If you want to clean your shoes in the washer and dryer, it can be made simple with a few tips. Knowing how to cause the least possible trouble with both your shoes and your machines can ensure that your shoes come out squeaky clean and dry without damaging your shoes or your machines in general.
First, make sure that your shoes will go into the washer without getting damage to either your washer or your shoes themselves. Shoes can bend and warp in the washer, and come out looking worse than they went in. Make sure you remove the laces from your shoes, and refrain from washing mainly leather shoes, as they can shrink in the washer.
Wash your shoes and laces in cold water only, to prevent warping and shrinking of your shoes. Wipe off as much mud and debris as you can from the shoes before placing them in the washer. Wash them on the smallest cycle possible, and toss in an old towel (not a new one, these will emit color and fluff into your shoes) to keep the shoes from knocking around in the washer.
Use a liquid detergent, or just wash them in the water if you want. Powdered detergent may not wash off all the way in the cycle. A little bit of liquid detergent (or none at all) will do. If your shoes stink, add 1/4 cup vinegar, which will draw out the odor in the shoes without a lingering scent.
When your shoes come out of the washer, place them with the towel into the dryer, and place the dryer on delicate and low heat. If you are afraid the laces will get stuck in the dryer and burn, set them to the side and allow your laces to air dry instead. Dry your shoes until they are dry, checking them every 10 minutes or so to make sure the soles or the shoes are not warping. Higher heats in the dryer can do this to shoes. Toss in a dryer sheet if you’d like, so your shoes come out smelling lovely.
If placing your shoes in the dryer just doesn’t feel comfortable to you, place your shoes outside to air dry instead. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, which can bleach your shoes; rather, place them in an area where they can dry but not get too much sun, like under the steps on your porch or even in your car, which should have enough tint to keep the sun from damaging them.