How to wash sneakers in a washing machine

Written by ehow contributor
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It doesn't take long for scuffs and dirt marks to show up on white sneakers. Sometimes you can simply wash the outside of the sneakers, but for that really old pair that are starting to smell funky inside (and you simply can't part with them), you can toss them into the washing machine. Here's how to best wash your sneakers in a washing machine.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Take the laces out of the sneakers. If these are dirty as well, wash them separately by placing them inside a mesh laundry bag, or replace them with new ones.

  2. 2

    Remove any tough stains from the surface of the sneakers by scrubbing with an old toothbrush or clean cloth and a cleaner such as 409. You can also wet a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and wipe over the stains.

  3. 3

    Place the sneakers into a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase. This will prevent the sneakers from scuffing or possibly damaging the drum of the washing machine.

  4. 4

    Set the washing machine for "delicate cycle" and use cold water. If you're washing the sneakers alone, adjust the machine for a small load. Add about a half-cup of detergent.

  5. 5

    Allow the sneakers to air dry. It is not recommended to place them into a clothes dryer as the heat might damage them. Place newspapers into the sneakers so they do not lose shape as they dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Put sneakers into the wash with some towels or clothing if you do not want to place them inside a pillowcase or mesh bag. This can help to prevent the sneakers from striking the drum while washing.
  • White tennis sneakers are the safest type of sneakers to machine wash.
  • Do not wash sneakers with any type of air-cushioning in a washing machine.
  • Do not machine wash suede sneakers.

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