How to clean flip flops – using simple materials in summer

Flip flops and sandals are trendy in summer. You’ll get the opportunity to put away those bulky winter boots and socks. You can then free your legs and feet with any loose and comfortable footwear of your choice.  Going to the beach, swimming pools, and outing at a barbecue are great summer hangouts to flaunt your flip flops.

Though the flip flops and sandals are free and comfortable to the feet, they have some problems. From the summer comes heat which makes our body and feet sweaty. This results in dirty and smelly flip flops, sandals, and shoes. Thus, must learn how to clean flip flops.

In this article, we’ll explain how to clean and freshen your flip flops with simple materials like baking soda and others. Also, you’ll understand how to restore the whiteness of that old dirty favorite pair of white flip flops.

What is the best way to clean flip flop?

Besides learning how to clean flip flops, you’ll especially need to take care of your foot. There are several ways to clean your flip flops and make them last longer. Below are some of the ways to clean your rubber, suede, and leather flip flops and sandals:
1.    Baking Soda Cleaning
2.    Use of dishwasher
3.    Use of washing machine
4.    Hand washing
5.    Sandpaper cleaning

Baking Soda Cleaning

The cleaning ability of baking soda powder can never be overestimated. It’s the best cleaning choice for your flip flops. It’s simple to use as well as cheap. Using baking soda in cleaning your flip flops removes dirt and grimes from the sweaty feet. The powder also deals with the irritating smell on your footwear.

You’ll first fill a basin, bathtub, or bucket with warm water. Make sure you avoid using hot water. Add some baking soda powder to the warm water and soak your flip flops for some minutes (at least 5 to 7 minutes). Using an old toothbrush, scrub the flip flop entirely, not leaving out the soles. Rinse with cold or warm water and sun-dry.

Alternatively, you can make a paste using baking soda, some salt, and little water. Then, scrub your flip flops with the paste using an old toothbrush. Afterward, rinse and dry under the sun. Scrubbing with the paste form of the baking soda is preferable where the funky smell is persistent.

Use of dishwasher

This is completely ideal for rubber flip flops and sandals. It’s one of the easiest methods to clean your footwear. To use a dishwasher in washing your flip flops, you’ll set the control on the regular cycle. You can add some dish soap to level off the dirt from the flops. Though a dishwasher can also remove the foul odor from your flip flops, it’s not as effective as baking soda.

Use of washing machine

You can use a washing machine to clean your bunch of rubber flip flops in the absence of a dishwasher. Its usage is also easy and simple. Use cold water if you want to clean your flip flops with the washing machine. Warm water has the potential of damaging the material used for the flops. Make sure to use the delicate or warm setting of the washing machine while cleaning your flip flop.

Never add a bleaching substance, but a laundry detergent or dish soap is perfect. Little addition of vinegar before the wash will take care of any irritating odor. Also, avoid the use of a dryer on your flip flops. It’s a quick way of damaging the footwear. When the washing cycle completes, take the flops outside. Using a hosepipe, spray some water on them to remove any clinging dirt. You can dry the flip flops with a clean towel to remove excess water before putting them under the sun for complete drying. Also, the sun rays eliminate bacteria on your flip flops and sandals. You may also air dry the flip flops.

Hand washing

In the absence of a dishwasher and a washing machine, hand washing is another way to clean your dirty flip flops. In the process of cleaning, you’ll first soak the flip flops with warm water and detergent or antibacterial soap for few minutes in the water. The use of antibacterial soap has the advantage of eliminating bacteria that are on flip flops or sandals. Where you didn’t soak the flops, use hot instead of warm water. You will have to scrub the flip flops with a soft sponge or clean rag especially, the bottom and the soles, during hand washing.

Finally, you’ll use hand soap and an old toothbrush to clean the flip flops. Wet the brush with water and scrub on the soap. Then scrub the flops with the brush. You’ll repeat the procedure until the entire flops are scrubbed. Rinse with either cold or warm, clean water. Then, damp clean with a towel and keep them outside for the sun to dry.

Sandpaper cleaning

Don’t think that this’s weird or off the point. You can actually use sandpaper to clean your sandal that has suede insoles. However, you’ll ensure to use sandpaper that has fine grit. With gentle scrubbing, you’ll be able to remove the layers of dirt on the insoles of your sandals and flip flops.

Also, you can use dish soap and an old toothbrush or sponge to scrub the insoles in warm water. Make sure that the scrubbing is gentle and that the soap has no smell or dyes.

Leather flip flops and sandal cleaning

Cleaning your flip flops and sandal with saddle soap is a great way to remove odors and soften the leather material of the flops. It also keeps the flops so clean and bright like a new one. To use, you’ll apply the saddle soap on a damp cloth. Then rub on the leather of the flip flops or sandal to remove the dirt. Also, you can mix vinegar with little water to clean the outside of the leather flops with a soft cloth.

Before cleaning, you’ll first check if your flops are made with treated leather material or not.

To do that, spray a drop of water on the leather. If the leather doesn’t absorb the water but allows it to bead up, then it’s treated. More about leather cleaning you can check in my previous article.

How do I stop my flip flops from smelling?

It’s very irritating to perceive the awful odor of any smelly flip flops or sandals. Such smell results from sweaty feet while wearing the flops. Without the proper care and precautions, you’ll always get such a smell from your flops, especially during summer.
You can use the following steps to stop your flops from smelling:
• Always keep your feet dry before wearing your flops to avoid foot funk and smelly flops.
• Put your flip flops outside in the sun to dry right away after use.
• Sprinkle baking soda powder on the footbed and leave it overnight. This removes the wetness of sweats and eliminates bad odor from your flops.
• Where you don’t like powder on your flops you can mix one-part white vinegar with three-part water and use. Spray the mixture on the footbed of the flops using a spray bottle. Keep the flops outside to dry under the sun.

How do you freshen flip flops?

Freshening your flip flops is very easy and simple to do. Also, the good news is that you can achieve that using your normal home ingredients; vinegar or baking soda powder. Whether you’re cleaning your flops using a dishwasher, washing machine, or by hand wash, adding a cup of vinegar creates the freshening magic. You can also use the baking soda and toothbrush scrubbing pattern to get a more satisfying effect. This makes your flops looking just like a new one.

How do I get my white flip flops white again?

Seeing your favorite white flip flops or shoes losing the whiteness due to dirt and stains can be saddening. Don’t worry; you can get back the white color.
Follow these simple steps to get white flops and shoes white again:
• First, wash the flops to remove dirt and mud using a utility sink or outside with a spray hosepipe.
• Make a mixture of one-part baking soda powder with one-and-half-part laundry detergent.
• Then with an old toothbrush, scrub the flops or shoes using the powder mixture to remove all dirt and stains.
• Leave the flops or shoes to sit for few minutes. This gives the baking soda time to whiten the flop or shoe again completely.
• Rinse the soda mixture completely off your flop using warm water. You can clean the flops or shoes with laundry detergent and a clean rag to whiten them.

How do you clean white plastic shoes?

To clean your plastic shoes, follow the same steps and pattern for rubber ones. Plastic shoes like crocs are easy to clean by hand washing or wipe-cleaning. While cleaning them, avoid the use of a washing machine and hot water.
For cleaning white plastic shoes, use a mixture of baking soda powder and hydrogen peroxide. Scrub with an old toothbrush as usual and rinse. A mixture of equal parts of water and bleach will also give you the result.


Taking good care of both your foot and your footwear is very necessary for maintaining good foot hygiene. Always try and keep your feet dry from sweat to reduce the grimy issues related to footwear. Since you’ll likely be going out without socks during summer, wearing and caring for your flip flop is inevitable. When you follow our guide in this article, you’ll never be bothered about how to freshen or whiten your footwear again.

Leave a Comment