My son washed his tennis shoes in the dishwasher. Is that safe?

"My son recently picked up tennis and his coach told him it's ok to wash his shoes in the dishwasher. I told him it's not safe but he says there's no dirt on the tennis court. He'll also clean the internal pipes and filter in my dishwasher after the wash. I'm worried is it sanitary to wash your shoes the same place you wash your dishes? -Maggie"

It's understandable to have concerns about putting dirty sneakers in the dishwasher. While some people may have done it before, there are several reasons why it may not be the best idea.

Firstly, dishwashers are designed to clean dishes and utensils, not shoes.

The high temperatures and strong detergents used in dishwashers may damage the material of the sneakers or cause them to lose their shape.

Plus, when you put dirty shoes in the dishwasher along with your dishes, there's a risk that dirt, debris, and bacteria from the shoes could transfer onto your dishes during the cleaning process.

Even if the dishwasher's cleaning cycle is effective at removing visible dirt from the shoes, there's still a chance that some residual bacteria or contaminants may remain.

This cross-contamination could pose a health risk, particularly if the bacteria on the shoes are harmful or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system.

The combination of water, heat, and detergent in the dishwasher may not be sufficient to completely sanitize the shoes, especially if they are heavily soiled.

How To Properly Clean Dirty Sneakers

There are several safe and effective methods for cleaning dirty sneakers without using the dishwasher:

  1. Handwashing: Fill a basin or sink with warm water and a mild detergent. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the exterior of the sneakers, focusing on areas with visible dirt or stains. Rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water and allow them to air dry.
  2. Spot cleaning: For localized stains or areas of dirt, spot cleaning may be sufficient. Apply a small amount of mild detergent directly to the stained area and gently scrub with a soft brush or cloth. Rinse the area with clean water and allow it to dry.
  3. Washing machine: If the sneakers are machine washable, you can place them in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them during the wash cycle. Use a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they may damage the shoes. Allow the sneakers to air dry completely before wearing them again.
  4. Shoe cleaning kits: There are various shoe cleaning kits available that contain specialized cleaners, brushes, and tools for effectively cleaning sneakers. These kits often provide step-by-step instructions for safely cleaning different types of shoes.
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