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How To Wash Running Shoes

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That favorite pair of running shoes eventually get dirty. It happens to the best of us. The question is, how to wash running shoes. The good news is that you can definitely wash your running shoes.

There are, of course, better ways to wash them.

How Do You Wash Shoes At Home

If you’re like most runners, you don’t want your shoes to be filthy dirty. You can wash your shoes at home, whether it is by hand or in the washing machine. Please note that you should refrain from washing your shoes too often. In particular, you should use the washing machine sparingly.

To wash your shoes by hand you will need a few things:

  • Laundry prewash
  • Laundry soap – liquid
  • A soft brush
  • Newspapers
  • A large sink or laundry tub

Salvaging the Mud Run Shoe

If you’re like most runners, you couldn’t resist joining the latest craze and you signed up for a mud run. Now maybe you are fortunate enough to have pairs of backup shoes in your closet, but not everyone hangs on to shoes.

If your mud run shoes came out filthy dirty and caked in mud, it is possible to salvage them. Even if you are tempted to toss them right in the trash, resist the urge! Although you will want to protect your gym bag and car by putting the filthy shoes inside of a plastic bag for the ride home, immediately remove them once you get home! If you leave them in the bag for too long the stink may be impossible to remove.

Mud Run Shoe

When you get the shoes home rinse them outside with a garden hose, with cold water. Although you may be tempted to put them in the washer, try this tactic first. You would be amazed at how much grime will come off with a simple water shower.

You will probably want to pull out the laces. Those can be machine washed with no problems at all. If they are particularly filthy, remember laces are inexpensive to replace.

Remove the insoles to be sure you get anything trapped beneath the insert rinsed clean.

If the mud is caked on in places you can gently scrub at the muddy spots with a gentle laundry detergent and a cleaning brush with similar feel to a toothbrush.

After you have washed them really well, stuff the insides with newspaper. After an hour or so, remove the paper and replace with fresh paper. Leave them overnight to finish drying.

Hand Washing Running Shoes

Shoes can definitely be hand washed. A laundry or utility tub is a great place to give your shoes a bath! You can use warm water on them and a standard laundry spray like Spray and Wash or Oxi-Clean. You can also use some liquid laundry soap to scrub them further.

If there are difficult to clean spots, you can use a brush like the one you would use to clean a bathtub. Once you have scrubbed your shoes spotless, use the same newspaper technique to help them dry out. When you leave the shoes overnight the newspaper will absorb all of the water.

You can put the shoes outside to dry, but avoid putting them in direct sunlight. Putting them under the hot sun can cause them to shrink or become misshapen. Also, no matter how you wash you shoes you should never, ever put them into the dryer.

Can I Wash Running Shoes In the Washing Machine?

A helpful tip if you decide to wash your shoes in the washing machine is to sprinkle some baking soda inside of them the night before you wash them. Putting 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in the shoes helps to remove odor and freshen them up. In the morning, just turn the shoes over to empty it out.

When washing shoes in the washing machine you can either leave the laces in or remove them. If they are particularly dirty you may wish to take them out and scrub them a little.

Use a spray prewash on your shoes and scrub at them a little with the brush.

running shoes in washing machine

Shoes in the washing machine should be washed in cold or warm water (never hot) on a gentle cycle. In addition to that, you should wash them with some soft items to stop them from banging around the drum too much. Towels are an excellent choice, and we recommend five or six of them. Liquid laundry soap works best for washing shoes.

Just because you are saving time by using the washing machine does not mean you should use the dryer! You should never, ever put your shoes in a dryer. Another short cut some runners use is a boot dryer, but this is another poor choice. Putting heat on your shoes can cause them to shrink or lose their shape. Your feet are too important to risk that!

Fixing Smelly Shoes…

If your shoes aren’t dirty but they smell bad, there are a few tips to remedy that. First, be sure you take your shoes off immediately after working out. Pounding the pavement can cause sweaty feet, which can lead to odor. If you remove your shoes right away that may help.

Be sure you are wearing moisture-wicking socks to help avoid stinky feet. No cotton!

Although they sell many shoe deodorizers, many people find simple baking soda to work. Sprinkle a bit inside your shoe between workouts.

Lastly, if the funk doesn’t go away but the shoes are in good shape, try replacing the insoles.

Start With Water

So if you’ve been wondering how to wash running shoes, as you can see it’s pretty simple! Remember to try the least invasive tactic first. The garden hose is my favorite method to clean shoes. If simple water doesn’t work, then try adding some cleaner.

The washing machine should not be your immediate “go-to” if your shoes need cleaning. And even though we have already said it more than once it is so important here it is again: don’t put them in the dryer!

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