Can You Use Laundry Detergent on Shoes? (What About Tide Pens?)

We all love the look of white shoes, but the unfortunate truth is that they get dirty quickly (especially if you don’t take care of them very well). On top of looking dingy and not clean, it’s embarrassing to have dirty shoes when you’re dressed nicely for a night out.

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Sometimes you might forget to bring your shoe brush with you when you travel or go out, but luckily there are brands of laundry detergent that can help you keep your white shoes looking fresh.

This is the most important thing to remember about washing shoes: You can’t just throw them in the wash like your clothes. Most stain-removing detergents are too abrasive for leather and suede materials, which can result in irreparable damage. Most of these products also use a chemical process to break down dirt and stains, which will eventually remove the color from leather as well.

However, as stated it can be done so let’s see how…

Can You Use Laundry Detergent on Shoes?

Yes, you can use laundry detergent on shoes. While it is not commonly recommended to wash shoes in your typical household washing machine, there is an alternative method for cleaning shoes with laundry detergent.

How to Clean Shoes with Laundry Detergent

  1. Grab a bowl or bucket and add lukewarm water.
  2. Add a small amount of laundry detergent (between line 1 or 2 inside the cap) to create a watery, bubbly mixture.
  3. Dip in a toothbrush, or other small brush, and lightly scrub your shoes.
  4. Wipe away the remaining detergent mix from the shoes with a damp washcloth or dishcloth.
  5. Dry your shoes with a second dry washcloth or dishcloth.

Can You Use Tide on Shoes?

Depending on the material of the shoes, Tide can be used on them successfully. Avoid Tide on leathers, suedes, and silks.

In fact, if you’re looking for a good way to clean sneakers, try Tide laundry detergent. It’s made to help remove stains from clothes, but it also works well on shoes.

This is especially true of white sneakers that get dirty after a few wears. If you don’t want to spend your money on new shoes, clean the ones that you have. Tide helps brighten the color and removes dirt and soil from your shoes.


Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent Soap, High Efficiency (HE), Original Scent, 64 Loads


Tide works especially well on fabric shoes, and even better than the detergent is the Tide To Go Pen for spot treating your shoes. Before throwing your shoes in the washing machine with Tide, always remove strings and insoles, and allow them to air dry if possible.

To avoid discoloration, test Tide on the inside of your shoe first to see if the fabric of your shoe will hold up to the detergent.

Can You Use Tide to Go on White Shoes?

Yes, you can use Tide to Go on white shoes. Like with most cleaning measures, it’s the sooner, the better when it comes to ridding white shoes of dirt and stains.

How Do I Use Tide to Go on White Shoes?

Tide to Go can be used alone or with accompaniment. A common method is wiping off as much of a stain as possible with a watered cloth and then applying the Tide to Go pen to the remaining markings. Tide to Go is widely available at local pharmacies and general department stores.

Can You Use Tide to Go on Suede Shoes?

You can clean just about anything with a Tide pen, from clothes to carpets to toys. Some people have had great success cleaning their shoes with Tide pens, but not everyone has had such great luck.

The main problem with using tide on shoes is that it can leave an oily residue behind. The oil acts as a surfactant, or cleaner, and allows the detergent to work more effectively. Unfortunately, this oil can also make your shoes look dirty if you don’t wipe them off immediately after cleaning.

However, you can use Tide to Go instant stain removing pen on suede, but always spot treat first to make sure there is no discoloration from the Tide pen.

Tide to Go is simply a strong detergent in pen form that can remove shoe stains. Tide to Go pens is not a sure thing at removing stains from suede shoes, though. Using a cleaning kit specifically made for suede shoes or taking the shoes to a professional are more effective ways of removing stains.

How Do You Use Tide Pens on Shoes?

If you want to clean your shoes with Tide pens, you need to remove as many loose materials from the surface as possible first. The strong chemicals in the pen can cause discoloration if they come into contact with other materials on the shoe, so it’s important to scrub them off before you apply the pen directly.

Once you’ve done that, simply hold the pen at a slight angle and rub it against the material. The brush tip should be large enough to cover an entire shoe in one application, but you might need to use it several times if there is a lot of dirt buildup.

When cleaning suede or leather shoes with a Tide pen, be sure to test an inconspicuous area first to ensure that there will be no discoloration.


Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover Pens 3 ea (Pack of 1), White


Using a Tide to Go pen to treat stains on cloth shoes is a quick and effective fix.

  1. First, remove any excess residue or moisture from the shoe stain.
  2. Then, push down on the Tide pen’s tip until you’ve released a desired amount of liquid.
  3. Next, use the pen’s tip to gently rub the stain.

If the stain hasn’t fully lifted, repeat the above steps. You can continue treating the stain until it is as clean as possible. Make sure not to rub too harshly on the fabric so you don’t damage it.

What Detergent Cleans White Shoes?

Mild detergents like Woolite are preferable for shoes, but for tougher stains, Tide or Arm and Hammer can be used too.

Most detergents are fine for use on white fabric shoes, and even white mesh shoes with rubber soles. Hand washing is best, but the washer is fine if you’re in a hurry.

It’s always a good idea to spot test any new detergents on the inside of your shoes to make sure the fabric doesn’t become discolored from it.

Bleach should be avoided when washing white shoes since bleach can degrade fabrics if used in excess. If you must use bleach, only use it on the affected area and rinse thoroughly.

In summary, the short answer to whether you can use laundry detergent on shoes is yes. But it depends a lot on the kind of shoe, and the material (different types of materials react differently to liquids). And even within a single type of shoe on a single material, there’s definitely a range of reactions.

So while you can use laundry detergent on shoes, it may not have the same result every time, which could lead to some frustration. Ultimately, using laundry detergent is best left to situations where you really don’t have another option. That’s mainly because there are usually better options available.

You may also be interested in… How Can You Clean My Timberlands Without Ruining Them? and Can You Microwave Shoes to Break Them in?