Flip flops are such light, small shoes that it’s easy to slip them on and throw them off throughout the summer months… And forget to clean them!
They might not look dirty or grimy. But when they’ve had your feet in them for weeks or months on end, we can guarantee they’re not clean.
Thankfully, there are multiple easy ways to clean flip-flops without damaging them.
They’re also so simple that you can do it every other day, to make sure you’re walking around in shoes that aren’t going to compromise your foot health!
Easy Ways to Clean Flip Flops
Cleaning your flip-flops without damaging them will depend on what material they’re made of. Take extra care here because if you use the wrong method on fragile material, you can inadvertently cause damage!
Rubber Flip Flops & Plastic Flip Flops
Rubber and plastic flip-flops are most common. They’re cheap, easy to find, and you can do pretty much anything with them, knowing that if they do break or get lost, it’s dead simple to find another pair.
They’re also the easiest to clean. There are four main ways you can clean your rubber or plastic flip-flops, so you can choose which one suits you based on what you happen to have at home!
Soap & Water
There’s a high chance that you have some sort of soap at home! If you have dishwashing liquid, you can soak your flip-flops in a bucket filled with warm water and dishwashing soap.
Leave them in there for a while, but keep an eye on them. When the water begins to turn brown—and the dirt comes off the flip flops—take them out and scrub them with either a hard-bristle brush or an old toothbrush.
If you don’t have dishwashing liquid but a bar of soap and an old toothbrush, rub the toothbrush on the soap until it’s covered, and then scrub the flip-flops until it foams.
Whichever method you choose to use, rinse the flip flops in cold water once you’re done. Don’t forget to do the top, bottom, and straps!
Baking Soda or Vinegar
If you want something more natural, you can opt for baking soda or vinegar. Baking soda and water is a great mixture to clean your flip-flops and remove any smell that may have soaked into the rubber with your sweat.
Just sprinkle baking soda all over the flip-flops, spray them with water out of a spray bottle, and scrub them with a toothbrush after a few minutes of leaving that to soak. The spray bottle ensures you don’t soak the flips flops too much.
To eliminate odor, you can spray the flip-flops with vinegar and leave them to sit and soak for about a minute or two. Then just wipe the excess vinegar away with a dry cloth and the scent should be gone.
Rinse them in cool water after doing either of these and let them air dry. They should smell good and look good!
Baby wipes are amazing for many applications and just as good for cleaning your flip-flops. Wipe down every inch of your flip-flops, and you can even scrub harder on stubborn dirty patches.
It’s a good idea to do this at least once every few days. That way, you’ll stay on top of your shoe hygiene before they get too grimy!
You can run EVA flip-flops through the washing machine to get them clean again, but make sure it’s on a cool cycle! Hot water will damage them and cause them to come out misshapen.
Canvas Flip Flops
Canvas flip flops shouldn’t be cleaned by using the methods above. The best way to clean them to ensure they don’t get damaged is to use an upholstery cleaner, as they’re designed to cleanse fabric material without causing damage.
However, if your canvas flip flops have jewel-like decorations, these should probably be washed more carefully! You can still use upholstery cleaner, just take care not to get it on the decorations.
Leather Flip Flops
If your leather flip-flops have an odor, baking soda is the way to fix it. Sprinkle them liberally with baking soda and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
Let it sit overnight—the baking soda should absorb the odor. In the morning, use a soft-bristled brush to brush the baking soda off the shoes.
Untreated leather and suede can be cleaned with saddle soap. Follow the instructions on the packaging to use it correctly. If your leather is treated—you’ll be able to tell if water droplets bead and roll off it—you can use vinegar and water to wash away stains.
Avoid water on untreated leather and suede, as it may leave worse stains. Saddle soap is the way to go with these ones. We recommend using a leather conditioner once you’ve cleaned the stains.
Special Cleaning Tips
Gum can be a nightmare to remove. The best solution for getting gum off flip flops without causing damage is to freeze it.
Hold an ice cube against the gum until it freezes up. If this takes too long or doesn’t work, you can put the flip-flops in a plastic bag and pop them into the freezer for an hour or two.
Once it’s frozen, it should be easy to pull off without causing damage. If your flip flops are made of suede or leather, freezing them might not be the best choice. In this case, you can try packing ice around the gum until it freezes slightly, making it easier to wipe off.
Don’t leave your flip flops in the sun to dry! While they might dry quickly, the sun’s rays can do irreparable damage to the shoes. Not only can it fade the color, but it can make them brittle and hard.
It’s best to air-dry them in a well-ventilated place that doesn’t get direct sunlight. It’s also best to make sure you don’t accidentally leave your shoes somewhere where they may get direct sun—in the car, on the front step, and so on.
Get Rid of Debris With a High-Powered Hose
If your flip flops are dirty and covered in debris, the best way to get them clean again is to spray them off with a high-powered hose.
This is the best way to get rid of small dirt without getting your hands dirty! If you don’t have a high-powered hose, you can still run them underwater, but it may take a bit longer and require you to use your fingers to get debris off the shoes.
Make Sure They Dry Properly
It’s important that you don’t wear your flip-flops until they’re properly dry. Damp shoes don’t just wear away faster; they’re also not good for your feet!
Once you’ve cleaned your flip-flops, make sure they dry properly. If you leave them somewhere dark and warm, they may not dry properly and could stay moist.
If this is the case, they may develop mold… This is unhealthy for your feet and might cause mold to grow on surrounding shoes or other items.
It’s a good idea to store your shoes somewhere dry and cool, which also has excellent ventilation. Try not to close them up in damp or stuffy areas!
Final Thoughts: Keep Your Feet Clean!
It might seem obvious, but one of the best ways to keep your flip-flops clean is to keep your feet clean! The cleanliness of your flip-flops directly affects your foot health… But the opposite is true—your foot health affects your flip-flops.
Make sure you clean your feet properly, dry them off properly, and keep your flip-flops as clean as possible as well. You should notice that they last longer!