Can You Wash Knit Slippers?

Can you wash knit slippers - 1

If you own knit sippers, chances are that you may have accidentally spilled something on them at one point or another, or maybe they have become dirty as a result of everyday wear and tear.  Washing your knit slippers requires a lot of care so that they don’t lose their shape, shrink, bobble, or end up irrevocably damaged. Read on to find out on how to go about cleaning your knit slippers without damaging its carefully crafted design.

Can you wash knit slippers? Yes, you can wash your knit slippers using water, mild soap such as dish soap or diluted liquid detergent, a washcloth, and a soft brush.

Start by stuffing your slipper with a balled up cloth, which is essential in absorbing excess liquid and providing resistance as you go about cleaning the exterior of the slipper. Dip the washcloth into a soap solution and scrub the dirty spots firmly but gently, taking care not to snag the yarn. Repeat this process until the slippers are free of dirt, and then rinse the washcloth in clean water and wipe the slipper a couple more times to get rid of residue. If the slippers are badly soiled, consider using a soft brush to work the soap solution into the slipper, taking care not to work it too hard to avoid fraying and pilling. Once you are done, pat the slippers with a dry cloth and allow for air drying. Although machine washing is also an option, you risk ruining the slipper in anything catches on the yarn. Nevertheless, if you do opt to machine wash, ensure that there is no other item in the load with the slippers, and use cold water.

Knit slippers are generally more delicate than their suede and leather counterparts, which means that you will want to take extra precautions when cleaning them. The biggest risk of washing knit slippers is that one of the yarns can easily get snagged and start unraveling, consequently ruining them in the process. There are two ways you can go about cleaning a knit slipper.

Two ways for cleaning a knit slippers

1. Hand washing

Cleaning your knit slippers by hand significantly reduces the risk of accidentally snagging one of the yarns. However, this method will require a lot of patience since a lot of repetition is often needed to ensure that the slippers are completely clean.

To get started, you will need the following:

  • A bowl
  • Cool water
  • Mild soap. This could be dish soap or diluted liquid detergent. Laundry detergent should be fine.
  • Several soft cloths, like microfiber cloths or washcloths
  • A soft brush, like a suede brush or an old toothbrush

2. Throwing them in the washing machine

Throwing your knit slippers in the washing machine is definitely more convenient than potentially spending hours scrubbing out dirt off by hand, but it is also a risk that needs careful consideration. Here is what you need to know about machine washing a knit slipper:

  • Wash them separately – Washing your knit slippers alone will greatly reduce the likelihood of a yarn catching on another item and inevitably ruining the slipper.
  • Use cold water – Use cold water, a small amount of your favorite gentle laundry detergent, and the gentle cycle to wash your knit slippers. Forego the use of stain removing pretreatments and bleach completely to reduce the risk of potentially damaging the slippers.
  • Air dry – If necessary, stuff the damp slippers using balled up towels to reshape them. Dish or hand towels and washcloths are ideally sized for this purpose.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your knit slippers:

  • Prep the cleaning solution by diluting a small amount of the detergent – a teaspoon at most – in a bowl of cool water. Fill the bowl halfway up so that there is enough room to dip the washcloths in the solution.
  • Stuff the knit slippers with a balled up soft cloth, which can be a washcloth or a cut-up t-shirt. The cloth is essential in absorbing excess liquid so that the slippers is less drippy once you are done. It also provides the resistance you need to make cleaning the exterior of the slipper much easier.
  • Dip another soft cloth into the prepped detergent solution and wring it out before you start scrubbing at the dirty patch of the knit slipper. Apply firm but gentle pressure, taking care not to snag or abrade the yarn.
  • Repeat as much as needed until the slippers are clean, then rinse the washcloth in clean water before going over the slipper a couple of times to get rid of sudsy residue.
  • If the dirt on the slippers is stubborn, consider using a soft brush such as an old toothbrush or a shoe brush that is designed to work on delicate materials like patent leather or suede. Ensure that you work the brush on the slipper carefully so that you don’t snag the yarn or cause fraying and pilling.
  • Once the slippers are clean, pat them with a dry cloth and allow for air drying. Knit slippers tend to lose their shape with time especially if you wash them frequently, so you will want to reshape them by stuffing a balled up towel in the damp slippers.
  • If the slippers still appear dingy, repeat the cleaning process.

Cleaning other slipper materials

Here are some tips on how you can clean other slipper material types.

1. Washing suede slippers

Suede is a variation of leather that has a smooth, velvety finish. Suede is more prone to water and stain damage than standard leather. Suede slippers are soft and comfortable to wear, and they also adequately provide warmth during colder seasons. However, having to clean your suede slippers at one point or another is inevitable. Here are some tips on how you can wash suede slippers without damaging them.

  • Use a soft cloth – Avoid machine washing your suede slippers or hand washing them by submerging in water. If you soil them, use a soft cloth to blot and wipe the stain.
  •  Using a suede cleaning kit – If the stain is stubborn, consider using a suede cleaning kit to clean the exterior of the slippers. A kit comprises of a small suede brush and a stain eraser. Use the suede brush to remove mud or scuff marks. If the stain is wet, use a stain eraser to rub it off. If it is wet, use a damp washcloth instead.
  • Use wet wipes to clean the interior – Wet wipes are great for cleaning the interior of the slipper since they don’t contain too much moisture and contain a mild detergent. Alternatively, you can also use a damp washcloth to scrub the insides of the slippers.
  • Air dry – After the slippers are clean, let them air dry. You can stuff the insides using balled up newspaper so that they can dry out more quickly.

2. Washing leather slippers

Although leather slippers are less susceptible to stain and water damage when compared to suede slippers, avoid machine washing them since this will damage both the structure and the material of the slipper.

  • Use the appropriate cleaning solution – Wash the exteriors of a leather slipper using a non-enzyme soap solution that is designed for use on leather products. If the interior of the slipper is made of leather as well, clean it using the same solution.
  • Pat dry with a clean soft cloth – Use a soft cloth to pat the exterior of the slippers dry.
  • Apply a natural leather shoe conditioner – To maintain the sheen of the leather and keep the slippers soft, use a leather shoe conditioner once you are done with the cleaning. Opt to use a natural conditioner instead of a synthetic one since it will be absorbed more easily.
  • Clean the insides with wet wipes – For leather slippers that are fleece-lined, use wet wipes to scrub the inside of the slippers until there is no more discoloring of the wipes due to the accumulated grime.
  • Air dry – Applying heat to your leather slippers so as to dry them will result in damage, so allow them to air dry instead.

3. Washing wool slippers

Wool is relatively easy to wash. Here are some tips on how to clean your wool slippers.

  • Use a wet cloth and soap – Use wool soap and a soft wet cloth to remove the stains on the exterior of the slippers. You will probably have to repeat this process severally, so remember to give the slippers time to dry before going over the process again.
  • Clean the soles – If the slippers have a leather sole, clean them using a leather brush. For wool slippers with rubber soles, wipe with a wet cloth.
  • Air dry – Give them time to air dry before putting them on.

Final Thoughts

The only way to remove stains from your knit slippers is by washing them, a process that requires a lot of care so that you don’t end up accidentally snagging the yarn and consequently damaging them. Hand washing is the most ideal washing option since the risk of the slippers unraveling in a machine wash is just great. Nevertheless, there are precautions you can take to reduce the risk of damaging your slippers by machine washing- wash them alone using cold water, gentle laundry detergent, and the gentle cycle.

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