on handwashing insoles.)

Taking the laces off your shoes can prevent them from wrapping around components in the washing machine’s drum, which could cause damage.

2. Clean the laces and insoles

washing machine clean insoles and laces

Placing the laces and insoles in a zippable washer bag makes them easier to locate in the washing machine. It’s also another good way to prevent the laces from becoming tangled.

Note: Even if your insoles are machine washable, make sure you have a few days to let them dry. Washing insoles in a washing machine can waterlog them, requiring days of air drying.

If you don’t have that kind of time, you can quickly wash your insoles by hand using the following steps:

  1. Grab a damp, soapy cloth, and wipe the insoles down.
  2. Take a dry sponge and use it to sop up excess water.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda on the insoles to defunk them.
  4. Let the insoles sit overnight.
  5. Wipe the dry baking soda off and reinsert the insoles.

3. Clean the soles of your shoes with a soft toothbrush

washing machine clean soles toothbrush

It’s a good idea to remove globs of gunk, mud, or any other gross and stinky stuff you may have stepped in before tossing your shoes in. A soft toothbrush can quickly remove excess filth from the soles of your shoes.

4. Put your shoes in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase

washing machine shoes in mesh laundry bag

Putting your shoes in a garment bag has a couple benefits.

  1. Reduces the force of the shoes against the washing machine drum, which can minimize potential damage.
  2. Helps quiet the noise of the shoes tumbling.

If you don’t have a garment bag, you can substitute it with a pillowcase. The goal is to keep the shoes contained.

5. Set your washing machine to Delicate and Cold

washing machine delicate cold

Setting the washing machine to delicate (and ideally, on a little- or no-spin cycle) helps protect both your shoes and the washing machine from damage.

Using cold water instead of hot is another way to protect your shoes. Hot-water cycles can do a lot of damage to your shoes, such as melting glues or warping the shoes themselves.

So, if your shoes smell really bad, avoid the temptation to wash them in hot water. Instead, follow the steps above to defunk your shoes.

6. Add old towels to the shoe load

washing machine clean shoes towels

You don’t want to wash your shoes in the washing machine by themselves! Adding a few (3–6) old towels can dampen the force of the shoes hitting the drum if you must run a spin cycle. Additionally, adding a few towels can keep the load balanced.

Avoid tossing your shoes in with regular laundry. Newer fabrics can bleed dye and stain your shoes.

7. Use liquid detergent or laundry pods, not powder

washing machine clean shoes liquid detergent

Powder detergents aren’t ideal for washing your shoes in the washing machine. They tend to cake and can ruin your shoes if they don’t dissolve properly.

Instead, use a liquid detergent or laundry pods. You can also add vinegar to the mix for extra odor-fighting power.

8. Let your shoes air dry

washing machine clean shoes air dry

Avoid putting your shoes in the dryer. There are two reasons why.

  1. The heat can shrink or warp your shoes.
  2. The tumbling can damage your shoes or your dryer.

Instead, let your shoes air dry, preferably in the sun. This could take a few hours or a couple of days, depending on your shoes, your washer, and other factors.

9. Relace and put the insoles back in

clean shoes replace insoles and laces

After your shoes have dried, simply relace them and slip the insoles back in.

10. Purchase (or renew) a 2-10 HBW home warranty


OK, this isn’t a tip on how to get clean shoes from the washing machine. But if you’ve gotten this far, we thought you might also be interested in what 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW) can provide you to make your home as happy as can be.

With a 2-10 HBW Home Warranty Service Agreement (home warranty), you can protect major appliances, like your washer and dryer, from the costs of expensive breakdowns. Whether you need protection for important kitchen appliances or the whole kit and caboodle of your home’s systems and appliances, 2-10 HBW can help.

Breakdowns are expensive. With a 2-10 HBW home warranty, you can protect yourself and your budget against expensive breakdowns. Let 2-10 HBW be your partner in happy home ownership.

2-10 HBW offers quality Home Warranty Service Agreement coverage for homeowners. Let us help you protect your home and budget.

Get a Quote

Already a customer? You can renew your Home Warranty Service Agreement coverage today!

Renew Now!

Do you have a 2-10 HBW structural warranty? You can purchase Home Warranty Service Agreement coverage today!

Buy Now!

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