illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine


Whether you’re a runner or not, your sneakers are bound to get dirty over time. Luckily, sneakers are easy to clean with the washing machine!

Cheryl Nelson, Lifestyle Expert and Founder & Owner of Prepare with Cher has provided a step-by-step guide on how to wash dirty sneakers in the washer, how to choose the proper detergent, and a guide to washing the insoles of shoes without damaging them…

How to Wash Sneakers in the Washer:

First, check the label on the sneakers to ensure they may be machine washed.  If they can be, remove shoe insoles and shoelaces. Put sneakers in a microfiber or mesh laundry bag (like what you use when washing lingerie). Put shoelaces in a separate bag. Use cold water (to avoid shrinking and damage) and wash on a delicate cycle with a slow spin or no spin. To avoid ‘extra shoe banging’ around in the washing machine, add a few old bath towels of similar color.

The Correct Detergent to Use and How to Choose It:

Use a gentle detergent, such as Arm & Hammer Free and Clear Sensitive Skin. For extra stinky shoes, you can add a little bit of distilled white vinegar. Don’t use any bleach—this can damage the shoes. Instead, you may use a toothbrush to gently brush any stains with soapy water, prior to placing it in the washing machine. Air dry in the sun if possible. You may stuff the sneakers with rags or paper towels to help absorb moisture and maintain the sneaker’s shape.

A Brief Insight on Washing the Insoles of Shoes, Without Damage:

Always wash shoe insoles separately (unless the label states otherwise). Soles can soak up a lot of moisture, which makes them difficult to dry. If insoles are not machine washable, hand wash by gently brushing them with soapy water. Use a sponge to soak up excess water. After cleaning, sprinkle the insoles with Arm & Hammer baking soda to soak up any leftover moisture and deodorize. Once they are dry, wipe off excess baking soda and place back in sneakers.

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