Birkenstocks are a trendy yet classic sandal. While they are durable shoes with a strong sole, the footbeds are notorious for their tendency to get dirty and smelly, with well-worn pairs often sporting a grimy imprint of the wearer’s sole. It is easy to avoid stains in your Birkenstock footbeds, and there are a number of steps you can take to remove dirt, grime, and smell to get your sandals back in shape.
Cleaning the Footbed with Baking Soda
Combine baking soda and water into a smooth paste. Mixing 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda will create a smooth paste. To remove heavy stains, spread the mixture onto the footbed, then gently scrub it using a soft brush.
- An old toothbrush works great as a soft and gentle alternative to a true suede brush.
Let the cleaning solution work overnight. For tough, persistent stains, it may be helpful to allow a small amount of the baking soda and water paste to sit in the footbed overnight. When you wake up, rinse the footbed out and wipe it down fully with a soft cloth before allowing it to dry.
Dry the Birkenstocks in a cool place. It is important to keep them away from direct sunlight at all times, keeping in mind that high heat can cause damage the cork sole, footbed, and straps. Let the shoes dry for 24 hours after cleaning to avoid the possibility of dry rot or cracking.
Sprinkle baking soda to remove smell. If there is a lingering odor coming from your Birkenstocks, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the footbed and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight.
- Finish by wiping excess baking soda away with a soft cloth.
- The absorbent powder draws bad smells out of the sole, as well as any remaining dirt and grime.
Using Soap to Clean Small Stains
Combine a mild soap with water. If there are just a handful of small stains on the footbed, they can be removed using the soap and water combination
- A good choice for mild soap would be dish soap, which is gentle enough to be used on food surfaces.
Brush the footbed gently. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove the stains. Reapply the soap and water anywhere that there are stains and carefully wash them away. If stains remain, they may be too tough for soap.
Dry the Birkenstocks in a cool place. You will be able to dry them overnight so long as the footbeds do not appear to be soaked. It is important to avoid letting any water remain in the footbed overnight.
Preventing Dirty Footbeds
Brush the footbed out regularly. By using a soft brush or a slightly damp cloth to remove debris, you can avoid dirty footbeds. Doing this once every few weeks will keep the footbed from getting grimy sole imprints and scuff marks.
- Dirt and grass are especially likely to stain and discolor the footbed.
Remove mud promptly. If an unexpected downpour leads to mud in the footbeds, be sure to wipe them down with a dampened cloth before putting them away for the night. Letting them dry overnight is enough for simple cleanings.
Store the sandals in a cool, dry place. Keeping Birkenstocks out of extreme heat and direct sunlight will not only protect the shoes from falling apart, it will help prevent the growth of bacteria which cause them to smell.