If you love your boots, you want to take good care of them. Washing boots in the washing machine can be tricky, but with the right methods you can keep your boots looking great. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to wash boots in the washing machine.

From preparation tips to step-by-step washing instructions, you’ll learn expert techniques for safely and effectively cleaning your boots.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer to washing boots in the washing machine: Stuff boots with old towels to help them retain shape. Use a gentle cycle with cold water. Allow boots to air dry completely after washing. Condition leather boots after washing.

Assess Boot Materials

Before attempting to wash your boots in the washing machine, it is important to assess the materials they are made of. Different materials require different cleaning methods to ensure they are not damaged in the process. Here are some common boot materials and how to handle them:


Leather boots are durable and can withstand washing, but it is important to take proper precautions. Start by removing any dirt or debris from the surface using a soft brush or cloth. Next, fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent.

Gently scrub the boots using a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry. Once dry, apply a leather conditioner to keep them in good condition. Remember to test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it does not discolor or damage the leather.


Suede boots require a bit more care as they are more delicate than leather. Start by using a suede brush or eraser to remove any surface dirt or stains. Avoid using water on suede as it can cause discoloration or damage. Instead, use a suede cleaner specifically designed for this material.

Follow the instructions on the cleaner and gently work it into the stains. Once clean, use a suede brush to restore the nap of the suede. Allow the boots to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight.

Rubber and Plastic

Rubber and plastic boots are the easiest to clean as they are waterproof and can withstand machine washing. Simply remove any loose dirt or debris and place them in the washing machine. Use a gentle cycle with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent.

Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals as they can damage the material. Once the cycle is complete, allow the boots to air dry. It is important to note that excessive heat can cause rubber or plastic to warp or melt, so avoid using a dryer or direct sunlight for drying.


When it comes to fabric boots, it is important to check the care label for specific cleaning instructions. Some fabric boots may be machine washable, while others may require hand washing. If machine washable, use a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent.

For hand washing, fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of detergent. Gently scrub the boots and rinse thoroughly. Allow them to air dry. If the boots have any embellishments or trims, it is best to spot clean them to avoid damage.

Remember, regardless of the material, it is important to properly clean and dry your boots to prevent odors and prolong their lifespan. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test any cleaning solutions on a small area first.

With the right care, your boots will stay looking great and last for years to come.

Prepare the Boots for Washing

Before tossing your boots into the washing machine, it’s important to properly prepare them. This will help ensure that they come out clean and undamaged. Here are some steps to follow:

Remove Laces and Insoles

Start by removing the laces and insoles from your boots. Laces can get tangled in the washing machine and cause damage to both your boots and the machine. Insoles, on the other hand, may not hold up well during the washing process and may lose their shape.

It’s best to wash them separately, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Stuff Boots with Towels

Once the laces and insoles are removed, stuff your boots with towels. This will help them maintain their shape during the wash cycle. Make sure to fill them up completely, but not too tightly, as this can prevent proper cleaning.

Use a Laundry Bag

Place your boots inside a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the washing process. This will prevent them from getting caught on other items in the machine and minimize any potential damage. If you don’t have a laundry bag, you can use a pillowcase or tie the boots together with shoelaces.

Pre-treat Stains

If your boots have any stubborn stains, it’s a good idea to pre-treat them before washing. Use a stain remover or a mixture of water and mild detergent to gently scrub the stains. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

This will help loosen the stains and improve the overall cleaning results.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your boots are properly prepared for washing in the machine. Remember to always check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific care guidelines for your boots. Now, let’s move on to the next step: choosing the right washing machine settings.

Select the Right Washing Machine Settings

When it comes to washing boots in the washing machine, it is important to select the right settings to ensure a successful and safe cleaning process. Here are some key factors to consider:

Choose a Gentle Cycle

Boots are often made of delicate materials that can be easily damaged if subjected to harsh washing machine cycles. To protect your boots, it is recommended to choose a gentle cycle. This cycle is designed to be more delicate, with slower agitation and shorter washing times, helping to preserve the quality and integrity of your boots.

Use Cold Water

Using cold water is essential when washing boots in the washing machine. Hot water can cause the boots to shrink or lose their shape, especially if they are made of materials like leather or suede. Cold water helps to prevent any damage and keeps your boots looking great.

Additionally, cold water is more energy-efficient, saving you money on your utility bills.

Skip the Spin Cycle

The spin cycle in a washing machine can be quite vigorous, and this can be detrimental to the structure and shape of your boots. It is recommended to skip the spin cycle altogether when washing boots. Instead, after the wash cycle is complete, remove your boots from the machine and allow them to air dry naturally.

This will help maintain their shape and prevent any unnecessary wear and tear.

Remember, always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer before washing your boots in the washing machine. If the instructions explicitly state that machine washing is not recommended, it is best to follow those guidelines.

Proper care and maintenance will ensure that your boots last longer and continue to look great.

Dry and Maintain Boots after Washing

After washing your boots in the washing machine, it is important to properly dry and maintain them to ensure their longevity and performance. Here are some essential steps to follow:

Air Dry Boots Completely

Once your boots have gone through the washing machine, it is crucial to let them air dry completely before wearing them again. This helps to prevent any moisture from being trapped inside the boots, which can lead to unpleasant odors and potential damage.

Find a well-ventilated area and place your boots in an upright position, allowing air to circulate around them. It’s best to avoid using a dryer or direct heat sources, as they can cause shrinkage or warping.

Apply Protective Sprays

After your boots have dried, it is a good idea to apply a protective spray to them. These sprays act as a barrier against dirt, water, and stains, helping to keep your boots looking clean and fresh. Look for a spray specifically designed for the material of your boots, whether they are made of leather, suede, or synthetic materials.

Apply the spray evenly and allow it to dry completely before wearing your boots again. This simple step can greatly extend the lifespan of your boots and keep them looking great.

Condition Leather Boots

If you have leather boots, it is important to regularly condition them to keep the leather soft, supple, and protected. Leather conditioner helps to prevent cracking, drying, and fading of the leather, ensuring that your boots maintain their quality and appearance over time.

Apply a small amount of leather conditioner to a clean cloth and rub it into the leather in a circular motion. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the boots, paying extra attention to any areas that may be prone to wear or dryness.

Allow the conditioner to absorb into the leather overnight, and then buff the boots with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess conditioner. This simple maintenance step will help your leather boots stay in excellent condition for years to come.

Remember, proper care and maintenance are crucial for the longevity and performance of your boots. By following these steps to dry and maintain your boots after washing, you can ensure that they stay clean, fresh, and ready for your next adventure.


Washing boots in the washing machine may seem daunting, but with some preparation and the right settings, you can safely clean your footwear. Be sure to assess boot materials, stuff boots before washing, and fully air dry boots after the wash cycle completes.

Follow these tips each time, and your boots will come out looking revived and ready for more adventures.

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