Can You Put Leather Shoes in the Washer?

Can You Put Leather Shoes in the Washer?

You just got a new pair of leather shoes and you’re not sure if you can put them in the washing machine. What do you do? Relax, we’ve got you covered. In this epic guide, we will answer all of your questions about whether or not you can put leather shoes in the washer. We’ll provide tips on how to care for your leather shoes so they last longer. So read on and find out everything you need to know about keeping your leather shoes looking their best!

Can You Put Leather Shoes in the Washer?

Leather is a natural material made from animal skins, usually cows. It is tanned, dyed, and treated with various chemicals to make it more durable and attractive. Leather can be used to make many different products such as shoes, clothing, furniture, bags, and even car seats.

Sadly, while leather is pretty resistant to stains and spills, it is not indestructible. Water can be particularly damaging to leather, as it can stain, discolor and weaken the material, so it’s important that you take extra care when cleaning your leather shoes.

And if you got a pretty nasty stain on your leather shoes and feel tempted to toss them into the washer, think twice before doing so.

The short answer is no, you should not put leather shoes in the washing machine. The agitation of a regular washing machine, combined with water and detergent, will likely damage the material beyond repair.

Which Shoes Are Safe to Wash in the Washing Machine?

It’s also important to note that even if you have a front-loading or top-loading washer with gentle settings – as modern washing machines come with – it’s still not recommended to use them for cleaning leather shoes. The same goes for any other type of special cleaning machine like an ultrasonic cleaner or dry cleaning machine. 

Manual cleaning is always a better option as it allows you to avoid any potential damage from the harsh agitation of the washer or dryer. If you choose to hand wash them, use a damp cloth and saddle soap (a specialized cleaner made for leather) to gently scrub away dirt and grime. Then allow them to air dry completely before wearing them again.

No matter how careful you are with your leather shoes though, it’s important to keep in mind that over time, leather can become brittle and cracked from exposure to the elements. So, if you want them to last as long as possible, try to take extra care of your leather shoes by protecting them from water and dirt whenever possible. [1] [2] [3]

Which Shoes Are Safe to Wash in the Washing Machine?

Although you should generally avoid washing leather shoes in the washer, there are some exceptions. Some types of materials are suitable for machine washing with special detergents; however, most leather options may not be able to withstand the harshness of a washing machine cycle.


Canvas shoes are often made with a combination of cotton, synthetic fibers, and leather. Canvas shoes are usually safe to wash in the washing machine on a gentle cycle using warm water. However, it’s important to note that some canvas shoes may have leather detailing or closures (such as laces) which could be damaged by the washer cycle. If this is the case, you should take extra care when hand washing them instead.

Most of fake leather shoes

If your leather shoes are made from synthetic materials, it may be safe to put them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle using warm water. Synthetic leather is a material that looks and feels like real leather but is made from different materials. It usually consists of a plastic or polymer base, with a coating of polyurethane or other materials to make it look and feel like genuine leather. The plastic base can be made from various plastics such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PU (polyurethane), or TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). Other common ingredients include resins, waxes, dyes, pigments, and binders. These materials are typically bonded together using heat and pressure to form a durable fabric-like material that has many of the same properties as real leather.

As long as they don’t have any additional hardware or embellishments – like buckles or straps – and you use a mild detergent, your shoes should remain undamaged. It is important to always read the care instructions on the product label before attempting to clean leather shoes in a washing machine as some materials may require dry cleaning or hand washing only.

Most of fake leather shoes

Still, as we already mentioned, you should always inspect the label of the shoes to determine if it is safe to clean them in the washing machine. If they say “machine washable”, you can be sure that they are made from suitable materials and should not be damaged by a washer cycle. However, if there’s no care label then handwashing is your best bet. [1] [2] [3]

How to Properly Wash the Leather Shoes in a Washing Machine

If you decide to take the risk of washing your leather shoes in the washer, there are some steps to follow. In this section, we’ll discuss how to safely machine-wash leather shoes.

Clean off loose dirt and debris

You will wash your leather shoes in the washing machine, but it’s still important to remove any dirt or debris that can damage your shoes. Start by using an old soft toothbrush to gently scrub away any caked-on mud, grass stains, or other stubborn dirt. You may even want to use a little bit of leather soap (or another specialized cleaner made for leather) to help get rid of any tough spots.

Pay extreme attention to any areas that may have been exposed to moisture (such as the soles and sides of the shoes) in order to prevent mold or mildew from forming. Be sure to dry off any excess moisture with a towel before moving on to the next steps.

Remove the shoelaces

Removing the shoelaces from your leather shoes before washing them is an absolute must. First of all, shoelaces are made of cotton or synthetic fibers, which can be damaged by a washer cycle.

You also risk the laces becoming detached from the shoe in the washing machine, or getting wrapped around other clothing items and becoming damaged. The longer a lace stays wet, the more prone it is to shrinkage and warping, so taking them off beforehand will help keep them looking its best. Removing the laces also allows for maximum cleaning of your shoes. You’ll be able to get into all those tight areas around eyelets and seams that may not have been accessible otherwise.

Add some cushioning

One of the most important steps in preventing damage to your leather shoes while they’re in the washing machine is adding some cushioning. Place a few old towels, or even an old pillowcase, in the washer with your shoes. These will act as padding and help prevent any rubbing or scuffing from occurring during the cycle.

How to Properly Wash the Leather Shoes in a Washing Machine

You certainly don’t want your precious leather item to bounce around in the drum of your machine. Adding a protective cushion around them will help ensure they remain unscathed during their journey through the washer.

Another option is to invest in a shoe wash bag which will protect your shoes during the washing cycle by preventing them from being exposed directly to the agitator or drum of the machine.

Choose an appropriate cycle

It is important to choose a gentle cycle when washing leather shoes. The ideal settings are warm water and low spin speed. This helps prevent damage by minimizing friction and agitation, while also keeping your shoes looking their best for longer.

Also, make sure that you select a setting without an agitator or center post as these can cause scuffing and scrapes on the leather surface. For best results, use a “Delicates” setting which has no center post or agitator, and features lower temperatures than other standard cycles.

Opting for “extra rinse” settings can also be beneficial as it will help remove any soap residue that may remain after washing. Doing so will also ensure that the shoes are completely clean and smell fresh.

Be sure not to leave your shoes washing for too long either. A short, gentle cycle is usually enough time for a thorough clean.

After you’re done, remove the shoes and gently wipe away any excess water with a soft cloth.

Air dry

Once your shoes have been through the washer, it’s important to give them some time to dry off properly before wearing them again. The best way to do this is to leave them in a well-ventilated area where they can get plenty of fresh air. Placing them on top of an absorbent surface like a towel will help speed up the drying process even further.

Avoid using extreme heat sources (such as a clothes dryer or hair dryer) to speed up the drying process, as this could cause irreparable damage to the material of your shoes.

Instead, stuff them with newspaper or paper towels and leave them until completely dry. This may take several hours depending on how wet your shoes were before washing. You should try to avoid direct sunlight as this could cause fading or discoloration.

Allow the leather shoes at least 12 hours of time to dry before attempting to wear them again.

Apply a conditioner

Once your shoes have completely dried, it’s a good idea to apply a leather conditioner. This will help keep the material supple and protect them from cracking, as well as help prevent water damage in the future.

Apply a conditioner

Be sure to use an appropriate product designed specifically for leather care; avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could cause further damage.

The instructions on each product will vary, so be sure to read the label carefully before applying it to your shoes. Generally speaking, you’ll want to apply the conditioner with a soft cloth, working it into the surface of the leather in gentle circular motions. Once applied, wipe away any excess with a clean microfiber cloth. [1] [2] [3]

How to Clean Your Leather Shoes Manually

Despite the convenience of putting your leather shoes in the washer, you may prefer to clean them by hand. This is a great option if you don’t want to risk damaging your shoes or simply don’t have access to a washing machine.

Cleaning genuine leather

As you may know by now, genuine leather is trickier to clean than other materials. The key to washing leather shoes is to minimize the use of moisture. Start by using a cloth or brush to remove any dirt and debris from the surface of your leather shoes. If you use a brush, make sure it’s soft-bristled so that it doesn’t damage the leather.

If you’re dealing with dirt on suede, we suggest you use a specialized suede brush. This type of brush is designed to remove dirt with minimal effort and damage.

Once the dirt is removed, apply a gentle cleaner specifically made for leather. This can be found at some shoe stores or online retailers. Don’t use any cleaning product with harsh chemicals, such as detergents, that could discolor or damage your shoes. Gently rub the cleaner onto your shoes using a circular motion and then wipe the area dry with a soft cloth. You may want to let the shoes air-dry for several hours after cleaning them to make sure they’re completely dry.

If you’re dealing with oily stains, talcum powder can be a great way to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle some powder over the stained area and let it sit for about 20 minutes before brushing it off.

Cornstarch is another good option for removing grease stains. Simply sprinkle some on the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes before brushing it away.

How to Clean Your Leather Shoes Manually

Finally, you should use a leather conditioner to restore your shoes’ natural oils and keep them looking their best. Make sure you apply an even coat of the conditioner and let it sit overnight before buffing gently with a soft cloth.

Buff the shoes with a soft brush to make them shine and you’re done!

Cleaning faux leather

Unlike genuine leather, cleaning faux leather is far simpler and doesn’t necessarily require any special cleaners or conditioners. Still, some caution needs to be taken to ensure the material isn’t damaged.

Start by giving your shoes a quick brush to remove any dirt or debris from their surface. For tougher stains, use a damp cloth and a mild detergent – but don’t overdo it as too much water can damage the faux leather.

With faux leather, you have more freedom of choice of cleaning products. You can use products specifically designed for faux leather, such as a multi-surface cleaner or even dish soap.

Once you’ve cleaned the shoes with the detergent or cleaner of your choice, dry them off with a soft cloth and let them air-dry overnight before wearing them again.

Still, faux leather also needs to be handled with care as too much scrubbing or harsh chemicals can damage the material. So remember to be gentle with your shoes and don’t use any cleaners that contain abrasive ingredients. [4]


How to remove grease stains from leather?

Greasy stains on leather shoes can be difficult to remove, but it’s worth the effort as they can ruin the look of your shoes.

The most important thing is to not rub or scrub too harshly – this could damage the material and leave marks. The best approach is to simply sprinkle them with cornstarch or talcum powder and let them sit overnight. This will absorb some of the greases and make it easier to remove.

In the morning, remove the powder with a soft cloth and then use a leather cleaner that is designed for shoes. Apply it in small circles until all traces of the stain are gone. Finish by buffing with a dry cloth to bring back the shine.

How do you wash leather shoes?

The best way to clean leather shoes is by hand. You should use a soft cloth and warm water with a mild detergent, such as saddle soap, or a neutral-pH detergent like Woolite. Gently scrub the shoe in small circles all over, paying special attention to any scuffs or stains. Rinse off the solution with another damp cloth, then buff dry with a separate cloth. 

If you want to give your leather shoes an extra shine, apply a small amount of wax and buff it into the leather using circular motions. Test the wax on an inconspicuous area first to make sure it won’t discolor your shoes.

What happens if you put leather in the washing machine?

Putting leather shoes in the washing machine can be risky. If proper care is not taken, it could lead to damage or discolorations of the material. Leather is a delicate material and can shrink, crack, or become misshapen when exposed to too much water and heat from a washing machine cycle.

When attempting to wash leather items in a washing machine, it’s important to use warm water on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent that is specifically made for cleaning leather goods. This will help avoid any potential damage caused by hot water and harsh chemicals. It’s also important to air dry the item afterward as using dryers on high heat settings could cause further damage due to its heat.

But we personally don’t recommend washing leather items in a washing machine. It’s best to spot-clean the item with a damp cloth and mild detergent, then allow it to air dry. This will ensure that your shoes stay in their original shape without any lasting damage.

How to remove grease stains from leather?

Can a leather shoe washing machine?

No, you cannot put leather shoes in the washing machine as it could damage them. Leather is a delicate material that can easily become stiff and brittle if exposed to too much water or heat. This can cause the leather to crack and discolor, ruining your shoes.

To keep your leather shoes looking their best, you should spot-clean them with a gentle cleaner made specifically for leather products. If necessary, you may also use a damp cloth to remove dirt and debris from the surface of the shoe. However, never submerge your shoes in water or place them in the washing machine. Doing so will likely cause irreparable damage to both the look and feel of the shoe.

What happens if you wash leather shoes with water?

When leather shoes are washed with water, they can become stained or discolored. The dye used to color the leather may run, leaving behind a patchy, uneven look. Additionally, because of their porous nature, leather shoes are prone to absorbing moisture and expanding when wet— which could cause them to stretch out of shape permanently.

Wet leather is also much more vulnerable to cracking or drying out and becoming brittle over time; not only does this damage the appearance of the shoe, but it can also make them uncomfortable to wear. For these reasons and more, it’s best to avoid washing your leather shoes in water entirely.

Using a slightly dampened cloth should be more than enough to keep your leather shoes clean and in good condition. If the dirt is particularly stubborn, you could try using a mild soap and water solution on it—but be sure to use a soft brush to avoid damaging the leather’s surface.

Useful Video: How to Wash Shoes? | Easy way


So you’ve got a nasty stain on your leather shoes and you’re wondering if it’s safe to put them in the washer. The short answer is no. But if your shoes are made from faux leather or other synthetic materials, the risk of damage is much lower.

Just remember that you always need to use a gentle cycle with warm water and that if you’re going to use a washing machine, make sure to protect your shoes with a laundry bag or pillowcase.

Still, we suggest against putting your leather shoes in the washing machine unless absolutely necessary. Washing machines are too harsh for genuine leather and can cause irreparable damage. Water is an enemy of leather and can damage the material by stripping the natural oils.

If regular cleaning isn’t enough to remove dirt and stains from your leather shoes, try using a damp cloth and shoe cleaner or conditioner instead. Finally, always remember to read the instructions on the care labels of any new item before attempting to clean it yourself at home!

And most importantly, avoid using the washing machine and dryer for leather shoes! The risk of damage is too great, and no amount of money can replace a pair of shoes ruined by improper care. So take the time to give your leather shoes the care they deserve and keep them looking their best for years to come.

Hopefully, this guide has answered all your questions about whether or not you can put leather shoes in the washer. Now that you know it’s generally a bad idea, you can protect your footwear investment by taking extra steps to make sure they’re clean and looking their best. After all, high-quality leather shoes don’t come cheap – so why risk ruining them when there are other safe options available? Thanks for reading!