How to Clean Birkenstock Soles
The Ultimate Guide: How to Clean Birkenstocks and Birkenstock Soles
There is no doubt that Birkenstocks, with their unique and much-loved blend of comfort and style, have become a staple in the wardrobes of people from all walks of life. From the stylish streets of Paris to the sidewalks of suburban Perth, Birkenstocks are for everyone. However, as you stride through life in your favourite pair, they inevitably pick up the dust, stains, and odours of your adventures.
Fear not…in this ultimate guide, we will walk you through the art of cleaning Birkenstocks and their soles, ensuring that your beloved footwear remains as fresh and comfortable as the day you got them.
Understanding Birkenstock Footwear
Before diving into the cleaning process, let's take a moment to appreciate the design elements that make Birkenstocks stand out. Known for their contoured footbeds, quality materials and honed craftsmanship, Birkenstocks do demand a bit of extra care to preserve their unique features. Before you begin, for the first five or six times you wear your new shoes, limit the time to just a few hours. This allows your feet and body to gradually get used to the contoured arch support as well as the straps and buckles.
Importance of Regular Cleaning
Birkenstocks, like any quality footwear, benefit greatly from routine maintenance. Regular cleaning not only keeps them looking pristine but also contributes to their longevity. Think of it as a wellness routine for your shoes!
Step-by-Step Guide: Cleaning Birkenstock Uppers
1. Gather your tools
Start by assembling the necessary supplies: a soft brush, mild soap (mild dishwashing liquid or baby shampoo is perfect) and a damp cloth.
2. Remove loose dirt
Give your Birkenstocks a good shake to get rid of loose dirt and debris. If you’ve chosen suede or nubuck Birkenstocks, brush off any dust or dirt to give yourself a nice blank canvas.
If you’ve chosen smooth leather, EVA or natural leather Birkenstocks, you can remove dust and dirt with a lint-free, slightly damp cloth.
3. Wipe with damp cloth
Using a damp cloth dipped in warm soapy water, gently wipe the upper part of your Birkenstocks. For stubborn stains, a mild soap solution can work wonders. Make sure you do not submerge the uppers in water.
4. Brush away stains
For tougher stains, use a soft brush in a circular motion with extra soap. Be gentle to avoid damaging the material.
5. Remove the lather/soap
Use a clean wet cloth and wash the sandals off with lukewarm water. Do not hold the sandals under running water and ensure that they do not become completely wet.
6. Air dry
Once all the soap/lather has been removed, allow your Birkenstocks to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as they can damage or shrink the materials. Ideally let the sandals dry at room temperature in order to retain their moisture-absorbing qualities. Do not let the sandals dry in the sun or on or near a heater. Birkenstocks should be dried completely after 24 hours.
You can then brush the footbed with a leather brush and close the straps.
Step-by-Step Guide: Cleaning Birkenstock soles
1. Scrubbing away dirt
Start by scrubbing the soles with a brush and soapy water. This is particularly important for the crevices.
2. Removing stubborn stains
For stubborn stains, a mixture of baking soda and water can be applied. Let it sit for a while before scrubbing. Then wash off with a damp cloth - Do not hold the sandals under running water and ensure that they do not become completely wet.
To keep your Birkenstocks smelling fresh, sprinkle baking soda inside them and let it sit overnight. In the morning brush out the baking soda before wearing them again.
Tips for drying and storage
Air dry only: Never use direct heat sources, like hair dryers, as they can warp the materials.
Proper storage: Keep your Birkenstocks in a cool, dry place when not in use, and avoid leaving them in damp conditions.
Dos and Don’ts for cleaning
- Do clean your Birkenstocks regularly.
- Do use a mild soap for cleaning.
- Do air dry your footwear.
- Do store in a well-ventilated area.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals.
- Don’t fully wet or submerge your Birkenstocks in water (unless they are EVA).
- Don’t expose your Birkenstocks to direct sunlight for extended periods.
Extending the lifespan
Before you start wearing your Birkenstocks, why not spray them with a colourless waterproofing spray, available at all good bootmakers or supermarkets (use sparingly and observe application instructions). Only spray the outside and cover the footbed with paper to create a protective barrier between your shoes and the elements. This will also help extend the life of your uppers, especially if you choose a suede finish.