Can You Put Shoes In The Washing Machine?

It's a question we've all pondered in the depths of cleaning ennui: do these shoes really need to be hand washed, or can you put shoes in the washing machine and spend your time attending to more important matters, like re-watching the entirety of Jessica Jones? I have some good news and bad news: it turns out that some shoes can indeed survive a trip in the washing machine — but that doesn't mean that it's a good idea, and it depends on the shoe.

According to a guide posted by Sears, the best candidates to join your towels on spin cycle are fabric sneakers. On the downside, you still have to do some work, as Sears' guide recommends removing the shoes' insoles and washing them by hand in a solution of water and laundry detergent (here's a guide that breaks down the process in detail). As for the shoes, zip them into a laundry bag and pad the load with old towels to keep your washer in balance.

However, Sears recommends washing "expensive new sneakers" by hand to avoid potential damage, and athletic shoe giant Nike warns against washing their shoes in a washing machine entirely, as it could warp leather components. Instead, Nike recommends brushing excess dirt off the shoes and dabbing at stains with a sponge soaked in a mix of water and laundry detergent. As for drying? Skip the dryer and let them dry naturally at room temperature.

The decision whether to chuck your dirty sneakers in the washer comes down to a matter of preference. Do you want to preserve your shoes for the long run? Washing them by hand appears to be the better option. As for the cheap sneakers you wear to take your dog out in the middle of the night — would it really hurt them to go in the washer this once? Probably not.

Wondering how to clean your other types of shoes? Here's a quick rundown to make all your shoes look brand spankin' new.

1. Patent Leather

Patent leather is prone to scuffing, but non-acetone nail polish remover takes those scuff marks right off. Needless to say, I'd test this on an inconspicuous place before I went applying nail polish remover all over my $600 Louboutins. (If I had $600 Louboutins.)

Investment Shoes

If you do have a pair of Louboutins (or any comparable designer shoe), here's how to care for them to make them last.

Suede Shoes

Cleaning leather is scary. Cleaning suede is even scarier. GQ recommends using a shoe brush or a suede block to remove stains from suede shoes.

Leather Boots

There are many things you can do to help preserve a pair of leather boots, such as spraying them with a water repellent finish and buffing away stains with shoe polish.

Running Shoes

Keeping the soles of your running shoes white is a walk in the park with this technique.

Canvas Shoes

If you're wary of throwing your canvas shoes in the washer, here's a how-to on washing them by hand.

Satin Shoes

According to Modern Mom, satin shoes can be cleaned with a dry cloth, a toothbrush, and a Tide To-Go pen. Who knew?

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