How to Clean Birkenstocks for Fresh, Odor-Free Results

Published June 30, 2020
Summer sandals birkenstock

Are Birkenstocks your favorite go-to comfy sandal? If you wear your Birkenstocks all the time, they probably need to be cleaned regularly. These popular sandals tend to get a bit smelly if too much time passes between cleanings. Find out how to freshen up your beloved cork sole slides so they look great and don't smell bad.

How to Clean the Footbed of Birkenstock Sandals

It's not difficult to clean the footbed of Birkenstock sandals. You just need a few basic supplies and a bit of elbow grease.


  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Scrubbing brush (an old toothbrush or similar style brush will do).
  • Cleaning gloves (optional)
  • Spoon (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these instructions:

  1. Place about 2/4 of a cup of baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Stir in just enough water to form a paste.
  3. Adjust if needed, adding more water if the solution is too thick or more baking soda if it is too thin.
  4. Put on the cleaning gloves if you are using them.
  5. Use your finger or a spoon to scoop up a chunk of the paste.
  6. Use your finger or the scrubbing brush to spread the paste all over the footbed of the sandals.
  7. Use the brush in a circular motion to scrub over the entire footbed area.
  8. Use a damp (not completely wet) cloth to wipe away all the paste.
  9. Repeat steps 1 - 8 on the other shoe.
  10. If the shoes are clean at this point, you will just need to place them in a cool, interior location to dry for at least 24 hours.
  11. If they are still dirty, apply more of the cleaning paste to the footbed of each shoe and scrub again.
  12. Wipe the paste away with a damp cloth.
  13. Allow to dry in a cool, interior location.

Wait at least 24 hours for your sandals to dry. Since humidity and other factors can affect drying time, verify that they are actually dry before wearing them again.


You can use borax instead of baking soda. Simply substitute borax for baking soda and follow the rest of the instructions as-is.

How to Clean the Straps of Birkenstock Sandals

While cleaning the footbed is the biggest challenge with keeping Birkenstocks fresh, you may also sometimes need to clean the straps of your sandals.

  • If your Birkenstocks have leather straps, simply wipe clean with a slightly damp paper towel or cloth. If they need a deeper cleaning, use leather cleaner on them.
  • If your Birkenstocks have nubuck or suede straps, use a brush (such as a brush designed for suede shoes or a toothbrush) to remove dirt. If they need more than just a gentle brushing, follow these tips for cleaning suede.

Maintaining Birkenstocks Between Cleanings

Birkenstock offers a shoe care kit outfitted with items designed to help maintain Birkenstock sandals. It includes a cleaning brush, water and stain repellent, cork sealer, and a spray for cleaning and refreshing your sandals. Regular use of the products in the kit can help extend the life of your Birkenstocks and minimize odor and dirt build-up between full cleanings. Even if you don't use the kit, taking a few seconds to wipe down the footbed every so often can help keep your sandals from getting smelly.

Keep Your Sandals Looking and Smelling Great

By following these basic cleaning and maintenance instructions, you can keep your Birkenstocks in tip-top condition for a long time. If you do get to the point where you need to replace them - or if you simply want to add a new pair of super-comfy sandals to your wardrobe - shop around to find a great deal on Birkenstocks.

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How to Clean Birkenstocks for Fresh, Odor-Free Results