Dishwashers are designed to get things clean – but that doesn’t mean any given household item should go into them. But what if you need a quick fix to get your shoes clean?
Well, that depends on the type of shoe. The general rule is tennis shoes, sneakers, leather shoes, suede shoes and anything delicate, like wicker, shouldn’t go in the dishwasher.
However, certain shoes, like Crocs, are actually fine to go in the dishwasher.
It’s worth mentioning, of course, that for hygiene reasons, it’s best not to put them in with your dinnerware, and to change the water once you’ve washed your shoes.
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Should You Wash Shoes in the Dishwasher?
As tempting as it can be to get dirty shoes cleaned quickly, putting them in the dishwasher may risk ruining your shoes. Especially, if they’re fancy, or if they’re made of cloth or sneaker fabric.
Shoes that are fine to go in the dishwasher are: Crocs, rain boots, and flip-flops. Basically, any fabric that is sufficient to be met with hot water and cleaning chemicals (without ruining the material or staining the fabric) are fine.
A word to the wise: dishwasher chemicals are designed for porcelain and stainless steel – they are not designed for clothing or footwear fabric, so wash your shoes in the dishwasher at your own risk.
If you’re not put off so far – here’s what to do:
- Prepare your shoes. Remove as much dirt as you can before you put them in by scraping off any mud and/or dog feces. You don’t want mud particles to clog your dishwasher’s filter. Also, you don’t know what you stepped in, so you’re not going to want to potentially mix dog poop in the same place where you wash your dishes and cutlery.
- Remove any insoles and shoe laces before you put shoes in a dishwasher.
- Wash your shoes on a medium heat using washing soap that does NOT contain bleach.
- Let your shoes dry naturally (in sunlight or pegged to the line, etc.)
- Clean and change the water of your dishwasher. Make sure you remove the filter to dispose of any mud and rinse it under the tap to get it fully clean and ready to be used for your dishes.
Can I Put My Shoes in the Washing Machine?
Again – not the best option for cleaning your shoes.
The main reason here is because shoes will bang against the machine’s drum and could potentially damage it. Canvas or pleather shoes should be okay, as they are fairly lightweight.
If you wish to wash your shoes via the washing machine, here’s how to do so without damaging either the shoe or the machine:
- Prepare your shoes by scraping them clean of any muck.
- Take an old toothbrush to the crevices on the bottom to dislodge dirt, stones, gum, etc.
- (Optional) pre-rinse your shoes.
- Remove the insoles and laces. These can be washed in the machine too, but need to be detached from the shoes to ensure a thorough clean.
- Put your shoes inside an old pillowcase or mesh washing bag. Make sure the top of the bag or pillowcase is tied and secure so that the shoes don’t fall out mid-wash.
- Wash the shoes and accessories on a low-mid temperature with a non-bleach-based detergent. Avoid spinning, if possible. This will prevent the drum or the shoes from taking a battering.
- Air-dry your shoes. Do not put them in the dryer, as it is too hot and may damage the shoes.
The Best Ways to Clean Shoes
- Start by removing the laces on your shoes. Removing the laces reduces the chances of something becoming torn or tangled as you clean the sneakers.
- Remove the insoles too. Both the insoles and laces can be washed with your regular laundry load.
- If your shoes are white and have a few stains on them, you can carefully omit them using a Q-Tip dipped into a tiny bit of bleach.
- Sponge any dirt and muck off your shoes until they are clean.
- Use warm water and dish soap to wash the insides of your shoes.
Consider investing in a deodorizer to help keep odors neutralized.
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Allow your shoes to air-dry.
Please note: if your shoes are leather or suede, you should seek advice from the retailer upon the best cleaning methods, as both of these materials do not fare well when over-exposed to water and cleaning chemicals.
How to Clean Suede Shoes
Suede is a notoriously delicate fabric that should be kept away from liquids, dirt, and so on.
If you’ve got a much-cherished pair of suede shoes or boots and would like to get them looking brand new again, here’s how:
What you’ll need:
- Suede eraser
- Dish soap (gentle, color/fragrance-free is best)
- Brush (shoe brush or toothbrush is fine)
- Clean the suede with the eraser.
- Gently dab the insoles and outsoles with the water, soap scrub and brush to remove any dirt that remains.
- Remember to brush in line with the sneaker’s lines to keep it looking good.
- Avoid water contact with the suede.
How to Clean Leather Shoes
While leather is a bit more durable than suede, cleaning leather shoes require specific care.
What you’ll need:
- Dish soap and warm water
- Leather polish and clean, dry rag
- Leather protector spray
- Remove the laces from your shoes. Keep them away from the polish or protector (wash separately with warm water, if needed).
- Brush off any dirt and debris.
- Use the dish soap and warm water mix to remove tough stains. Wipe/gently rinse off soap.
- Once dry, use the polish and clean cloth to shine the shoes.
- Let the polish dry, then spray in with protector spray.
Other Items That Can Be Washed in the Dishwasher
Although dishwashers are primarily designed for dishes, there are in fact a few items that can also be safely washed inside them. These are:
- Potatoes. Yup. You read that right. Any tough mud-caking can be eliminated from your potatoes in the dishwasher. Make sure you don’t include dishwasher soap, of course.
- Computer keyboards. Just make sure it’s thoroughly dry before plugging it back into your PC.
- Plastic toys. Either kids’ toys or dogs’ toys are fine to go in the dishwasher, providing they’re made of sturdy plastic.
- Refrigerator shelves.
- Baseball caps.
- Sports gear, such as shin pads.
- Certain car parts, such as hubcaps, cup holders, and change holders.
- Air-conditioner vents.
- Kitchen and make-up brushes.
- Window screens.
- Oven knobs.
- Dustpan & brush.
So, there is a quick guide on cleaning shoes in the dishwasher and how to do it right so as not to damage either the shoes or the machine.
It is not recommended to use dishwashers to clean shoes, but if you can’t fight the urge to do so, make sure they are Crocs, rain boots, or flip-flops, and not more fragile materials, such as suede and leather.
Last update on 2023-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API