How to Clean Stinky Birkenstocks

How to Clean Stinky Birkenstocks

Birkenstocks are beloved by many for their comfort, style, and durability. However, if you wear them frequently, you may have noticed an unpleasant smell emanating from your sandals. This smell can be caused by sweat and bacteria buildup, which can be quite difficult to eliminate.

Fear not, as we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to clean stinky Birkenstocks effectively. With just a few simple steps, you can keep your favorite sandals smelling fresh, and your feet, too!

How to Clean Stinky Birkenstocks

  • Start by removing any loose dirt or debris from your sandals. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently sweep off the insoles and outsoles, as well as the straps and buckles. If your Birkenstocks are particularly dirty, you can rinse them under water to remove any excess dirt. However, be careful not to submerge the sandals completely, as the cork footbed can be damaged if soaked for too long.
  • Once you’ve removed the dirt, it’s time to tackle the foul odor. Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and generously spray the entire surface of your sandals, including the insoles and outsoles. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer that can effectively kill off bacteria and eliminate odors. Allow the solution to sit on your Birkenstocks for 10-15 minutes.
  • After you’ve let the vinegar solution sit, use a cloth or a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub your sandals, focusing on areas that are prone to odors, such as the insoles and straps. If you have suede Birkenstocks, be careful not to rub too hard, as this can damage the delicate material. After you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse off your sandals with water to remove any remaining vinegar residue.
  • To dry your Birkenstocks, place them in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Avoid using heat sources such as a hairdryer or a dryer, as these can damage the cork insoles and leather straps. Instead, allow your sandals to air dry naturally. If your Birkenstocks have a leather footbed, you can condition them with a leather cleaner and conditioner to keep the leather supple and moisturized.
  • Once your Birkenstocks are completely dry, you can sprinkle some baking soda on the insoles to absorb any remaining odors. Leave the baking soda on for a few hours or overnight, then shake off the excess and rub the insoles with a soft brush to remove any residue. This simple step can help keep your Birkenstocks smelling fresh and clean.

Keep your Birkenstocks Shining with These Maintenance Tips

  • Store them properly: When it comes to Birkenstocks, storage is key. When you’re not wearing them, make sure to keep them in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving them under direct sunlight or in damp areas as these can cause the material to weaken and eventually break. You can also keep them in their original box or a shoe bag to protect them from dust and other elements.
  • Use a water and stain repellent: One important thing to consider is that Birkenstocks are not waterproof. Spills, rain, and moisture may damage the cork footbed and straps. To prevent this, apply a water and stain repellent spray. This acts as a barrier that repels liquid and dirt, making them easier to clean. Just make sure to apply it in a well-ventilated area and to follow the instructions on the label.
  • Mind the cork footbed: The cork footbed is what makes Birkenstocks unique, but it also requires special care. As much as possible, avoid getting it wet and wipe it immediately in case it does. When it gets dirty, use a damp cloth to gently wipe it off. Also, to keep the cork from drying out and cracking, apply cork sealant or conditioner regularly.
  • Clean the straps: The straps are the most visible part of your Birks, so it’s important to keep them clean. For regular maintenance, use a soft cloth or brush to remove any dirt or dust. If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, mix baking soda with water to create a paste and apply it to the straps. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off with water and pat it dry.
  • Address wear and tear: Birkenstocks are designed to last, but constant use can lead to wear and tear. Avoid walking too much on concrete or rough surfaces that can cause the soles to wear out. In case the toe piece breaks or the sole needs repair, take it to a Birkenstock specialist for proper fixing.


With these easy steps, you can keep your Birkenstocks smelling fresh and look as good as new. Remember to clean your sandals regularly to prevent odors from building up. A little bit of maintenance can go a long way in keeping your Birkenstocks in top condition, so you can enjoy the comfort and style of these beloved sandals for years to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *