Can You Safely Wash Leather Shoes In A Washing Machine?

Will a washing machine wash leather shoes properly? The straightforward answer is no, it won’t. Even though many folks like to use washers to clean leather shoes, you must know that doing this may cause long-term damage to your shoe.

If you are considering dumping your leather shoes in a washing machine, I’ll advise you not to. The result is not always pleasant.

As a result, I’ll be providing other options you can use. Read on to learn more about leather shoes and how to clean them without a washing machine.

Can you wash leather shoes in a washing machine?

No, you can not wash leather shoes in a washing machine.

While certain shoes may be washed in a machine, many other footwear varieties need to be cleaned by hand or given extra attention.

Shoes made of leather, suede, rubber, or vinyl should not be washed using a machine.

Why can’t you wash leather shoes in a washing machine?

Leather footwear, unlike other shoe materials, is generally constructed from animal hide and cannot be immersed in water or subjected to excessive radiation or heat.

The washing machine’s radiation will damage the leather; you cannot wash leather shoes in it. Furthermore, washing leather in water will hasten its deterioration.

What is the best way to wash your leather shoes?

Hand washing is the ideal method for cleaning leather shoes.

To do this, use a solution of soap and water to help remove stubborn stains. This will prevent harm to your leather.

Additionally, make sure to use fabric softener or mild baby soap rather than ordinary soap or laundry detergent.

How to clean your leather shoes without using a washing machine

The following are the items you will need to clean your leather shoes.

  • A shoe cleaning brush to remove loose debris and grime.
  • Shoe polish to shine and brighten your shoes.
  • Shoe protection spray to help keep dirt and wetness out of your shoes.
  • A gentle cloth.


Before you start, be sure to lay down sheets of parchment paper or a towel on the table surface you will be working on for an easy clean-up and to avoid possible damage.

1. Remove the laces from your shoes

To avoid getting water or polish on the laces, remove them and keep them aside to wash them separately. Make sure to wash them in the washing machine or get a new pair if they are filthy or weak.

2. Brush off dirt and debris

Use a cleaning shoe brush to remove any dirt or mud from the shoe’s leather surfaces since dirt can damage the fibers in your leather footwear, leading to permanent cracks.

To prevent damage, pay attention to dirt and debris properly. It is always best to clean your leather shoes after each wear to prevent long-term stains. It’s easier to clean and shine them before each use this way.

3. Use soap to remove tough stains

The outside surfaces of the leather shoe can be cleaned by dipping a cloth or soft shoe brush into water, adding mild soap, and then wiping.

Avoid getting the leather overly moist. Instead of using too much soap and water at once, it is best to repeat the process with less soapy water each time.

Dab onto stubborn stains or scuff marks to remove them permanently. You can achieve this by applying light pressure while gently rubbing the dirt if they are still there.

4. Wipe off the soap

Once all stains have been cleaned, wipe away any remaining soap with a dry towel before waiting until the surfaces are sufficiently dry to begin polishing.

It can take up to an hour to complete this. To help, you can insert shoe stretchers into your leather shoes to make it simpler to keep their shape while you wipe.

5. Polish shoe

Apply polish to the entire shoe in a circular motion using a clean, soft cloth. This will nourish the leather shoe, protect it from stains, and bring out its color.

Test the forehand polish on a discrete spot first to ensure it won’t stain the skin.

However, be cautious of any stitching of a different color. Avoid the stitches so the polish doesn’t change the stitch color.

6. Shine the shoes

Let the polish soak for a few minutes when you’re done. Then, using short, steady strokes, polish the shoe correctly using a fresh, clean cloth or a buffing brush.

7. Let dry

Allow the air to dry your boots and shoes. Avoid exposing them to the sun or a heater because doing so might damage the leather by causing cracks or discoloration.

8. Spray in with protector spray

Use a leather protection spray on your leather shoes after cleaning and polishing them from 30cm away. Your shoes will become supple, soft, and waterproof after this treatment. If you reside in a rainy or humid environment, do this at least four times a year.

Your leather shoes require very little effort to clean and shine. There is only one crucial component that occasionally presents challenges: timing.

Therefore, it is best to clean your leather shoes as soon as they become stained if you want to lengthen their lifespan. Only then will you prevent long-lasting stains and grime.


What is the safest way to clean leather?

A straightforward cleaning solution made of vinegar and water in a 50/50 ratio is the safest way to clean your leather shoes.

Apply the solution with a microfiber cloth, rubbing the leather in a circular motion to remove the dirt from the natural fibers.

Is Vaseline suitable for leather?

Yes, it is.

You can use Vaseline to clean and soften leather shoes. However, the best approach to soften leather is with leather conditioners. To do this, apply the conditioner to the leather surface with a moist cloth.

What should you not clean leather with?

Never use chemicals like ammonia or bleach since they are too strong and can harm the leather’s natural finish.

When cleaning, water should also be used sparingly because too much liquid might leave stains behind. Only use moist cleaning cloths rather than entirely saturated or dripping washcloths.

Is olive oil good for leather?

Yes, it is.

Olive oil and jojoba oil can be used to cure tiny scratches and restore the color of the leather. This works on several items other than shoes; you can also use it on sofas and chairs.

Moreover, there is no need to use any acidic liquid when you have olive oil. You can use the oil by applying some to a rag and rubbing it in circular motions into the leather.

Does baking soda work on leather?

Yes, it does.

Baking soda is a versatile powder that not only removes all types of stains but also soaks up moisture and oils, making it ideal for cleaning porous surfaces like leather.


The quickest approach to clean minor stains and debris from your leather shoes is with soap and water, not a washing machine. This method ensures that the shoes do not get damaged or shrink.

If soap and water do not work on stubborn stains or scratches, you can use specialized cleaners specifically made to get rid of these spots. And if you need a safety guide to help clean leather shoes, this article already provides one, so follow diligently.

Thanks for reading.

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