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How to wash slippers

pairs of children's slippers on a wooden floor

Slippers are one of the most comfortable footwear items, providing warmth for our feet. However, just like any other footwear, they need regular cleaning to maintain hygiene and appearance.

Cleaning slippers is a straightforward and simple process that can be done using a few basic steps, helping to keep them clean, fresh, and in good condition for as long as possible. In this article, we will discuss the most common questions people have about cleaning slippers, including whether you can put them in the washing machine and dryer.

How to clean slippers:

The first thing you need to do is check the care label or manufacturer's instructions for specific cleaning instructions.

Different slippers may require different cleaning methods based on the material they're made of.

How to clean leather slippers

Leather is one fabric that typically requires a little extra care. It’s recommended not to soak leather as it can affect the shape of the item and may result in it wearing out faster. Instead, use a gentle cloth or shoe brush to remove any debris clinging to the slippers.

Next, use warm water and a leather-safe cleaning agent to remove any stains from the fabric, with either a gentle cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Try to wet the brush or cloth, rather than dipping the slippers into the water. Once you’re satisfied, leave the slippers to air dry, stuffing them with newspaper to help retain the shape. A waterproof protector spray can be useful to shield the fabric from stains and debris going forwards.

How to clean suede slippers

Water isn’t always the best idea when it comes to suede slippers. Begin by removing dried-on dirt using a suede brush or soft cloth. For any fresh stains, cover them generously with cornstarch - this will soak up oils to remove them from the fabric. Wipe away the dirt and cornstarch, repeating this part until all the oil has been removed. If you need something a bit stronger, then a special suede and leather cleaner can be helpful.

How to clean wool slippers

If your little one’s slippers are made of wool, then the most important thing is to avoid exposing them to intense heat, whether that’s from the radiators, tumble drying or machine washing. Like with other fabrics, brush off any debris gently with a cloth or soft-bristled brush. Mix warm, not hot, water with a couple of drops of dish soap, then use a cloth to spot clean any remaining stains. Wool is naturally odour-repelling, so you shouldn’t need to clean it too often.

How to clean fabric slippers

Cleaning slippers made of cotton or synthetic materials is quite simple. As these are the least demanding fabrics,it’s generally a case of brushing off dry debris, spot-treating stains with a mild laundry detergent, and then washing the slippers in cool water.

Can you put slippers in the washing machine?

Yes…and no. It depends on what your slippers are made from. Some slippers can be washed in the machine and others not. Typically, fully fabric or cotton slippers are usually fine to wash in the washing machine. However, you need to check the care label or manufacturer's instructions to determine the best method of cleaning.

Leather, suede, sheepskin and velvet slippers tend to not be machine washable. For non-machine washable pairs, you can hand wash them using a mild detergent and lukewarm water, as described above. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly with clean water. Avoid twisting or wringing the slippers though, as this can damage their shape and structure.

How to wash slippers in the washing machine

If your slippers are machine washable, you can place them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. A gentle or delicate program is needed to prevent the machine completely distorting the shape of your slippers.

Also, ensure your gentle cycle uses a low temperature and be sure to remove any insoles or inserts and place them separately in the machine. It’s best to avoid washing slippers with items that have zippers, buttons, or any other sharp or abrasive objects that could damage them.

Can you dry slippers in the dryer?

When it comes to drying your slippers, you have two options - air-drying or using a tumble dryer. If you choose to air-dry them, place your slippers in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources, such as radiators. It’s recommended to avoid using a heater or hair dryer to do the job, as this can cause the fabric to shrink or lose its shape.

If you prefer to use a dryer, firstly double check the care instructions. If use of a tumble dryer is possible, use a low heat setting and place the slippers in a mesh laundry bag to protect them from tumbling around too much. Be sure to remove them from the dryer before they are completely dry to avoid over-drying and shrinking. Leave them out of direct heat or sunlight to finish drying.