Wash and Wear: The Pros and Cons of Putting Your Sneakers in the Washer
We've all been there before - staring at our beloved sneakers, dirtied and scuffed from our adventures, wondering how on earth we can restore them to their former glory. The debate on whether or not to toss them into the washing machine has been a topic of discussion among sneaker enthusiasts for years. In this blog post, we'll explore the pros and cons of washing your sneakers in washing machine, providing you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
Reasons To Consider Washing Sneakers in the Washing Machine
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let's highlight some of the reasons why washing your sneakers in the washer might be a tempting option. Firstly, it's convenient. Tossing your sneakers in with your laundry saves you time and effort compared to hand-washing each pair individually.
Secondly, it can be effective. The washing machine's agitation and water action can help remove dirt, grime, and stains that have accumulated over time.
Gather the Necessary Materials
Before you begin to wash shoes, you must gather the materials you'll need. This includes a mesh garment bag or pillowcase, a soft brush, mild laundry detergent, and stain remover (if necessary). Having these items on hand will ensure a smooth cleaning experience.
Remove Laces and Insoles
To avoid tangling and potential damage, take the time to remove the laces and insoles from your sneakers. This step also allows you to clean these components separately, ensuring a thorough cleaning process.
Brush Off Excess Dirt
Before placing your sneakers in the washer, use a soft brush to gently remove any excess dirt or debris. This step helps prevent clogging the washing machine and ensures a more effective cleaning cycle.
If your sneakers have stubborn stains, take the time to spot-treat them before you wash sneakers. Apply a small amount of shoe and sneaker whitener to the affected areas and gently rub it in with a soft brush. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the stain remover to penetrate the fabric before proceeding to the washing machine.
Choosing the Right Washing Machine Setting
Delicate vs Regular Cycle
When it comes to selecting the appropriate wash cycle, the delicate cycle is often the safer choice. It provides a gentler wash that reduces the risk of damage to sneakers or even suede shoes. However, if your sneakers are exceptionally dirty or made of more durable materials, you may opt for the regular cycle for a deeper clean.
Hot vs Cold Water
While hot water can be effective in removing stains and odors, it may also cause certain materials to shrink or warp. In general, it's safer to use cold water or warm water for washing sneakers. This helps preserve their shape and integrity while still providing adequate cleaning power.
To ensure a thorough clean, add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the fabric and colors of your sneakers. Stick to a gentle detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics.
Washing the Sneakers
Load the Washing Machine
Place your sneakers inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them from excessive agitation. This also prevents them from getting entangled with other clothes or the washing machine's components. Make sure to leave enough space in the bag for the sneakers to move freely.
Balance the Load
To prevent excessive vibrations and protect both your sneakers and the washing machine, balance the load by adding a few towels or other lightweight items. This helps maintain stability and prevents potential damage.
Start the Cycle
Select the appropriate cycle and water temperature based on the guidelines mentioned earlier. Start the washing machine and let it work its magic. Take this time to relax or catch up on other tasks while your sneakers undergo their much-needed spa treatment.
Monitor the Process
Though the washing machine takes care of the cleaning process, it's essential to keep an eye on the cycle's progress. This allows you to intervene if any issues arise, such as excessive noise or the washing machine becoming unbalanced. Being vigilant ensures a smooth and successful sneaker-washing experience.
Air-Drying vs Machine-Drying
When it comes to drying your freshly cleaned sneakers, many prefer to air dry their sneakers. Avoid using the dryer, as high temperatures and excessive tumbling can cause damage, shrinkage, or warping. Instead, find a well-ventilated area and allow your sneakers to dry naturally. Patience is key here, as it may take a day or two for them to dry completely.
Tips for Quick Drying
If you're in a hurry and need your sneakers to dry faster, here are a few tips. Stuff them with crumpled newspaper or clean towels to absorb moisture and speed up the drying process. Place them near a fan or in a warm, well-ventilated room to facilitate evaporation. However, be cautious not to expose them to direct sunlight, as it can fade the colors.
Re-Lace and Re-Insert Insoles
Once your sneakers are dry, it's time to re-lace them and re-insert the insoles. Take the opportunity to replace worn-out laces with fresh ones if necessary. This step adds the finishing touch to your freshly cleaned sneakers and ensures they are ready to hit the streets in style.
Risks and Precautions
Sneaker Materials That Can't Be Washed in the Washing Machine
Not all sneakers are created equal, and some materials are not suitable for machine washing. Fabrics such as suede, leather, satin, and certain delicate synthetics should be cleaned using alternative methods to avoid damage.
Risks of Discoloration, Damage, and Shrinkage
Washing sneakers in the machine carries certain risks, including potential discoloration, damage, and shrinkage. These risks are higher for sneakers made of sensitive or low-quality materials. Always refer to the manufacturer's care instructions and exercise caution when deciding to wash your sneakers in the washer.
Avoiding Damage to the Washing Machine
To prevent damage to your washing machine, always place your sneakers in a laundry bag or pillowcase. This prevents the sneakers from coming into direct contact with the machine's components, reducing the risk of entanglement and potential damage.
Alternative Cleaning Methods
For sneakers that can't be machine-washed or require a more delicate touch, hand-washing is an excellent alternative. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and a mild detergent, and gently scrub the sneakers using a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly and air-dry as mentioned earlier.
Using Shoe-Cleaning Kits
Shoe-cleaning kits offer specialized tools and solutions for cleaning sneakers. These kits often include brushes, stain removers, and protectants specifically designed for different materials. Following the instructions provided, you can effectively clean your sneakers by hand without the need for a washing machine.
Professional Cleaning Services
If you're unsure or uncomfortable with cleaning your sneakers yourself, professional cleaning services can be a reliable option. These services employ experts who understand the intricacies of different sneaker materials and use appropriate techniques to clean and restore them. While it may come at a cost, professional cleaning ensures the best possible outcome for your beloved sneakers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can All Sneakers Be Washed in the Washing Machine?
No, not all sneakers can be safely washed in the washing machine. Certain materials, such as suede, leather, satin, and delicate synthetics, are best cleaned using alternative methods to avoid damage.
Can I Use Bleach When Washing My Sneakers in the Washing Machine?
It is generally not recommended to use bleach when washing sneakers in the machine. Bleach can cause discoloration and damage to the fabric and colors of your sneakers. Stick to mild detergents specifically designed for delicate fabrics.
How Often Should I Wash My Sneakers?
The frequency of washing depends on how often you wear your sneakers and the conditions you expose them to. As a general guideline, washing them every few months or when they appear visibly dirty is sufficient. Avoid excessive washing, as it can cause unnecessary wear and tear.
Can I Wash My Sneakers With Other Clothes?
While it's technically possible to wash your sneakers with other clothes, it is generally not recommended. The movement and agitation during the washing process can cause damage to both your sneakers and the other garments. It's best to use a specialized sneaker cleaning kit to clean your sneakers properly without damage.
Will Washing My Sneakers in the Washing Machine Damage Them?
There is a risk of damage when washing sneakers in the machine, particularly if they are made of sensitive or low-quality materials. Always refer to the manufacturer's care instructions and exercise caution when deciding to wash your sneakers in the washer.
Can I Use a Dryer To Dry My Sneakers?
Using a dryer to dry your sneakers is not recommended. High temperatures and excessive tumbling can cause damage, shrinkage, or warping. Opt for air-drying instead, allowing your sneakers to dry naturally over time.
Avoid Damaging Your Sneakers In the Machine Wash With Red Moose
Washing your sneakers in the washing machine can be a convenient and cost-effective way to rejuvenate them. However, it's crucial to consider the risks and exercise caution, especially when dealing with sensitive materials.
To avoid all the risks of damage due to washing sneakers in the machine, use a specialized sneaker cleaning kit. Red Moose offers the best sneakers cleaning kit to successfully clean your sneakers and have them ready for your next adventure. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your sneakers transform before your eyes!