Simple Ways to Give Dirty Shoes the Boot
I have only owned my new sneakers for a month. But they look like I’ve had them since high school. I’m not sure if it is because I wear them 19 hours a day / 7 days a week, or if it is because I live in a rural area with lots of mud and dirt. Either way, they are gross, and I need them looking good again.
I remember the expression on a friend’s face when she saw me pull my sneaks from the washing machine. “You wash your tennis shoes?” Why not? They get clean, don’t they? And you too can clean your shoes the same way you clean any other washable garment. Just follow these simple rules for best results:
Know your materials – Most tennis shoes can be washed in a washing machine. (Shoes that contain suede leather or cheaper versions of pleather should probably avoid the washer.) For an idea of how they will hold up in the wash, wet an inconspicuous area with a wet wash rag and some liquid dish soap. If it dries looking funky, they weren’t meant to get wet.
Know your machine – Shoes are best washed on the shortest cycle with cold water and a regular amount of laundry soap. Some people swear by adding a little BIZ or some stain-lifting additives, but it’s not really necessary.
Skip the dryer – I know that it is possible to dry some shoes on a tumble-dry low heat setting and not ruin them. But why risk it? Since the only types this really works well on are canvas or cotton types, just settle for air drying. Putting some wadded up newspaper into the toes of the shoes and then setting them out for a day is the most carefree method.
Help the drying process, if you must – What if you don’t have a day to wait? Shoes can be placed next to a dehumidifier with the toes pointing up. If you don’t have a dehumidifier, put the shoes on their side in your refrigerator next to the bottom vent. (The fridge condenser removes water.)
Some other tips:
If you absolutely are not convinced that washing your shoes in the washer is the way to go, consider using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove grime on the outside of the shoe. (Whitewall tire cleaner also makes a splendid shoe cleaner.) If it’s more an issue of odor that you’re concerned with, just remove the shoe insole and throw those in the wash. (Or replace them completely with new insoles containing odor guard.)
Don’t ever place shoes in the dishwasher. Never try drying them in the oven. And if you wear Etonics (yeah, I know… some of us have actually owned a pair) never, ever dry them. You will end up with something like this:
It's easy to give your kicks a good washing now and again, and with the proper care, they can look great for years!