One of the most frequently asked questions is how often people should wash their shoes. A lot of information on the web tiptoes around the issue and doesn’t provide a specific answer since it depends on many factors, but we’re going to look at the most common scenarios and provide actionable advice in this article.
How to wash your shoes summary
- Your preferably wash your shoes by hand
- When you use your shoes for many days in a row, it’s advisable to wash them every 14 days
- Shoes made out of certain materials (like suede, nubuck, rubber,…) must be washed with special products
- Running shoes or sports shoes should be washed every 2 weeks when you have 2 pairs
- Smelly shoes are the key indicator that it’s time to wash your shoes
How often should you wash your shoes?
On average you should wash your shoes every two weeks, but depending on the type of shoes you have, how often you wear them, how dirty they are and the method of washing, the correct answer might be anywhere from multiple times a week to once several months. Read further for more details.
Related: How to Clean Non-Removable Insoles
Is it helpful or harmful to wash your shoes frequently?
If you’re cleaning your shoes manually, with soap and water or dedicated shoe care products, washing them frequently can actually prolong the lifespan of your shoes. Dirty shoes don’t breathe well, and the mud and sweat can damage the rubber and weaken the stitching.
If you’re washing your shoes in a washing machine, excessing cleaning can lead to damage and discoloration of your shoes. You can temper some of those effects by using cold water and a low gentle cycle, but it’s still not recommended to machine wash your shoes very frequently.
You should wash your shoes every time they get muddy
Leaving mud on your shoes overnight is never a good idea. As we mentioned before, not only does the mud damage the fabric and the stitching of your shoes, it can also lead to blisters and bacterial infections.
So if you’ve been hitting a running trail after bad weather, it’s time to wash your shoes promptly to have them ready for next time. If this happens daily, you should wash your shoes daily, although we strongly recommend buying a second pair and rotating them out, giving them time to breathe and dry properly.
You should wash your shoes whenever they get smelly
Shoes get smelly because sweat and warmth are fertile ground for bacteria to be formed, and it’s the bacteria that causes the bad odor. So whenever your shoes get stinky, you know it’s time to wash them.
There are multiple ways to deodorize your shoes, from sprays, powder, and other types of deodorizing products, but washing them is the simplest and most efficient solution. So use this as a rule of thumb for when to wash your shoes.
Related: How To Clean Shoe Insoles
If I wear the same shoes every day, how often should I wash them?
First of all, it’s a bad idea to wear only one pair of shoes every day, as you should have at least two pairs and rotate them. If you wear the same pair of shoes every day, your shoes will start to lose their shape, become stinky, and won’t last you as long.
But assuming we’re talking about normal wear, you should wash your shoes at least once per week if you’re wearing them daily.
How often should you wash your running shoes?
Whenever you go running, your feet sweat a lot, and since sweat is one of the primary causes of stinky shoes, you need to wash your running shoes more often than your regular shoes. This means about once every 2 weeks, assuming you rotate between 2-3 pairs of running shoes. Otherwise, you should wash them weekly; in the summer, you can even wash them multiple times in the same week.
Nowadays most running shoes are made of special non-absorbent and breathable material, so if you have a high-quality pair of running shoes and they don’t start to smell often, you can get away with washing them only once per month.
What type of shoes should you never put in the washing machine
Suede shoes, rubber boots, wellies, Uggs, leather shoes, sandals, crocs and dress shoes are not machine washable. You’ll need to clean them manually, polish them, or use shoe care products to maintain them.
How can you wash your shoes explained. (video)
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