Tips And Tricks To Wash Kids Shoes

Kids love jumping in the muddy puddles and playing crazily during outdoor trips. Of course, you can’t stop them, since physical activity is crucial for their overall health.

But at the end of the day, what leaves the moms worried are clothes and shoes stained with food spills, mud, other sticky and stinky mess. You can easily wash the clothes but what about shoes?? Not all the shoes are machine washable. Plus, buying a new pair feels like a dream because your young ones’ footwear is worth almost the same as yours.

Whether canvas,  or sneakers, made of suede or leather, cleaning, and maintenance of your little ones’ shoes is not a big deal now. As I am going to share my secret tips and tricks to wash kids’ shoes perfectly. In addition, I’ll guide you on what shoes you can and can’t machine wash.

Just read on to discover more:

Should You Wash Kids’ Shoes In Washing Machines?


Most mothers keep on asking, “Should I wash my kids’ shoes in a washing machine”? The answer is, it depends on the material of which the shoes are made. To find whether the footwears are machine washable or not, check the instructions on the care label.

Normally, the kids’ shoes made of fabric such as cotton, nylon, polyester, and faux leather are machine washable. Again, before washing, make sure to read the label. However, I recommend not to wash the shoes in the washer too often. As it will reduce the footwear’s life.

Try hand-washing as far as possible. Machine wash only when the shoes are too stinky and messed with body fluids such as blood, poo, and pee.

Types Of Machine Washable Kids Shoes

Looking for the types of machine washable footwear? Here they are:

Cotton Shoes:
Canvas shoes made of 100% cotton can be easily washed in a washer. Just make sure to follow the tips that I have mentioned in the machine wash guide. Not all canvas shoes can go into a washer. If these are extremely dirty, use a toothbrush and soapy water to remove the dirt. Then use a towel to absorb the maximum moisture. Finally, let them air dry.

Canvas sneakers:
Canvas sneakers and cotton trainers are also machine washable. Just place them in a lingerie bag, use liquid detergent and cold water for washing. Avoid drying in a dryer. Preferably, place them on an air vent or in the shade outside until dried completely. Don’t wash leather sneakers and mesh sneakers in the washer

Indoor Noise Reducing Sleepers:
If you live in an apartment, your kids must have noise-reducing sleepers. If not, I highly recommend you to get them not only for your comfort but also for the peace of your neighbors. Normally, these sleepers don’t get too dirty. But in a house of kids, accidents like food spills, poo, and pee are always possible. You can always wash them in a machine. However, never put them in a dryer.

How To Wash Kids Shoes In a Washing Machine?

Here’s a simple step-wise guide to washing kids’ shoes in a washing machine.

  • Make sure to check the label whether the type of shoe fabric is fully washable in the washer or not. If they are not fully washable, use an old toothbrush, hold the soles under the running tap and remove excess dirt.
  • For smelly shoes, powder some baking soda on wet shoes and leave them for a few minutes.
  • Remove the laces (if removable) and insoles. Insoles can be waterlogged if you throw them in a machine. Use soapy water and an old toothbrush to wash them by hand. Use a sponge to soak up extra water from insoles. To remove the bad odor, powder them with baking soda and leave them overnight. The next day, dust off the baking soda and allow them to dry completely. Insoles are ready. Put them aside.
  • For damage protection, place the shoes inside laundry bags or a pillowcase.
  • Finally, the footwears are ready to go in a washer. For extra protection, also put 2 old towels in the wash cycle.
  • Don’t add fabric softener as it will leave residue in the shoes. That will, in turn, make them dirtier. Use liquid detergent along with cool water and select the slow or no spin cycle. Hot water may weaken, crack or melt the glue bond.
  • Never put shoes in a dryer. After washing is complete, stuff paper towels or old newspapers inside footwear to keep them in shape. If you want them to dry quickly, place them on an air vent or dry outside in a shady area.
  • Once the shoes are dried completely, place back the insoles inside. Enjoy the sense of satisfaction you feel after washing the mess.

What Shoes You Can’t Wash In a Machine?

Here are the shoes that you should always avoid throwing in a machine.

Suede Shoes:
Any footwear made of animal-based material such as suede and leather should not be washed in a machine. It is highly recommended to keep them away from water. Use a pencil eraser to remove any marks and scuffs from suede shoes. You can use waterproofing spray for these shoes to prevent any watermarks. Use a damp cloth to clean your kids’ leather shoes and then polish them by using shoe polish.

Fancy Girl’s Shoes and sandals:
Your little princess might be conscious about her casual and fancy sandals. These are also not machine washable. Use damp cloth or baby wipes to clean girl’s fancy shoes.

How To Wash Kids Shoes By Hand?


For washing kids’ jelly shoes, follow these instructions. Apply the same instructions for cleaning sandals.

  • Take an old toothbrush.
  • Take mild soapy water and remove the dirt from soles by using a toothbrush.
  • Take a cleaning cloth or a wipe. Damp the cloth with soapy water and clean the shoes from the inside and outer surface.
  • Wash the cloth with simple water and again clean the shoes to remove any soap residue.
  • Dry the shoes by using a dry cloth.

For hand washable kid’s sneakers, follow these steps.

  • Use a brush to remove excess sticky dirt from sneakers.
  • For white soles, apply some toothpaste and gently scrub the soles by using a brush.
  • If the sneakers are too dirty, soak them in a bucket of soapy water. Use a brush to slightly rub the stains. Wait until all the dirt is gone.
  • Rinse them with cold water. Place them on the air vent or outside under a shady spot.

Final Thoughts

Every mother enjoys prepping for an outdoor trip. Kids dressed up in tidy clothes and clean shoes really look adorable. In fact, kids have their own world. Their innocent minds are unaware of the meanings of terms “cleanliness” and “maintenance”.

So, never spoil your kids’ fun day by making them overly conscious of cleanliness. Be a vigilant mom and spare some time for maintaining your kids’ shoe wardrobe. It will save you extra dollars and give you a sense of satisfaction in maintaining good hygiene.


Writer: Meenaas

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