How to Remove Odors From Sandals with Vinegar

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One of the best perks of warm, sunny weather is slipping on a pair of sandals. Whether they are flip-flops, wedges, slides like Birkenstock sandals, or sport sandals, these easy, breezy shoes are a staple in most warm-weather wardrobes. One not so wonderful aspect about sandals is that they tend to smell after some time due to a buildup of sweat and bacteria. Instead of tossing out your favorite pair of sandals, combat the stench by mixing a vinegar and water solution.

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Why Should I Use Vinegar?

Vinegar is a natural and safe deodorizer you can use on sandals, including those made with leather, memory foam, and synthetic materials, to remove funky smells and bacteria. When combined with water, this unstoppable duo works together to absorb unpleasant odors and make your sandals smell as good as new.

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If you are out of vinegar, other household items you might have on hand that will help remove sandal odors include coffee grounds, baking soda, orange peels, tea tree oil, dryer sheets, and tea bags. If your sandals are really stinky, sprinkle some baking soda in them overnight and shake them out in the morning. Then, spray on your vinegar solution and let them dry.

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Things You'll Need

How to Make a Sandal-Cleaning Solution

Step 1: Make a Vinegar Solution

Mix 1 cup of distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle or mixing bowl. Shake or stir the mixture until it's well blended.

Step 2: Shake Off Your Shoes

For optimal cleaning, give your shoes a good shake over a garbage can to remove any loose dirt or debris before using the vinegar mixture.

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Step 3: Treat the Shoes With the Vinegar Solution

If using a spray bottle, spray the mixture on the inside soles of your shoes until well coated. If you mixed the solution in a bowl, use a cloth, wet it in the solution, and dab it on the inside soles of your sandals until the entire surface is covered.

Step 4: Let Your Shoes Dry

Let your shoes air-dry for at least 30 minutes before wearing them. Some sandals, like Birkenstocks, may take 24 hours to dry completely.

Once dried, your sandals should smell as good as new. If there is still an odor, repeat the steps as necessary.

Tip

If you are cleaning Birkenstock sandals, make sure not to dry them in direct sunlight or on a radiator. Opt for letting them dry in a shaded, temperature-controlled area to prevent damage to your shoes.

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