How to Wash White Shoes in Washing Machine (7-Step Guide!)

White shoes, be it sneakers or any other type, aren’t the easiest to wash with a washing machine. They require special attention, and mastering how to wash white shoes in washing machine is therefore highly recommended.

You can wash white shoes in the washing machine by removing the shoe laces and insoles and washing them separately. Then, clean the outer soles before putting the shoes and laces into mesh bags, load them into the washer, and run a delicate cold water cycle.   

Of course, there are other considerations, such as ensuring you run a slow-spin or no-spin and air-drying the shoes instead of using the dryer, to name a few. You’ll also need some cleaning essentials such as liquid laundry detergent (not a powered option), baking soda, a soft brush, and a few others, which I’ll explain later.

Remember, the goal is to make your white shoes as white as possible and not to yellow them. You’ll, however, note that not all white shoes are machine-washable. You can only machine-wash those that can bear the effects of the detergent and the machine action, especially canvas, polyester, cotton, and nylon.

This guide will help you wash your white shoes with a washing machine and get tips for doing it the best way possible. But first, let’s answer the critical question below.

how to wash white shoes in washing machine

Can I Wash My White Shoes in The Washing Machine?

Generally, it’s possible to wash white shoes in the washing machine, and you could get better results than doing it by hand. Furthermore, it’s quick, and you can wash a large shoe load.

However, you must consider three factors before loading white shoes into the washer. They are as follows:

1. Shoe Fabric

Not all fabrics are machine-washable. Some are too delicate for the washer and may be damaged quickly, and that includes these options:

  • Leather
  • Rubber
  • Suede
  • Vinyl

In the above cases, you should wash the shoes by hand. That’ll help to protect the fabric from possible damage during washing and from the aggressive effects of the laundry detergent.

Meanwhile, you can wash white shoes with these fabric options in the washing machine:

  • Canvas
  • Polyester
  • Cotton
  • Nylon

The above fabrics are sturdier than the first batch and can bear the effects of the laundry detergent and the washer’s robust action.

2. Wash Cycle

Not all wash cycles are best for washing machines. You need gentle or delicate wash cycles, and consider using cold water as that doesn’t have damaging or warping effects on the shoe fabric.

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Also, consider a no-spin or slow-spin cycle over a high-spin cycle to avoid any form of aggression that could damage the shoe fabric.

3. Detergent Type

The detergent type is also essential, as it may determine if the shoes will come out white or with yellow patches. If you use liquid laundry detergent (View on Amazon), the shoes will likely come out white if you wash them properly.

There’s a danger of using powder detergent as some residues may remain. Once you air dry the shoes, the detergent residues may react chemically, resulting in yellow patches. So, your shoes may not come out as white as you expect them to be.

How do I get my white shoes white again in the washing machine

How to Wash White Shoes in Washing Machine in 7 Steps

Before washing white shoes in a washing machine, ensure you’ve all the necessary supplies. They include the following:

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • A soft brush or old toothbrush
  • Shoes cleaner (optional)
  • Sponge
  • Baking soda
  • Mesh garment bag
  • Old towel
  • Toothpicks

Estimated wash time: 45-60 minutes


Now that you have the supplies, here are seven steps for washing white should in a washing machine:

Step 1 – Remove the shoes laces (if applicable) and insoles

Start by taking out the shoelaces and insoles if they are applicable. It’s advisable not to wash the shoes while the shoe laces are intact as they may tangle up in the washer, obstruct the drum, and prevent the washer from spinning.

Likewise, if you wash the shoes while the insoles are inside, they become waterlogged and, as a result, take a long time to dry.

Step 2 – Clean the insoles and laces (optional) by hand

Now that the insoles are off, you should clean them separately by hand unless stated otherwise. Here’s how to wash the insoles by hand:

  • Wipe the insoles first with a soft brush or old toothbrush
  • Soak up the excess wetness with a sponge
  • Apply baking soda to the insoles and let them sit overnight
  • The baking soda acts as a deodorizer
  • Brush off the baking soda deposits the following day

As for the shoe’s laces, you can either clean them separately by hand or load them into a mesh bag.

Step 3 – Wash the outer soles

Use a soft brush to brush off filth from the outer soles. You can even use a toothpick in tighter areas to remove the dirt. Then, apply shoe cleaner onto the sole and rub it gently using a brush before wiping it away with a damp rag.

Can I wash my white shoes in the washing machine

Step 4 – Put the shoes into the mesh bag

Put the shoes into a separate mesh bag with the insoles and laces off to prevent them from tumbling inside the drum.

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Step 5 – Load the shoes and laces into the washer

Now, load the mesh bags holding the shoes and the laces into the washing machine. Since the load will need some stabilizing support, add some old towels.

Avoid new towels because they will likely bleed, and the dye may stain your shite shoes.

Step 6 – Run the washer

Now that everything is set, choose a delicate cold water cycle, select a no-spin or slow-spin cycle, and run it. Wait for the process to complete.

Step 7 – Air-dry the shoes

Take the shoes out of the washer once the wash cycle completes. Then, air dry them. Avoid the dryer as it could damage the shoes or cause them to warp.

How to Wash White Sneakers in Washing Machine

Dos and Don’ts for Washing White Shoes in a Washing Machine

Air-dry the shoes after washingUse the dryer to dry the shoes, as it could damage them.
Use a mesh bag or pillowcase to stop the shoes from tumblingLoad the shoes directly into the washer
Use cold water as it is gentle on the fabricUse hot water as it could damage the shoes
Choose a delicate/gentle cycle, as it won’t damage the fabricChoose a heavy-duty cycle, as it could damage the shoe fabric
Wash canvas, cotton, polyester, and nylon shoes in the washing machineWash leather, rubber, vinyl, or suede shoes in the washing machine
Use liquid laundry detergent as it dissolves completelyUse powder detergent as it may leave staining deposits behind
Old towels to stabilize the loadNew towels as they may bleed and stain the white shoes

People Also Ask

1. Can We Wash Shoes in Normal Washing Machine?

Yes, we can wash shoes in a normal washing machine so long as it’s the right fabric type and you use the correct spin speed setting, wash cycle, and detergent. Concerning the fabric type, only wash sturdy options like canvas, cotton, polyester, and nylon shoes in the washer and hand-wash delicate options like leather, rubber, vinyl, and suede.

Overall, here’s how to wash shoes using washing machine:

  • First, remove the insoles and laces from the shoes and preferably wash them separately
  • Clean the outer soles with a soft brush to get rid of the dirt
  • Load the shoes into a mess bag and then into the washing machine
  • Stabilize the shoes with old towels and select a gentle or normal cold water cycle
  • Select a no-spin or low-spin and run it
  • Wait for the process to complete and air-dry the shoes
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2. What Cycle Do You Wash White Shoes On?

The best cycle for washing white shoes is a gentle or delicate cold-water cycle. Such a cycle won’t damage the fabric, especially when washing canvas, cotton, polyester, or nylon shoes. Also, select a no-spin or slow-spin, as that will not damage the shoe fabric.

3. How Do I Get My White Shoes White Again in The Washing Machine?

You can get your white shoes white again by ensuring you wash them the right way in the washing machine. That means first removing the insoles and laces and preferably washing them separately. You can use baking soda on the insoles if they are dirt-stained.

As for the shoes, ensure you put them in a mesh bag before loading them into the washer and stabilize the load with clean old towels. More importantly, use liquid laundry detergent, select a delicate cold water cycle, and opt for a no-spin or slow-spin.

4. What Is the Best Way to Clean White Shoes in a Washing Machine?

The best way to clean white shoes in a washing machine is to remove the inner soles and laces, wash them separately, and then wash the outer soles with a brush before loading the shoes in the washer.

The best cycle should be a delicate cold water cycle, and opt for a slow or no spin setting. Furthermore, avoid using powder detergent as it may leave some yellow stains behind, and instead use liquid detergent.

5. Should I Wash White Shoes with Detergent?

You can use white shoes with detergent, but it shouldn’t be any detergent. Avoid powder laundry detergent as it will likely leave deposits behind, which may stain the shoes. Instead, use liquid laundry detergent as it dissolves much quicker and does not damage the shoe fabric.

6. Does Laundry Detergent Make White Shoes Yellow?

Yes, laundry detergent can make white shoes yellow if it’s the wrong type, and in this case, we are talking about a powdered option. Such an option leaves deposits that may react with air, resulting in a yellow stain.

However, if you use a liquid detergent whose dissolution rate is faster and wash the shoes accordingly, the chances of yellow staining are almost nonexistent.

Closing Thought:

Now you know how to wash white shoes in washing machine. Ensure you take out the insoles and laces before loading the shoes into the washer, and use a mesh bag. While at it, ensure you use a delicate cold water cycle and select a no-spin or slow-spin cycle.

And when it comes to drying them, air-dry them. Avoid using the dryer as it could damage the fabric. More importantly, consider the fabric type, as not all white shoes are machine-washable, and ensure you use liquid detergent. Hopefully, the above guide will help you do it flawlessly.