Can You Wash Athletic Shoes in the Washing Machine?

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Can You Wash Athletic Shoes in the Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash athletic shoes in the washing machine. However, not all shoes are safe to toss in the washer. Canvas-style kicks and athletic sneakers made with materials like nylon, cotton, and polyester are naturally more durable and shouldn’t be affected by laundry detergent.

Dr. SneakerSmith shared her experience of how to wash Athletic Shoes in the washing machine.

“I had a conversation with Dr. SneakerSmith, an expert in footwear care, about washing athletic shoes. Dr. SneakerSmith emphasized the need for gentle washing, material awareness, and thorough drying. This discussion provided invaluable insights, reinforcing the importance of maintaining our athletic shoes for the long run”

In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts, the steps to wash athletic shoes in the washing machine, alternative methods, and address some common questions regarding this cleaning process.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Athletic Shoes in the Washing Machine

Dos

  • Check the Shoe Material: Before you consider throwing your athletic shoes into the washing machine, ensure they are made of materials like canvas, nylon, cotton, or polyester. These materials are durable and generally safe for machine washing.
  • Remove Excess Dirt: Prior to washing, use a damp cloth or an old toothbrush to remove any excess dirt and grime from your shoes. This initial step prevents the washing machine from being overwhelmed by clumps of mud or debris.
  • Detach Shoelaces and Insoles: Remove the shoelaces and insoles from your athletic shoes. This allows for a more thorough cleaning and prevents them from getting tangled or damaged in the washing machine.
  • Use a Mesh Bag or Pillowcase: To protect your shoes during the washing process, place them in a mesh bag or a pillowcase. This ensures that they don’t bounce around inside the machine, potentially causing damage.
  • Add Extra Padding: To cushion the shoes during the wash, throw in at least two large bath towels with them. This added padding helps to maintain the shoe’s shape and protects them from the harsh agitation of the machine.
  • Choose the Right Wash Cycle: Opt for the gentle cycle on your washing machine, and use cold or warm water. This helps minimize the stress on your shoes and prevents the fabric from stretching or fading.
  • Avoid High Spin Speeds: When setting the spin cycle, use as little spin as possible or none at all. High spin speeds can cause the shoes to become misshapen and damage the machine.
  • Utilize the Extra Rinse Cycle: An extra rinse cycle at the end of the wash helps ensure that no soapy residue remains on your shoes, leaving them clean and fresh.
  • Air-Dry Thoroughly: After washing, allow your athletic shoes to air-dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them again. Avoid using direct heat sources, such as a hairdryer or heater, as they can warp the shoes.

Don’t

  • Don’t Use a Harsh Detergent: When washing your athletic shoes, avoid using strong detergents. Mild detergents or specially formulated shoe-cleaning products are preferred.
  • Don’t Wash Non-Machine-Friendly Materials: Leather or suede athletic shoes, as well as those with glued soles, are not suitable for machine washing. These materials can be damaged in the process.
  • Don’t Overload the Washing Machine: Be cautious not to overload the machine with too many items. This can lead to uneven washing and may result in your shoes not being cleaned effectively.
  • Don’t Forget to Remove Insoles and Laces: Failing to remove insoles and laces can lead to tangling, making it difficult to clean your shoes thoroughly.
  • Don’t Skip Air-Drying: After the wash, resist the temptation to use a tumble dryer or other heat sources to speed up the drying process. This can damage the shoes and cause them to lose their shape.

Steps to Wash Athletic Shoes in the Washing Machine:

Step 1

Preparation: Start by removing any excess dirt from your athletic shoes using a damp cloth or an old toothbrush. This initial cleaning step ensures that the washing machine doesn’t become clogged with dirt.

Step 2

Detach Shoelaces and Insoles: Take out the shoelaces and insoles from your shoes. This makes it easier to clean the shoes thoroughly and prevents the laces from tangling.

Step 3

Protect Your Shoes: Place your shoes inside a mesh bag or a pillowcase. This protective layer prevents them from banging around inside the washing machine, which could cause damage.

Step 4

Add Extra Padding: To maintain the shape of your shoes, put at least two large bath towels in the machine along with the shoes. This provides extra cushioning and helps to prevent any deformation.

Step 5

Select the Right Cycle and Water Temperature: Choose the gentle cycle on your washing machine, and use cold or warm water. This minimizes the wear and tear on your shoes and helps preserve their color.

Step 6

Control the Spin Cycle: Avoid high spin speeds or, if possible, use no spin at all. High-speed spinning can damage the shoes and make them lose their shape.

Step 7

Extra Rinse Cycle: Opt for an extra rinse cycle at the end of the wash to ensure all detergent residue is removed.

Step 8

Air-Dry Your Shoes: After washing, allow your athletic shoes to air-dry for at least 24 hours. Avoid using direct heat sources like hairdryers, radiators, or heaters, as these can warp the shoes.

Alternative Washing Methods for Athletic Shoes:

If you’re hesitant about using the washing machine or if your shoes are not machine-friendly, consider alternative methods:

  • Hand Cleaning: Use a mild detergent and a soft brush or cloth to clean your shoes by hand. This method allows you to have more control over the cleaning process and is gentle on the shoes.
  • Shoe Cleaning Kits: There are various shoe cleaning kits available that include specialized cleaning solutions and brushes designed for different shoe materials. These kits can be a convenient option for maintaining your athletic shoes.
  • Spot Cleaning: If your shoes have only a few stains or dirty areas, spot cleaning with a damp cloth and mild soap can be effective.
  • Insoles and Laces: Even if you wash your shoes in the machine, consider cleaning the insoles and laces separately by hand to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned.

Some Facts About Washing Athletic Shoes:

Facts

  • Remove any excess dirt from the shoes with a damp rag or old toothbrush.
  • Remove the shoelaces and insoles.
  • Air-dry the shoes for at least 24 hours before wearing them again.
  • Place the shoes in a mesh bag or pillowcase to protect them.

FAQ:

Can I wash all types of athletic shoes in the washing machine?

Answer: No, not all athletic shoes are suitable for machine washing. Avoid washing leather, suede, or shoes with glued soles in the washing machine.

Can I use regular laundry detergent to wash my athletic shoes?

Answer: It’s best to avoid strong detergents. Mild detergents or specially formulated shoe-cleaning products are safer options.

How often should I wash my athletic shoes in the washing machine?

Answer: The frequency of washing depends on how frequently you use your shoes. As a general guideline, once every few months or when they visibly require cleaning should suffice.

What should I do if my shoes have a strong odor after washing?

Answer: To combat odors, you can sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes before leaving them to air-dry. This will help absorb any lingering smells.

Is it okay to use a washing machine with an agitator to wash my athletic shoes?

Answer: It’s best to use a washing machine without an agitator, as this reduces the risk of your shoes getting damaged during the wash.

Final Words:

Washing your athletic shoes in the washing machine is a convenient and effective way to keep them clean and extend their lifespan. By following the dos and don’ts, choosing the right materials for this process, and taking proper care during the wash and drying phases, you can ensure your favorite sneakers stay in tip-top shape. Remember, knowing your shoes and their specific care needs is key to maintaining their appearance and functionality for as long as possible. So, give your athletic shoes a refreshing cleanse, and step out with confidence in your revitalized footwear.

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