There are several reasons why sandals are so popular- they are breathable, easy to slip on and off, and are a great alternative for closed shoes during the summer. However, just like with other types of footwear, they tend to get dirty after a couple of wears. There are several techniques you can use to clean your sandals, but is tossing them in the washing machine an option? Read on to find out.
Can sandals go in the washing machine? Rubber sandals that are not embellished can go in the washing machine. However, other materials such as leather and suede can end up getting damaged when tossed in the washing machine.
Both leather and suede generally react poorly to water. They readily absorb water and gets stained very easily. Rubber is generally less susceptible to damage by water, so sandals made with this material can go in the washing machine. Having said that, you want to use this cleaning technique only when it is necessary as constantly subjecting your sandals to the washing machine could eventually damage their structure.
The washing machine provides a quick and easy solution when it comes to cleaning, and it can be quite tempting to simply toss everything in there, including your sandals. Here is a look at how you can go about cleaning your rubber sandals in the machine, plus other cleaning techniques to consider.
Cleaning your rubber sandals in the washing machine
Although rubber sandals are less susceptible to damage when cleaned in the washing machine, it is still important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that they stay intact. To get started, prep the sandals by removing scuff marks and dirt using a damp magic eraser sponge. This is important because sometimes the washing machine may fail to remove these types of stains.
Set the washing machine to the delicate setting, and strictly use cold water. Add about a quarter of a mild detergent along with a bit of white vinegar to eliminate any lingering odors. Fabric softener tends to leave a residue that can attract dirt to your freshly washed sandals, Before putting the sandals in the machine, consider placing them in a mesh bag or any other washable bag to keep them from tumbling around excessively. You can also add two large towels in the machine to provide cushioning and keep them from bouncing around. Let the sandals go through the rinse cycle, then remove them and run them under cold water to remove excess soap residue. Avoid using the dryer to dry the sandals.
Although using the washing machine to clean your sandals is convenient, consider using this technique sparingly. You will also want to use this technique only for a particular design of sandals such as sliders and flip flops as they have simple construction that is less likely to get damaged. By the tumbling motion of the washing machine.
Other techniques you can use to clean your sandals
If you are not willing to risk washing your sandals in the washing machine, here are some other effective techniques that you can use:
1. Rubber sandals
Other than machine washing, another way you can clean your rubber sandals is by handwashing. Here are some of the techniques you can use:
- The baking soda scrub – For this technique, begin by wiping your sandals down with a wet washcloth. Once they are slightly wet, sprinkle some baking soda all over them, and then allow it to sit for a few minutes before using an old toothbrush or a soft brush to scrub them. The next step is to rinse them off with clean water to get rid of the baking soda.
- The dish soap technique – Make a soap solution by diluting dish soap with water. Using a sponge dipped in the soapy solution, scrub your dirty sandals to get rid of the grime. Once they are clean, use another damp sponge to wipe off the soap solution. Alternatively, you can soak your sandals in soapy water for a deeper clean. Let them sit for about two hours, then remove them from the solution and scrub using a sponge. Keep doing this until they are clean, then rinse off the soap with cold water.
2. Suede sandals
Suede is a variant of leather that is very delicate, so it requires a lot of care when it comes to cleaning so as not to damage the material. Here are the steps to follow when cleaning suede sandals:
- Remove surface dirt with a suede brush – Start by brushing the stained area with an old toothbrush, or use a suede brush if you have a suede cleaning kit. This will raise the nap and consequently remove the surface dirt that has formed a layer in the suede fibers.
- Rub stains using a pencil eraser – The next step is to use a pencil eraser or stain eraser. Rub it over the affected areas gently but firmly. Keep doing this until the stain fades.
- Vinegar or rubbing alcohol – Sometimes brushing and rubbing the stain is simply not enough to get rid of tough stains. In such cases, rub some white vinegar or rubbing alcohol onto the stain using a clean washcloth. Wait for the area to dry before fluffing the fabric and brushing any loosened dirt with a suede brush.
- Shave the suede – Suede can start to look a bit stringy after a couple of cleans, but this doesn’t mean that you should stop wearing them. A simple solution is to shave the stringy fabric using an old shaving razor. Once it is smoothed out, use a suede brush to remove the loose strings.
- Fluff with a brush – After cleaning, you might notice that the suede appears a bit dull. Fluff it with a brush until its appearance improves.
- Use protectant spray – To maintain the clean state of your suede sandals, apply a suede protectant spray that will keep them from getting too dirty in future. You can easily find a high-quality protectant spray online for a reasonable price. If there are instructions on how to apply provided on the package, ensure that you follow them keenly. Otherwise, look them up on the website of the brand of the protectant.
3. Leather sandals
Although leather sandals are tough, they can easily get damaged by water. Therefore, you want to use as little water as possible when cleaning them. Here are some guidelines on how to clean leather:
- Brush to get rid of the surface dirt – Use an old toothbrush or a soft-thistle brush to get rid of the dirt present on the surface of the sandal. To avoid accidentally scratching the leather, apply firm but gentle pressure as you brush. Keep doing this until there is no more dirt falling off your sandals
- “Wash” the sandals – Using a moist soft cloth to apply a leather cleaner to the stained spots of the sandals, rubbing it in with gentle even motions to form a lather. Remove the excess leather cleaner with another clean damp cloth. If you are cleaning untreated leather, allow the leather cleaner to sit for a bit before wiping it off.
- Apply leather conditioner – Once the sandals are clean, apply a leather conditioner to add shine and protect them from stains. Let the conditioner sit for about twenty minutes then use a soft cloth to buff until the leather shines.
Caring for your sandals
- Always allow them to air dry – Regardless of the cleaning technique that you choose to use, always air dry your sandals. Drying them in the sun or in front of a heater will cause them to fade and crack, consequently rendering them unsightly.
- Clean your feet – Before you wear your sandals, scrub your feet thoroughly using a pumice stone or an exfoliating product to get rid of the dead skin. This is important as it will reduce the risk of dead skin accumulating on the footbed of the sandal and making it dirty.
- Use baking soda or baby powder to get rid of the odor – Both baking soda and baby powder are efficient at absorbing moisture as well as odors in smelly sandals. Sprinkle either of the two on the footbed of your sandal. Let the powder sit overnight and then simply dump the excess out the next day before wearing the sandals.
- Rotate your sandals – It might be tempting to wear your favorite pair of sandals daily, but this will only lead to the buildup of odor in them and also allow dirt to accumulate. Consider rotating your footwear to prevent sweat and grime from building up.
Continuous wear of sandals will inevitably result in them getting dirty. If you don’t want to go through too much trouble cleaning them, you can toss them in the washing machine, but only if they are made of materials such as rubber. Even so, you want to use this technique only when you need to as there is always the risk that the washing machine could damage your sandals. Thankfully, there are other low-risk cleaning techniques that you can take advantage of.