How to wash sneakers in a washing machine

Learn how to effectively clean your sneakers by pre-treating stains, choosing the right method (hand or machine) and following the key steps to achieve a fresh, well-maintained look.

By ekomfort Updated May 8, 2024

Reviewed By Ekomfort

Fact Checked By Haroon

Sneakers are a wardrobe essential, but keeping them clean isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are effective ways to machine-wash your sneakers without damaging them. In this guide, we explain step-by-step how to make your sneakers look like new again.

Key Takeaways

  • Before preparing stains that are difficult to remove, remove the laces from the sneakers and clean off any excess dirt.
  • To wash the sneakers by hand, mix a light cleaning solution with warm water and laundry detergent, then give them a good brushing.
  • To prevent breaking the sneakers, put them in a mesh bag, pack them with a few towels, and wash them in the machine on a delicate or gentle cycle with cold water.
  • Shoes should always air dry; never use a tumble dryer as the heat can harm them.
  • For added protection to help keep sneakers in good condition, think about applying weatherproof sprays or other preventive measures.

Sports shoes are an integral part of many a wardrobe, but keeping them clean isn’t always easy. While it’s often advisable to wash them by hand, machine washing can be a practical and effective way of giving them a new lease of life. However, it’s important to do it correctly to avoid damaging your favorite shoes. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly machine wash sneakers.

What are the best ways to clean sports sneakers?

To clean sneakers effectively, there are several best practices and methods recommended by experts:


Start by removing the laces and insoles from your sneakers to prepare them for cleaning.


Use a small scrubbing brush to remove any excess dirt or debris from your sneakers before cleaning.

Pre-treat stains

For stubborn stains, pre-treat with a stain remover such as Tide or OxiClean before washing.

Choose the right cleaning solution

Use a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics to clean your sports shoes.

1. Hand cleaning method

Create a soapy mixture

Mix lukewarm water with laundry detergent and use a brush to scrub your sneakers with the soapy water.

Scrub the sneakers

Scrub the sneakers with the soapy water until all dirt is removed, insisting on the soles and sides.

Rinse and air-dry

Rinse off any residue and allow your sneakers to air-dry completely before wearing them again.

2. How to clean the machine

Check the label

Make sure your sneakers are machine-washable by checking the label. Canvas and mesh shoes can generally be machine-washed.

Use a mesh laundry bag

Place your sneakers in a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle.

Wash in cold water

Use a delicate cycle with cold water and the usual amount of detergent. Avoid using hot water to avoid damaging the sneakers.

Step-by-step: how to wash sneakers in the washing machine

Step 1: Preparation

Before putting your sneakers in the washing machine, it’s essential to prepare them properly. Start by removing the laces and insoles from your sneakers. If your sneakers have any dirt or debris on them, give them a quick brushing to remove it.

Step 2: Pre-treat stains

If your sneakers have stubborn stains, it’s a good idea to treat them before washing. You can use a mild stain remover or a mixture of water and mild detergent to clean the stains. Leave the pre-treatment to work for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Choose the right cycle and temperature

When machine-washing sneakers, opt for a delicate cycle to avoid damaging the shoes. Use cold water to avoid shrinking or damaging sneaker materials. Avoid using hot water, as colors may fade and materials may warp.

Step 4: Use a mild detergent

Choose a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they may damage the sneakers. Pour the detergent into the washing machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5: Protect your sneakers

To prevent your sneakers from colliding in the washing machine, place them in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This will prevent them from being scuffed or damaged during the wash cycle.

Step 6: Washing and drying

Once your sneakers have been prepared and placed in the washing machine, start the cycle. Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the sneakers from the machine and allow them to air dry. Avoid tumble-drying, as heat can deform or shrink the materials.

Step 7: Reassembly

Once your sneakers are dry, reassemble them, replacing the laces and soles. Your sneakers should now be clean and ready to wear!

Other tips :

Air drying

Always air-dry your shoes instead of using a tumble-dryer to avoid damaging them.

Pad with paper

To help maintain the shape of your sneakers during drying, stuff them with paper towels or newspaper.

Regular cleaning

To keep your sneakers looking fresh, remember to clean them quickly and regularly to prevent dirt build-up.

By following these steps and tips, you can effectively machine-wash your sneakers without damaging them. By keeping your sneakers clean, you’ll not only extend their lifespan, but also ensure that you wear them in style every time.

In the meantime, you can browse the latest Ekomfort sneakers collections online.

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