How to wash white shoes in the washing machine

Keeping white shoes spotlessly clean can be a challenging task. Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent on-the-go, or a student juggling a hectic schedule, maintaining the pristine look of your white shoes doesn’t have to be another daunting chore. In this guide, we’ll explore a simple, efficient method to wash your white shoes in the washing machine, ensuring they stay bright and fresh without taking up too much of your valuable time.

Pre-Wash Preparation

  1. Read the Label: Before anything else, check the care label on your shoes. Some materials, like leather or suede, are not meant for machine washing. This guide is ideal for canvas, fabric, or synthetic shoes.
  2. Remove Loose Dirt: Clap the shoes together outside or use a soft brush to remove any loose dirt or debris. This prevents your washing machine from getting clogged.
  3. Take Out Laces and Insoles: Remove the laces and insoles. These should be washed separately to ensure a thorough clean and to protect your shoes from losing their shape.
  4. Spot Clean Stains: For stubborn stains, pre-treat them with a stain remover or a mixture of baking soda and water. Apply gently with a soft brush.
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Washing Machine Settings

  1. Choose a Gentle Cycle: Select a delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine. This ensures that your shoes are cleaned without being subjected to rough treatment.
  2. Cold Water is Key: Always use cold water. Hot water can warp your shoes and cause the glue that holds them together to weaken.
  3. Mild Detergent: Opt for a mild detergent. Harsh chemicals can discolor or damage your white shoes.

Protecting Your Shoes (and Washing Machine)

  1. Use a Mesh Bag: Place your shoes in a mesh laundry bag. This protects both your shoes and your washing machine. It prevents the shoes from banging around inside the machine, which can damage both.
  2. Add Towels: Add a few old towels to balance the load and provide extra cushioning for your shoes.

Post-Wash Care

  1. Air Dry: Never put your white shoes in the dryer as the heat can damage them. Instead, let them air dry. Stuff them with white paper towels or white washcloths to help them keep their shape and absorb moisture.
  2. Avoid Direct Sunlight: Dry your shoes in a well-ventilated area, but avoid direct sunlight which can yellow your white shoes.
  3. Re-lace and Insert Insoles: Once completely dry, reinsert the insoles and lace up your shoes.


Q: How often should I wash my white shoes in the machine?

A: It depends on how often you wear them and how quickly they get dirty. Generally, washing them once a month is sufficient.

Q: Can I wash different colored shoes together?

A: It’s best to wash white shoes with other white items to prevent color transfer.

Q: What should I do if my shoes have a persistent odor?

A: Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes and let it sit overnight before washing. This can help neutralize odors.

Q: Is it safe to use bleach on white shoes?

A: It’s best to avoid bleach as it can be too harsh and can damage the fabric of your shoes.


Washing white shoes in the washing machine doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these simple steps and precautions, you can keep your white shoes looking as good as new with minimal effort. Remember to check the care label, use the right settings, protect your shoes and the washing machine during the wash, and opt for air drying. Regular maintenance and proper storage will also go a long way in preserving the bright, clean look of your white shoes. Happy washing!

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