How to Wash and Care for Allbirds Sneakers

Light blue Allbirds sneakers being cleaned with bristled brush

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $10

Allbirbirds is an American-New Zealander company that offers specialized casual shoes with uppers made eucalyptus fibers, wool, or a eucalyptus/wool blend. Because of this unique construction, special washing methods are required. For example, the water-repellant Mizzle collection should be hand-washed unless they are extremely soiled, in order to protect the water-repellant finish. All other styles of Allbirds sneakers—wool, eucalyptus (TENCEL™ Lyocell), and wool/TENCEL™ blends—can be machine-washed in cold water using gentle detergent after first removing the inner soles and laces. If you do not have a washing machine, the shoes can be hand-washed in a sink or large plastic tub.

Learn how to wash all types of Allbirds footwear to remove dirt, stains, and odor.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washing machine
  • Sink or large plastic tub
  • Soft-bristled nylon brush
  • Mesh delicates bag or pillowcase
  • Small bowl
  • Clothes drying rack
  • Microfiber towel

Materials

  • Gentle or mild detergent

Instructions

How to Wash Allbirds Sneakers
Detergent Gentle detergent
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Gentle
Drying Cycle Air-dry only
Special Treatment Place shoes in a mesh delicates bag; handwash insoles and laces
Iron Settings N/A
How Often to Wash Whenever shoes are visibly soiled or smelly
Materials and tools to clean Allbirds sneakers

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

How to Wash Allbirds Sneakers

  1. Prepare the Shoes

    If you have a style that features laces, remove them. Remove the innersole from all styles before washing. Innersoles and laces should be hand-washed.

    Allbirds inner sole and laces removed before cleaning

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Wash the Laces

    In a small bowl, mix some warm water and a few drops of laundry detergent. Add the laces and let them soak while you wash the shoes. After soaking for at least 15 minutes, squeeze the soapy solution through the laces to help release the soil. Rinse in warm or cool water and hang the laces from a drying rack to air-dry.

    Allbirds laces soaking in small bowl of soapy water

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Check for Visible Stains

    If your shoes have heavy soil or visible food stains, place a dab of gentle laundry detergent directly on the soiled area. Use your fingers or a soft-bristled nylon brush (an old toothbrush works great) to gently work the detergent into the sneaker fabric. Let it work for at least 15 minutes to begin breaking down the soil before adding the shoes to the washer.

    Light blue Allbirds shoes being scrubbed with soft-bristled nylon brush

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Select the Washer Settings and Detergent

    The washer should be set to the gentle cycle with the water temperature on cold. Use a mild detergent recommended for delicates or wool (Woolite, Castile soap, wool wash).

    Washing machine set to gentle cycle

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  5. Use a Mesh Delicates Bag

    Place the shoes in a mesh delicates bag before placing them in the washer. If you don't have a mesh bag, use an old pillowcase. Knot the open end or tie closed with a piece of cotton twine. The shoes can be washed with similar colorfast fabrics.

    Allbirds placed in mesh delicates bag for washing

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  6. Handwash the Insoles

    The insoles in Allbirds are made from wool and plant-oil based insole foam. They should be gently hand-washed to prevent damage to the foam.

    1. Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add the insoles. Apply a few drops of a gentle detergent to the wool layer of the insole.
    2. Work in the detergent with your fingers to create a few suds. Work gently, do not twist or wring the insole.
    3. Rinse well with warm or cool water and blot the insole between layers of a towel.
    4. Wool is easily damaged when it's wet, so blotting the insole instead of rolling it is less likely to cause damage. Allow the insoles to air-dry outside of the shoes. Never place them in a dryer—the heat will ruin the foam.

    Tip

    If your insoles are stinky, add a few drops of tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil to the detergent. You can also purchase custom replacement insoles for all styles of Allbirds.

    Black insoles hand-washed in yellow bucket with soapy water

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  7. Air Dry

    Once you have machine-washed or hand-washed the shoes, they should NEVER be placed in an automatic dryer. Allow them to air-dry on a drying rack.

    To speed the drying time, shake excess water from the shoes. Blot the shoe with a microfiber towel to absorb some of the moisture. Remove the shoes from the towel and allow them to air-dry. Add a circulating fan to improve airflow but do not apply heat from a hairdryer or other heating element.

    Cleaned Allbirds shoes placed on drying rack to air dry

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  8. Reassemble the Shoes

    Once the laces, insoles, and shoes are completely dry, reassemble the shoes.

    Allbirds shoes reassembled with cleaned laces and insoles

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

What Are Allbirds Sneakers?

The Allbirds shoe company was started in 2014 by co-founders Tim Brown (a New Zealander) and Joey Zwillinger (an American renewable resources expert) in an effort to make a shoe company that is as close as possible to "zero carbon" in its manufacturing process and choice of materials. The company's shoes all use renewable fabric in the uppers, and soles made from recycled rubber. Even the inner soles are environmentally friendly, constructed of a special foam made from the oils of Brazilian sugar cane.

The company now offers a diverse line of casual and athletic shoes with uppers created from eucalyptus, wool, or a blend of eucalyptus and wool fibers. They are an excellent choice for consumers seeking products that are friendly to the environment.

The name Allbirds comes from the fact that New Zealand has almost no native land mammals; the country often seems to be "all birds."

Treating Stains on Allbird Sneakers

Generally, pretreating stains with a small dab of gentle laundry detergent worked with a soft-bristle brush before washing is enough to remove stains. Be wary of using chemical spot removers; before use, check for color fastness on a less-visible portion of the shoe, such as the tongue.

Allbird Care and Repairs

If possible, the shoes should be allowed to dry thoroughly between wearing to give the fibers time to recover. This can take as many as two days in humid weather.

Allbirds offers a 30-day return policy on their shoes. If there is a needed repair, contact the company directly. Should the insert soles wear out, the company offers replacement soles you can purchase.

Storing Allbird Sneakers


Store Allbird sneakers in a breathable cotton bag to protect them from dust while allowing air circulation that will prevent mildew.

How Often to Wash Allbird Sneakers

It's best to wash your Allbird sneakers before they get heavily soiled. Your shoes will last the longest if you wash them by hand, no more than once a month, and less frequently if possible.

Tips for Washing Allbird Sneakers

  • Make sure to remove the laces and inner soles and wash them separately. These components use special materials that can be damaged by machine washing.
  • Never use chlorine bleach on Allbirds sneakers, as it may damage the fabric of the uppers and the plant-based foam used for the inner soles.
  • Shoes must be fully dry before wearing them—this can take as much as two days.
  • Never use fabric softener when machine-washing these shoes. It may leave a residue that discolors the fabric.
FAQ
  • How can I remove odors from my Allbirds sneakers?

    Shoes that seem clean visually but have odors can be freshened by sprinkling the inside with baking soda, storing them with dryer sheets tucked inside them, or gently wiping them down with rubbing alcohol or vinegar.


  • Is it best to wear socks while wearing Allbirds?

    Allbirds have uppers with a smooth inner texture that is designed for comfort when wearing them without socks. But wearing socks will prevent the shoes from absorbing sweat, reducing the need to wash them.

  • Will Allbirds shoes shrink if they are machine-washed?

    Provided you wash them in cold water and air dry them, these shoes do not shrink if they are machine-washed.

  • How do I get my Allbirds sneakers white again?

    Using chlorine bleach is not recommended, so the official company recommendation is to use a spot stain remover to eliminate any discoloration before washing the shoes as usual. Spot removers should be tested for color fastness before use.