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Can You Put Toddler Shoes in the Washer? A Simple Answer


Toddlers are messy, so there’s always a chance that their shoes will get dirty. Whether it’s food, liquid, or dirt from the outside, there are ways to clean the shoes to make them look almost new. So you might be wondering if you can put toddler shoes in the washer.

You can put toddler shoes in the washer, but use cool water and avoid the dryer. You’ll want to use a delicate setting, so the shoes and washer aren’t damaged. Placing the shoes in a mesh bag will further protect them. However, hand washing is less damaging and highly effective.

How To Wash Toddler Shoes in the Washer

  • Remove visible dirt from the shoes by placing them under running water in a sink. Use a washcloth or small brush to wipe off visible dirt as necessary.
  • Remove the shoe insoles if able, as well as any shoelaces, and wash them separately or by hand.
  • Place the shoes in a mesh laundry bag (preferably) or a pillowcase to protect the shoes in the washer.
  • Turn the washer settings on delicate with cool water to reduce potential damage or disfigurement to the shoes.
  • Once the wash is done, allow the toddler shoes to air dry completely before use.
  • DO NOT use the dryer.

    Avoid putting certain shoes in the washer, including:
  • Leather shoes
  • Shoes with embellishments
  • Cashmere or wool shoes

Other Ways To Wash Toddler Shoes

While using the washer is one effective way to wash toddler shoes, there are other methods you can try. Since the washer can be damaging if you’re not careful, you might feel more comfortable using a less aggressive technique.

Wipe Them

If they’re not that dirty, wiping the shoes with a damp cloth or baby wipe might be enough. Just wipe each bit of loose dirt off with a cool-water cloth or wipe. Although it won’t give the shoes a deep clean, it will make them look better and much cleaner. 

Soak Them With Laundry Detergent

Consider soaking your toddler’s shoes in water and laundry detergent for a deeper clean. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill a bucket or sink with cool water.
  2. Add detergent.
  3. Place the shoes in the bucket.
  4. Allow them to soak for a few minutes.
  5. Wash by hand using a brush or cloth to remove stains and debris.
  6. Rinse under water to remove detergent.
  7. Squeeze out excess water and allow the shoes to dry naturally.

Allow the shoes to dry in a spot that has plenty of airflow (a fan helps). Otherwise, they’ll remain damp for longer and might develop a foul odor.

Wash With Baking Soda

Baking soda is excellent for cleaning shoes, mainly white ones (source). This is because baking soda acts as a whitening and brightening agent, making white fabrics whiter and colored materials brighter.

You can also use baking soda to clean leather toddler shoes. Here is how to wash toddler shoes with baking soda:

  1. Mix ½ tbsp (7.39 g) of baking soda with ½ tbsp (7.39 g) of water.
  2. Ensure the consistency is pasty.
  3. Using a brush, scrub the paste around the shoe.
  4. Let the paste sit on the shoes. 
  5. Wipe the paste off after at least 25 minutes.
  6. Allow the shoes to air dry.

Will a Washing Machine Ruin Toddler Shoes?

A washing machine most likely won’t ruin toddler shoes if you use a delicate setting and cool water. The shoes are more likely to get ruined if you use a standard wash setting and warm or hot water.

What Is the Best Way To Wash Toddler Shoes?

The safest and most effective way to wash toddler shoes is to soak and hand wash them with a washcloth or brush in cool water and detergent.

A washing machine isn’t as concentrated, so you may notice some small stains left over.

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