Kellye Fox | 

Happy Feet: How to Clean Your Birkenstocks

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Birkenstocks are a popular type of sandal known for comfort. In fact, they’re kinda like the OGs of footwear brands (they originated in 1774 Germany). Despite being around forever, they’re still producing ultra trendy styles, like the Birkenstock Boston Clogs that were blowing up on social media. Whether you’ve just purchased a new pair or are looking to clean up an old favorite, it’s important to know how to properly clean and care for your shoes to keep them looking good.

Birks are made with high-quality materials, such as leather and cork, so they’re designed to last for many years. But like any footwear, Birkenstocks can become dirty and stained over time, especially if you wear them often. I’ve got simple solutions for your most frequently asked cleaning questions. The bonus is that you’ll only need a few basic supplies, like a soft-bristled brush or cloth, mild soap, and clean water.

Follow these steps to ensure that your Birkenstocks remain comfortable and stylish no matter where you go. Browse our Birkenstock deals to stock up on discounted styles. Or download The Krazy Coupon Lady app to get the latest money-saving tips and household coupons.


Yes, you can clean Birkenstocks at home. Here’s how.

To clean Birkenstocks, you’ll need a soft-bristled brush or cloth, mild soap, and clean water. Use the brush to remove any loose dirt or debris from the shoes. Then mix a small amount of mild soap with warm water. Next dip a clean microfiber cloth in the soapy water. Gently scrub the Birkenstocks, paying extra attention to any stained areas.

Pat the shoes with a clean towel to remove excess water. Let the Birkenstocks air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat. Once dry, apply a leather conditioner to the straps to help keep them soft and supple.

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Use a soft brush and mild soap to clean Birkenstocks’ footbed.

a person cleaning the footbed of Birkenstocks with a soft brush and water solution

The footbed of Birkenstock sandals can be cleaned with a mixture of mild soap and water. Dip a clean cloth or soft brush in the solution and begin gently scrubbing the footbed. If there’s a lot of caked-on dirt, brush off first.

Use a clean towel to apply water to the footbed and pat the area dry, soaking up any excess water. Don’t saturate the sandal. Allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area before wearing again.



Stop Birkenstocks from getting smelly by using baking soda or cornstarch.

Smelly Birkenstocks can be a common problem, especially if you wear them a lot. The odor can be caused by sweat, bacteria, or dirt that gets trapped inside the sandals. Yuck!

Clean your sandals as you would normally (follow the instructions above), then once they’re dry, sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch on the footbed and inside the sandals. This can help absorb any remaining odors. Let the baking soda or cornstarch sit for a few hours or overnight, and then shake it out.

You can also use a shoe deodorizer or freshener to help neutralize any remaining odors. Try to let your sandals dry out between wears, and consider wearing moisture-wicking socks to help reduce sweating and odor.


Clean a Birkenstock cork footbed with soap and water.

a person holding Birkenstock cork sealer

The footbed of Birkenstock sandals can be cleaned with a mixture of mild soap and water — just like the steps outlined above. Use a clean towel to remove excess water, then let it air dry thoroughly.

Since the footbed is made of cork, it may need occasional conditioning to prevent it from drying out and cracking. Use a cork sealer or cork conditioner to help maintain the quality of the cork material.

Related: 22 Life-Changing Shoe Hacks


Stain solutions depend on the type.

Birkenstocks can be vulnerable to staining, especially if they are made of suede or other delicate materials. Start by identifying the type of stain you are dealing with. Different stains may require different treatments. For example, oil-based stains sometimes need a different approach than water-based stains.

Here are some tips on how to remove stains from your Birkenstocks:

  • For light stains, you can try gently rubbing the affected area with a clean eraser or suede brush. This can help lift the stain and restore the texture of the suede or other materials.
  • When dealing with stubborn stains, use a soap and warm water combination to gently scrub the stained area.
  • For oil-based stains, apply a small amount of cornstarch or baking soda to the affected area and let it sit for a few hours before brushing it off.
  • And those tough stains? You can try using a specialized suede stain remover, following the instructions on the product label.
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