Clean Shoes - How?

Hey guys,

I have just been out for run this morning and did some off track stuff on the wet grass.

As you can imagine, my shoes are not the cleanest.

Is it ok to stick shoes in the washing machine or have you any better suggestions as to how to clean shoes without having to actually hand wash them?

Looking forward to your replies,


  • Not sure on this - have been reports of disastrous consequences. I knackered a pair of mine by putting them on the hot air dryer - all the glue melted!

    In winter "hand wash" them in a bowl/bath and then turn upside down to get the worst of the water out, then stick them on the central heating storage thing to dry out.

    An old toothbrush is good at getting mud off, I find.
  • recommendation from my 18yr old son (discovered accidentally!!)

    1. attend foam party at local nightclub (yes, foamy bubbles everywhere)
    2. go for a run through long wet grass - ignore strange looks from passers by because your feet are foaming
    3. end result - shoes look like new - with no shrinking or scuffing that you sometimes get in the washing machine

    Alternatively, follow Iain's advice!
  • Scotty4Scotty4 ✭✭✭

    Don't put them in the machine !!!!!

    A very expensive lesson in how not to treat running shoes as they will definately shrink no matter how slowly they dry.

    I just gently rinse the outsides under tap and rub with a light brush to get rid of the dirt. The only scrubbing that needs doing on mine are the removable in-soles which freshen up quite well.

    I once put a pair on a bathroom towel heater to dry off and this discoloured the upper material. Best to keep them away from excessive heat when drying.
  • Well I know lots of people who just put them in the machine on a gentle cycle - they come out looking brand new.

    But I don't think I would recommend you do this on a regular basis.
  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭
    Have used washing machines occasionally (always take the insoles out though) & so far so good.

    Back when I had a bit more energy, I used to play footy & cleaned my boots in the bath using the shower head - stick 'em by the radiator & they were fine.
  • Allow to dry and clean with a stiff brush. Real runners don't have clean shoes, or so everybody tells me whenever I buy a new pair!
  • Wash with an old toothbrush and some type of cleaner (dishwashing liquid or hand soap seems to work fine) for the outside. I know the shoe manufacturers don't recommend it, but I was getting disgusted at how sweaty the insides on my shoes were getting in the summer, so tried out the washing machine. Set it on the gentle cycle and the coolest temperature and put a few old towels in as well. First tried it on an old pair of trainers and that worked OK, so did it on with the newer ones as well. Dry them next to the radiator.
    If in doubt, test it on your old trainers first!
  • Washing machine on 'quickwash' cycle. I've always done this and my shoes have never been damaged. Brush off loose mud etc. and put shoes in an old pillow case as the laces can get caught in the drum. Do not use detergents - I use Graingers fabric shoe wash which is available from most outdoor clothing (hillwalking etc.) shops. Don't dry them by direct heat - I put mine in the airing cupboard to dry.
  • I've come to the conclusion that unless you only ever run on-road and in the dry, you'll always end up with cack on your shoes. Now I just wipe off the worst with a wet cloth and leave to dry on top of the boiler.
  • It's always puzzled me why running shoe manufacturers don't make them in darker colours, so the mud doesn't show as much.

    I've actually got black socks for similar reasons, but white ones a re a lot more common!

    Agree about strong heat - my central heating unit doesn't emit much. Stuffing newspaper inside helps to pull out the moisture before this stage too - but change it regularly as it gets soaked.

    Must try that wet grass thing.

    I do have some trainer cleaner stuff I got as a present years ago, but haven't tried it yet. Think it comes from JJB sports if anyone wants to try it out.
  • My road shoes i just put on a bit of newspaper by the french windows to dry in the brief hour of sunshine that comes in at this time of year. It depends on how disgusting my off road shoes are: really disgusting (cow poo and sheep shit with added mud and horse pee) goes into a bucket of cold water to be soaked, then brushed, then stuffed with newspaper and left to dry by the window. Not too bad, i tie the laces together and suspend from a coathanger so the air can circulate in the shed. When dry the mud will brush off - and i'm not bothered about the colour of the shoes. New shoes in our club are an in vitation to be pushed into puddles or have your feet trodden on.
  • Pressure washer is good fun, watching them roll up and down the drive with the Kids chasing them
  • Oh dear, I just leave mine in the bag till the next time I need them. A couple of thwacks to knock the (by now nicely dried)excess mud off and off I go.
  • Get off excess mud etc and then apply luke warm water with a manky old toothbrush and rub. No detergents, just warm water.
  • Let them dry and then spray with,would you believe,Mr Muscles Kitchen Cleaner,rub in and wipe and they come up a treat!
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    I have used the washing machine on my trainers in the past, although its advisable to check the wife hasn't left her 'white undies' wash in the machine first!

    (I actually thought she bought them in that unattractive,washed out grey, until I tried to buy her some for Christmas....."no no sir , black,white,red yes, grey definitely not".)

    Also a quick wash with warm water and left to dry by the bolier works.Can also recommend the old toothbrush for removing mud.
  • Leave them to dry and then go for a run in them. The old mud just falls off. If they get muddy again simply repeat the process.
  • The washing machine idea can ruin shoes as the heat can mess with midsole/cushioning materials. If you absolutely have to use it then make sure it's a really low temperature but it's safer to use the more labour-intensive methods.

    It invalidates the warranty on Nike shoes too (and they are very switched on to knowing when it's been done!) - I have seen what it can do to an air unit to put them in the washing machine and it's not funny.
  • I always use the washing machine and then dry them in the airing cupboard, i have never had any problems.
  • I usually get the nurse to lift me into the bath with my shoes on she then scrubs me and the shoes clean,works every time.
  • I'm with tom on this. Why do you need clean shoes anyway - I've never heard of a prize for the best dressed runner.
  • I once went through a pool of cows piss and left them to dry. They were OK at first but after a few days they began to smell really bad. I was forced to wash them in a bucket of soapy water with detol in it. They were never the same again - seemed too stiff after that. I won't be in a hurry to wash trainers again - maybe I'll just rinse them in water if it happens again.
  • I rinse mine off with a hosepipe outside when I get back from a muddy run and then throw them in the washer on a quick 30 wash. Then I leave them on a shelf above my boiler to dry off. Works for me and doesn't seem to have done them any harm.
  • Dont bother, you know youre a runner if your trainers are mucky image
  • Helenm2 wrote (see)
    Dont bother, you know youre a runner if your trainers are mucky image

    I disagree, if you go off road running (proper off road that is) then you usually finish with wet feet and shoes covered top to bottom in mud and sheep crap. If you don't wash them out they end up seriously stinking and the stitches rot away so the uppers fall apart.

    I find they give me strange foot problems if I don't wash them out, like rashes and athletes foot type issues.

  • Throw them in the washing machine, and let them dry off naturally never had a problem with doing that.

    I have also seen lots of people post on forums that it damages shoes however I am yet to see anyone produce evidence that it does this, or research supporting this claim. Its an old wives tale imho

    To address the suggestion that heat damages materials, you use a cool wash and I would ask the question what about running in exotic and hot enviroments I would have thought with the ambient temprature, road temprature and the temprature of the foot itself combined could exceed the temprature of a cool wash.

    Can someone please show me research, photo's evidence that using a washing machine damages shoes.

  • Yorkshire Rob, fair play with the sheep poo, I'd wash that off too!
  • >Can someone please show me research, photo's evidence that using a >washing machine damages shoes.

    I have not documented it, but putting my Adidas cross-trainers (cheap, £35 type shoes) in the washing machine for a normal cycle at 30 degrees Celsius did significant damage. The soles came unstuck from the upper shoe in many places. Most likely the glue job came unstuck because of the water - not sure why the heat would be the culprit.
  • Why would the glue come unstuck because of the water? On that logic you would see shoes falling apart whenever there was a race held in wet conditions. I'm not sure why your shoes came unstuck (and I'm not doubting whether they did or not) but it sure as hell wasn't the water
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