How to Wash TOMS by Hand and Machine

Keep your summer shoes looking and smelling fresh.

TOMS are the perfect summer shoes. They’re comfy, durable and they come in so many different styles. Plus, TOMS has made a huge positive impact around the world (1).

Now, they give at least a third of their profit to a giving fund. So when you buy TOMS, you’re making changes in the world.

But to keep your TOMS in mint condition, you need to know how to wash TOMS. We’re here to teach you how to wash TOMS by hand or in the washing machine.

How to Wash TOMS in the Machine

Set your machine to a gentle wash with cold water. Add ¼ of the normal amount of mild laundry detergent to the drum or dispenser. Put the TOMS in a mesh bag. For front-loading machines, toss in the shoes and begin the cycle. For top-loading, wait until the machine is ¾ full before adding the shoes. Air until completely dry.

Are TOMS Shoes Washable?

Yes — most TOMS can get wet. Most TOMS shoes are covered in canvas which is super easy to wash by hand or in the machine.

However, TOMS do come in other materials such as leather, organic cotton, chambray, lace, and more.

Canvas shoes are the most popular and common because they’re comfy and easy to clean. But if you treat yourself to a more unique pair of TOMS, they’ll require different cleaning methods.

How to Wash TOMS

Although TOMS come in a wide range of materials, we’re focusing on canvas and lace shoes. If you have another type of shoe, we recommend checking in with TOMS on the best way to clean them.

How to Wash TOMS by Hand

  1. Use a soft bristle brush, such as an unused toothbrush, to clean the outside of the TOMS. This will remove surface level dirt and debris.
  2. If your shoes are stained, dab a little bit of mild laundry detergent onto the affected area. Rub it in gently and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Fill up a large bowl with cold water, as per TOMS recommendation.
  4. Add a tablespoon of mild laundry detergent to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Make sure there is no bleach in the detergent, as this could discolor your shoes.
  5. Use your soft brush to apply the solution to your shoes. Scrub the fabric in one direction until the shoes are clean.

This method will work for leather TOMS also. Just make sure you don’t soak the shoes. Also — you’ll need to use a leather conditioner and polish afterwards to protect the shoes from future damage.

Water-Friendly Canvas

If your canvas TOMS are super dirty, you can completely submerge them in water. This will help get out stubborn stains and make the process a little easier.

How to Wash TOMS in the Washing Machine

  1. Pre-treat any stains by rubbing a mild laundry detergent into the affected areas. Let this sit for 30 minutes before moving onto the next step.
  2. Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle — such as the handwash cycle — with cold water.
  3. Add ¼ of the normal amount of a mild laundry detergent. Add it directly to the drum or into the detergent dispenser.
  4. Put the shoes in a mesh bag to protect them during the cycle.
  5. If you have a front-loading washer, add the shoes and begin the cycle. If you have a top-loading washer, start the cycle now. When the drum is about ¾ of the way full, add the TOMS.
  6. Let the cycle run completely before removing the shoes.

How to Wash Lace TOMS

  1. Pre-treat any stains by applying a drop of mild laundry detergent to the affected area. Rub it in, then let it sit for 30 minutes before moving onto the next step.
  2. Fill a bowl with cold water.
  3. Add a few drops of a mild detergent.
  4. Soak a soft-bristled brush or a microfiber cloth in the solution.
  5. Gently rub the solution into the shoes in gentle circular motions to remove dirt and stains.
  6. Continue this process until the shoes are clean.

How to Clean TOMS Insoles

TOMS insoles are made from a range of materials. If you have leather insoles, you’ll want to skip these steps. Soaking leather and using baking soda can cause damage.

  1. Mix together a small bowl of cold water and a drop of mild laundry detergent.
  2. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in the solution and gently scrub the insoles of the shoes.
  3. If the shoes are stinky, you can make your own deodorizing powder. Mix together one cup of cornstarch, ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of baking powder.
  4. Add five drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or tea tree.
  5. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the powder into your TOMS. Save the rest for future uses.
  6. Let it sit for eight hours.
  7. Dump out the powder into the garbage can. Vacuum remaining powder from the shoes.

This method will deodorize and freshen your shoes, so they’ll smell as good as new.

How to Dry TOMS

Always let your TOMS air dry. They shouldn’t take too long to dry — maybe a few hours. You can hang them on the washing line, leave them in a well-circulated spot or put them on a drying rack.

Stuff the TOMS with newspaper so they hold their shape while drying.

If you leave your TOMS in the sunshine, this can cause fading but it won’t affect the fit of the shoe in any way (2).


Never put your TOMS in the dryer. This can cause shrinkage and fading. It can also melt shoe glue which would ruin the shoes completely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Wear Socks With TOMS?

You should always wear socks with closed-toe shoes, as sweat and moisture becomes a perfect place for bacteria and fungi to grow (3). You can get no-show ankle socks that nobody will ever notice while you wear TOMS. It will keep your shoes fresher and less stinky.

Can You Wash TOMS in the Washing Machine?

You can wash canvas TOMS in the washing machine, but we don’t recommend washing lace or leather shoes in the machine.

If you are washing your canvas shoes in the washing machine, always use a cold gentle cycle.

Can TOMS Get Wet?

Yes, TOMS can get wet. That’s what makes cleaning them so easy! However, they’re not waterproof so we don’t recommend wearing them on rainy days or to the beach. Water will soak through the material and wet your feet. Because TOMS are tight-fitting, this can be really uncomfortable and be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Can You Shrink TOM Shoes?

If you put your TOMS in the dryer, the high heat can cause shrinkage.

How Do You Clean Stinky TOMS?

All of our cleaning tips will help fight odors and stench. But here are a few more tips to keeping your TOMS smelling fresh:

  1. Always wear socks.
  2. Apply your DIY deodorizer recipe regularly.
  3. Stuff your TOMS with newspaper while they’re air drying to absorb excess moisture and odors.
  4. Air your TOMS out after every use. Don’t just stuff them in a closet.
  5. Put odor-fighting insoles into your shoes between wears to fight off stink.

Fresh as a Daisy

With these tips, tricks and instructions for cleaning your TOMS, your shoes will be fresh, stain-free and pristine again in no time.

Wear your clean TOMS to the next event, and wow people with your good looking footwear. Just make sure to clean your TOMS regularly to keep them looking (and smelling) great.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!