When summer comes around, one of the most common types of footwear that you will spot on people’s feet are flip flops – other than being easy to slip on and off, they are breathable, allowing you to air your feet and keep them from sweating in warm weather. However, just like any other type of footwear, flip flops will progressively get dirtier as you wear them, especially if you don’t take the time to clean them regularly. So how should you go about cleaning them?
How to clean flip flops? Depending on the material, there are a variety of techniques you can use to clean a pair of flip flops.
- To clean rubber flip flops, start by soaking them in warm water and then sprinkle them with baking soda. Let them sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush or an old toothbrush. Rinse the flip flops with clean water and allow them to air dry. Alternatively, you can simply throw them in the washing machine. Ensure that you use the gentlest setting and some cold water so that your flip flops don’t get damaged by the tumbling action of the machine.
- For suede flip flops, use fine-grit sandpaper to scrub off the dirt. Use saddle soap to clean leather flip flops by applying a bit of it with a damp cloth and then buffing it dry. For a more DIY technique, dip a cloth in a mixture of vinegar and water and use it to clean your flip flops. For a nice scent, use one drop each of sandalwood and cedarwood essential oil onto each flip flop.
A pair of flip flops makes for the perfect footwear when you are around the swimming pool, at the beach, or even on short walks to run errands on a sunny day. However, spending time in flip flops will inevitably lead to the buildup of dirt and grime, making it necessary to clean them to keep them dirt-free and bacteria-free. Read on for information on how to clean your flip flops in a manner that won’t compromise their quality.
Cleaning rubber flip flops
There are several cleaning techniques that you can use on rubber flip flops:
1. The baking soda treatment
For the baking soda technique, start by running your flip flops under warm water. The next step is to sprinkle them with baking soda, and then let them sit for at least five minutes before you scrubbing off using an old toothbrush. Repeat this procedure for the soles of the flip flops as well. Once they are clean, rinse off with clean water and then let them air dry.
2. Toss them in the washing machine
If you are looking for a quick and easy solution, opt to toss your flip flops in the washing machine. Use the machine’s gentlest setting and a cold cycle, with a touch of a mild detergent. Add a bit of laundry detergent or fabric softener to get rid of any lingering odors. Before you put your flip flops in the washing machine, place them in a washable bag or a mesh bag so that they don’t tumble around too much. Allow the flip flops to go through the rinse cycle before removing and running them under cold water to get rid of any soap residue. Never use the dryer to dry your lip flops – always choose to air dry them.
3. Use a bit of dish soap
Dish soap is just as effective on your flip flops as it is on your dishes. For this technique, dilute some dish soap by adding water to make a soapy solution. Dip a sponge in the solution and rub it on all of the sides of the flip flops to remove grime and dirt. Use another clean damp sponge to clean the dish soap solution off the flip flops, and then let them air dry.
For a deeper clean, start by blasting your flip flops with a jet stream of water to get rid of the easily-removable grime. Soak the flip flops in a bucket of warm soapy water. To ensure that they are completely submerged, you can even go as far as weighting them. Let them soak for at least two hours. Opt to use concentrated dish soap, or if your flip flops are entirely white and especially dirty, add some bleach in the solution. Once a few hours have elapsed, remove the flip flops and scrub the affected areas using a sponge. If the stain is especially stubborn, use a slightly more abrasive surface, taking care not to wear down the flip flops. Rinse the flip flops using cold water to wash away the soap and grime. If you find that still not clean, repeat this process. Once you are satisfied with the results, let them air dry.
Cleaning suede flip flops
Suede is a variety of leather that has a napped finish. It is used to make all types of footwear, including flip flops. Suede tends to become dirty very easily and is especially susceptible to scuff marks. Here are some tips on how to clean your suede flip flops:
1. Remove mud and dirt using a suede brush
Brush the stained area of the flip flops gently using a suede brush. This is a special brush that is designed to raise the nap and consequently help to get rid of the layer of dirt on the surface of the suede fibers. If your flip flops are muddy, you will have to wait for them to completely dry before attempting to brush them. Ensure that you keep all of your brushing strokes in one direction.
Once you get rid of the surface dirt, keep brushing the stains, but this time using a back and forth motion and with a little more force. This way, you will be able to reach the more ground-in dirt and mud that is trapped deep in the suede fibers.
2. Use a pencil or stain eraser for stains that have set in
For dirt or stains that have set in, you can either use an ordinary pencil eraser or a stain eraser that is usually included in a suede cleaning kit if you have one. Rub the eraser over the stained areas, remembering to apply some pressure. Keep doing this until the stain has completely disappeared. Since this part of the process will be messy, ensure that you do it over a towel or outside to make your work easier.
3. Use rubbing alcohol or white vinegar on stubborn stains
If the brushing and rubbing do not get rid of the stain, pour some rubbing alcohol or plain white vinegar on a white washcloth and rub it onto the stain. Once the area is completely dry, use a suede brush to fluff up the fabric and then brush away the loosened dirt.
4. Restore the smooth texture of the suede by shaving it
After a while, you might notice that your suede flip flops might start to look a little rough and stringy, but this is easy to deal with by using an old shaving razor. Simply shave areas of the fabric where you notice the strings. After shaving all the affected areas, use your suede brush or an old toothbrush to brush away the strings.
5. Use a brush to fluff the suede
After all the brushing, scrubbing and rubbing you might notice that your suede flip flops appear dull. To restore their sheen, rub a bit of white vinegar or alcohol all over the suede using a white cloth, then allow the flip flops to dry completely.
6. Apply a suede protectant spray
The final step of cleaning your suede flip flops involves protecting them so that they won’t get too dirty in the future. There are a lot of suede protectant sprays online, most of which are quite affordable. Ensure that you follow the application instructions given on the package. In addition to keeping your suede flip flops cleaner for longer, applying a protectant spray will also make the cleaning process much easier in the future.
Cleaning leather flip flops
1. Pointing out the issue
Stains and discolorations on leather are caused by a variety of factors, so you need to know exactly what you are dealing with before you start cleaning. For example, leather flip flops often get discolored or stained as a result of coming into contact with water. To get rid of these water stains, mix equal parts white vinegar and water and use a soft cloth to blot the discolored areas. Be careful not to saturate the material to avoid damaging it.
2. Rubbing away the dirt
Before you start cleaning your leather flip flops, ensure that you rub away any dirt or debris visible on the surface. Use a soft-bristled brush, an old toothbrush, or a dry soft cloth to gently remove the dirt. Remember that supple leather is quite delicate and can become easily scratched, so you will want to be as gentle as possible to avoid leaving a permanent mark on your flip flops.
3. Washing the flip flops
To wash your flip flops, start by moistening a soft washcloth and wringing out the excess water. The next step is to apply a small amount of leather cleaner or saddle soap to the cloth before rubbing the affected spots using gentle and even motions to create a lather.
4. Wipe away the lather
Wipe away the lather you have created using a clean, slightly damp washcloth. Although it is important to introduce as little moisture as possible to leather flip flops, it is important to wipe away any cleaning products that you have used. The best way to do this is by using a damp cloth. If you find that using one damp cloth doesn’t do the job, don’t hesitate to use another as long as you wring them beforehand to get rid of excess water.
5. Cleaning untreated leather
If your flip flops are made from untreated leather, the cleaning procedure will be slightly different. Start by rubbing a clean cloth over a soap specially made for use on leather. A dime-sized amount of leather soap should be enough for both flip flops. Apply the soap to the affected areas of the flip flop, let it sit, and then use another clean cloth to rub it off.
Cleaning decorated flip flops
Here are guidelines on how you can clean flip flops that feature decorative elements such as beads:
- Start by inspecting the flip flops for any signs of damage. Once you detect the damage, repair it – if the threaded beads are broken, repair them, and if the rhinestones have started to fall apart, glue them back on.
- After repairing the decorations, you can then start cleaning the flip flops.
- Wash the decorated area of your flip flops carefully and quickly to keep the decorations from coming off.
- If you have to brush the flip flops, use a brush that has soft bristles to avoid damaging shiny jewelry.
- Never put your decorated flip flops in the washing machine if you want to preserve their quality.
Caring for your flip flops
There are several protective measures that you can take to protect your flip flops and preserve their quality.
- Clean them regularly – You must clean your flip flops at least once a week if you want them to serve you for a long time. Keeping your flip flops clean will also keep bacteria and fungi from building up and potentially causing you harm
- Avoid immersing leather flip flops in the water – Never immerse your leather flip flops in water as this will ruin the material. Use very little water, and rub the flip flops very gentle when cleaning them.
- Freshen your flip flops regularly – If you wear your flip flops regularly, you might notice an odor after some time. To curb this, sprinkle them with baking soda and let it sit overnight.
- Rotate your footwear – To keep your flip flops from getting dirty and wearing out too quickly, rotate them with another pair or another type of footwear.
- Clean your feet – Your feet can contribute to your flip flops getting dirty, so you will want to ensure that they are always clean before putting the flip flops on.
Knowing how to clean your flip flops will keep them smelling fresh, extend their lifespan, and keep them looking as good as new. After all, flip flops are an investment, and it only makes sense to invest some of your time cleaning them.