If you’ve ever wondered about the possibility of cleaning your shoes in the dishwasher, you’re not alone.
Many have debated whether it’s a convenient and effective method or a disastrous idea.
In this article, we will explore whether you can wash shoes in the dishwasher and provide some helpful insights to make an informed decision.
Why Consider Washing Shoes in the Dishwasher
Washing shoes in the dishwasher is convenient for cleaning your footwear without hand scrubbing or using a washing machine.
Load your shoes into the dishwasher, set the appropriate cycle, and let the machine do the work. This saves you time and effort, especially when multiple pairs of shoes need cleaning.
Handwashing shoes can be time-consuming, especially if they are heavily soiled or have intricate designs. Using a dishwasher to clean your shoes can significantly reduce the time and effort.
You can load your shoes into the dishwasher, set it, and move on to other tasks while the machine cleans your footwear.
Dishwashers are designed to clean various items, including dishes, utensils, and glassware. By utilizing this appliance to clean your shoes, you can take advantage of its effective cleaning capabilities.
The dishwasher’s high water temperatures, powerful jets, and thorough rinsing cycles can help remove dirt, stains, and even unpleasant odors from your shoes.
Factors to Consider Before Washing Shoes in the Dishwasher
Not all shoe materials are dishwasher safe. Before tossing your shoes in the dishwasher, it is essential to consider the type of material they are made of.
The heat, water, or friction inside the dishwasher may damage shoes made of leather, suede, or delicate fabrics. It is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or do some research to determine the dishwasher compatibility of your shoes.
Take into account the construction of your shoes. Some shoes have delicate or intricate construction, such as glued soles or decorative elements, that may not withstand the dishwasher’s cleaning process.
The heat and water pressure may cause the glue to loosen or the decorative elements to detach. Assessing the durability of your shoes’ construction before considering dishwasher cleaning is essential.
If your shoes have decorative elements such as beads, sequins, or embroidery, you must be cautious when washing them in the dishwasher.
These elements may not be dishwasher safe and could become damaged or dislodged during cleaning. Consider removing any detachable decorative elements or opt for alternative cleaning methods for shoes with delicate embellishments.
Size and shape
The size and shape of your shoes are also essential factors to consider. Dishwashers have limited space and may not accommodate larger or bulkier shoe sizes.
Additionally, some shoes may have shapes or contours that make them difficult to fit correctly in the dishwasher racks. It is essential to ensure that your shoes will fit comfortably and securely in the dishwasher before attempting to wash them.
Preparing Shoes for Dishwasher Cleaning
Removing dirt and debris
Before placing your shoes in the dishwasher, removing any loose dirt or debris from their surface is essential. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrape off mud, dust, or other particles stuck to your shoes.
This step helps prevent the dirt from clogging the dishwasher’s drains or redistributing onto other items.
Checking for detachable parts
Before washing your shoes in the dishwasher, check for detachable parts such as removable insoles, shoe inserts, or orthotics.
These components may not be dishwasher safe and should be removed before cleaning. Cleaning them separately using a different method will help preserve their quality and prevent any damage that could occur in the dishwasher.
If your shoes have laces, it is advisable to remove them before cleaning. Laces can become tangled or get caught in the dishwasher’s mechanisms, potentially causing damage to both the laces and the machine. Clean the laces separately by handwashing or using a washing machine, depending on their material.
Insoles can absorb sweat and harbor odors over time. Remove the insoles from your shoes and clean them separately to freshen them up.
Depending on the material, you can hand wash them or use a machine if they are machine washable. This step helps to thoroughly clean and deodorize your shoes from the inside out.
How to Wash Different Types of Shoes in the Dishwasher
Sneakers are typically made from sturdy materials and can usually withstand dishwasher cleaning. Remove the laces and insoles, and place the sneakers in the dishwasher racks, keeping them separate from other dishes or utensils.
Use a mild detergent and select a gentle cycle to avoid any potential damage. It is advisable to let the sneakers air dry after the dishwasher cycle is complete.
Canvas shoes are generally suitable for dishwasher cleaning. Remove the laces and insoles, and place the shoes in the dishwasher racks.
Canvas is a durable material that can handle the dishwasher’s cleaning process, but it is always best to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific care guidelines. After the dishwasher cycle, allow the shoes to dry thoroughly before wearing them again.
Crocs are famous for their water-resistant and easy-to-clean properties. They can be safely washed in the dishwasher. Remove any detachable elements such as Jibbitz or decorative charms.
Place the Crocs in the dishwasher racks and use a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Once the cycle is complete, air dry the Crocs before using them again.
Most flip-flops made of rubber or plastic can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher. Check for any decorative elements or detachable components that must be removed before washing.
Place the flip flops in the dishwasher racks, ensuring they are secure and won’t fall through. Use a gentle cycle and avoid using any heat-drying settings. Allow the flip-flops to air dry completely before wearing them.
The dishwasher can effectively clean many types of sandals. Remove detachable elements, such as straps or decorative accessories, before washing. Place the sandals in the dishwasher racks, ensuring they are positioned securely.
Use a mild detergent and select a gentle cycle. After the cycle, air dries the sandals completely before reattaching any removable components.
Rubber boots can often be washed in the dishwasher, as the material is durable and waterproof. Remove any detachable elements, such as liners or insoles, before cleaning.
Place the rubber boots upright in the dishwasher racks, ensuring they are stable and won’t topple over during the cycle. Use a gentle cycle with mild detergent. After the dishwasher cycle, remove the boots and allow them to air dry thoroughly.
Athletic shoes from synthetic or mesh materials are generally safe for dishwasher cleaning. Check for any detachable components, such as insoles or cushioning inserts, and remove them before washing.
Place the shoes in the dishwasher racks, separating them from other items to prevent damage. Use a gentle cycle and mild detergent. After the cycle, allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them again.
Dress shoes, especially leather or suede ones, are generally unsuitable for dishwasher cleaning.
The dishwasher’s heat, water, and agitation can damage delicate materials and ruin the shoe’s appearance. It is best to use alternative cleaning methods, such as handwashing or using a shoe cleaning kit, to maintain the quality of dress shoes.
Leather shoes are not recommended for dishwasher cleaning, as the heat and moisture can cause the leather to warp, shrink, or lose its luster.
Instead, opt for manual cleaning methods specifically designed for leather shoes, such as using a gentle leather cleaner and conditioner. These methods will help preserve the integrity and appearance of the leather.
Running shoes are often made from mesh, synthetic materials, and rubber. While some running shoes may be dishwasher safe, it is crucial to consider the specific materials and construction before attempting dishwasher cleaning.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions or research the specific model to determine if it can be safely washed in the dishwasher. If not, explore other cleaning methods suitable for running shoes.
Steps to Wash Shoes in the Dishwasher
Before placing your shoes in the dishwasher, please give them a quick pre-rinse to remove any loose dirt or debris. This helps prevent the dishwasher’s filters from clogging and ensures a cleaner final result.
Load the dishwasher
Ensure your dishwasher is empty and free from any food particles or residue. Place your shoes securely in the dishwasher racks, ensuring they won’t shift or fall during the cycle. Keep them separate from other items to avoid any potential damage or transfer of dirt.
Use a mild detergent suitable for the materials of your shoes. Avoid harsh or abrasive detergents that may damage the shoes’ surface or affect their color. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the right amount of detergent to use.
Select the proper cycle.
Choose a gentle cycle with a low-temperature setting. Avoid heat drying or sanitizing cycles, as excessive heat can damage the shoes.
If your dishwasher can turn off the heat drying, be sure to turn it off.
Avoid using heat-drying.
Heat drying can cause the shoes to warp, shrink, or lose shape. Instead, opt for air drying.
Once the dishwasher cycle is complete, open the door and let the shoe air dry naturally. You can place them outside or in a well-ventilated area to speed up drying.
Remove shoes from the dishwasher.
Once your shoes are dry, remove them from the dishwasher. Check for any residual detergent or debris, and wipe them down if necessary.
Inspect the shoes for any signs of damage that may have occurred during the dishwasher cycle. Allow the shoes to continue air drying until they are ready to be worn again.
Alternatives to Dishwasher Cleaning for Shoes
Handwashing is a traditional and reliable method for cleaning shoes. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and a mild detergent suitable for the shoe material.
Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the shoes, paying attention to areas with stains or dirt buildup. Rinse the shoes thoroughly, removell detergent residues, and allet themir dry.
Using a washing machine
Some shoes can be safely washed in a washing machine. Remove any detachable parts and place the shoes in a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle.
Use a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water and a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener. Once the cycle is complete, allow the shoes to air dry completely.
Using shoe-cleaning kits
Shoe cleaning kits are designed to clean and maintain different types of shoes.
They often include specialized cleaners, brushes, and conditioners tailored to specific materials. These kits provide a comprehensive solution for maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of your shoes without needing a dishwasher or washing machine.
Benefits of Washing Shoes in the Dishwasher
The dishwasher’s high water temperatures and powerful jets can effectively remove dirt, stains, and odors from your shoes. The water pressure and agitation can reach areas that may be difficult to clean by hand, ensuring a thorough cleaning result.
The combination of hot water and dishwasher detergent helps sanitize and disinfect your shoes. This is particularly beneficial for shoes that come into contact with bacteria or foot-related issues, such as athletic shoes or those worn without socks.
Elimination of odors
Dishwasher cleaning can help eliminate unpleasant odors trapped in your shoes. The combination of hot water and detergent helps break down and remove odor-causing bacteria and substances, leaving your shoes smelling fresher.
Potential Risks and Precautions
Damage to shoes
While many shoes can withstand dishwasher cleaning, some materials and constructions may be prone to damage.
Leather, suede, delicate fabrics, and shoes with glued elements may risk warping, shrinking, discoloration, or adhesive failure. Always ensure your shoes are dishwasher safe, or consider alternative cleaning methods to prevent damage.
Damage to dishwasher
Cleaning shoes in the dishwasher may lead to clogged filters or drains due to dirt, debris, or loose particles. This can affect the dishwasher’s performance or cause malfunctions. Regularly clean and maintain your dishwasher after washing shoes to prevent any negative impact on its functionality.
The dishwasher’s high heat and water pressure may cause colors to fade or bleed, especially in shoes with vibrant or delicate dyes.
It is essential to consider your shoes’ colorfastness before washing them in the dishwasher. If you’re uncertain about color stability, opt for alternative cleaning methods to prevent color-related issues.
Loosening of adhesive
Shoes with glued soles or decorative elements may experience adhesive failure due to the heat and water pressure in the dishwasher.
The dishwasher’s cleaning process can weaken or dissolve the adhesive, causing detachment or damage. It is crucial to assess your shoes’ construction and adhesive integrity before attempting dishwasher cleaning.
Washing your shoes in the dishwasher may void any existing warranties or guarantees. Manufacturers often provide specific care instructions for their products, and failure to follow these guidelines could result in warranty avoidance.
Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions or contact customer support to ensure you can safely wash your shoes in the dishwasher without affecting any warranties.
Additional Tips for Dishwasher Shoe Cleaning
Use a mesh laundry bag.
Place your shoes in a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the dishwasher cycle. This prevents them from moving around or getting damaged by the dishwasher’s internal mechanisms. The mesh bag also helps keep small shoes from falling through the dishwasher racks.
Avoid using harsh detergents.
Using harsh or abrasive detergents can damage your shoes’ materials, colors, or finishes. Opt for mild detergents that are specifically formulated for shoes or delicate fabrics.
Read the labels carefully and choose a detergent suitable for your shoes’ material.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions before washing your shoes in the dishwasher.
Different brands and models may have specific recommendations or restrictions regarding dishwasher cleaning. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines will help protect the integrity and longevity of your shoes.
Allow thorough drying
After the dishwasher cycle, ensure that your shoes are completely dry before wearing them. Moisture trapped inside the shoes can lead to mold, mildew, or unpleasant odors. Proper drying also helps maintain the shape and quality of your shoes over time.
Apply shoe protection products.
After cleaning your shoes, consider using protective sprays or conditioners to maintain their appearance and prolong their lifespan.
These products can help repel water, prevent stains, and keep your shoes looking new for longer.
Washing shoes in the dishwasher can be a convenient and time-saving method for cleaning various types of footwear.
However, it is essential to consider your shoes’ materials, construction, and specific care instructions before attempting dishwasher cleaning. Proper preparation, loading techniques, and detergents are crucial for a successful dishwasher shoe-cleaning.
Always prioritize the integrity and longevity of your shoes by following the manufacturer’s guidelines and considering alternative cleaning methods when necessary.