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Can you wash boots in a washing machine?

The answer to this question is 'yes! You can wash some boots in a washing machine.' Many people do not realise that it is possible to put many different types of shoes in the washing machine which will help you to save time, money and doesn't damage the machine or your shoes. However, this last part really depends on what your boots are made of.

Materials such as cotton, nylon, polyester and canvas are fine to go into the washing machine, but as a general rule of thumb, it is not recommended to machine wash any shoes that are made from animal-based fabrics, such as suede and some types of leather. Water can damage these fabrics, so it is best practice to either wash them by hand, or have them professionally cleaned. If you are going to hand-wash your shoes, then don't forget to use cleaning products which are specifically designed for these fabrics. To be certain, we always recommend reading the care label on the shoes to be sure.

Similarly shoes which have been made using delicate fabrics, such as silk or lace, should also be cleaned with specialist products and care. If your boots are made from PU (leather or bi-cast leather, a material made with split leather and polyurethane), PVC (synthetic plastic) or the aforementioned machine-friendly materials then it is easier to wash boots made out of these because they are more likely to withstand being placed in a washing machine. Again, check the care label on these boots to be on the safe side. If the care label says 'hand wash only' then you may be able to machine wash them on the 'hand wash' setting. Just be cautious that there may be colour loss, or frayed fabric or your boots may lose their shape after the wash cycle has finished. Your boots may still be salvageable, but if this happens then don't put them in the washing machine in future.

How To Wash Your Boots In The Washing Machine?

To help you save some valuable time and money, we've compiled a quick step-by-step guide on how to machine wash your boots. Just so you know, it is possible to use a front or top loading machine to clean your boots. Simply place both boots besides each other in a front loader or one on each side in a top loader.

  1. 1. Before you do anything, always read the care label and instructions (if any) to see if they can be put in the washing machine. The label will suggest the best way to wash shoes based on the fabric that they are made from. If it is not possible to machine wash them, then use an old toothbrush to scratch away any grit or dirt which has accumulated on the shoes. You can also use a damp cloth as an alternative.
  2. 2. Remove the laces and scrub any obvious dirt from the surface. An old toothbrush can be used to scrub away dirt from any awkward part of the shoe. For more stubborn dirt, try placing the boots under a running tap of warm water and scrubbing the dirt with a cloth. Taking this step will help the washing machine do its job more effectively and efficiently.
  3. 3. We would recommend putting your shoes and laces in a mesh laundry bag or a pillow case to protect them from becoming laddered on the inside of the drum.
  4. 4. To prepare the washing machine, keep the temperature to cooler than 30 degrees to stop the colour from running or fading. This is especially important if you’re washing PU or PVC, as the coating is likely to get damaged if the temperature is too high.
  5. 5. When the cycle has finished, it's best practice to air dry the shoes as sticking them in the tumble dryer will expose them to high temperatures which will melt some of the glue and cause the fabric to fall apart. Put the shoes in a warm place and place some scrunched up newspaper inside. The newspaper will help to absorb the excess moisture a lot faster as well as help to keep the shape of the shoes whilst they are drying.