Can You Wash Bowling Shoes? Yes, Manual & Machine Both!

Ever wondered about washing your bowling shoes?

Yes, you can!

Learn the perks of handwashing, follow our easy steps for a thorough clean, and if you’re a fan of machine washing, we’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide

Your bowling shoes, your way – let’s keep them ready for the next strike!

Key Learnings

  • Handwashing Benefits:
    • Ensures gentle cleaning, preserving shoe integrity.
    • Targeted cleaning on laces and inserts.
    • Allows for thorough drying, minimizing risks.
    • Provides control over the cleaning process.
  • Handwashing Essentials:
    • Remove laces and inserts for targeted cleaning.
    • Brush off dirt before handwashing.
    • Handwash with warm, soapy water and a soft brush.
    • Thoroughly rinse and air dry; avoid twisting.
    • Optional: Apply a small amount of shoe polish for shine.
  • Risks of Machine Washing:
    • Potential sole detachment and material damage.
    • May impact shoe grip and alter performance.
  • Machine Washing Safety Guidelines:
    • Remove laces and inserts to prevent tangling.
    • Use a delicate cycle with cold water.
    • Choose a mild detergent; avoid bleach or fabric softener.
    • Place shoes in a mesh bag for protection.
    • Fully air-dry after machine washing.

Get ready for a strike!

Part one dives into the art of handwashing your bowling shoes – discover the benefits and follow our step-by-step guide. Then, gear up for part two, where we spill the beans on machine washing.

It’s your go-to guide for keeping those bowling shoes in top-notch condition!

1. Handwashing Bowling Shoes – Advantages + Method

Can you wash bowling shoes?

Let’s discuss the…

3 Advantages of Handwashing Bowling Shoes:

Handwashing bowling shoes offers several benefits:

  1. Gentle Cleaning:
  • Minimizes the risk of damage.
  • Targeted cleaning on specific areas.
  1. Targeted Cleaning:
  • Focus on areas with dirt or debris.
  • Ensures a thorough clean.
  1. Maintains Integrity:
  • Preserves soles and materials.
  • Prolongs the lifespan of your shoes.

Handwashing Bowling Shoes: 4 Steps for Effective Washing

Cleaning your bowling shoes by hand involves 4 specific steps to ensure optimal results.

1. Preparation

Before you start washing your bowling shoes, take these crucial steps:

  • Remove Laces and Inserts:

Gather materials and place laces and inserts on a towel. Gentle cleaning preserves the integrity of soles and materials. Follow this step-by-step process for thorough and successful cleaning.

  • Brush off Dirt and Debris:

Use a brush to remove loose dirt and debris from soles and uppers. Targeted cleaning sets the stage for effective handwashing. This preparation step maximizes handwashing advantages and allows for a thorough drying process afterward.

2. Cleaning

Now, let’s go through the actual cleaning process:

  • Fill a Sink with Soapy Water:

Warm, soapy water in a sink or basin is ideal. Handwashing provides control and ensures gentle cleaning. While a washing machine may have its advantages, handwashing allows for more control and a gentle cleaning process.

  • Scrubbing with Soft Brush or Cloth:

Gently scrub the shoes, paying attention to soiled areas. Focus on soles to remove dirt and grime effectively. This step is crucial in minimizing risks associated with machine washing, such as potential damage to the shoes.

  • Rinsing Under Running Water:

Thoroughly rinse shoes to remove soap residue. After rinsing, either let the shoes air dry or use a towel to speed up the drying process.

  • Squeezing Out Excess Water:

Squeeze out water without twisting or deforming. Targeted cleaning techniques preserve shoe structure. This step is crucial for effective handwashing and proper shoe maintenance.

Related Article: Are Rented Bowling Shoes Sanitary?

3. Drying

Proper drying is crucial after handwashing. Follow these steps:

  • Stuff with Newspaper or Towels:

Maintain shoe shape by stuffing with newspaper or towels.

  • Air Dry in a Well-Ventilated Area:

Thoroughly air dry away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Ventilation circulates air, speeding up the drying process.

Tip: Avoid using a dryer, as it can potentially damage the materials.

4. Restoring Shine (Optional)

If you want to restore the shine of your bowling shoes, consider these optional steps:

  • Apply Shoe Polish:

Apply a small amount of shoe polish once the shoes are completely dry. This step has several advantages, including a gentler cleaning process and targeted cleaning for a polished and professional appearance.

  • Buff with a Soft Cloth:

Gently buff the shoes with a soft cloth for a smooth finish. Regular buffing prevents discoloration and preserves appearance. The benefits of regular cleaning and buffing include maintaining the shoes’ appearance and prolonging their lifespan.

By following these handwashing steps, you ensure that your bowling shoes remain in top condition for your next bowling adventure.

Okay, now I am heading towards the machine washing section…

2. Machine Washing Bowling Shoes – Risks + Safety Guidelines

I often hear the question, “Can I put bowling shoes in the washer?” Yes, you can!

But remember, while it might seem like a convenient solution, putting your bowling shoes in the washing machine carries potential risks that can impact their performance and longevity.

Can you wash bowling shoes?

3 Risks of Using the Washing Machine for Bowling Shoes

Before opting for the washing machine, be aware of these potential hazards:

1. Sole Detachment:

Machine washing can lead to the detachment of soles, rendering the shoes useless. Signs include visible gaps or separation between the sole and upper parts. Handwashing and proper maintenance help prevent sole detachment.

2. Material Damage in Harsh Environments:

Subjecting bowling shoes to a harsh washing environment can result in material damage, significantly reducing their lifespan. Proper storage and using products designed for bowling shoes during cleaning are crucial to prevent damage.

3. Impact on Bowling Performance and Safety:

Washing machines can affect the materials, grip, and stability of bowling shoes, impacting your performance and safety on the alley. Prioritize gentle cleaning techniques and specialized shoe care products to maintain both your shoes and your game at their best.

You May Wanna Read: What Can You Wear Instead of Bowling Shoes?

5 Safety Guidelines for Machine Washing Bowling Shoes (If Absolutely Necessary)

If you find it absolutely necessary to machine wash your bowling shoes, follow these safety guidelines to minimize potential damage.

1. Remove Laces and Inserts to Prevent Tangling or Damage

Before tossing your bowling shoes into the washing machine, take the time to remove the laces and inserts. This precaution prevents tangling or damage during the washing process, eliminating the risk of entanglement in the machine’s agitator.

2. Use a Delicate Cycle with Cold Water to Minimize Stress on the Shoes

Opt for a delicate cycle with cold water when machine washing your bowling shoes. This method preserves the shoe material’s integrity and prevents shrinking or color fading. The delicate cycle ensures a gentle wash, reducing the risk of damage and extending the shoes’ longevity.

3. Use a Mild Detergent and Avoid Bleach or Fabric Softener

When machine washing, choose a mild detergent and steer clear of bleach or fabric softener to ensure the safety and longevity of your bowling shoes. Selecting the right detergent is crucial to prevent potential material damage.

4. Place the Shoes in a Mesh Laundry Bag for Protection

Protect your bowling shoes during machine washing by using a mesh laundry bag. This prevents damage from rubbing against other items in the washing machine. The mesh material allows water and detergent to flow freely for a thorough clean.

Tip: Consider alternative cleaning methods like a damp cloth or a shoe cleaning kit for targeted cleaning of necessary areas. 

5. Air Dry the Shoes Completely to Avoid Moisture-Related Damage

Ensure your bowling shoes are completely air-dried to prevent moisture-related damage. Air drying is simple, cost-effective, and crucial for preventing mold and mildew growth. Machine drying or using heat sources can cause shrinkage or damage to the shoes.

Wrapping Up – Can You Wash Bowling Shoes?

As you lace up for your next bowling adventure, the importance of well-maintained shoes cannot be overstated.

Whether you choose the artful precision of handwashing or opt for the convenience of machine washing, the key lies in understanding the unique needs of your bowling shoes.

Handwashing emerges as the superior choice, allowing you to delicately cleanse every nook and cranny. From meticulous preparation to targeted cleaning and careful drying, this method ensures your shoes remain in top-notch condition, ready for the demands of the bowling alley.

Machine washing, while a viable option, comes with risks. The potential for sole detachment and material damage serves as a cautionary tale. If the machine is your only recourse, follow safety guidelines diligently to mitigate these risks.

In the realm of bowling, every detail contributes to your success. Your shoes, well cared for and thoughtfully cleaned, can be the game-changer you need.

So, stride confidently onto the lane, knowing that each step is backed by the support of perfectly maintained bowling shoes.

Elevate your game, one well-maintained pair of shoes at a time!


Here are some commonly asked questions about washing bowling shoes.

1. How do you brush bowling shoes?

To brush bowling shoes, you can use a soft-bristled brush or a shoe brush to remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the shoes. Gently brush the upper part of the shoes to remove any loose dirt.

2. How do you clean the bottoms of bowling shoes?

To clean the bottoms of bowling shoes, you can use a damp cloth or a wet wipe to wipe away any dirt or residue. Make sure to thoroughly clean the soles and remove any debris from the grooves. Allow the shoes to air dry before wearing them again.

Leave a Comment

Do you have any specific query?

Ask us any questions

Get in touch