Can You Wash Shoes With Clothes? [Know If It’s Safe Or Not]

Written By Sunny

Sometimes, you feel like tossing the dirty shoes in the washer along with your laundry, as you don’t wanna wait for a separate wash cycle.


Hold it right there! As tempting as it may feel to toss everything into the washing machine together, it can put your shoes at some potential risks.

But don’t worry, as in this article I’ve disclosed whether it’s a good idea to wash your shoes with clothes, or a formula for disaster.

Keep reading!

Can You Wash Shoes With Clothes?

Although you can clean shoes in the washer, you should never wash your shoes along with regular clothes. Because the tumble during the washing cycle can cause your shoes to get tangled with clothes when you toss them in the washer together.

You may feel the urge to plunge your shoes into the washer when you’re short on time and don’t want to wait for a separate wash cycle.

But as convenient as this may seem, this can lead your shoes to some unexpected consequences. When you put shoes in the machine with your laundry, both of them collide as the washing cycle carries on.

And because of that, neither your shoes nor the clothes will get a proper cleaning, as both of them will get tangled. Other than that, the collision and tumble of the cycle may damage your precious shoes.

Hence, you shouldn’t clean your hey dude shoes or the dirty tennis pair in a washer along with regular clothes.

Why Can’t You Wash Shoes With Clothes?

It’s true that you can safely wash shoes in a washer, except for leather ones. While it may be tempting to wash your shoes with clothes, you shouldn’t do that in any case.

Well, a bunch of reasons are there telling you not to wash shoes with clothes.

Let’s find out the reasons why you can’t wash shoes with clothes.

1. Spotting

The fabric and color used for clothes are quite different from that of your shoes. And most colorful clothes shed color pigments during the washing cycle.

So, when you put both shoes and regular clothes in the washer, the shed pigments may get into your shoes while discoloring them. Doing this may as well discolor the clothes if the shoes are the ones to shed color.

For example, if you clean white mesh shoes with colored clothes, it’s likely they will get discolored while absorbing the clothing’s color.

2. Possibility of Entanglement

When you load shoes and clothes together in a washer, the continuous collision between them may lead to entanglement.

Thus, shoes can cause damage to the delicate fabrics of your clothes such as silk, and satin. Also, the rough texture of the shoe sole or buckles can cause snags or tears in the fabric, as they keep tumbling during the cycle.

3. Transfer of Dirt

Furthermore, shoes can transfer dirt and debris to your clothes if you put dirty shoes together with regular clothes for washing.

Even if you separate your shoes from your clothes, the friction of the washing cycle can cause shoes to bounce around and damage other items in the load.

4. Different Washing Cycle Requirements

The fabric and other materials used in shoes and clothes differ hugely in their nature. And hence their need in washing cycle requirements also differs from each other.

For example, unlike clothes, machine-washable shoes need cold water and a gentle spin cycle for safe and effective cleaning.

On the contrary, you need to set different wash cycles according to the nature of the fabric of your clothes, if you want them to get cleaned properly.

For instance, clothes made of synthetic fabric require a warm water cycle, unlike dark-colored clothes which need a cold water cycle.

So, putting shoes and clothes in the same washing cycle may end up compromising on sufficient cleaning. And this eventually can lead to serious damage.

Moreover, you should never consider throwing your shoes in with your next load of laundry. As both your loved clothes and shoes may get damaged during the process.

Yet, the good news is that there are many other ways you can use to clean your shoes safely in no time.

Now let’s talk about how can you safely wash shoes in a washing machine.

How to Wash Shoes Safely

Instead of tossing shoes with your laundry in a washer, you can harmlessly clean them with the right cleaning method. From hand cleaning to using a washing machine, many safe and useful cleaning processes are out there.

So, let’s find out how you can wash your shoes safely and effectively.

Wash Shoes By Hand

The safest way to clean a dirty pair of shoes is by cleaning them by hand. For example, sneakers and canvas shoes can be cleaned with a soft-bristled brush and mild soap.

You just have to soak the brush in detergent solution and gently scrub it on the shoe surface. And rinse them with water after cleaning the shoes thoroughly and leave them for air drying.

This process is best suited to clean basketball shoes and other shoes which are too delicate for a machine wash.

But in the case of leather shoes, they should be wiped clean with a damp cloth and conditioned with leather cream. Because soaking them in water can damage the leather.

Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine

It is safe to clean Native shoes and other machine-washable shoes in a washer. That’s because shoes with canvas, synthetic, or fake leather can tackle the heat and pressure created in a machine cycle.

But you can not put leather shoes in the washer, same goes for shoes made of suede and rubber materials.

To get a proper and safe machine cleaning, go through the following-

  • After putting your shoes in a pillow bag and toss them in the washer. Put some old white towels with your shoes in the machine, to maintain balance during the wash cycle.
  • Add a small amount of liquid mild soap and turn it on after setting it in a gentle and cold water cycle for an hour.
  • When the shoes are cleaned properly, take them out and put them aside for air drying.

If you still wanna put your shoes and clothes together in the washer, choose the clothes which need the same cycle as your shoes.

Also, consider using a specialized shoe bag to protect both your shoes and your clothes. These mesh bags will keep your shoes contained and prevent them from damaging other items in the load.

Bottom Line

Due to the easy cleaning process, it’s pretty tempting to throw dirty shoes with clothes in a washer. But not all easy cleaning processes can ensure the safety of your shoes.

But, hopefully, all the details I’ve given in this article will aid you in keeping your shoes and clothes looking and smelling fresh without causing any damage.

And don’t forget to let me know your decision in the comment box!

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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