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The Complete Washing Guide for Wool Shoes & Sneakers

January 29, 2024

Wool is highly versatile and can be used to make a variety of products from rugs to skirts.

Not only that but the fibers are also wrinkle-resistant and stretch-resistant. They also resist wear and tear and retain their shape even after washing.

Wool Fibers For Shoes

how to wash wool shoesWool is commonly used for clothes but did you know that it can also be used for shoes?

Benefits of Wool Shoes:

  • Wool’s insulating properties will help regulate the wearer’s body temperature
  • They’re easier to wash than traditional shoes
  • They won’t get as stinky – wool fibers will absorb and lock away odors, which are released during washing
  • Socks are completely optional (your foot will be kept dry and comfortable even without them)
  • They’re environmentally friendly!

Popular Brands of Wool Sneakers

Here are some of the most popular brands that sell wool footwear:


washing wool slippersAllbirds is a U.S. company that specializes in wool footwear. They sell a variety of styles including toppers, runners, skippers, and loungers for men and women.

As of 2024 they have retail stores in Shanghai, New York, Beijing, San Francisco, Seattle, and London.


Mahabis is a brand that’s based in London. Most if not all of their shoes are made in a Scandinavian style, which is both stylish and practical.

To date, they’ve sold more than 1 million pairs of slippers around the world.


Giesswein is known for its 100% merino wool shoes and accessories. In addition to shoes, they also sell footbeds and accessories such as hats.

How to Wash Wool Shoes Properly

Wool slippers and shoes can be machine washed – there are just a few steps that you have to take.

Machine Wash Wool Slippers and Shoes

If you’re washing sneakers, remove the shoelaces so that you can wash them separately. Wool insoles should also be taken out, if there’s one.

Place the items in a mesh laundry bag and throw them in the washer. The bag will keep them together and prevent them from snagging.

best detergent for wool shoesPlace the shoes in their own mesh laundry bag and place them in the washing machine. You can throw in a few towels to help balance the load.

Once everything is in, add a mild detergent – we recommend using one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent.

Tip: Skip the fabric conditioner – it will work against the wool’s moisture-wicking abilities.

Select a wool cycle and run a cold water cycle. Do not use hot water – excessive heat can cause wool fibers to contract and shrink.

Once the cycle is finished, allow them to air dry.

Hand Wash Wool Slippers and Shoes

Fill a tub with cool water and add a bit of ACTIVE Detergent. Dissolve the powder by swirling your hand in the water.

Next, prepare your shoes. If there’s excess dirt on the fabric, it might be a good idea to clean it with a soft brush first before washing.

how to hand wash wool shoesTake out the shoelaces and insoles and place them in the soapy solution. Do the same with the shoes, ensuring that they are completely immersed in the mixture.

Let the shoes and slippers soak for at least 15-20 minutes.

Take the shoes out of the dirty water and rinse them under the faucet. Continue until all the soap residue is washed off. Do the same thing with the insoles and laces.

Place everything in a well-ventilated room and allow them to air dry. Put the laces and insoles back on the shoes once they’re fully dry.

The Best Ways to Deodorize Wool Shoes/Sneakers

Wool shoes are naturally odor-resistant but like all shoes, they can develop a smell after a while. Here are some ways to eliminate the odor:

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the best things to use when it comes to odors. Simply sprinkle the powder into the shoes and leave it in overnight. Remove the powder in the morning.

Using Dryer Sheets

washing instructions for wool shoesFabric softener sheets can also be used to remove odors. Just place one sheet into each shoe and they will neutralize the smell. Ideally, you want to leave them in for a few hours before taking them out.

Using Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is great because it can kill odor-causing bacteria, leaving your shoes smelling fresh and clean.

To use it, dampen a cloth with the solution and use it to wipe the inside of the shoe. Pay extra attention to the toe and heel areas.

Using White Vinegar

White vinegar is another great deodorizing agent. Similar to rubbing alcohol, you want to use it with a damp cloth.

Once you’ve dampened the cloth with vinegar, wipe the inside of each shoe. If necessary, you can stuff them with newspaper to hasten the drying process.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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