How to Clean Stinky Sneakers in the Washing Machine

According to consultants, you will not break your washer in the event you clear your sneakers in it. Actually, the largest danger is to your sneakers. Before you begin, verify that your sneakers will tolerate being machine-washed. This primarily comes right down to the supplies your sneakers are product of—cotton, polyester, and canvas are all washer-safe.

Remember that sure sneakers ought to by no means make it right into a washer. Leather sneakers are extra common than ever, however you need to spot-clean these Veja or Golden Goose sneakers as an alternative. (Our information to cleansing white sneakers might help.) For this spherical of testing, we washed white Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars and cloth Nike Blazers and had nice outcomes.

Experts usually agree that washing machines are higher for odor elimination than for stain elimination. They advocate that you simply attempt to take away robust stains, resembling mud or motor oil, by hand earlier than resorting to the washer. There is one exception: If stains are significantly widespread or saturated, and spot-cleaning is barely making a distinction, use the washer. Just don’t anticipate excellent outcomes.

If it looks like your smelly sneakers are a great candidate for the washer, right here’s how to do that safely.

Photo: Andrea Barnes

First, take away the laces from the shoe—this may assist make sure that all the grime washes away. Using a small scrub brush, take away any extra grime or gunk from the soles.

Then place a small quantity of abrasive all-purpose cleaner (we used Soft Scrub) on the non-fabric elements of the shoe (sole, toe, heel), and use a microfiber fabric to wipe away any stains.

Photo: Andrea Barnes

If the material insoles of your sneakers are detachable, take away them. Place the insoles, laces, and sneakers right into a mesh garment bag. This helps preserve the noise of sneakers being washed to a minimal.

Photo: Andrea Barnes

Along with the garment bag containing your sneakers, add two towels to the washing-machine drum (to additional muffle the noise). To assist struggle odors and improve cleansing, we added a tablespoon of oxygenated bleach (on this case, one made by Dirty Labs) on to the machine.

A fragile cycle will assist guarantee your sneakers are gently washed. Delicate cycles have slower spin cycles (or typically no spin cycle in any respect); this may also assist cut back noise.

Photo: Andrea Barnes

Be certain to pick the coldest temperature out there for the wash. Don’t fear—a chilly cycle will nonetheless take away odors. Though it’s generally believed that warmth is finest for eliminating odor-causing micro organism, trendy laundry detergents comprise enzymes that work to take away odors no matter water temperature.

Then add detergent to the machine’s dispenser. We advocate utilizing liquid laundry detergent for this mission, as an alternative of powder detergent (which doesn’t all the time dissolve totally in chilly water).

Finally, begin the machine, and chill out whereas your washer does the soiled (and smelly!) give you the results you want.

After the wash cycle ends, it’s possible you’ll be tempted to throw your sneakers into the dryer. Don’t! According to our sources, air-drying your sneakers is a greater strategy. The glues, rubber, and foam used to make sneakers are possible temperature-sensitive, and a dryer’s warmth may damage them.

Photo: Andrea Barnes

You can air-dry your sneakers, insoles, and laces outside or on the ledge of an open window. If that isn’t an choice, place them in entrance of a fan. Be certain to keep away from drying them in damp and darkish areas the place mildew will flourish, lest you undo your efforts.

When your sneakers, insoles, and laces are totally dry, place the insoles again within the sneakers and lace them up. The subsequent time you take away your sneakers, you possibly can breathe simple. (And if you’re a fan of going sockless, maybe think about some no-show socks as an alternative. Your nostril will thanks.)

This article was edited by Brittney Ho, Ingrid Skjong, and Sofia Sokolove.

  1. Dan Conrad, mechanical engineer and equipment knowledgeable, e-mail interview, July 20, 2023

  2. The fundamentals of automated washer design based mostly upon dynamic constraints. D. Conrad, 1994, Engineering

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