What’s better than slipping into your favourite pair of slippers after a long, cold day? But, after a year or so of shuffling along in your sheepskins and bustling about in your booties, they may start to look a little tired. Keeping your slippers clean and well-cared for can breathe new life into an old pair and help maintain a new one for longer.
Find out how to wash your slippers and more in this comprehensive guide.
In this guide:
Why should you clean your slippers
Slippers are often the most commonly used piece of footwear. Whether they’re clogs, flip-flops or fluffy, they’re worn inside and outside, from the bathroom to the garden. Due to their extensive use, slippers attract a lot of dirt and grime and can breed a lot of bacteria.
This is just one of the reasons why it’s important to know how to clean slippers effectively. Read on to discover useful tips on slipper cleaning as well as guidance on how to wash different materials such as wool, fluff, rubber and leather.
Washing your slippers
Everyone has their favourite pair of slippers that they wear all day, every day. But it’s not often we think about taking care of them in the same way we do our other pairs. Just like your outdoor shoes, slippers can smell and generally just get worn down by everyday use. This is why it’s important to know how to clean your slippers.
Here are our top tips for cleaning your slippers.
- Are they machine washable? The label will tell you if you can put your slippers in the washing machine. If yes, put them in on a slow, cold wash.
- Hand wash them. Rub and soak your slippers with warm water and a gentle detergent. Rinse and carefully push out the excess water – don’t wring them! This could damage them and make them lose their shape.
- Use special products. If you’re struggling to get rid of stains with water and detergent, there are specialist products that can help you target tough stains. Make sure to read the label beforehand to make sure the chemicals won’t ruin your slippers.
- Tackle the smell. If your slippers smell, you can use baby wipes to give them a quick clean. Bicarbonate of Soda can also be used to soak up the stink. Sprinkle, leave for a few hours, and then vacuum out.
Cleaning tips for specific slipper types
Rubber and plastic
There are not too many precautions to take when cleaning rubber or plastic slippers. Just soak them in a 3-1 mix of water and vinegar and then scrub them with soapy water. Leave them to air dry, and you’ll be left with a fresh pair of slippers.
When cleaning fluffy slippers such, hand wash them with warm water and use a mild to medium strength detergent. Then, leave them to air dry in the sun to ensure freshness and remove any potential odour.
When looking at how to clean wool slippers, you should be very gentle. These should be washed rarely due to their natural ability to be odour-repellent. Wool is also likely to shrink in hot water, leaving them misshapen. With this in mind, remember to use cold water and air dry in the sun.
Understanding how to clean leather slippers can be a bit trickier. Although they are naturally durable, they can give off a bit of an odour if they get wet. You should use a brush and clean with a mix of warm water and castile soap. Use a cloth to wipe off the dirt. Finally, air dry them and apply your choice of leather polish or conditioner to finish up.
Suede, although very stylish, can attract a ton of dust and dirt and can become a bit dull if they’re not taken care of. To clean suede slippers, start by brushing off any dirt with a soft brush and clean the smaller marks with a microfiber cloth. You can also use cornstarch for removing stains. If your slippers are extra dirty, consider going for a special suede cleaning solution.
Check out our blog for an extensive guide to cleaning suede footwear.
How do I make my slippers white again?
If your slippers are starting to lose their vibrance, use a 1 to 4 parts mix of bleach and water. Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the dirt. Do this, rinse the brush and repeat until you get a white finish that you’re satisfied with.
The benefits of different slippers
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of a few different slipper types to see which might be best for you.
- Sheepskin – good for keeping you warm and toasty. Made from natural ingredients so may need special care.
- Booties– booties are often made from synthetic materials so are a little cheaper than sheepskin. They still keep your feet toasty and provide ankle support.
- Flip flops– they don’t provide ankle support, but they are super comfortable and allow your feet to breathe.
- Specialist pairs –if you have any foot problems, it may be a good idea to look at a pair with arch support or specialised cushioned soles.
- Flats –flats are your basic slipper shape. They often have closed toes and heels so you don’t slip out when you’re walking.
Slipper wear and care FAQs
My slippers still smell, what do I do?
If your slippers continue to smell after cleaning up, try to use a scented spray to freshen them and then leave them in the sun. The scent will hopefully be absorbed while the sun dries them out.
Can wool slippers be put in the washing machine?
When thinking about how to wash slippers, avoid putting materials such as wool and suede in the washing machine. These materials are quite delicate and might suffer from texture damage.
How should I prepare my slippers for storage?
Completely dry off your slippers before storing them – especially if you’re putting them away for a while (for example, during summer). If possible, try to stuff them with paper towels so they retain their shape and don’t get squashed.
How can I maintain my slippers for longer?
One of the easiest ways to maintain footwear is simply by wearing them regularly, while washing and taking care of them. Don’t leave footwear in storage for too long as they may cause them to break apart and degrade, especially if they’re made of synthetic materials.
Take a look at the Shoe Zone blog for more shoe care tips and guides.