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Get ready for summer: How to clean Birkenstocks

If you’re wondering how to clean smelly Birkenstocks or otherwise get them looking as good as new, this article answers all the key questions.


By Cleanipedia Team

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Birkenstocks are perhaps the most useful pair of shoes in summer, but the extended use of your trusty sandals in the hot weather means they eventually develop a certain odour, which can last for a surprisingly long time. Here’s how to clean Birkenstocks and get your footwear ready for summer. Read on for our key cleaning Birkenstocks FAQs!

Avoid anything too vigorous when it comes to cleaning Birkenstocks; gentle techniques work best for preserving these popular shoes.

How to clean smelly Birkenstocks

There are a few different options when it comes to how to clean smelly Birkenstocks. You could opt to use Birkenstock’s own ‘Cleaner and Refresher’ odour-eater product. Simply wipe over shoes and then remove with a clean cloth.

If you’re wondering how to wash Birkenstocks with a really ingrained smell you could also try the teabag trick. Simply get two PG Tips or any one you have to hand and place it on the soles of the Birkenstocks. Leave for 24 hours and re-check. If the smell has gone, voilà – job done. If not, leave for a little longer. The trick with teabags is that they attract moisture outside of the shoe. It’s moisture that leads to bacteria, which in turn makes shoes smell, which is why this is such a useful trick.

If you find yourself cleaning Birkenstocks all the time, try simply leaving teabags in your shoes whenever you’re not wearing them to help prevent the build-up of any odour in the first place.

How to clean Birkenstock sandals that are stained

Staining that happens to the leather part of the Birkenstock can usually be removed with a warm damp cloth. Simply wipe the stain until it comes off. Usually this should happen quite easily, but if you’re having trouble, add a little dab of laundry detergent to the cloth (be sure to check manufacturers’ instructions beforehand and, if in doubt, do a patch test on an unseen part of the shoe first).

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How to clean Birkenstock footbed

It’s often this area of your Birkenstocks that gets the most worn, pressed hard as it is against your feet. To clean Birkenstock foot bed areas, start by eradicating any visible dirt. This can be done with a damp cloth if the stain is dried in, or with a soft-bristled brush. Be sure not to scrub too hard as this can damage the material. Follow this by using a suede brush (you can purchase these online if you don’t already have one) to restore the natural softness of the Birkenstock foot bed.

Can you wash Birkenstocks in a washing machine?

Unfortunately not. The leather straps are too fragile for a machine wash, and the washing machine itself could be damaged by the tossing and turning of the drum. Follow the steps above to remove odour and revitalise the Birkenstock foot bed. If you’re worried about pebbles or other foreign objects getting stuck in the shoe, use a small pair of tweezers to gently get them out.

Birkenstocks are some of the most versatile and hardy summer shoes. By showing them a little bit of love you can ensure they stay in tip top condition and are good to get your feet wherever they need to go.

Key steps

If you want to know how to clean Birkenstock sandals, here are the key things to consider:

  1. Never put Birkstenstocks in the washing machine or tumble dryer, as the force is just too much for these shoes.

  2. Clean leather straps with a damp cloth – wipe over gently to remove any stains.

  3. There are a few different techniques for getting rid of odours – try teabags or Birkenstock’s own odour-reducing cleaning product.

Originally published