How to Clean and Wash Allbirds Shoes

Allbirds are comfortable, durable, and stylish! But like any shoes, if you wear them often, they will need a wash now and then.

If you’re unsure how to clean Allbirds safely and effectively, here’s everything you need to know.

Image courtesy of designmilk

What Are Allbirds?

Allbirds are shoes made of unique, eco-friendly materials. They come in multiple styles and make models for casual wear, running, hiking, slippers, and even sandals.

Made by a New Zealand-American company, Allbirds shoes contain sustainable materials like wool, eucalyptus fibers, and Tencel fabric. This means you need to take extra care with cleaning them to avoid damaging the unique materials.

How To Clean Allbirds

Allbirds are made of fragile materials, but according to the manufacturer, you can safely machine wash all models except the Mizzle shoes.

These should be hand-washed most of the time, as they feature a fluorine-free water-repellent treatment that could be damaged by consistent exposure to heat or soap.

For all other Allbirds shoes, you can use your washing machine to keep them clean and fresh. Here are the steps you should follow to ensure they get clean and stay as durable as ever.

1. Remove & Handwash the Shoelaces & Insoles

The laces and insoles are a bit more fragile than the rest of the upper material. Instead of cleaning your Allbirds with these still on and in them, remove the shoelaces and insoles so you can clean them separately.

To clean your shoelaces:

  • Create a solution with warm water and a few drops of liquid soap or laundry detergent
  • Place the laces in this solution and let them soak while you wash the shoes
  • After 10 to 15 minutes, take each lace out and squeeze the soapy solution through it to make sure it’s properly clean
  • Rinse the laces off with cool water
  • Hang them somewhere they can air-dry

To clean your insoles:

  • Fill a bucket or sink with lukewarm water
  • Soak the insoles for a few minutes
  • Add a few drops of a gentle laundry detergent to the top layer of the insole
  • Gently rub the detergent into the insole to create a lather
  • Rinse well in lukewarm or cool water
  • Blot the insole gently to remove excess moisture
  • Do not wring or squeeze it!
  • Allow the insoles to air-dry

2. Get Rid of Dry Dirt With a Brush

Before you throw the uppers in the washing machine, doing some preliminary cleaning is a good idea. The first step is to brush the uppers with a soft-bristled brush to remove any loose, dry dust and dirt that may be stuck on them.

Make sure the bristles are soft enough not to damage the upper as you brush. It’s also a good idea to do this step outdoors, as you never know how much dust and dirt is truly on your shoes until you brush them.

3. Spot Clean Stains

If you find stains on the upper of your Allbirds, you can spot-clean them before putting the shoes in the washing machine. This increases the chances of the stains disappearing when the shoes are clean. This applies to the upper or cleaning soles that are yellowing.

The best way to do this is with a towel. Dampen it a little and gently rub any stains in a circular motion until they fade. We advise not using soap for this step as it may discolor or fade the upper unevenly.

It’s okay if this step doesn’t remove the stain completely. Blotting them out a little more will help make the machine cycle more effective.

4. Place the Shoes In a Mesh Bag

Allbirds are made of wool, so we highly recommend placing them into a mesh delicates bag before you put them into the washing machine. This will prevent anything from catching on the wool and causing unraveling while they’re being washed.

If you don’t have a delicate bag, place a few light-colored towels in the washing machine with the shoes. These will protect them and also prevent banging noises as they move around.

5. Wash Them On A Cold, Gentle Cycle

Wool can shrink if you use a hot cycle, so make sure you’ve set the washing machine to a cold, gentle cycle. If your washing machine has a “wool” or “delicate” cycle, use that.

Otherwise, just set it on the coldest setting and that will be fine. Hot water can not only shrink your shoes, but may dull the colors and wear out the wool faster.

6. Avoid Fabric Softener

Wool is fragile and some detergents can damage it. Either choose one that’s made for sensitive skin and fabric or don’t use a fabric softener at all. If you still want to use one, we recommend using one that’s free from dyes, softeners, and brighteners.

It’s important to note that you should still use laundry detergent. Again, it may be best to choose one that’s free from fragrances and chemicals to extend the lifespan of your Allbirds.

7. Air-Dry Your Allbirds

Avoid drying your Allbirds in heat, like tumble dry, a hair dryer, or even the sun. To allow them to try with as little damage as possible, place them in a well-ventilated area where they’re safe from heat and can air-dry.

Be aware that it can take up to two days for your Allbirds to dry completely. Consider this when cleaning your shoes, especially if you’re doing so for an upcoming event.

If You Can’t Or Don’t Want to Machine Wash

You can also wash your Allbirds by hand if you prefer not to put them into the washing machine.

You should still remove the laces and insoles and clean them separately, as well as brushing the dirt and dust off of the uppers before washing them.

Fill a bucket with cold water and mild soap. Place your shoes in it and let them soak for 20 minutes. Then take them out, rinse them off, and air-dry them.

How Often Should You Clean Allbirds?

You don’t have to wash your Allbirds often. It’s advisable to wash them by hand once a month at least to keep them clean, fresh, and durable.

We recommend not washing them unless they’re dirty or have developed an odor.

What Not to Do When Cleaning Allbirds

Just to be safe and extend the lifespan of your Allbirds, here’s what you shouldn’t do when cleaning them.

Never Use Chlorine Bleach

Avoid using chlorine bleach on both the upper and the insole. The harsh nature of the chemicals can damage the fabric of both shoe elements.

Never Tumble-Dry Allbirds

The heat of the tumble-dryer can damage the shoes by fading the color, causing the shoe to lose its shape, shrink the upper, or worsen the fabric’s quality. You should only air-dry your Allbirds if you want to prolong their lifespan.

Never Use Fabric Softener

Fabric softener can damage the fabric as it can sometimes leave a residue on the shoes. This may cause them to become discolored, or chemicals and fragrances in the formulation may weaken the material and reduce your shoes’ lifespan.

Never Wash Them With the Laces & Insoles

Failing to remove the insoles or shoelaces before you wash them can lead to damage. The upper is usually more durable than the laces and insoles, so if you wash the entire shoe the same way, these components can wear out much faster.

While you can easily replace the insoles or laces of the shoe—Allbirds sells replacement insoles—it’s best to wash them separately, so every component retains its durability.