Flip flops and sandals are great. They are comfortable, they are breathable, and they are about as casual a pair of shoes as you can put on your feet. Dirty flip flops are a nightmare, however. They make your feet look dirty and unpleasant, and ingrained dirt can ruin and destroy your flip flops incredibly quickly! Learning how to clean flip flops can help with comfort, style, cleanliness, and hygiene, as well as making sure that your chosen pair of rubber flip flops lasts as long as possible before they eventually fall apart.

We have put together a guide to the best way to clean flip flops in the comfort of your own home without needing to buy specialist cleaning equipment from a shop or online .com store. We will cover essential equipment, top tips, and extra products for the best cleaning results. So familiarise yourself with our privacy policy, get your dirty flip flops ready, and read on below to learn everything you might ever need to know about cleaning shoes!

Cleaning Flip Flops by Hand

All you will need for cleaning your flip flops or sandals by the handwashing method is some hot clean water, dish soap, a bar of soap, a sponge, and an old toothbrush. Make sure the sponge and toothbrush are old and clean and that you are not going to use them again for your dishes and teeth! First, soak your old sponge in warm water with a small amount of dish soap added. Then, rub the sponge against your flip flop sandals vigorously to wash off the worst of the dirt.

You might need to scrub quite hard for effective cleaning, as it will take a little while for all of the dirt to soften up enough that you can remove it. One of the top tips to follow at this stage is that if you can’t get rid of all the dirt, leave it to soak in the warm water for a little while, and it will soften up and come slightly loose, making it easier for you to use your cleaning sponge to remove the mud from your flip flops.

Next, it is time to try cleaning your flip flop with a clean toothbrush (but not a new one, unless it’s a cheap one that you don’t mind ruining!). Wet your toothbrush with clean water, and then scrub it against a bar of soap for a little bit to work up a lather before cleaning. Then, you can just scrub your soapy brush against your flip flop, working the soap into all of the cracks as effectively as possible.

Don’t use too much pressure, particularly if you are cleaning leather sandals, but make sure you try to get into every seam and corner of your foot wear. This will probably take several minutes, but keep going and work carefully to clean slowly and methodically for the best possible results.

For the finishing cleaning touches, you are going to want to wet a towel or cloth in clean, hot water. You don’t need any soap products for this stage, although you may find that a little bit of soap will help to remove the last few stubborn traces of dirt in a more easy way. Wipe any remaining spots of dirt with your hot, damp cloth, and try to scrub away the last traces using gentle pressure. Let the heat do the work as much as you can!

After you have followed these cleaning tips to remove dirt and clean your flip flops, just leave them somewhere warm and well ventilated in your home to dry. Keep them away from direct heat sources such as radiators, as if you let them get too hot while they dry, then the leather, glue, and rubber involved will fatigue and be ruined. Instead, be patient and let them air dry gently, and soon enough, you will find that they will be dry and ready to wear, looking like new once again.

Machine Washing Flip Flops

An easy way to clean flip flops and other shoes, either leather or rubber, in the comfort of your own house is to use your washing machine. This option will work well to clean both leather sandals and rubber flip flops, as well as any other sort of shoes, whether made from leather or synthetic material. Just throw your shoes into the washing machine on their own, as they will ruin and damage any other clothes included in a laundry load with it. Just put your shoes in the washing machine on their own, with no clothes, color catchers, fabric softeners, or anything else like that.

Just drop your flip flops into the standard washing machine in your house, using a little laundry detergent, and run it on a cold water cycle (preferably without any spin function at all, as this can damage the footwear). Only use a little bit of laundry soap, as too much will cause damage to your flip flops and shoes. Run your flip flops through the washing machine on a short cycle, and then take them outside your house and grab your hosepipe for a rinse (alternatively, you can use a fairly powerful home shower head for this step).

Blast your shoes with cold water from the shower or hose for a few minutes, taking care to blast away any visible dirt you can find in view. If there is any left after that, you can remove the last scraps with a quick scrub from a soft brush. But keep an eye on the material of your flip flops, as a stiff brush can damage them unless you take good care!

Deep Cleaning Flip Flops

Deep cleaning tips for flip flops will take a bit longer than other methods but can still be done at home without needing to buy any cleaner products from a shop or .com online store like amazon .com. Deep cleaning your flip flops occasionally will help to extend their life as long as possible, and a few minutes’ extra cleaning work every so often will save you a lot of time overall and will help the life of one pair of shoes to last longer before you have to buy another new pair of shoes.

The first cleaning step is to rinse off your shoes. Use cold, plain water, and just try to deal with the largest clumps of grime that you can see when you view your flip flops. This step of the cleaning tips is only the first one, so don’t worry if you can still see mud and marks on your flip flops that won’t come loose at this point.

The later steps in this tips list will include all the products you need to get rid of the last bits of grime, leaving your shoes looking clean and fresh to view once again. Then, submerge them completely for a long, soaking wash in warm, soapy water. Any sort of gentle cleaner will be fine here. Leave them for a couple of hours, or you may even want to leave them longer before the next cleaning stage of the process.

After a few hours, fish them out of the water and give them a good solid scrub to wash off all the rest of the grime. After being soaked, you should find that most of the grime will scrub right off with no problem, making your flip flops acceptable to wear again. Then, all you have to do is repeat the process until you are satisfied with your cleaning process and are sure that the shoes are fully clean, and you will be ready to dry them again.

Cleaning Bad Smells from Flip Flops

If your flip flops smell terrible, don’t worry! It is entirely possible to remove that smell with a bit of dedicated cleaning and some baking soda. All you have to do is wet your flip flops a bit, just like in any other cleaning method, and sprinkle a tablespoon or so of baking soda onto them. Leave the baking soda for anywhere between a few minutes and a whole hour, and then try cleaning it off.

If there is still a smell, just repeat the baking soda cleaning method, leaving it for a bit longer before you clean up the baking soda this time. In desperate cases, adding a bit of vinegar to the water you use for this cleaning step can make a big difference to how quickly you can clean the odors out of your footwear.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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