Can You Wash Shoes in Dishwasher: A Surprising Solution to Footwear Woes

We’ve all faced the dilemma of how to effectively clean our shoes without causing damage. With the advent of modern appliances, a question arises: Can you wash shoes in a dishwasher? This unconventional method has gained attention for its convenience and efficiency. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using a dishwasher to clean shoes, the types of shoes suitable for this method, and the step-by-step process to ensure optimal results.

The Unconventional Approach: Washing Shoes in a Dishwasher

The Curiosity Factor

It’s not every day that we consider putting our shoes in the dishwasher. The notion might seem strange at first, but it has gained popularity as a time-saving and effective method for cleaning certain types of footwear.

Pros and Cons of Dishwasher Shoe Cleaning


  • Efficiency: Dishwashers are designed to remove tough stains and grime, making them potentially effective for cleaning shoes.
  • Convenience: Placing shoes in a dishwasher requires minimal effort compared to hand scrubbing.
  • Water Conservation: Using the dishwasher might use less water than traditional cleaning methods.


  • Material Sensitivity: Not all shoes are suitable for dishwasher cleaning; delicate materials can get damaged.
  • Dishwasher Detergents: Some detergents might be too harsh for shoes and can cause color fading or deterioration.
  • Sole Risks: High water pressure and heat in dishwashers can potentially detach shoe soles.

Shoes That Can and Cannot Be Washed in a Dishwasher

Suitable for Dishwasher Cleaning

  • Rubber Rain Boots: Sturdy rubber boots can withstand the dishwasher’s cleaning process.
  • Canvas Sneakers: Canvas shoes are often safe for dishwasher cleaning, but colors might fade.
  • Flip-Flops and Sandals: These simple footwear options can generally handle dishwasher cleaning.

Avoid Dishwasher Cleaning for

  • Leather Shoes: Dishwashers can strip leather of essential oils, causing cracking and stiffness.
  • Suede and Nubuck: Water exposure can ruin the texture of these materials.
  • Heels and Formal Shoes: Delicate components can be damaged in the dishwasher.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Shoes in a Dishwasher

  1. Preparation: Remove laces, insoles, and any loose dirt from the shoes.
  2. Rinse: Give your shoes a quick rinse to remove excess dirt before placing them in the dishwasher.
  3. Secure Placement: To prevent damage, secure shoes in the top rack, away from heating elements.
  4. Detergent Choice: Use a mild detergent to avoid damaging the shoe material.
  5. Avoid Heated Dry: Turn off the heated dry cycle to prevent excessive heat exposure.
  6. Air Dry: Once the cycle is complete, let the shoes air dry for a day or two.

The Aftermath: Inspecting and Caring for Your Cleaned Shoes

After the dishwasher cleaning adventure, inspect your shoes for any signs of damage. If they’ve successfully emerged unscathed, consider applying a suitable shoe conditioner or protector to maintain their quality.


Washing shoes in a dishwasher might be a surprising solution to some, but it can be effective under the right circumstances. By understanding the pros and cons, choosing appropriate shoes, and following a careful process, you can save time and effort in your shoe cleaning routine. However, it’s essential to remember that not all shoes are dishwasher-friendly, so exercise caution before tossing your footwear into the appliance.

FAQs About Dishwasher Shoe Cleaning

Is it safe to wash all types of shoes in a dishwasher?

Not all shoes can handle the dishwasher’s cleaning process. Delicate materials like leather and suede should be avoided.

Can I use regular dishwashing detergent for shoes?

It’s recommended to use a mild detergent to avoid damaging the shoe’s material.

How often can I clean my shoes in the dishwasher?

While it can be convenient occasionally, frequent dishwasher cleaning might lead to wear and tear.

Can I speed up the drying process after dishwasher cleaning?

It’s best to air dry the shoes naturally to prevent potential damage from excessive heat.

Are there any alternatives to dishwasher cleaning for shoes?

Yes, you can opt for gentle hand cleaning using mild soap and water for delicate shoes.

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