Although you can wash most fabric and polyester sneakers or shoes in a machine, many people wonder at what temperature to wash shoes in a washing machine.

Choosing cool temperatures might not remove the dirt from the shoes, while high temperatures might permanently damage them.

Like all laundry, shoes require different washing programs and care products. Choosing the right program, temperature, and detergent will protect your shoes and washing machine.

Let’s see how to properly machine-wash tennis shoes, athletic shoes, sports shoes, etc.


What Temperature to Wash Shoes Is Appropriate?

Some fabrics and polyester require specific washing temperatures, but shoes should generally be washed at 85°F (30°C) and below. Besides the right temperature, you should also choose the right (delicate) washing program to avoid damaging the shoes.

Before placing the shoes inside the washer tub, you must pre-clean them. The pre-cleaning requires removing all the dust and dirt from the surface. You can do that with a soft toothbrush or wet towel.

Meanwhile, determine the shoe material and see if they can be washed in a machine. Never put leather shoes inside the washer because they might get permanently damaged.

How to Wash Shoes in a Washing Machine


The first and most important part of the process is the pre-washing. You can not just put dirty shoes in the machine with all the debris and dirt on them. It might damage the shoes and make the mess even bigger if they are not pre-treated.

Determine the material

You must check what the shoes are made of before putting them into the machine because not all materials are machine-washable. So, materials that can be washed in a machine are the following:

  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Plastic
  • Nylon
  • Pleather
  • Canvas
  • Sneakers and running shoes

Materials that cannot be washed in a machine:

  • Leather
  • Suede
  • Sequins
  • Vinyl
  • Boots
  • Shoes with buckles

Check the label

Checking the label or contacting the seller is best if you are in a dilemma about whether to machine wash the shoes or not. Confusion arises from the fact that some shoes have labels while others have not.

Most shoes have tags under the shoe tongue, so you can easily see the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.

Remove the loose dirt

If the label allows machine washing, you should pre-clean the shoes before putting them inside the washing tube. 

Remove the debris and dirt with a soft toothbrush and warm water. Wipe the shoe surface with a damp towel and ensure nothing loose is left on the shoe. Rinse the shoes if necessary, and they are ready to be washed.

Remove the insoles and laces

This step is optional; you can put on the shoes with or without the insoles and laces. I recommend removing the laces and insoles and washing them separately.

A lot of dirt might be stuck between the eyelets, and your shoes might come out partly cleaned if the laces are not removed.

Read more: What Should I Know Before Buying A Washing Machine?


Once you complete the pre-cleaning step, you can jump to the washing process. So, there is another thing to mention for better shoe-washing, and that is protection.

It is best to put the shoes in a laundry bag or an old pillowcase. This tip will protect your shoes and ensure they will not hit a lot during the cycle, plus the washing won’t be so loud.

Then, choose a delicate or hand wash program and turn off the spin if you wash the shoes only. If you add laundry together with the shoes, you can set a low spin speed.

The most important thing is the temperature. So, what temperature to wash shoes is the best? It depends on the shoes’ material, but it is recommended not to exceed 85 °F (30 °C).

Lastly, choose a good color protection detergent. You can either go with regular washing detergent or washing capsules.


The high heat temperatures of a dryer machine might melt the shoe glue and break the shoes, so it is best to air dry them. It might take more time than a machine drying, but it will extend the life of your shoes.

Also read: What To Wash Washing Machine With?


Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of how to wash shoes in a machine, it’s time to save these valuable tips for future use. Don’t hesitate to share this newfound wisdom with your friends so they can benefit.

Hence, what temperature to wash shoes? When it comes to determining the appropriate temperature for washing shoes, always remember to opt for delicate programs and keep the temperatures below 85°F (30°C).

Adhering to these guidelines ensures that your shoes receive the proper care and cleaning they deserve.

So go ahead, spread the word, and help others keep their shoes looking fresh and clean!