Cleaning Chacos: Can You Safely Machine Wash Your Favorite Footwear?

Can I wash my Chacos in the washing machine? – Expert advice

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to washing your Chacos. Chacos are durable and versatile sandals that are popular with outdoor enthusiasts and the fashion conscious alike. However, after extensive use, your Chacos may get dirty and need to be cleaned. Many Chaco owners wonder if it’s safe to clean their sandals in the washing machine, and in this article we provide expert advice to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Chacos and their materials

Before we delve into the topic of washing chacos, it’s important to understand the materials used in their construction. Chacos are typically made with durable materials such as polyester or nylon webbing for the straps, a rubber outsole, and a polyurethane footbed. These materials are chosen to withstand outdoor conditions and provide comfort and support.

Now that you understand the materials used in Chacos, let’s discuss whether they are safe to machine wash.

Factors to consider before washing Chacos in the washing machine

While it may seem convenient to wash your Chacos in the washing machine, there are a few factors to consider before proceeding:

1. Manufacturer’s recommendations: It’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for cleaning your Chacos. Some manufacturers may specifically state whether machine washing is acceptable or provide alternative cleaning methods.

2. Condition of your Chacos: Evaluate the condition of your Chacos before deciding to wash them in the washing machine. If your sandals have excessive wear, loose seams, or damaged components, it’s best to avoid machine washing as it can exacerbate these problems.

3. Type of washing machine: Consider the type of washing machine you have. Front-loading machines, which are generally gentler on fabrics, are preferable to top-loading machines. Also, make sure your machine has a delicate or gentle cycle option to minimize the risk of damage.

4. Webbing and Buckles: Chacos often have adjustable straps and buckles. Before washing, be sure to secure the webbing and fasten the buckles properly to prevent tangling or damage during the wash cycle.

How to wash Chacos in the washing machine

Once you’ve considered all the necessary factors and decided to machine wash your Chacos, follow these steps:

1. Pre-treatment: Before putting your Chacos in the washing machine, remove any excess dirt or debris from the sandals. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the straps, footbed and outsole to loosen dirt and grime.

2. Secure and protect: Make sure the straps are securely fastened and all buckles or adjustable components are properly closed. This step will help prevent tangling and potential damage to the sandals during the wash cycle. It’s also a good idea to place your Chacos in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase for an extra layer of protection.

3. Choose the right cycle: Choose a gentle or delicates cycle on your washing machine. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach as they can damage the materials of your Chacos. Instead, choose a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics or consider using a special sportswear cleaner.
4. Wash with care: Once the cycle is selected, start the washer. Monitor the process to ensure that the Chacos are not overly agitated or tangled. If possible, pause the cycle during the rinse to inspect the sandals and untangle any straps if necessary.

5. Air dry: After the wash cycle is complete, remove the Chacos from the washer and allow them to air dry naturally. Avoid direct heat sources such as radiators or hair dryers as they can damage the materials.

Alternative cleaning methods for Chacos

If you don’t feel comfortable using a washing machine, or if your Chacos are not machine washable, there are alternative cleaning methods you can try:

1. Hand wash: Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently scrub the straps, footbed and outsole with a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

2. Spot cleaning: For localized stains or dirt, use a mild soap or special Chaco cleaner and a soft brush to spot clean the affected areas. Apply the cleaner to the brush and gently scrub the stains. Rinse with water and air dry.
3. Sun drying: On a sunny day, you can leave your Chacos outside to dry. Sunlight can help eliminate moisture and odors naturally. However, avoid exposing your sandals to direct sunlight for extended periods of time as this may cause fading or damage.

4. Odor Control: If your Chacos have developed an unpleasant odor, you can sprinkle baking soda on the footbed and straps. Let it sit overnight, then brush off the baking soda and wipe the sandals clean with a damp cloth.

Bottom line

In conclusion, while it is generally safe to wash your Chacos in the washing machine, there are several factors to consider before proceeding. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and assess the condition of your sandals. If you decide to machine wash your Chacos, secure the straps and use a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Alternatively, you can hand wash or spot clean if machine washing is not an option. By following these expert tips, you can keep your Chacos clean and maintain their durability and aesthetic appeal for years to come.


Can I wash my Chacos in the washer?

Yes, you can wash your Chacos in the washer, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take certain precautions.

Are all Chacos suitable for machine washing?

Not all Chacos are suitable for machine washing. Some Chaco models have leather components or delicate materials that may be damaged in the washer. It’s essential to check the care instructions specific to your Chaco sandals.

How do I prepare my Chacos for machine washing?

Prior to washing, remove any loose dirt or debris by gently brushing your Chacos with a soft brush. Secure any straps or buckles to prevent tangling or damage during the wash cycle.

Can I use regular detergent to wash my Chacos?

It’s generally recommended to use a mild detergent while washing Chacos. Harsh detergents or bleach can potentially damage the materials. Refer to the care instructions provided by Chaco or use a gentle detergent specifically designed for outdoor gear.

What cycle should I use to wash my Chacos?

Use a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water when washing your Chacos. High heat or rigorous cycles may cause excessive wear or damage to the sandals. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach.

Can I put my Chacos in the dryer after washing?

No, it’s not recommended to put Chaco sandals in the dryer. The heat and tumbling action can warp or shrink the materials. Instead, let your Chacos air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

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