How to Wash Shoes in Washing Machine without Mesh Bag

How to Wash Shoes in Washing Machine without Mesh Bag

Certainly! Washing shoes in a washing machine without a mesh bag can be done with care. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you keep your shoes clean and intact.

Should I wash my shoes in the washing machine?

Yes, you can wash some shoes in the washing machine, but it’s not suitable for all types. Here’s a quick guide to see if your shoes are washing machine-friendly:

  • Canvas sneakers: These are usually good options for a gentle wash.
  • Running shoes: Most modern running shoes can handle a wash cycle.
  • Leather shoes: Not recommended! Leather will surely dry out and crack.

If you’re unsure about your shoes, check the care label. It will have symbols that tell you if washing is okay and what temperature to use.

Step by step: Wash shoes in the washing machine without a mesh bag

Prep Your Shoes

Remove Laces and Insoles: Take off the shoelaces and insoles from your shoes. Place them together in a mesh garment bag.

Choose the Right Shoes: Most canvas, cotton, nylon, and polyester shoes are washing-machine friendly. However, avoid putting leather, suede, or wool shoes in the washing machine altogether.

Machine Settings

Select the Right Cycle: Aim for the shortest, gentlest cycle on your washing machine.

Use Cold Water: Cold water is best for washing shoes. Some powder detergents may not dissolve well in cold water, so opt for liquid detergents.

Avoid High Spin Settings: Set the machine to the lowest spin setting to prevent excessive wear and tear.

Bag It Up

Place your shoes in a separate mesh garment bag. This adds another layer of protection for both your shoes and the machine.

If your shoes have removable insoles, wash them in a separate mesh bag along with the laces. Foam insoles are usually safe in the machine, but other materials may degrade and require handwashing.

Balance the Load

Avoid washing your shoes alongside delicate clothing. A few old towels can help balance the load and provide cushioning for your shoes.

Washing Process:

Add your usual amount of liquid laundry detergent to the machine.

Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the empty fabric softener dispenser or add it during the rinse cycle. This helps eliminate odors and disinfects.

Wash and rinse with a long, warm cycle. Keep in mind that hot water may cause your shoes to shrink, so stick to warm water.


Skip the Machine: Avoid using the dryer for shoes. Instead, let them air dry naturally. Stuff them with crumpled newspaper or paper towels to maintain their shape.

Remember, this method works well for certain types of shoes, but always check the care label and material before attempting machine washing. Happy shoe cleaning! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a mesh bag to wash shoes in the washing machine?

No, but it is recommended. A mesh bag helps protect your shoes and washing machine by containing them during the wash cycle. In a pinch, you can use an old pillowcase tied shut instead.

How do you wash shoes in a pillowcase washing machine?

Absolutely! A pillowcase works just as well as a mesh bag to protect your shoes in the washing machine. Here’s how:

  • Prep your shoes: Remove the laces and insoles. Brush off any loose dirt or debris.
  • Place shoes in pillowcase: Put your shoes in an old pillowcase.
  • Secure the opening: Tie the pillowcase closed with string or an extra shoelace.
  • Wash with towels: Throw the pillowcase with your shoes inside the washer along with some towels for cushioning.
  • Gentle cycle is key: Use a cold, gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Skip the high spin or agitator settings.

Is it OK to wash sneakers in the washing machine?

Maybe! It depends on the material. Canvas, nylon, cotton, and polyester sneakers are generally washing machine-safe. However, to be sure, always check the care label on your shoes first. Leather, suede, and some embellished shoes should never go in the washing machine.

What setting do you wash shoes on in the washing machine?

For your shoes’ (and washing machine’s) safety, use a gentle cycle with cold water. High heat and harsh agitation can damage the glue and materials. Also, consider a slow or no-spin setting to minimize stress on the shoes.

To what degree do you wash shoes in the washing machine?

For shoes, ditch the hot water! Use cold water or warm water at most, ideally around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Hot water can shrink your shoes and damage the materials. Always check the care label for specific instructions, but cooler water is generally a safe bet for keeping your shoes looking their best.

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