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How to Wash Tennis Shoes – Best Method with 8 Easy Steps!

How to Wash Tennis Shoes
Written by Benedikt Meyers
Last Update: August 23, 2023

Tennis shoes are made to endure rough use, but they get dirty quite easily. Fortunately, all fabric and leather shoes can be washed in a washing machine. You’ll be able to clear marks, minimize odors, and improve the life of your tennis shoes if you learn how to properly wash them. With the high cost of a decent pair of tennis shoes, cleaning them would save you money over the long haul.

How to Wash Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes must be cleaned every several months. If you have a regular top-loading washer, also clean your shoes with a couple of towels to help offset the weight of the shoes. There is less of a need to manage the load in a high-efficiency or front-loading washing machine without a middle agitator. Washing your tennis shoes in the washer is easy, but you will need to follow these steps on how to wash tennis shoes to wash them properly.

1. Things You’ll Need

It was not a smart move to throw your tennis shoes in your home washer with old washing machines. Today’s washing machines are far more sophisticated and capable of handling them. Older washers were far too rough on shoes, causing them to be ruined.

Modern machines have a variety of updated features and options that make it possible to comfortably wash your shoes in a washing machine. Check the maintenance and washing details for your shoes before getting started to make sure they’re machine-washable. Next, double-check that you have all of the necessary materials and tools on hand:

  • Washing machine
  • Drying rack (optional)
  • Mesh garment bags
  • Washing detergent in liquid form
  • A gentle brush, such as a used toothbrush
  • A cream cleanser
  • Old towels
  • Baking soda
  • Shoe conditioner and polisher (optional)
  • Spray-on fabric protection (optional)

2. Removal of Excess Dirt

Remove the laces from your shoes and place them in a plastic laundry bag to protect them from being tangled. Put them away to be washed with your shoes or throw them in with a pile of laundry. Replace your laces if they are fraying or thin. Using a gentle brush clear as much dirt or residue from the soles of your shoes as possible. You should also gently clean dirt from close spaces with a toothbrush or toothpicks. When the dirt has been cleaned, apply shoe cleaners to the scratch marks with a rag or gentle brush. Scuffs should be gently rubbed with the cleaner, then wiped dry with a wet cloth.

3. Cleaning the Insoles

It might also be appropriate to wash your insoles occasionally. It is recommended to wash your insoles by hand. Remove your shoes’ insoles and clean them with a cloth soaked in a mixture of one cup of hot water and one tablespoon of baking soda. Leave the insoles to air dry while the rest of the footwear is being washed. Sprinkle baking soda on the insoles to soak up foul smell and moisture. This technique can be used repeatedly, even if you are not washing your shoes. If the scent continues, you should consider replacing the insoles.

4. Adding in Towels to the Washing Machine

Add 5 or 6 old towels to the washing machine before you put your shoes in. This will help maintain the load stable and the shoes from pounding around while the washing machine is running. If you want to be extra secure, place your tennis shoes in a laundry bag. During the washing process, the laundry bag will serve as a scrubber to clean exterior dirt.

5. Add-in Your Shoes in the Washing Machine

Wash Tennis Shoes - Add-in Your Shoes in the Washing Machine

If your tennis shoes have some black stains on the sides, use a wet magic eraser scrub to go over the spot. These forms of stains can be difficult to remove by the washing machine, but with some sponging, they can be removed easily. Add a tiny amount of sodium bicarbonate to each shoe the evening before you run a washer. This would boost the smell as well as the washing. Manually clean the baking soda before placing your shoes in the machine.

6. Setting up the Washing Machine

To wash your tennis shoes in a washer, use a liquid laundry detergent and warm water. Select a spin with a low rotation speed, if it is possible. Low rotational speeds can assist in keeping your washer stable. Setting the washing machine on a long warm run would prevent the glue that holds the shoe’s innersole in place from being ruined by a hot cycle. Use only liquid detergent and avoid bleach, vinegar, or fabric conditioner, as they will all ruin your shoes. Add a tablespoon of oxygenated bleach to stains to remove them. Use a pine oil sanitizer at the start of the washing process to remove the fungus. To be successful, the disinfectant must contain at least 80% pine oil, and it must be used with warm water in the washing machine.

7. Drying Shoes After Washing

Drying Shoes After Washing

Take your shoes from the washing machine and squeeze out the excess water. Stuff dried bath towels into your shoes and softly pressure them to extract extra water mostly from the innersole to accelerate drying time. Since high heat will deform the soles of your shoes, switch your dryer machine to medium heat. To avoid banging noises, place your tennis shoes in the dryer machine with the towels, or just use a mesh bag to put shoes on the dryer frame. Keep an eye to see if the insides are dry after drying on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.

Continue to dry in 15-minute intervals until the job is done. Your tennis shoes may also be air-dried on a straight rack or by re-tying the laces and hanging them on a washing machine door. Because sunlight is an ideal disinfectant, drying them on the surface helps to further disinfect them. If you dry leather tennis shoes, keep them out of direct sunlight as the heat will make the leather dry too easily and break. A rotating fan, on the other hand, may help speed up the drying process.

8. Polishing Your Footwear

When your tennis shoes are dry, brush up any scuff marks on leather shoes with black, white, or an adequately colored shoe polisher. After that, to maintain the surface supple and avoid cracking, use a leather conditioner. A protecting spray for canvas shoes will help resist stains and dirt between washing.


Check the labels or the manufacturer’s webpage for suggested cleaning instructions before you begin to wash your shoes. Some shoes are just not designed to be washed, and putting them in the machine could damage them. Similarly, certain fabrics require complex handwashing procedures. If you take the steps described above and use the guidelines provided, your beloved pair of shoes will continue to fit well and smell fantastic for months.


Q. Is It OK to Wash Tennis Shoes in My Washing Machine?

Ans: Athletic and canvas shoes made of cotton, nylon, and polyester you can comfortably wash in your washing machine. These fabrics are tough and shouldn’t be harmed by detergent.

About the author

Benedikt Meyers

Benedikt Meyers is an accomplished executive with significant experience in global sales and marketing, product development, and supply chain for the apparel and footwear industries. He’s a skilled relationship builder who has lived in Asia for 10 years and visited the world to develop key alliances with industry partners in order to meet production and supply demands in ever-evolving markets.

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