How to Wash Cycling Shoes in the Washing Machine

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

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Shimano cycling shoes white

You do not hear cyclists often talk about cleaning the cycling shoe inside the washing machine. Most cyclists usually wipe their shoes using a damp cloth or wet wipes.

But what if your shoes need a deep and thorough wash after a dirty ride?

Before chucking your cycling shoes into the washing machine, here’s what you need to know.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do wipe the shoe surface clean.
  • Do use wash bags.
  • Do use a delicate wash cycle with cold water.
  • Don’t use chemicals or degreasers of any kind.
  • Don’t mix it with your regular laundry.

How to wash your cycling shoes using a washing machine

  1. Wipe the shoe surface. Use a damp cloth or wet wipes to remove excess dirt and grime on the surface and soles.
  2. Wash and dry the footbeds separately. In most cases, wiping them with a damp cloth or wet wipes is sufficient.
  3. Remove the cleats (optional). Remember to mark the exact position of your cleats with a sharpie. Make sure the ink is permanent, so it’s easier to re-install them later. Otherwise, it might get washed off during the wash cycle.
  4. Place the rag inside each shoe to maintain its shape during the wash cycle.
  5. Secure all straps. Make sure all the straps, buckles, and BOA dials are secured. Remove the laces if present.
  6. Use two mesh wash bags. Place each shoe inside a wash bag. Make sure the bag fits the shoe and is not too big.
  7. Use liquid detergent. Liquid detergents are easier to dissolve in water and unlikely to get stuck inside your shoe, unlike powder detergents.
  8. Use a delicate wash cycle as it has lower or no spin speeds, depending on the washing machine model. This reduces the chances that the shoe will bounce around aggressively during the wash cycle.
  9. Use cold water. Set the washing machine temperature to 30ºC. If the water is too warm, it might shrink the fabrics, debond the glues or ruin the colors.
  10. Wash the shoes separately from your regular laundry to avoid cross-contamination.

Should I use a front or top-loader washing machine?

Front-loaders washing machines are usually more gentle than top-loaders. Your shoes will not bounce as much, thus reducing the risk of damaging the shoe.

A top loader is also fine if you don’t have a front loader at home. Just set it to the gentlest wash cycle.

Should I put the shoes through a spin cycle?

Skip the spin cycle and dry your shoes separately. Spin cycles are very aggressive and would probably damage the shoes with their high RPMs.

Should I use liquid or powder detergent?

Liquid detergent is preferred as it can easily dissolve in water. Powder detergent is harder to dissolve and might get stuck inside the shoe, especially in mesh fabrics.