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As a parent navigating the ever-changing landscape of growing children, you’ve become familiar with the three sizes of shoes: too small, just right (though that was yesterday), and too big. A trip to the shoe store ensues with your practical goal of finding affordable, durable, and versatile footwear.
However, your child, enamored by the allure of white light-up shoes adorned with Paw Patrol or Elsa, has different aspirations. Despite the initial joy of new shoes and smiles, disaster strikes as those coveted light-up shoes splash unexpectedly into a mud puddle.
How do you wash those brand-new, now muddied, light-up shoes?
While the instinct might be to toss them into the washing machine along with other soiled clothes, this approach may need to be revised for the longevity of light-up shoes. Most manufacturers advise against submerging such shoes in water, whether in washing machines, swimming pools, or in heavy rainstorms.
The electronic components housing the LED lights are not designed to withstand a washing machine’s wet and turbulent conditions. However, alternatives like baby wipes, magic sponges, or a hands-on scrubbing method can be attempted. Parents, known for their resourcefulness, understand the lengths we go to save a cherished toy, blanket, or, in this case, a pair of Transformers shoes.
Before subjecting those sparkling lights to the soapy waves, consider trying these three cleaning methods for your child’s beloved shoes. If all else fails, read on for guidance on machine washing them as a last resort.
The best way to clean light-up shoes without water
- Using baby wipes as a guide: One effective method for cleaning shoes that are dirty or dusty due to outdoor activities involves utilizing baby wipes. By wiping down the shoes with a few of these wipes, you can easily remove surface dirt and any recent stickiness or crumbs that may have accumulated throughout the day. This method provides a speedy and hassle-free way to revitalize the appearance of your shoes, leaving them looking fresh and clean.
- Using the Magic Sponge Method: A traditional baby wipe may not be enough to remove the marks for shoes that are starting to look weathered or have been scuffed, mainly if they are white or light-colored. However, there is a handy solution you can try – a “magic” cleaning sponge. Simply wetting, squeezing, and scrubbing, this sponge can effectively remove any scuff marks and restore the shine to the rubber parts of the shoes. It can also help eliminate stains from the fabric of the shoe and the insole. It’s important to allow the insoles and shoes to dry before your child puts them back on fully.
- Scrubbing Down And Dirty: When your beloved footwear has been thoroughly soiled with mud, it’s time to clean them well. Begin by removing any dried mud and dirt that you can easily knock off.After that, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and warm water to rinse away the embedded dirt while using a mild dish soap. The toothbrush will effectively reach all the nooks and crannies, removing any remaining dirt. Finally, wipe them with a clean, damp cloth and allow them to dry entirely in bright sunlight. If they need extra odor elimination due to sweaty feet or their muddy adventure, sprinkle some baking soda in them while basking in the sun; it will help absorb the unwanted smells.
How To Clean Light-Up Shoes in the Washing Machine
Parents are often faced with the challenge of dealing with unexpected accidents, such as their children’s shoes getting soiled with substances like ice cream, popsicles, juice, or even potty accidents. When faced with limited options, parents typically have the option to either machine wash the shoes or dispose of them. Instead of resorting to the latter, it is recommended to try hand cleaning the shoes, as several parents have reported positive results. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the lighting features of the shoes may not work correctly after washing.
Light-Up Shoes: Washing Supplies
To embark on the mission of washing your child’s light-up shoes, assemble the necessary supplies. Head to the dollar store and snag a couple of mesh washing bags with zippers. Additionally, gather a few old towels that are due for a wash. Opt for older towels to prevent any potential damage to nice ones or color transfer onto the shoes during washing. It’s a two-birds-with-one-stone approach.
Light-up Shoes: Machine Wash
Start the shoe-cleaning process by giving them a good rinse to remove any large debris or visible dirt; the last thing you want is mud in your washing machine. Next, take out the laces and insoles from the shoes. Spray them with your preferred stain remover or an oxi-powered cleaner and place them in one of the mesh bags with a zipper. This ensures a more thorough washing of the laces and insoles. Proceed to spray the shoes inside and out with the oxi-powered cleaner and zip them into the other mesh bag.
Now, it’s time to load the washing machine. Add both mesh bags containing the shoe components and the old towels. Opt for a cold wash cycle using your regular detergent. The towels play a dual role – assisting in moving the shoes around the washer to prevent them from sinking to the bottom and aiding in load balance to reduce thumping noises caused by the presence of shoes in the machine.
Light-up shoes: drying
Once the washing cycle is complete, it’s time to let the shoes, insoles, and laces bask in the sunlight to dry. Be patient, as the drying process may take anywhere from ten to twelve hours for them to dry out thoroughly. It’s worth noting that most shoe manufacturers advise against using the dryer to dry shoes, even those without light-up features. Air drying is the safer route to preserve the integrity of the shoes and their components.
Are there any light-up shoes that can be washed?
Before subjecting your light-up shoes to the washing machine, consider the materials they are made of. Nylon or canvas shoes with a rubber sole are more likely to withstand the washing process. Shoes with memory foam components can go in the washing machine with cold water, but keep in mind that the foam absorbs water, which may extend the drying time.
However, avoiding putting leather or suede shoes in the washing machine is crucial, as water can damage these materials. Shoes with gel inserts may not survive the washing process, as the components could separate or sustain damage. Some shoes, like Skechers Twinkle-Toes, might lose sparkle or glitter in the washer.
On the other hand, specific shoes, such as StrideRite light-up shoes, are explicitly designed to endure washing. These shoes are crafted to be robust for active kids while remaining easily washable for busy parents. StrideRite recommends closing all hook and loop closures, tying the laces, throwing them in the washer, washing them with cold water and regular detergent, and air-drying them.
How to dry wet shoes?
Drying wet shoes requires a dose of patience. The optimal method for drying shoes, which preserves both the soles and the fabric uppers, involves placing them outside in the sun and allowing them to dry completely. Beyond drying, the UV light from the sun can aid in killing bacteria responsible for unpleasant odors. If indoor drying is necessary, position the shoes near a fan to ensure adequate air circulation.
Using a Dryer To Dry Wet Shoes
Once more, it’s important to note that most shoe manufacturers advise against using the dryer for shoes. The combination of tumbling and heat can be detrimental to both the shoe soles and the dryer itself. Nevertheless, if you’re resolute in your decision, here are a few options to achieve the best possible outcome.
The Drying Rack
Sure, dryers are equipped with a flat drying rack, and if yours has one, it could be a useful tool to prevent the shoes from tumbling during the drying process. Some parents have found success by placing the shoes on the rack and using the lowest temperature setting for drying.
Putting the shoelaces in the door
Drying light-up shoes in the dryer can pose a challenge because each time they thump, the lights activate, gradually draining the battery. If your goal is to ensure they survive the dryer after making it through the washer, a helpful tip is to use long shoelaces. Run the laces through the shoes, tie them together, and hold the tied laces outside the dryer door. Close the door, suspend the shoes, and run the cycle on the lowest heat setting to minimize thumps and bumps that could activate the lights.
Putting towels in the dryer
If you want to dry light-up shoes in the dryer, a third method is to place towels in the dryer with them to reduce the impact of the shoes on the dryer’s lifespan. While towels may not prevent the shoes from lighting up and using battery power, they can minimize the effect on the dryer itself. This addition of towels can also help dampen the thumping noise during the drying process. Always opt for the lowest heat setting when putting shoes in the dryer.
However, it’s crucial to note that shoes made with leather, suede, Naugahyde, gel, and memory foam components should not be placed in the dryer, as heat can adversely affect these materials. Leather, suede, and Naugahyde may crack or lose shape, while gel and memory foam components may disintegrate when exposed to heat.
Keep your kids delighted with their light-up shoes by steering clear of water or messy situations. Opt for spot or surface cleaning whenever possible using baby wipes, magic eraser sponges, or a scrub brush with soapy water. To refresh the odor of well-worn shoes, a sprinkle of baking soda can work wonders. If you need to machine wash light-up shoes, take precautions by using a mesh bag and cold water and allowing them to dry in the sun.
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