Got a pair of leather sandals that could use some attention?
Not only is leather stylish and comfortable, it’s also a durable material that’s slightly water resistant. It’s no wonder they’re a popular material for sandals!
Unfortunately, leather sandals can accumulate dirt, sand, and sweat, making them grimy and smelly.
You may be wondering how to clean your leather sandals. If your favorite pair of sandals is looking worse for wear, you scan rest assured that cleaning them is easy!
Here’s everything you need to know about how to clean leather sandals.
1. Brush off All Excess Dirt
Before you can get to the deep cleaning, you should brush off all excess dirt or mud that may have accumulated on your sandals. You can use a brush with soft bristles or a dry cloth. Use a soft touch because leather can be scratched.
Be sure to thoroughly brush the buckles, straps, and insoles. Pay special attention to the soles and clap them together to loosen any dirt that may have dried there.
2. Wash Your Sandals
Using a damp, clean cloth, rub a small amount of either soap or leather conditioner on any dirty spots. You can also use your own natural recipe from things you likely already have in your house. Use a gentle touch to create a lather and work the dirt out of the material.
Once you’re finished working on the dirty spots, immediately use another damp, clean cloth to remove the soapy mixture from your sandals.
3. Let Them Dry
Set your sandals aside and let them dry before wearing them again. This will prevent dirt from settling into the moisture and creating additional problems. Don’t use a clothes dryer because the intense heat can distort or damage the leather.
Though the heat from the sun is perfect for drying sandals, avoid setting them in the light. Sunlight will crack the leather and fade the color.
4. Remove Any Odor
If you’re wondering how to clean smelly sandals, simply place them in a large plastic bag after sprinkling them with a good amount of baking soda. Make sure the soles are covered with baking soda and shake the closed bag. Leave them in the plastic bag overnight and completely wipe off the baking soda before wearing them again.
We recommend using baking soda because of its affordability and ability to naturally absorb odors. You can also add a few drops of a scented essential oil to the bag if you want your shoes to have a pleasant scent. Be careful not to get any of the oil on your leather sandals, however, because it can attract dirt and create more problems.
If you don’t have any luck with the baking soda, you can try using cat litter to absorb the leftover smell.
This is an optional step and also one that can be performed if you just want to get rid of odors on your sandals.
5. Spray With Disinfectant
A lot of smells that cling to your sandals are caused by bacteria that accumulates throughout the day. To reduce this problem, spray your sandals with a disinfectant or deodorizer spray at the end of each day. Be sure to use a spray specially designed for shoes.
You can also go the natural route by making your own deodorizer spray at home. Use a blend of tea tree oil, vinegar, and water.
6. Stitch Them Back Together
Straps break and soles can become loose. If you regularly wear your sandals, they may be falling apart. You can sew minor problems back together yourself with the proper materials.
If your soles have become loose, you can glue them back together with a specialized glue designed to remain flexible even after it dries.
It’s important to note that if your sandals have fallen apart in a short amount of time, it’s possible that they aren’t the correct size. Use a sandal fit guide to figure out how each part of the sandal should feel on your foot.
7. Take Preventative Measures
Once you’re finished cleaning, deodorizing, and repairing your shoes, you can further protect them with a leather preservative. This can protect them from stains and keep them water resistant.
Though this step is optional, your leather sandals can benefit from a water protectant spray. Leather is slightly water resistant, but an excess of water will ruin your sandals.
The best time to spray your sandals with a protectant spray is as soon as you get them, but you can still reap the benefits after you’ve finished cleaning and drying them.
8. Things to Avoid
Though it would be easy, you can’t throw your leather sandals in the washer. Submerging leather in water can ruin the leather, making it stiff and making your sandals uncomfortable. This is because the water draws out the oils in the leather that keep it supple.
Try to keep your sandals from getting dirty in the first place. Know when it’s appropriate to wear your sandals and opt for sneakers or bare feet when playing sports or taking a stroll along the beach.
9. Be Diligent With the Upkeep
If you regularly wear your sandals, try to clean them about four times each year. If they’re strictly summer footwear, twice should be enough. This can prolong their life and keep them in good condition for years.
How to Clean Leather Sandals Easily
Now that you know how to clean leather sandals, you can wear your shoes with confidence! You won’t have any embarrassing stains or smells to worry about this summer!
Be sure to check back regularly for more lifestyle advice!