How to Clean Smelly Leather Sandals

Table of Contents

Use baking soda to clean the shoes. Baking soda will absorb scents of all types, including any you wish to eliminate that aren’t caused by bacteria (such as natural leather odors). Fill a brown paper bag with powdery baking soda and shake until the shoes are coated. Allow overnight for soaking.

Keeping this in mind, how can you keep leather sandals safe?

Without damaging the leather, you can clean leather sandals with vinegar and water. Wipe down the leather component of your sandal using a sponge made of equal amounts water and white vinegar. Allow them to air dry after cleaning them. After they’ve fully dried, apply a conditioner to your shoes.

How to Clean Smelly Leather Sandals

Proper Maintenance

How to Clean Smelly Leather Sandals
Take good care of your leather sandals from the start. The more you take care of your sandals, the easier they will be to clean. To learn how to keep your specific shoes in tip-top shape, check out the company’s website or manufacturing guidelines. There are also sprays and treatments designed particularly for leather shoes and sandals. These sprays are an important component of your regular maintenance routine. It will keep the look of your leather sandals for years to come by preserving the condition of them.

Aside from these measures, make sure your sandals are as clean and dust-free as possible. If they get wet, allow them to air dry before wearing them again.

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Spot Clean if Possible

If your leather sandals have a few marks or stains on them, consider spot cleaning instead of cleaning the entire shoe. Spot cleaning will prevent the rest of the leather from wearing down while you wait to clean it properly.

Take a damp cloth and gently clean the surface. Then, take a little amount of leather conditioner or soap and apply it to the moist soft towel. Clean the spots off of the leather with care, paying particular attention not to distribute the dirt around.

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Clean with a Soft Brush

When your leather sandals need cleaning beyond a basic spot clean, use a soft brush to complete the job. Brush the sandal’s buckle and strap. Make sure you get every bit of the inside of the sandal as well as possible with this brush.

Then, go down and sweep away the sandal’s bottom. After walking around in dirt or sand, the ideal time to clean your sandals with a brush is now. A soft brush is useful for removing any loose grit from the sandal.

If the stubborn stains are proving difficult to remove, use a soft cloth to clean them.

Use a Liquid Cleaner

How to Clean Smelly Leather Sandals
The easiest dirt to clean is the easy sand, but when your sandals need more thorough cleaning, it’s time to investigate several cleaners. Liquid soap or conditioner works great for restoring a dirty leather pair of shoes to its former glory.

Squirt a few drops of leather conditioner onto a soft cloth and use it to clean the sandal. Use a damp, soft cloth to rub off the conditioner. Allow the sandals to air dry once the conditioner has been removed.

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Use Saddle Soap

Saddle soap is made for cleaning leather and should be used with caution. Take a gentle cloth and dampen it slightly to clean your leather sandals. After that, add a little saddle soap to it.

If they’re not black, you’ll need to clean the dirt and grime off of them. Use a cloth to wipe down your leather sandals after cleaning them with saddle soap. Wipe it clean using another clean, soft cloth once you’ve finished. Allow your leather sandals to air dry afterwards.

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Consider Baking Soda for the Smell

How to Clean Smelly Leather Sandals
If your sandals have a foul odor but are clean, consider using baking soda to keep them smelling fresh and new. If you don’t need to clean your sandals, don’t bother doing so. Place them in a plastic bag and sprinkle with baking soda instead of cleaning them.

After soaking the sandals in the plastic bag overnight, remove them and wipe away the baking soda with a dry soft cloth in the morning. All of those noxious scents will have been absorbed by the baking soda, leaving your shoes smelling fresh once again!

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Treat with a Leather Preservative

How to Clean Smelly Leather Sandals
It’s time to apply a leather preservative after your leather sandals have been cleaned and restored to their original form. The best way to keep your leather sandals clean and dirt-free is to treat them with a leather preservation product.

The combination of baking powder and water will act as a preventative, reducing the number of times you’ll need to clean your sandals over time, resulting in wear and tear.

10 Tricks to Keep Your Shoes Stink-Free

How to Clean Smelly Leather Sandals
Your shoes may smell due to various factors, such as bacteria, sweat, and other foot issues or injuries. With these at-home treatments, you can extend their life and keep them smelling fresh.

Baking soda

Baking soda’s power can easily remove any odors from your shoes. Sprinkle baking soda liberally in the foul-smelling shoe or sneaker and leave it to sit overnight. Remove the powder in the morning. (However, be cautious when utilizing baking soda on leather shoes; repeated treatments may cause them to dry out.) You may also make your own reusable “odor eater” shoe deodorizer by stuffing two tablespoons of baking soda into each old sock’s toes and tying them up in a knot. At night before going to bed, stuff the socks into each pair of shoes. In the morning, remove the socks and breathe easy again.

Fabric softener sheets

Sneakers must be treated with a stronger solution to get rid of their odor. Tuck a new dryer fabric softener sheet into each sneaker and leave them overnight to eliminate odors (just remember to remove them before wearing the sneakers). It’s also a good idea to deodorize areas where you keep your shoes, such as in your gym bag. Drop a dryer sheet into the bottom of a gym bag and let it sit until your nose tells you it’s time to replace it.


Sneakers and other canvas shoes may become quite smelly if worn without socks in the summertime. Sprinkle a little salt in your canvas shoes as a shoe deodorizer to reduce the odor and absorb any moisture.

Essential oils

To give your shoes a new scent, drip a few drops of essential oils into them. Eucalyptus, clove, and tea tree oil are all good choices. If you don’t want to apply the oil straight to your footwear, drip it onto a piece of paper or a tissue instead.

Rubbing alcohol

To get rid of the odor, use rubbing alcohol on the filthy or worn section of your shoes. The rubbing alcohol will not only help to eliminate odors from your shoes as a natural deodorizer, but it will also assist to disinfect them.

Black tea bags

Black tea has tannins in it, which will aid in the eradication of bacteria that accumulate in your shoes and help to eliminate the smell. For a natural shoe deodorizer, soak a tea bag for two to three minutes in boiling water. Remove the tea bag and allow it to cool before removing it from the shoe. Clean up any extra liquid remaining on the shoe after you’ve removed it.

Baby powder

Before putting your shoes on, you may use baby powder as a preventative measure to keep them from smelling. If you find that you have smelly shoes often, apply baby powder to your feet before slipping them on.

Cat litter

Cat litter has a lot of deodorizers and absorbs liquids, so it seems unusual. Line your shoes with cat litter and leave it overnight before removing the linings. In the morning, remove the linings and wipe down your shoe with a wet cloth to give it a final clean.

Freeze them

If none of these other home shoe deodorizer treatments are working to eliminate the odor from your footwear, try freezing them overnight. Place your shoes in a plastic bag. The germs will be destroyed if they’re frozen overnight.

Machine wash

If your shoes are filthy on both the inside and outside, you may try washing them in the washer and dryer; this is especially effective for running sneakers. Avoid putting your shoes in the dryer if you don’t have a dryer shelf or attachment because it might damage the machine.

Final Thoughts

You should use simple and easy cleaning approaches if you want to clean your filthy and slimy sandal footbeds.

Some cleaning techniques have already been discussed.

All of the techniques outlined in this article are both safe and helpful for cleaning your old or worn sandals.

Susan G Baird

Susan G Baird

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