Can You Wash Shoes with Clothes

Wash Shoes with Clothes

If you are looking to make your white sneakers appear whiter or the dull colors to pop out, you have to wash them properly. Sometimes you’ll have a few clothes that also need to be washed and may therefore be tempted to wash both the clothes and shoes together. This is often especially the case when using a machine washer.

Can you wash shoes with clothes? No, this is not recommended. For one, washing clothes and shoes together could damage the clothes due to the collisions during the washing cycle. Unless you are looking to replace your clothes soon, we suggest you sort your laundry so that you can wash your clothes and shoes separately.

This article will look further into why you should not wash clothes and shoes together. Keep reading to learn more on why you should not wash shoes with clothes, whether it is okay to machine wash shoes, how to machine wash your shoes, and other related issues.

Why You Shouldn’t Wash Shoes with Clothes

As mentioned above, washing shoes with clothes could make your clothes wear out faster. The thing is, there is a lot of colliding that happens during the wash cycle. Shoes are thrown from one side to another rotating throughout.

If the machine is also loaded with clothes, then the clothes and shoes will become entangled. Since shoes are made of a tougher material than clothes, they may end up causing the clothes to stretch or tear.

Other than that, washing shoes with clothes may cause your sneakers to become stained depending on the material they are made of. For instance, lint from clothes could stain your white sneakers. That only means that you have extra work to do. Therefore, to avoid this, it’s simplest just to wash your shoes and clothes separately.

Another reason why you shouldn’t wash shoes with clothes is that they both require different wash cycles, temperatures and conditions for the best cleaning result. It is recommended that you use a cycle with a low spin speed and cold water when washing shoes. On the other hand, for clothes, different fabrics require different wash cycles and conditions. For instance, cold water is recommended for dark colors while warm water is best for synthetic and permanent-press fabric.

Therefore, when you toss clothes and shoes together, you will subject them to the same cleaning conditions, meaning one of them will not be cleaned as well as it should be. It also means that you risk damaging either the shoes or the clothes depending on the wash cycle you settle for.

So then, what is the solution? To avoid all of these situations, make a habit of sorting your clothes. This does not only mean separating your clothes from your shoes, but also separating clothes according to the fabric. For instance, it is a bad idea to wash clothes with towels. This is because lint from the clothes tends to stick to the towels. Therefore, sort your clothes before laundry and wash them as per their requirements.

Should I Machine Wash Shoes?

You may have already noticed that washing shoes with clothes typically means placing them in the washer. The big question is, can you machine wash shoes? In short, yes, you can. Otherwise, we would not be talking about washing shoes with clothes in the first place.

However, is this the best way to clean your shoes? Not really; the safest way to wash your shoes is by hand washing them. That said, note that while most shoes are better off hand-washed, some shoes are endorsed as machine washable. Therefore the question of whether or not you should machine wash your clothes all comes down to the type of shoes you’re washing.

The easiest way to determine if your shoe is machine friendly is by checking the care cleaning instructions for the shoes. If the instructions state washer or dryer safe, then you can toss your shoes in the machine.

If you are missing the care instructions, you can contact the manufacturers of the shoes. Alternatively, can follow the following general rules:

  • Do not machine wash shoes made of animal-based fabric. These include leather shoes or suede. This is because water tends to damage animal-based fabric.
  • Shoes made primarily for aesthetic purposes or those which have a lot of decorations should not be machine washed.
  • Shoes made of delicate materials like silk and satin should not be machine washed.
  • Shoes made of cotton, nylon or polyester are mostly machine washable.

How to Machine Wash Shoes

Step 1: Check the care label on your shoes to determine if they can be washed in the machine. If they can, proceed to the next step. If not, consider hand washing your shoes instead.

Step 2:  Remove the laces and place them in a mesh garment bag or a pillowcase. This helps to prevent the laces from being tangled while in the washer. Alternatively, you can choose to hand wash your laces using a soft brush and detergent. Remove the insoles as well. Unlike laces, insoles should specifically be hand washed.

Step 3: Hand wash your insoles using some warm water and detergent. This helps to get rid of any odor from the shoes. Once you are done cleaning the inner soles, air-dry them.

Step 4:  Dislodge any excess dirt or debris on your shoes. Use a brush to get rid of the excess dirt. For areas that are smaller and harder to reach like eyelets, it is recommended that you use a toothbrush to dislodge the debris. Alternatively, you can bang the shoes together to get rid of mud, grass or any other dirt for that matter.

Step 5:  In case your shoes are already stained, it is recommended that you pretreat them to get rid of the stains before tossing the shoes in the washer. Use some soapy water and a toothbrush to scrub off the stain. Make sure you use as much force as possible to attain the best results.

Step 6: When you are done washing off the stain, run the shoes under tap water to rinse off the soap residue.

Step 7: Place the shoes in a mesh bag like this or any other protective bag. Make sure you seal the bag so that the shoes remain secured. If you do not have a bag, you can use a pillowcase which you can tie at the top using rubber bands. Placing your shoes in the bag protects the shoes from the frequent collision during the wash cycle.

Step 8: In the washing machine, add 4- 6 old towels to provide extra cushioning. This also reduces the impact of the shoes colliding in the machine. This will therefore protect your shoes from being damaged.

Step 9: Use liquid detergent instead of powder detergent, as the latter can get stuck in shoes if it does not completely dissolve.

Step 10: Set your machine on a delicate cycle like a low-speed spin. A low-speed spin ensures that the washer stays balanced during the whole washing process. Other than the low-speed spin, you could also use a no-spin option. Remember to use cold water for your shoes.

Step11: When washing your shoes, it is highly recommended that you disinfect them. Shoes are known to harbor a lot of bacteria and fungi such as athlete’s foot.

Therefore, simply washing them may not be enough. To disinfect your shoes, add an 80% pine oil disinfectant before running your washer. Moreover, if you are disinfecting your washer, make sure you use warm water for the disinfectant to be effective.

Step 12: Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the shoes from the mesh bag. If you had placed the laces in a different mesh bag, remember to remove them as well. Place your shoes in an open space to air dry them, if you are looking to dry them faster, stuff them with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture.

Related Questions

How frequently should I wash my shoes?

It is recommended that you clean your shoes at least every two weeks. However, this varies depending on how regularly you put on your shoes, how dirty they are, the make of the shoe, and the color. If you tend to wear the same shoes regularly, then it goes without saying that you should wash them regularly, at least once a week.

However, note that for sneakers, washing them frequently could lead to their color fading. So the best option is to have a range of shoes to put on. Note that not washing your shoes could lead to a bad odor forming as well as stains distorting the original color.

Can I place my shoes in a dryer?

No, you should not. When it comes to drying your shoes, it is recommended you air dry them. This is because, the high heat from the dryer can damage the shoes, for starters by melting the glue that holds the soles together. Also, the dryer tends to wrap the rubber part of the shoes and shrink the fabric part. That is why you are advised to air dry your shoes.