After you have worn them for a little while, you will probably find that your favorite shoes are starting to look a little dirty and battered. When you spot this, it is time to get to work on making your shoes cleaner, which isn’t as difficult as you might think. No matter how dirty your shoes are, or what material they are made of, there is a way to get them clean and fresh looking again as long as you are willing to put in a bit of time and effort.

We have put together a guide on how to clean your shoes quickly and easily (rights reserved), and as long as you take your time and follow our guide below, you should be on your way to sparkling clean shoes quickly enough. All of these methods are easy to do in your own home, using supplies that you probably already have in your store cupboard – there is no need for complex, expensive products to wash your shoes at home! There is even a way to wash your shoes using a washing machine!

Preparing to Clean your Shoes

Before you get fully stuck into deep cleaning your shoes to remove marks and stains, you will need to take a few steps in preparation to wash your shoes. This is particularly important if there are large clumps of dirt, mud, or grass on your shoes, as these can cause problems when you try to use more complicated cleaning methods on your footwear.

To start with, remove any significant surface debris with a damp rag or an old brush. Just brush off the dirt without worrying too much about getting into the awkward corners, and then bang the shoes together over a trash can to shake loose more of the dirt before you get started with the proper cleaning process.

How to Clean White on Shoes in the Washing Machine

Cleaning your shoes in the washing machine is a great option to save time and effort, which can be a great help, but it may also cause problems with your shoes if you aren’t careful. Make sure you follow this guide carefully and don’t get tempted to take short cuts or improvise in the process!

The first step is to clean the soles of your shoes thoroughly. Fill a small cup with warm water, add a spoonful of dish soap, and thoroughly mix this together. Then, dip an old toothbrush into the warm water solution and use it to scrub the shoes’ soles. Use a lot of force and scrub hard – the more effort you put in, the more this step will help the rest of the process to go smoothly. You want to get off as much of the dirt as you possibly can at this point, from both the bottom and the sides of the sole.

Scrubbing the soles like this will leave a lot of soap residue on the rubber of the soles, which you will need to remove. Leaving soap on the soles of your shoes can lead to a washing machine full of bubbles, which can be a bit of a problem! To help with this, rinse the soles of your shoes with cold water, running them under the tap until you have washed away all of the soap.

The last step before you put your shoes in the washing machine is to remove all of the removable parts. If there are laces in your shoes, take them out and wash them separately, as the gaps between laces and eyelets can collect a lot of dirt during regular use. Remove the laces and insoles, if your shoes have removable insoles, and put those aside for now.

Put your shoes inside a mesh bag or a pillowcase and seal it up. This will protect them from being damaged by the washing machine during the rougher parts of the wash cycle. You will also want some additional padding in the washing machine as well as your shoes, so now is a good time to wash a couple of old bath towels!

Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle with as little spin as possible, and low temperature. Put the shoes, laces, insoles, and towels for padding into the washing machine, and select an extra rinse cycle for the end to get rid of any remaining soap. Make sure you do not use a high-temperature mode, as this will weaken the glue in your shoes and damage their structure. You should also avoid using fabric softener, as this can make your shoes more likely to pick up dirt in the future – it really won’t help!

The final step is leaving your shoes to dry. Don’t put them in the dryer, as the heat will damage them. Instead, leave them in a well ventilated, warm, dry space to air dry. You will want to leave them to dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them, although you can save a few hours if you ball up some old paper and use that to stuff the shoes. This will also help them to keep their shape as they dry.

How to Clean White Shoes with Baking Soda and a Toothbrush

If you are worried about getting a pair of white shoes to look clean and fresh again, there is no need to be concerned! Just grab a toothbrush, some baking soda, some water, and a little laundry detergent. Mix 2 parts baking soda, 1 part water, and 1 part liquid detergent together into a paste, and then use a toothbrush to work it into every corner of your shoes. Once you have covered them completely, leave them overnight to dry. Then, you can simply give your shoes a quick wash, rinsing them in clean water, and they should be sparkling clean, and bright white again! Leave your clean shoes out in a warm, sunny place for several hours to air dry, and you should be able to wear them confidently again in no time.

How to Hand Wash Sneakers

Hand washing shoes is easy. Simply fill up your sink with warm water and laundry detergent, then leave your shoes in there to soak for a little while. Make sure you do not use hot water, though, as this can damage the glue holding your shoes together and can cause them to shrink a little.

After your shoes have soaked for a while, the dirt should be much looser and easier to remove. Scrub them in the sink with an old toothbrush to remove dirt, focusing on problem spots and awkward corners, and then give them a final rinse. Once you are happy that they are clean, leave them to air dry overnight before you try to wear them again. Don’t be tempted to put them in the dryer, as this can cause your shoes to shrink significantly!


Washing your shoes is easy, as long as you are careful with them. The biggest thing to remember is to avoid getting them too hot. That means working with warm water if you are hand washing them, using low-temperature settings if you are using a washing machine, and never putting your shoes in the dryer. You should always leave them out to dry in the open air, somewhere in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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