Let’s talk about shoes. They’re arguably the most often worn item of clothing. But they’re often the most neglected when it comes to washing.

They’re also quite intimidating to wash, the big brands will often warn you against washing your runners in the machine. We know why, if you don’t get it right you might damage your shoes.

But we’ve found some foolproof ways to make clean shoes a breeze.


Here’s our steps for washing your runners:

1. Check out the washing instructions on your shoes and check the fabric recommendations (fabrics like ‘pleather’, plastic and nylon should be all good to go but remember to cold wash and remove the spin, especially if you’re washing leather, suede or wool). 

2. Clean the outside of your shoes with an old toothbrush or a rag to get off any excess dirt.

3. Take off the laces and the sole, soak them if you’d like or just put them into a delicate bag - this will make sure that they don’t get caught in the machine. (If your soles can’t be washed then still remove them and just give them a wipe with diluted dirt detergent and a rag).

4. Wash your shoes with something else like a towel, this way the shoes don’t bounce around and cause damage to your machine / themselves. You can also put them in something else like a pillowcase, which will further minimise damage but deliver a less good wash.

5. Use an eco-friendly detergent and use a lower dosage than typically recommended, if you’re using Dirt we would recommend 3 pumps.

6. Use a cold wash on a delicates or hand wash setting if possible. 

7. Dry inside (make sure it’s out of the sun as it will damage the soles) and make sure your drying space is well ventilated. 


If you’ve still going through ‘maybe-i’ll-ruin-it-though’ anxiety you can also play it really safe and hand wash your runners. 

1. Start by wiping away dirt, grass and mud with a soft brush like an old toothbrush.

2. Remove and place laces and insoles (if washable) inside a delicate bag. Then stick it inside a washing machine - run with laundry detergent on cold / delicate. This will clean both laces and insoles while eliminating odours.

3. Dilute Dirt laundry detergent and use it to scrub away stains and wash the shoes using an old toothbrush to apply the mixture.

4. Rinse with a warm washcloth, removing soap, suds and any remaining grime.

5. Air-dry in a well ventilated room (but never outside, because the sun wears and warps the outer sole, and leads to yellow staining).


How often you wash your runners is really up to you and how often you wear them or get them dirty. 

Shoe experts would typically recommend giving them a brush after every use but who has the time for that? We think once a month is sufficient enough, if not the most we could ever imagine. 


Ella Grainger