Cleaning the cycling shoe inside the washing machine is not something you hear cyclists talk about often. Most cyclists usually wipe their shoes using a damp cloth or wet wipes.
But what if your shoes need a deep and thorough cleaning after a dirty ride?
Here’s what you need to know before chucking your cycling shoes into the washing machine.
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 with your regular laundry.
How to clean your cycling shoes using a washing machine
- Wipe the shoe surface. Use a damp cloth or wet wipes to remove excess dirt and grime on the surface and soles.
- Wash and dry the footbeds separately. In most cases, it’s sufficient to wipe them with a damp cloth or wet wipes.
- Remove the cleats (optional). Remember to mark the exact position of your cleats with a sharpie. Make sure that the ink is permanent so that it’s easier to re-install them later. Otherwise, it might get washed off during the wash cycle.
- Place the rag inside each shoe to maintain its shape during the wash cycle.
- Secure all straps. Make sure all the straps, buckles, and BOA dials are secured. Remove the laces if present.
- Use two mesh wash bags. Place each shoe inside a wash bag. Make sure the bag just about fits the shoe and is not too big.
- Use liquid detergent. Liquid detergents are easier to dissolve in water and unlikely to get stuck inside your shoe, unlike powder detergents.
- Use a delicate wash cycle as it has lower spin speeds or no spin, depending on the washing machine model. This reduces the chances that the shoe will bounce around aggressively during the wash cycle.
- 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.
- 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.
If you don’t have a front loader at home, a top loader is also fine. 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 with water. Powder detergent is harder to dissolve and might get stuck inside the shoe, especially in the mesh fabrics.