How To Clean Birkenstocks

Few footwear brands in the market are more fashionable and durable than Birkenstocks. Birkenstocks, a German shoe brand, has provided the finest footwear since 1774. They are well-known for their different strap designs and molded footbeds, making them super comfortable to wear. In addition, there are wide varieties of Birkenstocks – clogs, sandals, boots, and shoes, made from different materials like brass, silk leathers, suede, copper, cork, wool felt, and many more. So, the wearers have many styles and designs to choose from.

Like any shoe you wear frequently, Birkenstocks look their best when you take care of them regularly. Their footbeds are known for getting stained and filthy easily and bearing a sweaty print on the wearer’s sole. So, to ensure that your Birkenstocks remain in good condition, you must establish a regular cleaning schedule. This article will discuss best practices for cleaning and maintaining your Birkenstocks sandals.

ASMR How to Clean Birkenstock!!

How Often Should You Clean Your Birkenstocks?

Your Birkenstock footbed needs to be cleaned every few weeks, depending on how often you wear them. The remaining part of the footwear should also be cleaned regularly, at least twice a month. 

Before wearing your Birkenstocks, you should clean off any dirt or settled dust. For leather Birkenstocks, you might need shoe polish and leather conditioner. Otherwise, if you own a suede Birkenstock, you must brush it before wearing it. 

how to clean cork birkenstocks

What Do You Need to Clean Your Birkenstocks?

Different materials of Birkenstocks require varying cleaning items. But here are a few common ones.

Equipment

Materials

Suede brush
Vinegar
Corn starch or baby powder
Bowl
Petroleum jelly
Pencil eraser or suede eraser
Laundry detergent
Blunt-edged knife
Shoe polish
Soft-bristled brush
Stain remover
Leather conditioner
Cork sealant
Glass cleaner
cleaning birkenstocks footbed

How to Clean Suede or Nubuck Leather Birkenstocks

You need to modify your cleaning procedures to suit the style of Birkenstocks you own. In this section, we will be discussing the best cleaning practices for suede Birkenstocks.

Considering how “extremely delicate” suede straps are, you must be cautious while cleaning them. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Get rid of surface dirt: First, get rid of coarse dirt or soil on the surface of your suede sandals with a microfiber cloth or suede brush. The suede brush is specifically designed for suede materials and is better suited for suede Birkenstocks. You can dampen the brush a little to further aid in cleaning. 
  2. Remove dried stains: If you stain your suede with food or mud, dab off the liquid from the previous step as best as possible without rubbing the surface. Wet stains are more difficult to remove from suede. So, you should leave the entire surface to dry completely before you start cleaning. Once the shoes are dried, use a suede eraser or pencil eraser to rub the stain till it is gone. Finally, brush the surface with your suede brush.
  3. Remove oily stains: If you have any greasy spills, whether cooking oil, or body oils, on your suede. Don’t fret. You can absorb them with cornstarch. Cover the surface with cornstarch or baby powder to soak up the oil, and leave for at least four hours. Then, brush away. Repeat the procedure if necessary. 
  4. Remove sticky stains: If any sticky items, like gum, get on your suede, don’t immediately reach for a commercial glue remover, as this can affect the color of the suede. 

Instead, place a plastic bag with an ice cube inside and set the bag right on the sticky mess. Then, allow the stain to harden first before pulling it out gently. You can use a blunt knife to remove the hardened stain gently. Repeat the process, if necessary, until the stain is completely removed. Finally, remove any persistent stain with an art gum eraser and lift the fabric’s thread with a suede brush.\

Use a suede cleaner (Optional): If it appears your suede shoes still need more cleaning, then you can use a suede cleaner. Alternatively, you can create a solution of vinegar and water and apply it to the shoes using the suede brusher. Afterward, wipe it with a clean cloth and allow it to air dry completely.

Pro tip: Learn everything about vinegar as a household cleaning agent.

how to clean suede nubuck birkenstocks

How to Clean Leather Birkenstocks

These steps are applicable to natural or patent leather.

  1. Get rid of surface dirt: Brush the leather aspect of your Birkenstocks with a brush to remove any dirt or debris on its surface. Alternatively, you can use a slightly damp, lint-free cloth to remove the surface dust and soil. 
  2. Apply a leather cleaner: If there are still stains on the shoe, pour a little leather cleaner on a soft cloth and rub the leather straps till the stains are removed.
  3. Polish and Condition: Next, to get rid of scuffs and restore the luster, get a commercial polish in the Birkenstocks’ color and apply according to the directions. Also, condition your leather straps with a commercial leather conditioner to keep them moisturized, soft, and rid of stains and cracks. 
  4. Allow it to dry: Before wearing your Birkenstocks again, allow them to dry completely for about 24 hours at room temperature.

Pro Tip: Learn how to clean all types of shoes.

How to Clean Fabric Birkenstocks

For Birkenstocks with microfiber, linen canvas, and wool felt straps, you can apply these steps to clean and maintain them. 

  1. Get rid of excess dirt: First, use a soft-bristled brush or a clean cloth to remove surface dirt.
  2. Spot clean stains: Prepare a cleaning solution of 2 cups of warm water and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Dip a small cloth into the cleaning solution and carefully rub the stained areas.
  3. Eliminate tough stains: For stains that are difficult to remove, get a commercial-grade laundry stain remover and gently rub the stains with an old toothbrush.
  4. Rinse: Rinse the shoe with a clean cloth dipped in clean water to remove the soap on the shoe. Wring the towel thoroughly to ensure that you remove every lingering scum.
  5. Allow to dry: Blot the fabric straps with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Then, allow it to air dry. 

Tip: Stuff the shoes with small dry towels or clean socks to maintain their shape during drying.

how to wash birkenstocks

How to Clean Birkenstocks Footbed

There are two ways to remove dirt and stains from the footbed of your Birkenstocks:

  • Clean with baking soda: 
    1. First, prepare a paste by mixing 2 tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of baking soda. Then, spread the mixture on the footbed and scrub gently with a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush.
    2. Leave some paste in the footbed overnight for tough and persistent stains. In the morning, rinse and wipe off using a soft cloth before allowing it to air dry.
    3. Dry at room temperature: It is important to keep your Birkenstocks from direct sunlight to avoid damaging the soles, straps, and footbeds. Instead, dry at room temperature for 24 hours before wearing.
    4. Sprinkle baking soda on the footbed and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight to remove the persistent smell. Finally, wipe off the excess baking soda with a soft cloth.
  • Clean with a soapy solution:
    1. Prepare a solution of water and mild dishwashing soap.
    2. Next, scrub the footbed using a brush or cloth and the cleaning solution. Apply the cleaning solution to specific stained areas and scrub gently. You can also use suede gum or sandpaper to remove tough stains. 
    3. Remove soapy residues with wet towels and allow the footbed to dry overnight.

How to Clean Birkenstocks Footbed

How to Clean Cork Soles on Birkenstocks

  1. Prepare a cleaning solution with 2 cups of warm water, ½ tsp of laundry detergent, and 2 tbsps of vinegar.
  2. Scrub the cork soles with an old toothbrush and the cleaning solution.
  3. Remove the soapy residues with a microfiber cloth dipped in clean water.
  4. Allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them,
  5. Purchase and apply a sealant on your soles if they appear dry. This will prevent sole cracking.

Final Thoughts

Regular cleaning and proper maintenance of your Birkenstocks will make them appear brand new and help you get the most out of your investment for years to come. 

Other important tips to note to keep your Birkenstocks looking as great as new is:

  • Keep your Birkenstocks away from high temperatures that could damage the materials. 
  • Too much water can damage your Birkenstocks. Ensure that you prevent them from getting over-saturated with water. 
  • Allow your shoes to dry completely before wearing them.
  • Get your Birkenstocks cleaning kit which includes a cleaner and refresher spray, water and stain repellant, and cork sealer.
  • Finally, clean your shoes regularly. We advise that you clean your footbeds and soles after a couple of weeks of use. Also, do not forget to clean the straps at least twice every year. 
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