How To Pressure Wash Shoes

If your shoes are starting to look a little worse for wear, you may be wondering if you can pressure wash them. The answer is yes! Pressure washing can be an effective way to clean shoes, as long as you take a few precautions. Let’s take a look at how to pressure wash shoes when they are in need of a good cleaning.

Pressure Washers Can be Dangerous: How to pressure wash shoes safely

Pressure washers are also becoming increasingly popular for cleaning fabric. That’s because pressure washing is an effective way to remove dirt, stains, and other debris from fabric. Pressure washing can also help to restore the original color of the fabric and make it look new again.

However, most people don’t realize just how mush pressure is generated by the machine and how much damage it can cause if not used carefully. Did you know that pressure washers can easily cause lacerations to human skin?

That’s right, they can easily break human skin and cause other injuries. It happens often to unsupervised children who think they are playing with a hose.

Skin damage from high pressured water
Pressure washers can cut through skin

Pressure Wash You Shoes in 7 Easy Steps

Step 1: Make sure that your shoes are made of materials that can withstand high-pressure water. Leather and suede shoes should not be pressure washed, as the water can damage the material. If there is a removable sole in your shoe, take them out for cleaning

Step 2: Set your pressure washer to the lowest pressure possible. There’s generally two ways do do that with pressure washers. Either with a dial on the pressure washer that controls the pressure or by changing out the nozzle at the tip of the gun. More details on that below.

Step 3: Always test the pressure washer on a small area of the shoe before applying it to the entire surface. This will help you avoid accidental damage.

Step 4: Be sure to use a mild soap or detergent when pressure washing, as harsh chemicals can damage the finish of your shoes. You can use a dish soap solution in the pressure washer detergent tank. To to do mix one tablespoon for every 1 – 1.5 quarts of water.

Step 5: Start with your pressure washer 12 inches from your shoes. Spray for 5 seconds, then examine your shoes, maxing sure there are no signs of damage. Move the pressure washer gun closer as needed, inspecting for signs of damage often.

Step 6: Rinse shoes with clean water under a faucet or with clean water (no soap) in the pressure washer.

Step 7: Allow shoes to dry for 24 hours in the warmest, driest place in your house before returning the soles to the shoes. Setting them near a heater vent works beautifully.

With these tips in mind, you can pressure wash your shoes and keep them looking their best.

How to set your pressure washer to the lowest setting

Many pressure washers have two knobs: one for controlling the pressure and one for regulating the flow of water. To set the pressure washer to low pressure, start by turning the pressure knob to the lowest setting.

Some pressure washers, however, come with several nozzle tips with varying angle degrees. The higher the degree, the wider the angle the water is projected from the pressure gun. The wider the angle, the less pressure. Start with an angle around 40-50 degrees when pressure washing shoes.

Turn on the water and slowly increase the flow, either by adjusting the pressure dial or swapping nozzle tips, until you reach the desired pressure and you’re able to clean your shoes effectively.

If the pressure is too high, reduce the flow of water until it is at a comfortable level. Remember, it is always better to start at a lower setting and increase the pressure gradually than to start at a high setting and risk damaging your shoes or causing injury.

It should also be said, that having the right pressure washer gun can make all the difference. Often pressure washers don’t come with the best quality guns and nozzles. Here’s what we think are the best pressure washer guns on the market if you’re looking for an upgrade.

What Kind of Material are Your Shoes Made From?

There should be a tag or stamp on the inside of your shoes somewhere that indicate what material the shoes are made from. You should be aware of what your shoes are made of before attempting to pressure wash them.

The pressure washing method is used to clean shoes made from different fabrics. The type of pressure washing machine and the amount of pressure that is applied will vary depending on the fabric. Fabric shoes can be made from natural or synthetic fibers.

Synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, and acrylic. The pressure washing method is typically used on shoes made from synthetic fibers, which tend to be stronger and less prone to damage than natural fibers.

Are you wondering if you can pressure wash your leather boots?

Natural fibers include cotton, wool, and leather. Generally speaking pressure washing isn’t recommended for shoes made with natural fibers and they are more prone to damage. If you do decide to pressure wash them, start at a low pressure and hold the nozzle 12 inches away from the shoes to start. It’s not recommended to move the nozzle any closer that 6 inches from the shoe.

Following Up Pressure Washing Shoes

If you aren’t happy with how clean you’re able to get your shoes, try running them through a normal washing machine. You might find that you loosened the dirt and debris on the shoes just enough with the pressure washer for the washing machine to be effective.

Some materials, such as leather, should not be placed in the washing machine. Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before washing your shoes in a washing machine.

A Helpful Video on Pressure Washing Shoes

Should you wear your shoes while you pressure wash them?

Yes you can wear your shoes while pressure washing them but, but do so carefully. Remember, pressure washers can cause injury, resulting in the need for stitches if used carelessly.

Wearing your shoes while pressure washing them may be a more effective way to clean them. By doing so you provide a firm backing behind the fabric, which can help remove dirt and grime from your shoes more effectively.


That covers everything you need to know about how to pressure wash shoes. The main thing to keep in mind that the water that comes out of a pressure washer is completely different than the water that comes out of a garden hose.

As with pressure washing any fabric, whether it be a mattress, a couch, or a wool rug, you need to be careful not to apply too much water pressure up close. It’s tempting to do so when fabric is very grimy. But too much pressure up close can damage the fabric, leaving it in much worse shape than just dirty.

Also beware of safety precautions with pressure washers. Never spray your skin with a pressure washer. You can easily injure yourself if you’re not careful!