Cleaning dirty shoes, especially ones that are covered in mud is never a pleasant job. So is it any wonder that people look for hacks to make their life easier? This is why so many people look to see if you can put shoes in the dishwasher because the assumption is that hot water and an automated machine should surely make life easier.
I’m going to explain why this simple hack might not always be a great idea and what you could do instead to get rid of stubborn dirt on your shoes.
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Can You Wash Shoes in The Dishwasher?
So let’s start by answering the first question which is can you put shoes in the dishwasher at all? The answer is that it very much depends.
Firstly let’s deal with the obvious which is a dishwasher was never designed for washing shoes. Its job is to get your plates and cutlery sparkling clean. You pop in dish detergent, rinse aid, and salt and the hot water mixes the whole lot to help you keep on top of your dishes.
Dishwasher manufacturers don’t suggest in your marketing that you ever use their product for anything else. However, over the years people have started to realize that dishwashers might be handy for cleaning other household items so started to use them to clean plastic toys, hairbrushes, and plastic pet toys. So surely shoes would work as well?
However, you try and put a pair of leather shoes in the dishwasher and see what results you get. The leather will get ruined, parts of the shoe can melt and the dish soap contains harsh ingredients that can bleach or mark the fabric.
The fact is that dishwashers even on a gentle cycle can create havoc because of the high heat setting and dish soap. The general advice would therefore be to avoid using a dishwasher if you want to keep your expensive shoes intact and looking good.
Are There Waterproof Dishwasher Shoes?
Are there shoes can you can put in the dishwasher? Well, that depends on what risks you want to take.
It makes no sense to place leather shoes, tennis shoes, sneakers or canvas shoes in the dishwasher because there is a possibility they are going to get ruined.
However, at your own risk, there are some shoes that are more dishwasher safe than others. These are rubber or resin style shoes that repel water like Crocs which will fare much better if you decide to wash them in the dishwasher.
As there are no glued parts, laces, seams, or stitching in a pair of Crocs there are far fewer possibilities of something going wrong. So if you brush off the loose dirt before placing them in the machine you have a better chance of getting your shoes back intact.
Remember doing this is still very much at your own risk. The bleaching agents from the detergent and hot water can still do potential damage such as fading the color of your shoes.
It makes sense to never put any shoes in the dishwasher that are expensive or that you are worried about losing if something goes wrong. That way if you do find that the washed item is ruined you won’t be too disappointed.
Washing Sneakers In The Dishwasher
Forget all the people who are proudly showing their clean sneakers to you on YouTube after a dishwasher soak because what you won’t see is the damage that is being done to glued sections of the shoes which can make them fall apart at a later date.
Whilst it may seem like a good idea to brighten up your sneakers in your machine there is a high likelihood that your shoes will get ruined.
As many brands of sneakers are not cheap it seems daft to take the risk when there are so many better ways you can clean them without that jeopardy.
Can I put Flip Flops in The Dishwasher?
Like Crocs, there are plenty of other rubber or resin shoes that could potentially be placed in the dishwasher. Flip flops for example are something that can be placed in the dishwasher and are less likely to experience problems than leather or cloth shoes.
But and there is a big but that doesn’t mean to say that they can’t be harmed at all.
Most up-market brands of flip flops such as Havianas recommend some soap and water to clean their footwear. They most certainly do not recommend putting shoes in the dishwasher or even in washing machines.
Dishwashers are not gentle machines for cleaning because of the high water temperature and detergent. This means that the water can still do damage and the color of your flip-flops may never be the same again.
The same goes for any other style of rubber shoe or boots that are on the market. Whilst in theory you can take the risk and pop them into a dishwasher or even a washing machine there is the possibility that they will never be the same afterward.
I should also point out that your dishwasher is not designed to have dirty or muddy shoes washed in it. Remember that it can also break or get clogged up if you put the wrong things in it. Dishwashers are not cheap so it makes sense to use them for what they were designed for.
Will My Shoes Shrink?
Using a washing machine or tumble dryer for shoes can cause them to shrink because of the water and heat. Therefore it makes perfect sense that a dishwasher could also do exactly the same.
Cleaning methods that involve heat always carry that risk and especially so when you choose to wash shoes in very hot temperatures.
So not only could you ruin your shoes by messing with the fabric you could also make them too small for you to wear. This is not an ideal outcome to save yourself a little bit of time and effort.
Washing Shoes In The Dishwasher
If you are going to attempt to wash your shoes in the dishwasher and aren’t worried about possible problems then make sure you take some precautions first.
- Always try and get as much dirt off the shoes as you can first so that you don’t have mud and debris clogging up your dishwashers filter.
- Make sure you removed any insoles, laces, or ornaments from your shoes before you start.
- Put the dishwasher on for the shortest possible time at the lowest temperature.
- Do not put any other items in the dishwasher at the same time.
- When the dishwasher has finished its cycle remove the shoes and allow them to air dry naturally.
- Take out the dishwasher filter and clean it thoroughly with water and vinegar.
- Before putting any plates or cutlery into the dishwasher run the machine empty so that nothing can contaminate the items you eat off.
How to Clean Shoes The Right Way
There is no one correct way to wash and clean shoes, boots, and slippers because each item of footwear will be made from different materials. What may work for one item is not necessarily going to work for others.
As an example, you can wash Hey Dudes in the washing machine but you wouldn’t do that with a pair of Timberland Boots.
So if you are going to look after your footwear properly you need to look at the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions that are specific to the footwear that you have purchased.
Suede shoes for example are going to need more delicate cleaning than a pair of rubber boots.
Learning the correct way to keep your shoes clean can keep your footwear looking pristine for longer and save you from throwing away shoes that have been washed incorrectly.
Articles On How To Clean Shoes
How to Clean Muck Boots and Remove Bad Odors
How to Clean Suede Shoes With Baking Soda
How to Clean Non Removable Insoles
How to Clean Smelly Flip-Flops
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