How To Wash Slippers - The Right Way To Clean Slippers

How To Wash Slippers - The Right Way To Clean Slippers

Your slippers are your everything, aren’t they? Your sole-mates. They always have your back, are there whenever you need them, bright and happy, trusty sidekicks through and through. Be it rain, slushy and muddy, the beach, sandy and grimy, or just floating around town, your faithful slippers are never far from sight. Summer without slippers sounds just as right as freshly baked bread without butter – the shock! 

It’s only natural then, that they get dirty too. While protecting your feet from everything you walk on, they pick up a lot of unwanted stuff. Stuff that can range from dirt, pure and simple, to unwelcome pathogens. Yes, pathogens! Those pesky, vexatious microorganisms that hitch a ride and can cause a whole host of illnesses. Bacteria and fungi too, can thrive on slippers that haven’t seen washing soap ever since they were bought.

How to clean slippers


With bacterial and fungal growth comes an awfully pungent smell that we all know. When that pervasive odour punches it's way gleefully into yours and others’ unsuspecting nostrils, we bet nobody is happy. Being the root cause of it can be embarrassing, and nobody wants to be known as that smelly shoe person, right? So, the question is how to how to clean smelly slippers...

How to clean a smelly slippers is probably something we should all look up once in a while and follow through on too! Let’s first have a look at why we should clean slippers that don’t look dirty and of course, clean smelly slippers, every 2-3 weeks

Why Cleaning Your Slippers Regularly Is a Good Idea

Can you wash slippers?


Some of us don’t really clean our slippers unless they’ve got visibly dirty in some activity or the other, right? Unless they have a smattering of mud or caked, crusty dirt on them or the soles, we don’t usually take a brush to them and scrub like we might other items that go on our person. (Rinsing them in the rain you got caught in or dipping your toes in the ocean doesn’t really count as washing them - we caught you out, didn’t we!) This isn’t the best course of action, as you’re well aware. If you think the loo is the place full of the most germs, think again! Let’s get a little into why that is.

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’

First are their aesthetic appeal. No one likes a lovely red slipper looking grey and dirty, with that horrible dirty footprint on it. We need to be regularly scrubbing and washing slippers with rubber soles so that they never get to that dreadful stage. With frequent wear comes a natural fade, so don’t worry too much about that. Buying the best quality slippers however, will lessen the fade to a large degree so do check out our range of slides and flip flops if yours have that ‘taking their last breath’ look!

Bacterial and Fungal Growth

As mentioned previously, bacterial and fungal growth are rife on unwashed, grimy slippers. When we wear our slippers on a regular basis, we sweat. And that’s only natural, everyone sweats! However, what shouldn’t be natural is continuing to wear the slippers even after a sweaty walk or day out in the sun. You wouldn’t wear the same smelly socks you wore to the gym before washing them, right? Same goes!

Fungal infections that affect toenails can linger for many years. If you’ve ever had to google how to get smell out of slippers, one of the first pieces of advice you might find is that you may have an untreated fungal infection that’s causing the smell in the first place.

The soles of shoes and slippers have been known to be carrying vectors of many kinds of diseases. The ubiquitous practice in India of leaving the shoes we wear outside the house at the door and changing into home use slippers is an age-old, and very healthy one. Bacteria like E. coli, widespread as it is, can be found on your slippers’ soles at any time if you don’t regularly wash them! This can be particularly unhealthy and harmful if you have a toddler or crawling baby at home. We all know what happens to things lying around within reach – straight into that cute little gurgling mouth! This is definitely something to be avoided. Little children have immune systems that haven’t quite developed yet, and they can pick up all kinds of germs from the ground. 

If you have dogs and cats, pathogens can affect them as well. Canine parvovirus, a potentially fatal viral infection that affects young puppies, can be tracked into your house through the soles of your shoes (if you have visited an area which has puppies that are infected). It is highly infectious and can put older, unvaccinated dogs at risk too. Better not to take a risk at all, leave your shoes outside your living space and wash, wash, wash! Can you put slippers in the washing machine? Yes! Can you wash slippers with normal soap, or do you need special soap? Read on for our guide on how to clean stinky slippers, slippers that are dirty, and slippers made from different materials!


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How To Get Smell Out Of Slippers?

Hand-wash slippers that aren’t too smelly!

The best way to wash slippers, your not-so-smelly ones, is to do it by hand. This is a method for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty – literally.

1. Fill up some warm or cold water in a basin or the sink – using hot water is a no-no, as the heat can warp the shape of your slippers.

2. Add a few drops of mild/gentle washing soap – don’t use strong detergents because these can be harmful for your feet in the long-term if the chemicals linger in the footbed.

3. Dampen your slippers with water and place them in the soapy solution.

4. Let your slippers lie in the water for 15-20 minutes, longer if they’re rubber, soaking in the cleaning mixture.

5. You can then use an old toothbrush (or your fingers) to scrub the sole, footbed and upper straps of your slippers or slides thoroughly, making sure to get all the grime out.

6. Rinse and repeat if you think they aren’t clean enough.

7. Leave them out to air dry in the shade – never squeeze your slippers because this can cause them to become misshapen, especially since you have just washed them and they are softer than before. Strong sunshine can also cause the ink on graphic flip flops and slides to fade – avoid this too! Leave them to air dry and you’re ready to wear your freshly washed slippers within a few hours!

The question is how to clean slippers? 

How to wash memory foam slippers? You can use a similar method – we highly recommend washing them by hand because any other method, like the washing machine method, can lead to a complete change of shape. Memory foam slippers might not soak in the tub or sink like you want them to as they’re so lightweight, they might float. If that’s the case, you can put a weight on them, like a rock or a heavy jug – something that won’t break – to help them sink to the bottom. After that, continue with all the same steps as before to have your lovely slippers looking (and smelling) as fresh as a daisy!

How To Clean Slippers That Smell - The Lowdown

If your slippers have a relentlessly funky odour clinging to them, you might need to employ a different trick. Here are a few tricks and tips we think everyone should know!

how to clean smelly slippers


Baking Soda - The Wonder Bicarbonate: Everyone who bakes, and many who may not, knows what baking soda is. Easily found in your kitchen, it’s one of the easiest things to use to clean your slippers too! It has a plethora of benefits and can be used to clean a wide array of things in and around your house. Inexpensive, easy to use and eco-friendly, what more can you ask for in a cleaning agent? Let’s focus on how to wash slippers with rubber soles with baking soda.

1. Rinse your slippers with cold water, you can use warm water, but never hot.

2. Put your slippers somewhere that you can clean later, as some baking soda might spill out and over – maybe an old towel or mat, or even the floor of your bathing area/shower.

3. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of baking soda all over the slippers – let this settle in for 10 minutes to half an hour, depending on the smell.

4. You can then use a brush with soft bristles, your fingers, or a cloth to scrub away the grime and the soda. The soda would have worked its magic by this point – say bye bye to that smell! Until the next time they’re due for a wash.

Is a baking soda treatment the answer to how to clean slippers, specifically how to clean inside of slippers that smell a lot? Yes, but we have a few more tips!

1. Add a few drops of an essential oil you like, sandalwood or lavender, to the footbed of your slippers every week.

2. You can blow-dry the insides of your slippers if you feel like they need some extra fresh air.

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How To Wash Slippers That Smell - The Leather and Suede Version

Leather and suede slippers don’t like the water, as they stain quite marvelously. For these materials, you can use vinegar – yet another useful kitchen item, sustainable and wonderfully cheap – and/or rubbing alcohol to get stains and dirt marks off.

1. Be careful not to douse your slippers with vinegar or rubbing alcohol: dip a cloth first and then use that to clean your slippers.

2. Cleaning suede slippers is easy this way, as even sweat stains can come off. Mind you, if they haven’t been cleaned for a long while, you might need to scrub for quite some time!

3. Let them air dry in indirect sunlight or in the shade – these slippers too can lose their shape. If you’re worried about them retaining their shape, crumple up some newspaper and insert it near the toe area – this will help them stay perfect. This works for rubber, foam, EVA flip flops and slides as well.

4. You could even buy yourself footbed cleaners for suede and leather slippers if you like!

How To Wash Slippers
Can you put slippers in the washing machine?

How to Wash Slippers in Washing Machine

The solution of how to clean slippers lies in one of the easiest ways. That is to clean plain, basic slippers is to bung your rubber slippers in washing machine! Can you wash slippers in the washing machine, you may ask incredulously? The answer is yes! Most rubber and foam slippers can be washed this way. Suede and leather slippers should stay as far away from water as you can manage! Vegan leather is waterproof, but we recommend hand washing those, they will look less frayed if you do so.

1. Best way to wash slippers is to dampen your slippers with water, give them a quick rinse so that any particularly dirty grimy stuff comes off, then toss them in the washing machine.

2. You can wash them with other things like bath mats, or dirty jeans etc. because your machine shouldn’t run empty either!

3. Your setting for the wash should be on a gentle/delicate one, with no spin at all – the spin feature is yet another way to completely distort the shape of your new slippers.

4. Add gentle washing soap, it can be liquid or a powder, but make sure it isn’t very strong.

5. Make sure the cycle is on cold water – no more than 40 degrees.

6. Let the cycle finish, take them out and let them air dry!

7. If you think your slippers haven’t come out as clean as you’d like them to be, we recommend giving them a quick scrub with a toothbrush before you put them in the washing machine. This will remove any excess grime as well. You can also use the handy baking soda method to make sure that hideous smell that emanates can go far, far away!