If you happen to be someone who plays tennis, either professionally or recreationally, then you surely know how easily these shoes can get dirty. And having dirty shoes can be very annoying and a sort of reflection of negligence. So it’s no wonder you’re trying to figure out how to wash tennis shoes.
Don’t worry! I got you! In this article, I have prepared everything you need to know in order to restore your tennis shoes to their former glory.
I’m not a tennis player myself, but I’m very familiar with this topic. A close friend of mine is an avid tennis lover, and she struggled for so long to learn how to properly clean her shoes without damaging them.
And believe me, if she struggled – I struggled too! There hadn’t been a single brunch where she hadn’t mentioned her tennis shoes and how she needs to clean them.
She finally came up with a trusty recipe that has proven to work great every time. And she graciously shared it with me.
Now, I’m going to share it with you, too. So, buckle up, and let’s see how to properly wash tennis shoes!
Is it safe to wash your tennis shoes in the washing machine?
Although machine washing your shoes is generally not advisable as it can prematurely damage them, some exceptions can be made.
Shoes made out of cotton, nylon, canvas, wool, or polyester are, for the most part, safe to put in the washing machine, while those made out of leather or suede, and those with certain embellishments are a big no-no.
The upper of most tennis shoes is usually made out of washing machine-safe and breathable materials, like polyamide, polyester, and nylon. Their outsoles are made out of rubber, rather than leather since rubber provides more friction and has a better grip which is a crucial feature for tennis players.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that tennis shoes can be washed in the washing machine every once in a while. This is very useful information since hand-washing them can be a very tedious job. So, it’s good to know that you can rely on the washing machine to do the dirty work for you.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it. If your tennis shoes aren’t that dirty, it might be better to wipe them down by hand.
And, pay attention to how you do it. You cannot just shove your tennis shoes in the washing machine and be done with it. You still have to take some precautions.
Below, you can find 8 useful tips on how to wash tennis shoes in the washing machine. Follow them, and you’ll be sure you’ve done a good job.
How to wash tennis shoes in the washing machine? Step-by-step guide
1. First things first, always check the care label on your tennis shoes
This is probably the best thing you can do for your shoes. If you happen to be unsure of whether the material of your tennis shoes is machine washable or not, just look for the answers on the care label.
It is usually located somewhere on the tongue or on the inside of the shoes, and it contains all the information and the manufacturer’s advice you need.
If the letters on the label have faded away due to a long time of wearing them, you can usually find the same information online. The best info will be on the official site of the shoe brand you have.
2. Remove the laces and the insoles and clean them separately
The next thing you would want to do is to remove laces and insoles from your tennis shoes.
By removing the laces, you’ll gain access to the tongue area and generally stretch the shoes more, so they could be completely washed in the washing machine. You’ll also be able to clean them more properly as they will no longer be pulled through eyelets but on the loose.
You should also remove the laces when washing your shoes by hand, too.
When it comes to the insoles, they should also be removed and cleaned separately. You can clean them by hand, using warm water and a dash of liquid detergent, or you can put them in a mesh bag and wash them in the washing machine along with your tennis shoes.
And if they are smelly, you can sprinkle some baking soda over them to absorb the nasty odor.
Be careful, though. Don’t put any force into removing the insoles. Some of them are simply not removable, and you’ll severely damage them if you forcefully try to take them out.
3. Get rid of any loose dirt that might be stuck inside your tennis shoes
Before putting your shoes in the washing machine, always remove the dried dirt and debris in advance.
This will be beneficial for both your shoes and your washing machine because your shoes will have a better chance of getting properly cleaned, and you won’t risk clogging your drains and damaging your machine.
So, with a soft bristle brush, scrub any dirt and debris from the outside of your tennis shoes. And if there is any dirt inside, make sure you get rid of that, too. You can either vacuum the insides or turn your shoes around and bump them together until everything gets out.
4. If necessary, treat stubborn stains in advance
If your shoes have any stubborn stains that you know will not go away that easily, you should always take care of them before you put your shoes in the washing machine.
Those stains can be from paint, grass, food sauces, yellow stains from the sun or sweat, or something similar. Luckily for all of us, most stains can be easily cleaned, either by using toothpaste, baking soda, bleach, rubbing alcohol, or some specially designed stain cleaners.
By treating these stains in advance, you can be sure they will be completely clean once you take them out of the washing machine.
5. Put them in the washing machine
Finally, we have come to the main step! After you have removed the laces and insoles, brushed away the dirt, and treated the stains, all that’s left to do is to put your tennis shoes in your washing machine and let it do its magic.
Here’s what you should do:
- Place your tennis shoes separately in mesh laundry bags or pillowcases. This will protect them from potential damage while ensuring they get properly cleaned. You can also place shoe laces and insoles in separate mesh bags or pillowcases.
- Add some towels inside to ensure your shoes don’t bump around, banging at each other and at the wall of the washing machine. It will also keep your machine balanced.
- Opt for the delicate cycle on your machine since it uses cold water and doesn’t involve the “spin” cycle at the end.
- Never use powder detergent since it can get stuck on shoe soles and eyelets. Instead, opt for a mild liquid detergent or even laundry pods.
6. If necessary, repeat the washing process
If you notice your tennis shoes are not clean enough, and they could use an additional spin in the washing machine, you can always repeat the washing process.
For the most part, this will not be necessary. Only if you are not satisfied with the final results, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for round 2.
7. When finished, let your tennis shoes air dry
Once you’re satisfied with how clean your tennis shoes end up looking, take them out and put them somewhere well-ventilated to air dry.
Please remember: never dry your shoes in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can seriously damage your tennis shoes and even cause them to shrink. So, it’s best to avoid this altogether.
If you’re impatient, and you need your shoes to dry quickly, you can try several things.
First, you can stuff them with some rags or cloths which will absorb the moisture and speed up the drying process. After some time, remove the damp cloths and leave your shoes to air dry, far from direct sunlight and heater ventilators.
You can also try a hack that involves stuffing your shoes with newspapers. Allegedly, newspapers are great at absorbing moisture. All you have to do is crumple some newspaper and put them inside, and change them every once in a while.
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of this hack. The ink on the newspaper can easily transfer to your shoes and leave a mark. So, you can potentially end up with an additional problem and another cleaning emergency.
Therefore, I’m not recommending this one, especially if your tennis shoes are light in color. I’m just offering all possible solutions. So, to each their own, I guess.
8. Optional: when they’re completely dried, polish and protect your tennis shoes
You can skip this last step if you want, and your tennis shoes will still be perfectly fine.
However, if you want to be extra fancy, you can purchase shoe polish and protection spray and use them on your tennis shoes to revamp them a bit.
Shoe polishes are generally used for leather shoes, but there are a few on the market that can be used on canvas shoes to enhance their color.
Keep in mind that using polish on shoes can be a little bit tricky. So, if you don’t want to risk staining your shoes, you can just opt for a fabric protective spray which will do an amazing job at repelling dirt and debris from your shoes.
If you ask me, I’d rather go with the protective spray since I wouldn’t want to stain my sneakers. This Reshoevn8r water and stain repellent works great and will save your shoes from unwanted smudges and discoloration caused by dirt.
That’s it! Now you know how to wash tennis shoes and make them look brand-new.