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How to wash trainers in the washing machine


Pair of dirtied white trainers in washing machine drum

Thanks to puddles, gravel, de-icing salt, etc., we're constantly exposing our trainers to new dirt. Afterwards, we’re left having to clean up the mess and sometimes scrubbing under the tap isn't enough to get rid of the stains. The last resort: put the trainers in the washing machine.

Washing trainers – what types can go in the washing machine?

Unfortunately, not every trainer is suitable for the washing machine. The washing machine works wonders for fabric and synthetic shoes because it removes mud splashes or grass stains without damaging the material. So you don't have to worry about putting your favorite pair of Converse in the washing machine. Leather trainers are a different story, however, since they don't like too much water. They quickly become porous, and the delicate material may even crack after the wash cycle. Therefore, gentle hand washing in lukewarm water is more suited to leather shoes. Our article on how to clean white shoes might be helpful to you.

How to machine wash trainers

The washing drum welcomes dirty synthetic or fabric trainers. But it takes a little more than simply deciphering the washing symbols, putting the sneakers in, starting the washing program, and waiting for the cycle to end. Here's how to do it right:

  • Prepare your trainers

    Heavily soiled trainers full of little stones and covered in mud have no business in the washing machine - at least not yet. First, they need to be washed under the tap or shower. Use lukewarm water and a soft brush to scrub away the worst of the dirt and clean away possible sticker residue. After that, your trainers are (almost) ready for the washing machine.

  • Make them machine-washable

    After a thorough pre-wash, don't just stuff your shoes into the machine. It's crucial to remove all loose parts such as the laces and insoles. Buttons and other decorative parts also have no place in the washing drum. The small parts quickly come loose and can clog up the washing machine. We also have an article on how to clean your washing machine with might come in handy.

  • Well protected

    Ensure your trainers are cared for by placing them in a laundry bag. If you don't have one to hand, you can use an old pillowcase. This stops your shoes from tumbling around loose in the washing drum. If you're unlucky, small metal eyelets will come loose and damage the washing machine.

  • How to wash your trainers in the washer – the right product

    Normal washing powder works fine for cleaning your trainers in the washing machine. For delicate materials, you could err on the side of caution and opt for a mild detergent. Only one thing is taboo: Fabric softener. Sometimes fabric softeners try too hard to care and end up actually attacking the fabric. It is not uncommon for the glue on the sole to come off either. Is it really worth the risk?

  • Less is more

    Fabric and synthetic sneakers are tough, but not invincible. They can easily lose their shape if washed at 60°C so don't overdo it. Stick to a 30°C wash to be on the safe side. Your shoes will shine again and still be in top shape.

  • Shape your shoes

    Take care when drying your shoes after you have washed your trainers in the washing machine, as freshly washed trainers can quickly lose their original shape. The best thing to do is to stuff the shoes with newspaper or kitchen paper after they've been washed. Make sure you don't overdo it, or you'll end up with annoying bumps that are hard to get rid of. To avoid mold forming on your damp shoes, make sure to change the paper regularly. If you wouldn’t mind your shoes being a tad bigger, now’s the chance to stretch them out a bit. 

  • Heat the trainers

    Admittedly, trainers take a long time to dry as does drying certain types of clothes, and it can be quite frustrating. So why not help them out a little? Put the shoes near a heater so they can benefit from the warm air. But never put them directly on top of the heating otherwise this could damage the damp fabric.

  • Aftercare is the best care

    Finally, after you have washed your trainers in the washing machine and they are fresh, clean, and dry again. But before your trainers return to the shoe closet, they deserve some pampering. Treat your fabric shoes to a care and waterproofing spray. For synthetic shoes, we recommend using a high-quality leather care product.

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