How To Wash White Shoes in the Washing Machine

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Have you got a pair of white sneakers that are not looking as pristine as they once were? Luckily, there is a quick and easy method to get them looking fresh and clean once more! As long as you follow our easy instructions, you should have no trouble. 

Before you start 

Make sure you check the label on your white shoes for washing instructions. While most white shoes can be washed in the washing machine, some can’t be washed, so it is important to make sure before you start. 

You will need:

  • Garment bags
  • Stain remover or white vinegar
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Laundry detergent
  • Old towels

Step 1—Prepare your white shoes

Before you put your white shoes in the washing machine, there are a couple of things you need to do. Firstly, remove the laces from your shoes and the inner soles if they are removable, and put them aside. 

If your shoes have any loose dirt or grime on them, bang them together thoroughly outside to ensure any loose debris is removed. If there is a lot of dirt or mud stuck to the bottom of your shoes, it is a good idea to clean it off before you put them in the washing machine. You can scrub the bottom of the soles with detergent and a scrubbing brush.

If your white shoes have any particularly bad stains on them, such as grass stains or mud stains, you can spray the stained spots with a commercial stain remover product. If you prefer not to use harsh chemicals, you can try spraying the stain with white vinegar instead. Ensure that the shoes sit with the stain remover or vinegar on them for at least 10 minutes before moving on to the next step

Step 2—Wash the laces and inner soles

Although you can just put the laces and inner soles into the washing machine with your white shoes, you will get a better result if you wash them separately. The laces especially are prone to looking dirty, and the inner soles can absorb unpleasant odors, especially if your shoes are frequently worn for exercise. 

For the laces, try soaking them in warm water and white vinegar for at least an hour before adding them to the washing machine with the shoes. 

For the inner soles, because of their absorbent nature, you are usually better off not getting them completely soaked, as they can prove difficult to totally dry. Instead, follow the below steps to clean your insoles:

  • Use a damp, soapy cloth to wipe down the insoles on both sides, to remove any visible marks or stains. 
  • Thoroughly dry the insoles with a rag or towel.
  • Sprinkle the insoles with baking soda. This will absorb odors. Leave them to sit with the baking soda on them for 12 hours or overnight. 
  • Thoroughly brush off any baking soda residue. You can also add a couple of drops of essential oils of your choice for a pleasant scent. 

Step 3—Wash your white shoes

When washing your white shoes, it’s crucial to avoid causing damage. Follow the below instructions for the best results. 

Choose the correct wash cycle

Different wash cycles have different water temperatures and spin speeds. This is what you need to be most aware of when choosing to wash your shoes in the washing machine. A spin speed that is too fast or a water temperature that is too hot can damage your shoes. 

Some washing machines allow you to choose the settings for temperature and spin speed individually, so in this case, choose the lowest options. If you can’t see an option to manually choose the spin speed or temperature, wash your shoes on the “delicate” setting. This will generally wash items at a low temperature and a gentle spin speed. 

Choose the correct detergent

Make sure you are using a mild detergent and that you are not using too much. Too much detergent can actually do more harm than good, and lead to a residue on your shoes. 

Protect your shoes

When washing items such as shoes, it is a good idea to add a buffer so that they do not bounce around in your washing machine. The first step to take to protect your shoes is to wash them in a garment bag so that they stay together. You can also add your pre-soaked shoelaces into the wash in a separate garment bag. 

As well as using a garment bag, it is recommended that you wash your shoes with bulky items such as some old towels. These will prevent your shoes from rattling around in the bottom of the washing machine.

Step 4—Dry your shoes

While it is technically possible to dry your shoes in the dryer, this doesn’t mean it is a good idea. The rubber and glue on shoes can be negatively affected by the high temperatures of a dryer, and it is overall better and safer to let your shoes air dry. 

After removing your shoes from their garment bags, place them in a dry, sunny spot to air dry. You can also stuff your shoes with rags or paper towels to help absorb moisture from the inside and also help them to retain their shape while they dry. The laces will air dry quickly on a clothesline.

Once all the parts of your shoes are dry, you can put the laces and inner soles back in. Your shoes will now be sparkling white and ready to wear again!

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