To keep your running shoes clean is tough; when your brand new shoe will get dirty the first time you run! So what’s the solution, should we wash running shoes in the washing machine? Is it Safe and how exactly should I do it?; are some questions we all runners have in common.
Your running shoes absorb moisture, dirt, mud, and sweat as you exercise. This if not being checked develop into odor and bacterial growth. Whether age and use also play a role in the appearance and smell of your shoe. That said, I understand the need to keep your shoes fresh and clean.
Running shoes thus definitely be washed but not always the way you wish to be. Not all shoes are machine washable and require quite an effort with traditional hand cleaning techniques. But for better good most shoes available in the market are machine washable.
This means you can wash your shoes quite often in a washing machine. It’s just you have to take certain precautions or follow easy steps; to ensure no damage is done to your shoes. So hurry up and check whether your shoe has the tag which says “Machine Washable”.
How To Machine Wash Running Shoes
There are things that require regular maintenance but your running shoe is not one of them. But they do require some care and cleaning now and then before it goes worst. Cleaning your shoe is not as easy as cleaning your clothes in the washing machine.
It requires you to use easily available tools such as a shoe brush, toothbrush, scrubber, some water, and a mesh laundry bag. In order to do it correctly; without damaging your shoe or your machine kindly follow my instructions given below:
Step 1: Preparing Your Shoes
Preparing your shoes is an important part of machine washing. It starts by sprinkling 2 to 3 teaspoons of baking soda last night prior to actual washing. Next morning using a toothbrush or a scrubber clean off mud and soil off soles of your shoes.
Now gently apply the normal shoe brush to clean off any dust or soil lying on top of the shoe. Once done remove your laces and replaceable insoles if any. These can be cleaned separately or put aside to be cleaned with the shoes. Replace your laces if required or if damaged.
Step 2: Clean Your Insole
If your running shoes smell this bad you know exactly what to blame for. Shoes can smell for a variety of reasons including but not limited to; the habit of not wearing shocks, poor ventilation, dirty insoles and the use of poor quality material in your shoe.
But the top contributor is always your dirty insoles thanks to its ability to absorb sweat; thus creating perfect conditions for fungi and odor-causing bacteria to grow and prosper. You need to regularly clean them off if you don’t want to see them this worse.
Now to clean, remove your insoles and apply some water on its surface. Now gently clean them off with a scrubber and a mild soap/detergent solution. Beware not to use force and rinse them well before allowing them to dry in the fresh air.
Step 3: Add Towel & Mesh Laundry Bag
Do not forget to buy or have a zipper laundry mesh for your shoes before throwing them into the washer. You can buy one over here on amazon. This acts as extra protection that prevents your shoes from banging around while different washing cycles.
It is also wise to rap your shoes with old towels to keep the weight balance, and thus prevent unwanted banging of the shoe. Use towels of the same colors as much as possible. I personally use two thick towels, but do not hesitate to use more if you wish for better protection.
Step 4: Wash Running Shoes
You should use liquid detergent with mild-warm water to clean your shoes. Choose your washing cycles and speed wisely. I personally use and prefer lower speed with longer wash cycles; as it clean shoes well without having an adverse effect on my shoes.
Moreover, having lower speed ensures your shoes stay balanced and do not band against the walls unnecessarily. Depending on your washer the idle washing time will vary in between 30 to 40 minutes. Sometimes you do need to add disinfectant; such as pine oil at the beginning of the washing cycle.
This helps address your concerns for bacteria and foot funguses; generally associated with athletic shoes. There are many brands such as Pine-Sol and Lysol Pine action; that can be used to do the job.
I personally use and recommend using Pine-sol as it works just great for myself, but you are free to use any brand you like. You can find Pine-Sol online at cheap rates; click here to check its price on Amazon.
Step 5: Dry Your Shoes
A word of advice, do not out your shoes in the dryer to dry your shoes. While most shoes can be machine washed; they simply do not fit for dryer as they permanently warp your shoes. The high temperature in the dryer can damage the fabric of your shoes.
Many times it also makes your shoe shrink affecting its performance and fitting. If you use dryer too often it will also make the glue ineffective that holds your shoe pieces together. As the glue melts the shoe wrap up and quickly falls apart.
The correct procedure is to find a cool but well-ventilated space for your shoe to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight or any other heat source; as trying to dry it quickly with heat can cause your sole to crack. Once completely dried you may or may not use fabric protection sprays; to help keep your shoe clean and well protected for long.
Note: You can use a fan or can stuff paper or tissue inside the shoes to fasten the process.
Aren’t There Specelized Shoe Dryer?
It’s generally known that dryers aren’t good for shoes; but thankfully there are specialized shoe dryers that can be used for the purpose. Not just that these sophisticated machines also remove odor and warm it up in case you want it to be.
OdorStop Boot and Shoe Dryer is an exceptionally great tool that every shoe lover and athlete must-have. The general opinion about this machine is universally positive with high output fans, heat source, and deodorizer fitted in just one set.
With eight ventilation tubes and four boot brackets its more than enough for an average user. The best part is it’s easy to operate and the heating is just perfect; nither too much to damage shoes or less to have little to no positive effect.
Alternative Methods To Wash Running Shoes
What if your shoe is not machine washable or you simply don want to take the risk to put your shoes in the washer; do not fret. There are many ways to wash running shoes; and some of them are rather easier and require much less attention. Try one of the following methods:
- Hand Wash Your Shoes: For long I have been washing my shoes with the hand; before I finally start to buy only shoes that are machine washable. Add one teaspoon of liquid detergent in warm water and then put your shoes into it. Let your shoes stay idle for half an hour before starting actual cleaning.
Now using a scrubber or a toothbrush gently clean your soles, insoles and the fabric. Once cleaned use a towel or paper to wipe it up and dry it quickly under a fan. Once done do not forget to deodorize your shoe and put back your laces.
- Try Dry Cleaning: There are ways to remove dust and odor off your shoes and dry cleaning is one of them. It’s easy, you just have to sprinkle baking soda over your shoe for 6 to 12 hours. It will remove any unwanted odor off your shoes. Once done gently brush off your shoe with a regular clean shoe brush.
- Follow Hybrid Model: This involves light brush your shoes for gentle cleaning. Then dip it in soap solution and wash it with regular water. Allow it to rinse well and use a dedicated shoe dryer to dry and deodorize your shoes. ( This method is best suited for frequent cleaning only )