Are you a fan of these new must-have shoes? Soft and comfortable, they’ve become an almost-overnight sensation. However, you might be wondering how to wash Allbirds.
This is where we help. We take a brief look at the background of the Allbirds brand and what unique materials they’re made from. We then detail in easy steps how to wash them to keep them clean.
All About Allbirds
Allbirds are the brainchild of former New Zealand soccer player, Tim Brown—looking for a comfortable, simple shoe without all the logos.
He launched a startup in 2016 and sold out of all the shoes he had made in four days. Realizing he needed some help he teamed up with industrial engineer Joey Zwillinger.
The company’s shoes made with a rubber, foam sole and Merino wool uppers took off.
They’re worn by celebrities like Leonardo Dicaprio (who invested in the business), Cindy Crawford, Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, to name a few. These shoes are also a firm favorite in Silicon Valley and with everyday people like you and me.
You can find out more about the Allbirds founders and their company’s story in this video.
Allbirds: Made From Sustainable Materials
This company has the ethos of making shoes from sustainable materials. The uppers of its Wool Runners line are made from Merino wool which is spun into a super fine yarn. Its Tree Runners line uses Eucalyptus tree fiber.
The soles are from a material called Sweet Foam derived from sugar cane. This is a form of EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) developed by Allbirds from a source in southern Brazil that has renewable resources, ethically farmed.
Other materials used to make these sneakers include recycled plastic and castor oil beans. Allbirds also uses recycled cardboard for packaging.
How to Clean Allbirds
Unlike traditional shoes made from leather and other materials, the uppers of Allbirds can’t be polished or wiped over with a damp cloth to clean them. You can, however, wash them.
Let’s look at how to wash Allbirds and how to clean the insoles.
Allbirds Washing Instructions
What You Need
- Clothes brush.
- Washing machine.
- Gentle washing detergent.
- Mesh laundry bag.
What You Do
- Using a clothes brush suitable for wool, brush the shoes to remove any surface dirt and dust. One like this from Kent would be a good choice. It’s made from boars hair and is suitable for softer fabrics.
- Take the shoelaces out and put them somewhere safe. You don’t want them getting caught up in the holes of the washing machine and getting damaged.
- Remove the insoles. You can’t wash these in the machine. We will cover cleaning those in a moment.
- Place your shoes in the laundry bag. Something like this from mDesign would work.
- Place the bag with the shoes in the washing machine.
- Add your gentle detergent to the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A detergent such as Woolite is designed for delicate fabrics and prevents color fading.
- Set the machine on a cycle for wool and delicates and make sure the water temperature is on a cold setting.
- Once the cycle has finished, remove your bag and shoes from the machine.
- Allow your Allbirds to air dry away from direct sunlight. This could take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours or more.
- If you don’t have a clothes brush, you could use a clean, dry towel to remove dirt and dust from the shoes.
- If your shoelaces are dirty, you could wash these by hand in some gentle detergent and let them air dry.
- Don’t replace your insoles until the shoes are completely dry. Otherwise, this could trap moisture underneath them, leading to mold growth.
- Don’t tumble dry your Allbirds.
- If your Allbirds are light in color, use a clear or white detergent. That lessens the risk of the detergent discoloring your shoes.
How to Wash Allbirds Insoles
Allbirds insoles are made from a foam based on plant oils with a Merino wool upper layer. These can’t be placed in the washing machine and have to be cleaned by hand.
What You Need
- Mild detergent suitable for wool.
- Warm water.
- Soft brush.
- Clean cloth or sponge.
- Soft toothbrush.
What You Do
- Remove the insoles from your shoes.
- Using your soft brush, remove dust and dirt from your insoles.
- Fill a container, your sink or a bucket with warm water.
- Add a small amount of your mild wool detergent and mix well.
- Dip your soft toothbrush in the soap and water solution.
- Gently work the soap into the top of the insoles. Stained areas at the heel and toes might need more attention.
- Turn them over and repeat the process underneath.
- Take a clean cloth or sponge and wet it with fresh warm water.
- Use a damp cloth to remove soap residue from the insoles. Air dry your insoles by laying them flat on a clean surface or a drying rack for clothes.
- Make sure the insoles are completely dry before you pop them back in your shoes.
- Use only as much water as you need to remove the soap and don’t completely soak the insoles.
- If you don’t have a clothes rack, you could use a dish rack for drying.
- You can always use your fingers instead of a toothbrush on the upper layer of the insoles to work the soap into the fabric.
Eliminating Odor From Allbirds
While Merino wool has excellent moisture-wicking properties, there are times when your shoes might get smelly. Baking soda is one solution you can use to help remove odor.
It has deodorizing properties and has been shown to reduce smells in garbage cans as one example. We aren’t implying your feet smell that bad, but baking soda will make them less malodorous.
What You Need
- Baking soda.
- Newspaper or an old towel.
- Sealable container or Ziploc bag.
- Soft brush.
What You Do
- Take the insoles out of your shoes.
- Place them in the container or bag and cover the whole of the material uppers with baking soda. A couple of ounces should be enough.
- Leave the baking soda overnight to do its work.
- Next, place your shoes on some newspaper or an old towel.
- Sprinkle baking soda all over the inside and outside of the shoes.
- Again, leave these to sit overnight.
- Next day, remove shoes and insoles from the baking soda.
- Shake off as much excess as you can.
- Use a soft brush to remove any remaining baking soda.
- Let both air out for about five minutes before replacing the insoles.
- Before using baking soda on them, make sure your shoes and insoles are dry.
- If you don’t have a container or bag then you insoles can be laid on the newspaper or towel with your shoes.
- Banging the soles of the shoes together can help remove some of the baking soda.
- You can use this method to freshen your Allbirds as often as you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Wash Allbirds With Other Clothes?
This depends on what materials are in the clothes. Also, consider whether any of the items are likely to lose some color. Just like you wouldn’t wash dark colors with lights, it might not be advisable to put other clothes in with your Allbirds.
That said, in the absence of a laundry bag, you could place some old white towels in the machine with your Allbirds. This would stop them from rattling around.
Do You Use Detergent When You Wash Allbirds?
Yes, you do use detergent in the washing machine with your Allbirds, but it must be a gentle one suitable for wool. As we mentioned in the washing guide, one like Woolite is a good choice.
Another option if you wanted to follow on with Allbirds’ sustainable, eco-friendly ethos is a detergent like this one from Sonett. It’s 100 percent vegan, non-GMO and certified by Ecogarantie.
How Long Do Allbirds Take to Dry?
Allbirds can take anything up to 48 hours or more to dry completely. Knowing this, it’s a good idea to wash them when you know you won’t want to wear them for a few days.
Can You Put Allbirds in the Washing Machine?
Yes, you can. Nevertheless, make sure you remove the laces and insoles first. Also, don’t forget to select a delicate cycle on a cold water wash.
Now you know all you need about how to wash Allbirds. Whether it’s your Wool Runners, Tree Runners or any other Allbirds sneakers; you can also keep them fresh and free from odor by using baking soda between washes.
We hope you enjoyed our guide and found it helpful and useful. You can go and clean your Allbirds now and let us know how you get on by leaving us a comment.
Don’t forget to share with others so they can have clean Allbirds too.