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Can You Put Sneakers in the Washer? Here’s the Best Way to Wash Your Nikes

To preserve the quality of your shoes, check out the best way to clean them.

Last updated: July 29, 2022
3 min read
Can You Put Sneakers in the Washer? Here’s How to Wash Your Nikes

If you love the look of fresh, out-of-the-box kicks but also want to extend the life of your favorite old pair, it’s important to regularly wash your shoes (and properly, to avoid damaging them in the process). Below, check out the best methods to try to clean shoes.

Can You Put Shoes in the Washing Machine?

First things first: Nike does not recommend washing shoes in the washing machine. Properly hand-washing your shoes is the best way to ensure they won’t be accidentally harmed in the process. Plus, it’s possible to damage your washing machine by washing bulky items, like sneakers, inside.

The best way to clean sneakers without damaging them is to brush them with a mild cleaning solution and let them air-dry. It’s important to take special care when cleaning certain materials, such as suede.

Shoe Materials: What to Know Before Washing

Sneakers made from cotton, nylon, canvas or polyester are typically safe to hand-wash with a mild cleaning solution.

(Related: How to Clean Your Shoes in 6 Easy Steps)

Be extra careful when it comes to cleaning more delicate shoe materials, such as leather or suede. For leather shoes, you can use a household cleaning eraser or leather conditioner to remove stains. To avoid damaging the leather, scrub gently.

Since suede is a delicate fabric that easily absorbs moisture and can be quick to stain, it’s a good idea to prevent stains from happening in the first place by applying a suede protectant.

(Related: How to Get Your Suede Shoes Looking Brand New)

How to Pre-Treat Sneaker Stains Before Washing

To pretreat sneaker stains before fully washing them, you can create a mild, homemade solution by mixing ½ cup of water with a tablespoon of baking soda. Or, if you have white vinegar on hand, you could use ¼ cup water and ¼ cup vinegar, plus the tablespoon of baking soda.

With a clean toothbrush, wet the bristles and dip it in some baking soda. Gently rub it into the stain, wait about 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe it off with a clean, damp microfiber cloth or towel.

Tip: You can treat stains on your clothing using this same method.

If the bottom treads on your tennis shoes are caked with mud or have small pieces of gravel or other items in hard-to-reach crevices, grab a soft-bristled brush, some mild detergent and warm water to scrub them out. Then, rinse them with water.