Running Shoes in the Washing Machine? (How To Wash)

Can You Put Running Shoes in the Washing Machine

Do you know if I can put running shoes or sports shoes in the washing machine? How to properly clean and wash running shoes? These are the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

If you are a runner, you know how expensive a good pair of running shoes can be—and how quickly they can get covered in mud and road grime.

We have all thought about how nice it would be to throw those babies right in the washing machine to get them cleaned up quickly!

So, can you put your running shoes in the washing machine? Although you certainly can, it is not a good idea. The washing machine is too harsh for your shoes and can result in the weakening of the fabric or glue. Additionally, your shoes can damage your washing machine. Luckily, it is simple to clean your running shoes at home using detergent and a brush or sponge.

The rest of this article will go into detail about why you shouldn’t put your running shoes in the washing machine and how you can clean your shoes by hand at home.

Let’s go.

Can you put running shoes in the washing machine?

Technically, yes, you CAN put your running shoes in the washing machine. However, this is most likely not a good idea.

Running shoes are usually quite expensive, and the harsh cycle of the washing machine can easily damage them.

Not only can the heat and force of the washing machine loosen the glue that holds your shoes together, but it can actually alter the shape and fit of your shoes.

Any serious runner knows that the way your shoes fit is crucial to keeping a proper stride and ensuring that you don’t hurt yourself while running.

So, you want to treat your shoes with extreme care to make sure that they do not get damaged while washing them.

Can washing my running shoes damage my washing machine?

In addition to your shoes getting damaged by the washing machine, yes, the inverse is also possible: your shoes can damage the machine itself as well.

We all know sports shoes are expensive, but washing machines are much more so!

What happens is that your shoes are fairly heavy. They are also usually loose in the drum of the washing machine, leaving them to spin around at high speeds and bang into the drum of the washing machine.

This can cause problems with the drum itself. Also, if you place super muddy shoes in the machine, the dirt and mud can clog the machine’s drain.

It is simply safest to keep your shoes separated from your machine!

Read also: Can You Put Shoes in the Washing Machine (Suede, Canvas, Golf Shoes)

Can I wash my running shoes by hand?

You may be asking yourself a logical question right now: if I can’t put my running shoes in the washing machine, then how the heck am I supposed to get them clean?! Luckily, hand washing your shoes at home is simple and effective. In fact, you can probably get it done in less time than running a full washing machine cycle would take you.

You only need materials that you probably already have at home, and you’ll get your shoes squeaky clean before you know it. Keep reading to find out just how to do so.

What materials do I need to hand wash my running shoes?

You don’t need too many materials to wash your running shoes at home, and you most likely have everything you need already at your fingertips. Start by gathering the following:

  • A spare toothbrush or soft scrubbing brush
  • A sponge
  • Paper towels
  • Toothpicks
  • Clothes detergent or other mild, clothing-safe soap
  • Warm water

Once you have all of this, you are ready to start cleaning your running shoes.

How do I wash the soles of my running shoes?

The soles of your running shoes are probably the quickest and easiest to get clean. First, start by using paper towels to clean off any big chunks of mud or dirt.

If necessary, you can use a toothpick to scrape out mud from any crevices in the bottom of the shoes.

Next, use your toothbrush or scrubbing brush to carefully scrub the soles of your shoes using warm, soapy water.

You can add detergent to the water itself, or you can keep the soap and water separate. Either way, you should keep some clean water on hand for rinsing purposes.

When you have scrubbed the mud and dirt off the rubber soles of your shoes, use a wet sponge to rinse them and dry with paper towels. Voilà! Your soles are now clean.

How do I wash the uppers of my running shoes?

The uppers of your running shoes are more difficult to clean than the soles. How you approach cleaning them depends on what the material is made of. If your uppers are mesh, fabric, or canvas, you can safely clean them with warm soapy water.

If your uppers are suede or leather, you should be more careful—you may need to use cleaning products specifically designed for those materials.

No matter what material your uppers are made of, be careful not to totally submerge them in water. You should carefully clean the outsides with a wet, soapy sponge, then rinse with clean water on a sponge or towel.

Should I remove the insoles and shoelaces of my shoes before washing them?

Yes, you should remove your insoles and shoelaces to ensure that you are thoroughly cleaning every part of the shoe.

Can I put my insoles in the washing machine?

No, you should not put your insoles in the washing machine. Just like your shoes, the hot water and force of the washing machine can damage the shape of your insoles.

As a runner, those insoles are very important for supporting your feet while you run—so be careful to wash them by hand, and don’t submerge them in water!

Can I put my shoelaces in the washing machine?

Your shoelaces are probably safe to put in the washing machine, but keep in mind that they will almost certainly become tangled if you put them loose in the drum.

If you are going to put them in the washing machine, you should place them inside a delicate bag.

If you do not want to wash them in the washing machine, you can easily clean them with your scrub brush and soap under running water.

Read also: How Long Does It Take To Run A 50K

What if my running shoes are stained?

It may happen that your running shoes have a stain that will not come out, even when you clean them by hand. In this case, there is not much you can do.

However, it is important to keep in mind that running shoes are made to be worn! You can think of every scuff and stain as marks of your time as a runner and an athlete. Wear them with pride!


So, can you put your running shoes in the washing machine? While you technically can, you really should not. Doing so can damage your shoes as well as your washing machine.

It is fairly simple to clean your shoes by hand at home instead.

All you need to hand wash your shoes is a soft scrubbing brush, clothing safe soap, a sponge, and warm soapy water.

Once you have these materials, wash each part of your shoes separately, and they will soon be as good as new!

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Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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