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How to Clean Shoes? 6 Effective Ways to Wash Your Shoes

Shoe washing is something that should be repeated regularly – not only because of aesthetics, but also hygiene. But cleaning shoes is not as easy as it might seem. Every type of material requires different treatment, so washing shoes in a washing machine is not always possible. Check other useful methods to try.

How to Clean Shoes? 6 Effective Ways to Wash Your Shoes

How to wash shoes in the washing machine?

Washing shoes in the washing machine is a very convenient method, although one has to remember that it’s not always possible. It’s not very useful for owners of suede and leather shoes. But it’s perfectly fine for cleaning sneakers.

Some washing machines offer footwear washing modes. If you have such a modern device, you’re already a winner. If your device doesn’t have such a function – don’t worry. Just set a delicate wash cycle with temperature no higher than 40°C (104°F). The shoes shouldn’t be washed for too long – up to 30 minutes is the best option.

When washing your shoes in the washing machine, remember about the following important rules:

  • Never set the highest spin speed – 400 revolutions per minute is the maximum recommended speed.
  • Don’t add any stain removers to the wash. In case they don’t dissolve completely, there’s a risk they might cause discoloration on the shoes.
  • Before you put the shoes in the washing machine, clean them from major dirt (mud or grass might damage the device).
  • Invest in a special bag for washing footwear. You can put shoelaces and insoles in it, and guarantee the best hygiene for your feet.

Note that you shouldn’t put the shoes on top of a radiator after washing them. It’s better to place them on a towel or a thick piece of cloth, and let them dry naturally. Thanks to this, you can prevent the soles from falling apart.

How to wash shoes in the washing machine

Washing shoes in the dishwasher

Washing shoes in the dishwashes is quite similar to the washing machine method. Although many people find it weird, it’s becoming a popular way to clean footwear. It might be effective – but be aware that shoes are much more vulnerable to damage resulting from high temperature and the drying function offered by many dishwashers.

If you decided to wash your shoes in the dishwasher, make sure to use the economic cycles. Thanks to this, the lower temperature won’t damage the footwear.

Although it’s obvious – make sure no dishes are in the device when washing shoes in the dishwasher. Wash the appliance afterwards before you put plates, cups, and pots in it again.

Washing shoes in the dishwasher

How to clean suede shoes?

Cleaning suede shoes is more difficult. But it doesn’t mean you cannot do it at home – just remember about several important rules.

Suede doesn’t like water. If poured on this material, it might cause ugly discoloration and stains. If you want to avoid such problems, make sure not to use water at all when cleaning suede boots and shoes.

The market offers many cleaning products designed for suede shoes. Using them, you can effectively remove all dirt and restore the old glory to your footwear. If you don’t have anything like that at home, and you want to wear your suede shoes that need cleaning – use home remedies.

  • Small stains can be removed using a bread crust, rubbing it against the dirty surface.
  • Suede shoes can be cleaned with an eraser. Just make sure to use an item you use only for this purpose, or simply a clean one – without any pencil marks.

How to clean suede shoes?

Cleaning leather shoes

Leather shoes aren’t cheap, so if you decide to buy such footwear, make sure to take a proper care of it. Currently, many stores offer waterproofing when you purchase leather shoes. Thanks to this, the shoes are less prone to getting dirty, and retain their color and shape. If the store doesn’t offer such an option – ask for an adequate product, so you can waterproof the footwear at home.

If your leather footwear gets dirty, you can use two methods.

  • The first one – and the best one – involves using a special cleaner for leather shoes. Such products are safe for the fragile material.
  • Another, slightly risky method uses water, household soap and a soft cloth. Remember not to soak the shoes, and just wipe them instead. After they dry off, seal them with a special product.

Cleaning leather shoes

How to clean white shoes?

White shoes give you the biggest number of options when it comes to cleaning them. While they get dirty at the fastest rate, the effects of washing them are the most apparent.

There are many methods for cleaning white shoes. Everything depends on what material they are made of. Many universal methods use the following cleaners:

  • household soap,
  • baking soda,
  • dish soap,
  • vinegar,
  • hydrogen peroxide,
  • nail polish remover,
  • micellar water,
  • make-up remover,
  • hand cleaning paste,
  • kitchen cream cleaner.

You can use a toothbrush to spread the product on the surface. Thanks to this, it’s easier to remove the dirt.

How to clean white shoes?

How to clean the inside of shoes? Removing the odor

Sometimes, shoes look quite good on the outside, but the smell coming from the inside leaves much to be desired. It’s not a hopeless situation. Many effective methods not only remove the ugly smell, but also get rid of bacteria.

  • Are your feet sweaty, and your shoes are not only smelly but also damp on the inside? Use teabags – they absorb moisture and remove unpleasant smells.
  • Citrus peels (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) are a perfect way to get rid of the ugly smell from your footwear. Just leave them inside the shoes or boots overnight to solve the problem.
  • Using cat litter is an interesting option for removing smell from shoes. You can pour it in socks or fabric pouches, and leaven them in shoes overnight.
  • Essential oils are a great refreshing and antibacterial solution. You can use cedar, tea tree or lavender oils. Just a few drops once a week or every two weeks are enough to keep your shoes hygienic.

You can also use baking soda to remove the unpleasant smell from the shoes.

How to clean the inside of shoes? Removing the odor

📍 How to clean suede boots?

Cleaning suede boots is difficult. Don't use water for it. Using special chemical products designed for this material is a good option. You can also try home remedies – bread crust or an eraser.

📍 How to clean white trainers?

You can clean white shoes using one of the many available methods. White color can be restored using e.g., baking soda, micellar water or make-up remover. If the stains are excessive, try hand cleaning paste or cream cleaner. Before cleaning the shoes, make sure to check the material they are made of, and whether the manufacturer doesn't recommend another method for dirt removal.

📍 How to clean leather shoes?

Leather shoes require waterproofing – you can do it right after purchasing them. If the shoes need cleaning, tepid water with some household soap is the best option – but don't soak the surface with the solution. Just wipe it, leave the shoes to dry and then waterproof them.

📍 Cleaning sneakers – how to do it?

Sneakers are one of the easiest shoes to clean. Some water with dish soap will usually do the job – just make sure to remove dirt quite regularly.