We all want to take short cuts when it comes to cleaning because… well… most of us don’t really enjoy cleaning. The last thing we want to do after a long hike through the woods is spend the next hour hand-washing our boots. Yet, it would be upsetting if we recklessly threw them into the washing machine only to find that we’ve ruined them beyond repair. So what do the pros say about the best way to clean stinky shoes?
What Do Washing Machine Manufacturers & Technicians Say?
On washing machine manufacturer LG’s website, they explicitly state that, “Most shoe manufacturers discourage machine washing sneakers.” They explain, “Detergents and the machine’s agitation may damage many leathers and adhesives.” Certain types of shoes can survive a machine washing, however. Canvas and nylon sneakers may be cleaned using the following process:
- Remove laces and inserts.
- Rinse the shoes with water.
- Use a neutral cleaner to soft brush the shoes. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals.
- Rinse the shoe with clean water.
- Allow sufficient time to dry, stuffing with absorbent white paper to keep the shape.
- Wash shoe laces with the regular laundry load.
Furthermore, washing machine repair companies advise consumers to never put shoes in their appliances. Space Coast Washer Dryer in Brevard County, Florida says, “Never wash any sneakers or other kind of footwear in a front loader. During the wash/agitation mode, the banging around inside the front load washer drum can damage the tub spider mounts.”
What Do Shoe Retailers & Manufacturers Say?
“First and foremost do not wash your shoes in the washing machine!” says shoe retailer Rivithead.com. “It’s bad, especially for leather shoes. Some of our canvas shoes can take the beating but we do not recommend it. You also run the risk of unbalancing your washing machine so, please don’t wash your shoes in the washing machine.”
ASICS says you can remove the sock liner or insole and machine-wash that, but they do not recommend washing the entire shoe in a machine. Instead, clean off surface grime with a toothbrush, they advise, and use a little warm water with an anti-grease soap.
Even TOMS canvas shoe manufacturer recommends hand-washing. However, several fans of the shoes say they were able to machine-wash their shoes without incident. To do so, you should remove all loose dirt with a bristle brush, wash on cold, throw in a small amount of gentle detergent halfway through the cycle, and ensure that the shoes are completely air-dried before putting them back on.
An Easier Way To Wash Stinky Shoes
We’ve seen all sorts of wacky advice about shoe cleaning — from putting your shoes out in the sun “to prevent bacterial growth” and sticking them in the freezer, to steam cleaning in the washer and putting cat litter into the shoes. Yuck! Simply put, the reason your shoes stink is that they are sweaty and covered in a colony of bacteria. So, if you dry the shoes out and eradicate the bacteria, your shoes will be much, much sweeter smelling. The SteriShoe UV light shoe sanitizer is the only clinically proven way to eradicate 99.9% of the odor-causing bacteria in your shoes. A 45-minute cycle each evening will ensure that your shoes stay as fresh and hygienic as possible. We also recommend that you rotate shoes every other day to allow for proper drying time. You’ll still need to brush off the exterior of the shoe, but at least you won’t have to live with the stigma of stinky shoes any longer!