How to Wash Shoes in Front-load Washers?

Do you know what wearable of ours gets dirty the most? Pants? Underwears? No, it’s our shoes! They have to deal with a lot throughout the day. So it is no surprise that they are the dirtiest. But do you know what the surprise is here? Keep reading to know about How to Wash Shoes in Front-load Washers?

The fact that our shoes are rarely washed! Yes, we hardly wash our shoes and it is an overlooked fact.

Reasons Why We Don’t Wash Our Shoes Regularly

The main reason that we don’t wash our shoes regularly is that it often goes over our head. We forget about washing them.

Other reasons include that we don’t want to ruin our shoes. Most of us have the thought that cleaning our shoes will ruin them. The water may dissolve the glue used in the sole or washing may just shrink the shoe in size.

To be fair, these thoughts and fears are logical. Shoes do get ruined from washing. But that was the past. Scientists and designers have come up with ways to solve it. Now we have washable shoes, both by hand or machine. These washable shoes are shrink-proof.

It makes sense why this upgrade was necessary. Now many shoes can be washed in machines, front load, and top load. These washable shoes are made to withstand any wear damage from the wash cycle, letting you enjoy the benefits of technology.

But still, not all shoes are machine washable. Some can only be washed by hand. How can you know that yours can be washed in a front load washing machine? Just check the label. It should be located in the inside collar or behind the tongue. If it says machine washable, then you’re free to use it in any sort of washing machine, be it front load or top load.

How to Wash Your Shoes in the Front Load Washing Machine

Photo By: Oli Woodman

Even though the shoes say the machine washable in its label, you must take some protective measures before throwing them in the washer. It’s because washing machines are made for clothes, not for shoes. The wash cycle may end up ruining your shoe. So before jumping into the washing process, here is what you will need.

Items Needed for Washing

  • A pair of dirty shoes
  • A front-load washing machine
  • Baking Soda (3 tablespoons)
  • Liquid detergent
  • Washbag or a pillowcase
  • A cleaning brush for shoes
  • Towels (4 to 5)

Now let us dive into the washing procedure.

1. Remove Laces

Photo By: Ryan Plomp

If your shoes have laces, take them out. If you don’t take them out, they will tangle with each other in the machine during the wash cycle and ultimately ruin your beautiful pair of shoes. So take out the laces.

You can wash the laces separately on the sink with your hand. Or you can just simply use a wash bag or a pillowcase if you don’t have any washbag. Put the laces in it and throw them in the washer with the shoe.

2. Sprinkle Baking Soda

As we said, washing machines are not made or cleaning shoes. So you must take some measurements to get a proper wash for your shoes. So the night before you wash the shoes in the machine, bang them against the wall or any hard surface to shake off all dust and soil from it.

Then sprinkle three tablespoons of baking soda on the inside of the shoe. This shall prepare the inside of the shoe for the machine washing process.

3. Put Them in The Washer

Next morning, put your shoes inside the machine. But before that, throw a bunch of towels inside the washer. We would say you through at least four but do not use more than 6.

The reason why the towels are necessary is that they will protect your shoes upper from directly hitting the washer wall.

4. Run The Machine

Now close the machine and run the wash cycle. Remember to put it in gentle mode and use cold or room temperature water. Do not use warm water. It will dissolve the glue of the shoe that is holding it together.

5. Air Dry

Photo By: Caspar Camille Rubin

A gentle wash cycle usually lasts for 30 to 40 minutes. After the wash is complete, take the shoes out of the machine. Do not put them in the dryer. Also do not use heat to dry your shoe. Heat can damage the shoe.

Heating will dissolve the glue that is used to hold the sole together with the shoe upper. And it can also ruin the upper color by burning it. Shrinkage may also happen because of heat drying. Simply use air drying for the shoes.

But before you place or hang them anywhere for air drying, you need to shape the shoes back to their true form. Now put them in a nice open and airy place for air drying. Also, take the shoelaces out of the wash bag/ pillowcase and hang them alongside the shoes for air drying.

6. Relace

After the shoe is dried, put the laces back on the shoe. There, your shoes are now cleaned.

Things to Watch Out for

There are certain things to watch out for before putting your shoes in the washer. Make sure that you have chicken them out before using the machine.

  • Are my shoes made of leather?

Leather shoes are not idle for machine washing. You can wash sneakers and slip-on-type shoes on the machine.

  • Do they have machine washable written on their label?

Even if your shoes are not made of leather, you have to be certain if they are machine washable. Check the label of the shoe to be sure.

  • Am I using warm water?

Do not use warm water for washing your shoes. It will dissolve the glue.


So there you have it, a complete guide on how to wash your shoes on a front load washing machine. Make sure you have taken all the pre-measures and follow all the steps.

You can also read: How to Clean White Leather Shoes?

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