Have your favorite tennis shoes seen better days? Do they smell like –? Well, we’ll spare you the details. Well, keep on reading to find out what shoes to wash, and how to properly get them looking and feeling fresh and clean again.
In order to wash shoes properly, you need to do a little research. What material are they made of? Fabric, synthetic or mesh fabrics can go into the washing machine. Real or artificial leather need a classic, good old-fashioned shoe shining.
But be aware that machine washing can affect the cushioning of the sole and the colors of the shoe. So, to be on the safe side, it’s advised that you wash your shoes by hand.
Before you clean your shoes, clean the soles first. Using your hand or a brush, brush off any dirt and remove small rocks. Loose parts such as insoles, shoelaces or decorative pendants should also be removed before washing. Fabric parts can be placed in a laundry bag (or pillow slip) and washed separately. To prevent your shoes from warping when you wash them, stuff them with socks or old rags and let dry.
Shoes endure a lot in everyday life. But when it comes to washing, they are very sensitive. Wash at a temperature no more than 86°F with a mild detergent. Higher temperatures can dissolve adhesives and weaken soles. Never put them through the spin cycle or use fabric softeners.
Alternatively, instead of machine washing, you can rinse and brush your shoes in lukewarm water and liquid detergent.
Now that your shoes are clean—let’s talk about drying. You can just throw them in or dryer or on top of a radiator, right? Wrong! This could make them porous and easily damaged. The best way to dry your shoes is to put them in the sun. To keep them in shape, stuff them with shoe trees or crumpled newspaper. The latter should be changed regularly as soon as it is damp, otherwise mold could develop. Although if your shoes are light colored, it is better to use white rags (e.g. handkerchiefs) or kitchen towel, as newspaper print may result in ink staining.
So, keep your shoes looking and feeling cleaner and fresher for longer. Your feet (and your nose) will thank you.