Follow these instructions to clean your shoes in the washing machine or by hand and keep them smelling and looking like new!

A pair of dirty high top tennis shoes

Shoes get dirty and stained whether you're a marathon runner or just walking around the mall. Dirty shoes not only make you look slovenly, but they also spread germs and dirt all over your house and car. Shoes can be easily kept clean on a daily basis, and they can also be washed in a washing machine or by hand.

Which Footwear Can Be Cleaned

The majority of casual footwear, including sneakers, house shoes, and slippers, are made of washable materials. Cotton, nylon, canvas, and polyester shoes can all be cleaned with relative ease. High heels, platform shoes, shoes with embellishments such as sequins or embroidery, and leather or suede shoes should not be washed in the washing machine.

Foremost, Before You Get Started

It is important to allow for drying time after washing shoes, whether by hand or machine. You should factor in at least 24 hours for this.


The best way to clean muddy shoes is to use a rubber spatula or an old spoon to scrape off as much of the loose dirt as possible. Then, once the mud has dried, go outside and knock the soles of your shoes together to loosen what remains. You can either follow the steps to wash your shoes in the machine or by hand, or you can spray the soles with water to loosen the mud and scrub it with an old toothbrush.

Use a bit of warm soapy water and an old toothbrush to spot-clean stains on fabric shoe uppers. After washing, simply use a damp cloth to get rid of any soap scum that may have lingered.

You can use a toothbrush dipped in baking soda and some water to remove the grime from your shoes. Apply a mild circular pressure to the affected area until the stain disappears, and then wipe it dry. Just use a magic eraser!

Required Resources

Items needed to clean a sink or basin liquid dish soap baking soda or white toothpaste (not gel) tea tree oil (optional) an old toothbrush

A number of fresh towels

Cleaning Your Sneakers or Tennis Shoes

First, make sure you're reading the label on how to care for it.

Even canvas shoes are typically best washed by hand, according to manufacturers. Do not wash them by hand if you do not want to or if you are unsure how to; instead, follow the instructions on the label provided by the manufacturer. Due to the fact that high temperatures can ruin your shoes, you should always wash them in cold water.

In the second stage, take out the shoelaces and the insoles.

The laces may become entangled and prevent the shoe from opening all the way, which prevents a thorough cleaning. Take them off, along with the insoles. Please do not force the insole out of your shoe if you are unable to do so. They can be hand washed in cold or warm water with a drop or two of liquid detergent, or machine washed in a mesh bag or pillowcase.

To remove stains, proceed to Step 3.

Cleaning the soles of your shoes with an old toothbrush or scrub brush can help you avoid tracking in mud. The gentle scrub I made myself works great. Baking soda and regular (not gel) toothpaste are also viable alternatives. Apply it with the toothbrush, let it sit for 5–10 minutes, and then remove it with a wet microfiber cloth.

Methods of washing (4th step)

Hot water can dissolve the glue holding your shoes together, so you should always wash them in cold. When doing laundry, always opt for liquid detergent rather than powder. Shoes can easily be ruined by using harsh chemicals, so avoid vinegar and bleach. Don't use fabric softener either, as it leaves a film that can trap dirt and smells.

• If you insist on machine washing your shoes, use a mesh laundry bag or, if you prefer, a pillowcase with the top tied. If your shoes are making a lot of noise while washing, try throwing in a few old towels to even out the load. Select the gentle cycle's lowest spin speed or no spin at all to avoid damaging your clothes. Right after the washing machine beeps, please take off your shoes.

• To hand-wash shoes, mix a few drops of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap into a sink or a bucket full of cold or lukewarm water. Put a few drops of tea tree oil in there if you want to make your shoes smell nice and fresh. Put your shoes in a bucket of water and use a used toothbrush to clean them thoroughly. Brush bristles can easily get caught in the eyelets if you aren't careful. If you've been using soapy water to clean your shoes, stop right now and empty the bucket. To remove the soap completely, soak your shoes in cold water.

Since the dryer's heat can warp or shrink shoes, it's best to let them air dry. To hasten the drying process, stuff your shoes with dry rags and gently squeeze them to remove excess moisture. Take the damp towels outside or away from the heat vents and put them in a cool, dry place. To dry insoles that were washed separately, press them in a thick towel to absorb excess water, and then set them to air dry alongside your shoes. The laces must be redone.

Because drying time for shoes can be up to a day, you should schedule this task accordingly. The use of a hair dryer won't help, and the extra heat could potentially ruin your shoes. It's fine to use a fan, but only if it doesn't generate any heat.

Shoe Care: Leather and Suede

The leather on your shoes can be refreshed by wiping them down with a solution of equal parts distilled white vinegar and cool water. Get a clean cloth and start buffing them right away. The leather must then be regularly polished to prevent soiling and staining.

Cleaning suede shoes requires nothing more than a gentle scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush to restore their pristine condition. For other messes, use a dry cleaning sponge, and for salt stains on suede shoes, try these methods.

When Should You Wash Your Shoes?

Washing athletic shoes (like running shoes, gym shoes, and anything else used for physical activity twice a month helps keep bacteria and odors at bay). Loafers and trendy sneakers are examples of shoes that can go a couple of months without being cleaned. If you can't wash your shoes every few days, try using a homemade shoe deodorizing spray or powder.