Can you put slippers in the washing machine or are there better and safer ways to clean them when they start to look grubby?
Putting slippers in the washing machine seems like a simple and easy way to clean slippers however as I’ve found out the hard way many times some things aren’t designed to go in the washer. So what slippers are washing machine safe and which should you wash by hand?
Here are my top tips to help you wash slippers safely without ruining them. Just remember that this is just general advice and that there is a risk that things could go wrong so exercise caution, especially with more expensive slippers.
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Buy Machine Washable Slippers
Before I talk about the different ways to clean your slippers the easiest and the simplest way of keeping your slippers looking good is to buy machine-washable ones in the first place.
I’ve learned the hard way that trying to keep slippers looking good without them being machine washable is time-consuming and doesn’t always get the dirt out properly. When you buy machine washable slippers you know you are buying footwear that you can keep clean easily and isn’t going to get ruined by your washer.
I wear my slippers all day at home because I work from home so they get a lot of wear. Plus my house is old and we are constantly doing renovations on it so dust is never far away. My slippers take a battering so where possible I try and find ones that are machine washable so they are super easy to clean.
There are plenty of different styles to choose from if you want to take this easy option. Here are some great examples of machine-washable slippers that are going to take very little maintenance.
These slippers can be worn inside as well as outdoors and are easy to pop into the washing machine.
Rock Dove makes great quality slippers. These have a rubber outsole which usually means a machine wash wouldn’t be recommended yet these can be put in the washer on a gentle cold setting.
These cotton slippers are great if you are planning to wear them only in the house and come in a popular ballet style. These are also machine washable in cold water so really easy to maintain.
Are My Slippers Machine Washable?
So can you put slippers in the washing machine? Well, the answer is it depends.
The first thing you should do is check whether your slippers have any care instructions. Sometimes these are in the packaging of the slippers or alternatively, you may find there is a label sewn onto the inside of the slippers.
Generally, if your slippers are machine washable it will show this on the label and tell you at what temperature you need to use.
If your slippers say they aren’t machine washable then you shouldn’t ignore the instructions. Instead, you need to think about various methods to clean them by hand.
If your slippers don’t have any instructions then you need to be cautious. Whilst you might get away with using a washing machine there are some times of slippers that should never be placed in a washer.
I’ll discuss different types of slippers in this article to give you an idea of the limitations of each type of design.
How To Wash Slippers In The Washing Machine
Obviously, if you have a care instruction label on your slippers then follow the advice on it.
If you don’t have instructions but have cotton or synthetic fabric slippers without a rubber sole then it may be possible for them to be machine-washed (at your own risk).
To minimize any potential problems it makes sense to place your slippers in a washing machine bag first. Only wash one pair of slippers at a time. Make sure you remove any inserts from the slippers before they go into the machine.
Set your machine to a gentle cycle and use the cold water setting. I use a very mild liquid laundry detergent when I wash mine. A gentle detergent is not so harsh on my slippers. Remember to never use bleach or other strong cleaning solutions which could damage the material your slippers are made from.
If there are any remaining stains after the washing cycle has finished you can spot clean them by using a brush dipped in water and a mild detergent.
When they are clean let your slippers air dry. You can stuff them with paper towels to speed up the process and help them dry faster. Try not to use newspaper as sometimes the black ink comes off which can ruin your slippers.
To help repel dirt and grime in the future you could use a fabric protector spray on them once they are dry to keep them looking good for longer.
Can You Put Suede Slippers In The Washing Machine?
Whilst cotton or fabric slippers are generally ok in the washing machine it is a different matter when you want to clean suede slippers.
Suede is a very delicate material and is really easily marked or stained which means you need to treat it carefully. It is never a good idea to wash suede slippers in the washing machine because even on a delicate cycle the water and movement in the machine are likely to damage the suede. Cleaning suede slippers is much better done by hand using specialist products.
If you have any stains on the slippers then think about buying a suede cleaner to remove the dirt from your footwear. Try not to rub the suede too hard or you will impact the nap. Instead, use a suede brush or suede eraser to remove the dirt.
To clean smelly slippers made from suede try baking soda to neutralize the pong. Sprinkle it on the inside of the slippers and allow it to work overnight. Remove it the following day and hopefully, the smells will have gone.
How To Wash Slippers With Rubber Soles In The Washing Machine?
Plenty of slippers with rubber soles can be washed in the washing machine but not all of them. A perfect example of ones that be machine washed are the Rock Dove slippers that I mentioned earlier. They are machine washable on a cold cycle and if you use a mild detergent with them they should be fine.
However, as I previously mentioned if your slippers don’t have a care label on them you need to exercise a little more caution.
I would also ask you to think carefully about the material of the slipper uppers before popping them in the washing machine. As an example, plenty of suede slippers also have rubber soles. As I mentioned earlier suede is a material that can easily get ruined from the water in the machine.
Sheepskin slippers are another example of footwear that really shouldn’t go in the machine along with leather and velvet. Yes, they may have rubber soles but the uppers are too delicate for machine washing.
How To Clean Slippers With Fur or Sheepskin
Can you put slippers in the washing machine if they are made from fur or sheepskin?
The simple answer is no. If you want to clean sheepskin slippers you need to be much more careful especially if they are expensive. I have a number of pairs of UGG slippers and they cost four or five times more than ordinary slippers. The last thing I would want to do is ruin them in the washing machine as it would be a very expensive mistake.
If you do own UGGS or expensive sheepskin slippers then it makes sense to buy the UGG cleaning kit the brand sells. For the price of the slippers, this is a sensible option as you know you have less chance of ruining them when using the brand’s products.
If you don’t want to do this and would prefer household products then you will need the following:
- Gentle Wool Detergent
- Bowl of Luke Warm Water
- A Soft Bristled Brush
- A White Cotton Cloth
- White Paper Towels
- Disinfectant Spray
- Fabric Freshener
Remove any dirt or debris from the outside of your slippers with the soft-bristled brush.
Then mix the wool detergent and lukewarm (not hot) water in your bowl. Dip the cloth into the bowl and start to use it to gently rub the inside and outside of the slippers with the mixture. Make sure the cloth is not dripping with water. Wring it so it is damp and you are using this to wash the fleece-lined interiors and exterior of your slippers. Keep on doing this until you have removed most of the dirt and grime.
When you have finished stuff the inside of the slippers with the white paper towels to keep their shape and speed up the drying process. Use your soft brush to fluff up the sheepskin. Then let your slippers air dry.
When the slippers are dry you can you a disinfectant spray on the inside. You can also spray them with a fabric freshener spray to make them smell nice. Finally, use a protector spray to keep them looking good for longer.
Cleaning Leather Slippers
Finally, if you want to clean any leather slippers you have then the washing machine is off-limits. Leather does not love being tossed around in a washer so you will need to clean them by hand.
The easiest way to clean them is to use a leather shoe cleaner to treat any minor stains. Jason Markk cleaner is actually one of my favorite cleaners as it can be used on so many different materials including leather.
All you need to do is brush off any loose dirt or debris first. Then put a small amount of the cleaner on the brush that comes with the cleaner kit and rub the foam into the slippers. Repeat as many times as you need to get off the excess dirt. Then wipe off any excess with a microfiber cloth.
As some cleaning products can dry out leather think about using a leather conditioner on them after to keep the leather supple.
Can You Put Slippers In The Dryer?
Can you put slippers in the washing machine? Well as you can see yes you can for some materials but not for others. However, it is much more cut and dried when it comes to using a tumble dryer.
Never put your slippers into a tumble dryer as heat damage can make them shrink or warp. Plus the head has been known to melt certain materials like suede and leather.
If you weren’t aware many slippers use glue in their manufacturing process which holds certain parts together. The head from a dryer can melt the adhesive and make it fall apart.
So if you need to dry your slippers air drying away from direct heat or sunlight is the best way of making sure they stay looking good for longer.
More Info About Slippers
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