Is it OK to Wash Sneakers in the Washing Machine?

In General, there is no harm in washing your sneakers in a washing machine as long as the care label recommends machine washing. Not all types of sneakers are machine washable, therefore read the care label carefully before washing them in a washer.

With that said if your sneakers are out of warranty and if you still want to wash them in a washer, there are a few ways to clean them and make them look new again.

The first option is to beat them over a trashcan to remove all dirt and grime.

Once you’ve removed the loose dirt, you can spray them with laundry pre-treatment products such as Shout or Resolve.

Next, rinse the stained area with cold water and wipe the shoes with a microfiber cloth.

If the shoes are heavily soiled, you can use a brush to remove as much dirt as possible.

And if the dirt and staining do not go away then you may have to either hand wash OR machine wash by putting the shoes in a laundry bag.

Let’s take a quick look into the process of machine washing the sneakers.

How to Machine Wash Sneakers?

Machine washing a pair of sneakers is easy, you just need a mesh laundry bag, a mild laundry detergent, a soft toothbrush, and stain remover (Optional).

Once you have the above items ready, follow the below step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Read the Care Label

It’s important that you read the care label thoroughly before putting your sneakers in the washer.

Care Label will have all the necessary information, right from washing to taking care.

So, if the care label allows you to machine wash, you may proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Pre-Treat the Shoes

Once you have decided to wash the shoes in a washer, it’s always good to pre-treat the stain using either a suitable stain remover OR you can prepare a detergent solution.

Simply apply the stain remover OR detergent solution to the stained areas of your shoes and work on it in a circular motion by using a soft brush OR toothbrush.

Step 3: Put your Sneakers in the Laundry Mesh Bag

The Next step is to remove the laces and insoles and then put the sneakers into the mesh laundry bag.

You may place laces and insoles into another bag.

Step 4: Add Mild Laundry Detergent

Now, add shoe-specific laundry detergent OR even a normal mild detergent should suffice.

Step 5: Set the Right Wash Cycle

Next, set the washer to run at a delicate cycle and cold water settings.

Step 6: Dry the Sneakers

The last step is to air-dry the sneakers naturally.

It’s not recommended to dry the sneakers in the dryer as it may damage the fabric.

Types of Sneakers and shoes that can be washed in a Washing Machine

Now that you know how to wash sneakers in a washer, let’s take a quick look at the types of shoes that can be machine washed.

Tennis shoes

You can certainly wash your tennis shoes in the washing machine on a gentle/delicate cycle using cold water.

Hot water wash can melt the glue holding the shoe parts together.

Moreover, you should avoid using vinegar or bleach as they can damage the soles of your shoes.

Additionally, you should never use fabric softener in your washing machine because it can trap odors and leave a coating on the shoes.

To disinfect your tennis shoes, you can use a disinfectant solution like Lysol OR detergent designed specifically for athletic wear, such as Swash Laundry Detergent.

Also Read: How to Wash Allbirds Shoes?

Athletic shoes

Many people wash their athletic shoes in the washing machine for a variety of reasons, from stain removal to maintenance.

While this is fine for everyday footwear, it can cause problems for shoes with high-end materials.

For example, sneakers made from canvas are not safe to be washed in the washing machine, as the water can break down the glue that holds the canvas together.

Conversely, athletic sneakers made from cotton, polyester, or nylon are safe to be washed.

When washing athletic shoes, set the machine to a delicate cold water cycle without spinning.

Use liquid detergent rather than powder since it is less likely to leave any residue.

If you’re not sure whether it’s safe, you can use warm water and mild soap for hand washing.

Just make sure you don’t use detergents with bleach or any other kind of fabric softener.

Using a non-abrasive soap like Dawn will help remove dirt and grime.

Also Read: How to Wash Velvet Shoes (Step-by-Step)

Kids’ shoes

If your child wears sneakers, it’s likely that they’re made of fabric.

In general, these types of footwear can be washed in the washing machine.

However, Read the care label before washing your child’s shoes, as washing too frequently may damage the material.

It’s best to wash your children’s shoes by hand whenever possible.

If you still want to use a washer, it’s recommended to first, rinse the shoes thoroughly in cool water.

Then, place them in a mesh laundry bag.

Next, Use a suitable detergent, such as Tide or Persil, to wash them.

When you’re washing sneakers, use liquid detergent, rather than powder, because the latter can get stuck in the fabric.

Also Read: How to Wash Converse Shoes? (Comprehensive Guide)

Running shoes

Although there are plenty of reasons to avoid washing your running shoes in the washing machine, they often need to be washed regularly to keep them in good condition.

Running shoes, unlike other types of casual cloth sneakers, are made of many different materials, and washing them in a washing machine can damage them.

If you have a particularly expensive pair of running shoes, you may want to consider hand-washing them to prevent any damage to them.

If you want to wash your running shoes in the washing machine, make sure to remove the inner sole and tongue from the shoes before putting them in the washer.

Once you are done with the wash, It’s best to dry the shoes in a cool, well-ventilated area to avoid damaging them.

Also Read: How to Wash Hey Dudes Shoes?


Sandals can also be washed in the washer.

Just ensure that you use liquid detergent rather than using powdered detergent.

The washing method will remain the same i.e. first pre-treat the stains, put them in the laundry mesh bag, and then machine wash on gentle and cold temperature settings.

Final Thoughts

Washing sneakers in a washer is common and you can certainly do so as long as you have read the care label first.

Remember, not all sneakers are machine washable, so if your sneakers are new and currently under warranty, it’s best to avoid machine washing.

There are high chances that you will end up voiding the warranty if you wash them in a washer.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)