Can you wash mesh shoes in a washing machine?

Mesh shoes can be washed in a washing machine, but it’s not recommended. The best way to clean mesh shoes is by hand with a little soap and water. If you intend to use a washing machine, be sure to place them in a mesh laundry bag and wash them on a gentle cycle.

To wash your mesh shoes, simply remove the insoles and laces before washing them (if applicable). Next, pre-treat the shoes, laces, and insoles to get rid of loose dirt, and put your shoes in a laundry mesh bag. Then, place the laundry bag in your washer and wash the shoes in cold water and a gentle/delicate cycle setting.

Finally, Air-dry the mesh shoes naturally by laying them flat on a surface in a well-ventilated area.

Key Takeaways

  • In most cases, mesh shoes are machine washable, but it’s not recommended to machine wash them as it requires more attention and care as compared to other types of shoes.
  • Pretreating is another key step in eliminating extra dirt and soiling from shoes before washing.
  • When machine washing mesh shoes, always put them in a laundry bag to avoid damage to their outer mesh surface. Moreover, do not include garments with hooks and zippers during the wash.
  • Air-drying naturally is the best way to prevent them from being damaged.

What are mesh shoes?

Mesh shoes are usually cushioned from the inside and have a netting layer on the outer surface.

The mesh design makes them lightweight and quite comfortable to wear, which makes you feel light and even barefooted at times.

The meshed surface makes them breathable by allowing air circulation to comfort your feet. So, if your regular shoes turn out to be stinky quite often, then you can simply consider wearing mesh shoes.

Mesh shoes are available as running shoes, sports shoes, slip-on, fashion sneakers, and so on. Some can even be worn with or without socks.

Can you wash mesh shoes in a washing machine?

Yes, you can wash mesh shoes in a washing machine with ease as long as the care label recommends machine washing and if you take enough care while washing.

Here are some quick guidelines and points that will help you wash your mesh shoes safely in a washer.

  • Do not throw the shoes directly into the washing machine. Instead, put them in a mesh bag to prevent the meshing surface from wear and tear during the wash process. 
  • Remove the insoles and laces. They can be easily hand washed.
  • Avoid including bulky garments with these shoes during the wash. Instead, add some standard towels or kitchen cloths along with the mesh shoes.
  • Some mesh shoes may be so light that they won’t drown in the water and will start to float around the tub. So, do not wash such types of shoes in your washing machine.
  • Another important factor is to use a gentle cycle such as handwash or delicate.
  • Always wash your mesh shoes in cold water.

How to wash mesh shoes in a washing machine?

Although hand washing your mesh shoes is said to be the safest method, you can also wash them in your washing machine with care by following the below steps.

Pretreating excess dirt

Here comes the first and most important step to pre-treat the shoes effectively before washing them.

Step 1: Remove and clean the insoles and laces

  • Pull the insoles out carefully and, if your shoes have laces, take them off.
  • Rinse the insoles and laces with clean water and apply detergent evenly and leave them aside to settle for five to ten minutes.
  • Use a soft brush or a toothbrush and start rubbing over the insoles in a gentle manner by pouring a few drops of water on them.
  • Rinse the insoles and the laces thoroughly with clean water.
  • Now, take a bowl and fill it with clean water, then add a mild detergent.
  • Next, soak the insole and the laces for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Finally, rinse them with clean water, and they are all set to lay down for air drying.

Tip: The insoles are usually lightweight and may not settle into the water, so place an object or a towel over them to completely submerge them into the solution.

Step 2: Clean the outer sole of the shoes

  • To clean the outer sole, simply wet a cloth and rub the outer sole areas from the side layers and the bottom surface.
  • Now, pour a few drops of detergent liquid over the toothbrush bristles and start rubbing it gently throughout the surface. You can pour a few drops of water while doing so and leave it to settle for about 5 minutes.
  • Now use a damp cloth or a sponge and start wiping the outer soles by evenly pouring some water over them.

Note: You can also use standard white toothpaste to clean the outer soles of your shoes.

Step 3: Remove excess dirt from the mesh surface

Treating the mesh surface can be challenging, a slight negligence can damage the mesh surface very quickly.

Hence, avoid using a brush while you pre-treat the dirt or stains on the surface of such shoes.

Start by wetting the outer mesh surface with clean water and pouring in a few drops of liquid detergent, followed by gently spreading the detergent over the surface using your fingers.

Now, mix detergent in a small bowl filled with water and dip a sponge in the solution.

Next, start rubbing the wet sponge gently over the mesh surface of your shoes for a minute or so.

Then, fill a sink with clean water and rinse the shoes thoroughly inside and out.

Tip: If the shoes are too dirty, then simply soak them in a sink filled with detergent water for at least 20 minutes before starting with the pretreatment. Also, avoid scratching the mesh with your fingernails.

Note: By following the pre-treating steps, you have almost covered the hand washing process.

To finish hand washing your mesh shoes, just fill a sink with clean and warm water, add mild soap or detergent, and then add a disinfectant solution. Next, place the shoes in the sink and swirl them around in a circular and reverse motion for about 2 minutes.

Leave it to settle for another 30 minutes and finally rinse with clean water.

Once you are done washing the shoes, put them on for air-drying by either hanging them or laying them flat.

Instructions to Machine Wash Mesh Shoes

Before you wash them in your washing machine, make sure you have a laundry bag handy. If not, then simply make use of a pillowcase or a pillow cover (ensure the pillowcase is machine washable).

Tip: Use one pillowcase for each shoe, as this will provide plenty of room for the water to circulate during washing, and do not push the shoes to fit into a pillowcase that is too small for them.

Let’s take a quick look at the steps to wash your mesh shoes in your washing machine after the pre-treating process.

Step 1: Place the mesh shoe in the laundry bag

As per the availability, place the shoes in a laundry bag or in pillowcases (try to put the insoles and the laces in a separate laundry bag if possible).

Load them into the washing machine and place towels or kitchen cloths to provide cushioning.

Step 2: Add a mild detergent

Add mild detergent to the washer.

You can also add 1 cup of distilled vinegar to the washtub.

Disinfectant solutions can also be added during the wash if you prefer using them instead of vinegar.

Step 3: Select a gentle wash cycle

  • Always use a gentle wash cycle such as the one dedicated to delicate garments or a hand wash cycle.
  • Next, set the water temperature settings to cold.
  • If your washer allows it, then simply set the spin speed to the lowest spin setting and a short wash duration cycle.

Step 4: Use extra rinse and run the wash cycle

Set an extra rinse in the wash process from the settings menu and run the wash cycle.

Step 5: Drying process

After the wash and extra rinse cycles are completed, take the shoes off the machine and remove them from the laundry bags.

Now place a piece of dry sponge inside each shoe and wrap them in a dry towel to soak up excess water.

Give it a gentle press over the surface and leave it wrapped in a towel for a minute or so.

Now, unwrap the shoes, remove the sponge, and put them on for air drying.

Final Thoughts

It’s recommended to hand-wash your mesh shoes. However, if you still want to machine wash them, always read the cleaning and care instructions.

The care label or care recommendation for mesh shoes may vary considerably depending on the material. So, before you machine-wash them, make sure to check the care label.

Shoes with a mesh or netting surface are fragile and require special care when worn or washed.

My 2 cents – Avoid placing them in the washing machine with mixed non-suitable loads that can damage their surface, and always use a laundry bag.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you wash knit mesh shoes?

Knit mesh sneakers should be hand washed in cold water with a mild laundry detergent. Since they are delicate, you should never use bleach and stain-removing pretreatments on them. With that said, if you have decided to machine wash them, then wash them in cold water and in delicate cycle settings. Make sure to select the short cycle instead of the regular one.

Can mesh shoes be dried in the dryer?

No, you should never place mesh shoes in the clothes dryer as the heat can damage them. Instead, air-dry them by either hanging them or laying them flat on a towel.

How often should you wash mesh shoes?

Ideally, you should wash your mesh shoes whenever they start to look dirty. In general, washing them every two weeks should strike the right balance if you wear them less frequently. If they are used daily, then you might need to wash them at least once a week.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)