Can You Put Running Shoes In The Washing Machine?

While it may seem convenient, washing running shoes in the washing machine is generally not a good idea. The harsh conditions, including hot water, detergent, and the tumbling action, can weaken the fabric and dissolve the adhesives that hold the shoes together. This can lead to the shoes breaking down.

Additionally, the repetitive knocking of loose running shoes can harm the machine’s drum, and muddy soles might block its drain. To protect both your running shoes and washing machine, it’s best to avoid putting them in the washer.

But what else should you consider when cleaning your running shoes? Read on to learn how to properly pre-treat stains, clean your running shoes without causing damage, and tips on drying them safely..

How To Pre-Treat Stains On Running Shoes

bicarbonate of soda

To clean running shoe stains before washing, make a simple solution by combining ½ cup of water with a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda. 

Another option is using a mix of ¼ cup water and ¼ cup white vinegar, adding a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda. 

Wet a clean toothbrush, dip it in the bicarbonate of soda, and gently work it into the stain. After 10 to 15 minutes, wipe it off with a damp microfibre cloth.

How To Clean Running Shoes

insoles removed from shoes

Avoid using bleach or harsh household cleaners on your running shoes, as they can damage the materials. Instead, opt for milder cleaning solutions that are safe for clothing.

  1. When cleaning your running shoes, first take out the shoelaces and insoles. 
  2. Mix warm water with a little mild detergent (about 15-30ml) in a bowl or bucket. 
  3. Brush off any loose mud or dirt with a dry paper towel before you wet the shoes. 
  4. Use a soft toothbrush or scrub brush dipped in the soapy water to clean the bottoms of the shoes. 
  5. Rinse them using a sponge or wet cloth.
  6. Your next step is to wash the uppers of your shoes, which is the part that wraps your foot. Depending on the material, the cleaning method varies:
    • For those made from fabric, mesh, or canvas, scrub softly with a soapy, wet sponge. These types can be washed by hand, but you shouldn’t soak the shoes completely.
    • If they are suede, nubuck, or leather, remember that soap and water can damage or discolour them. Always use cleaners that are specifically for these materials, following the product instructions carefully.

How To Clean Insoles And Shoelaces

insoles inserted in the shoes

Use soapy water to clean your insoles. In a bowl, mix warm water with a small amount of mild detergent (about 15-30ml). Gently scrub with a soft toothbrush or scrub brush, then remove any dirt and leftover soap with a damp sponge. Be careful not to soak the insoles as this can damage the foam and change their shape.

Shoelaces can be cleaned by using soap and a scrub brush while rinsing them under running water.

How To Dry Running Shoes

After cleaning all parts of your shoes, allow them to air dry, stuffing them with paper towels to soak up the dampness and keep their shape. 

Avoid drying them in the dryer, near a radiator, or in direct sunlight to prevent damage. Once dry, sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda inside to eliminate any remaining moisture or smells.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Shoelaces In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my running shoes get ruined in the washing machine?

Yes, your running shoes may get ruined in the washing machine. The water, detergent, and tumbling can weaken the fabric and dissolve the adhesives that hold the shoes together, potentially leading to the shoes breaking down.

What is the best way to wash running shoes?

The best way to wash running shoes is to avoid the washing machine and opt for hand washing. Use a mild detergent mixed with warm water, clean the shoes with a soft brush, and rinse with a sponge or wet cloth. For different materials like suede or leather, use specialised cleaners.

How do you wash running shoes without ruining them?

To wash running shoes without ruining them, avoid harsh chemicals and the washing machine. Instead, use a gentle cleaning solution, hand wash the shoes with a soft brush, and clean different materials appropriately, like using specific cleaners for suede or leather.

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