How to Clean & Fix Women’s Sandals

How to Clean & Fix Women’s Sandals

It’s really easy for women’s sandals to pick up grime and dirt and especially as they’re mostly worn in the summer months. We’re going to run you through how to maintain and clean your sandals, so you can get more bang for your buck.

If you think that keeping your sandals clean isn’t that important, not only does it improve the lifespan of your shoes, but it’ll help with the health of your feet. Wearing sandals out and about means you can be exposed to some undesirable bacteria. This doesn’t mean you should throw away your sandals and start wearing a hazmat suit, but just a little bit of maintenance will keep your treads looking good and your feet healthy.

So, if you’re getting your sandals out for the summer and see that they’ve lost their colour, look grimy or are broken, here’s your one-stop shop to fix all your sandal woes.

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How to Clean Your Sandals

We’ll start with some general tips on how to clean sandals at home. Baking soda and mild laundry detergent will be your best friends when keeping your sandals clean. We’ll go through how to clean rubber flip-flops as this method is a good template to use when cleaning any sandals. We will go into more specific materials later in this post:

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Toothbrush
  • A cloth
  • Water

Four simple ingredients are all it takes to get tired flip-flops restored to their former glory! Rubber flip-flops get dirty very easily but it’s easy to correct that. Here’s how:

  1. First, cover the flip-flops in baking soda. Try and get an even spread and cover the whole area that needs cleaning.
  2. Apply water to the flip-flops, using a spray bottle.
  3. With your toothbrush, scrub away at the stains and you should find they lift off easily. Rinse your toothbrush as you go for the best results.
  4. Wipe down with a cloth.

If you find that there are some stubborn stains that won’t budge easily, try substituting water for hydrogen peroxide. You can also use this method on the underside of the sole.

Alternatively, lots of people suggest putting flip flops in the washing machine (on a cold cycle with some laundry detergent) and letting them dry in the sun. Some say it works, others have found it did not. It’s worth a try but the proven results lie with the toothbrush method.

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How to Clean Women’s Sandals that Smell

If the stains aren’t the problem but rather the odour coming from your sandals, you’re going to need to switch things up a little bit. The method is largely the same as above but you need to add some white vinegar to the water, as this will target the odours more directly. Baking soda also targets smells.

If vinegar isn’t doing the trick, you may need to look for some specialist sandal washes. Have a look online and see what’s out there; make sure you read customer reviews and see which ones have the most positive response.

Here are some tips on how to keep your sandals fresh-smelling that can be easily done at home:

  • The main cause of foot odour is sweat. If you’re going out and about, exercising or even if it is a particularly hot day, try to wipe your feet down so they stay dry.
  • Leaving orange peel in your sandals can combat some smells.
  • UV rays from the sun naturally break down certain bacteria that cause these odours. If the sun is shining but you’re not using your sandals, leave them out in the sun.
  • Leave baking soda on your sandals overnight, and shake off whatever is left on them in the morning.

Cleaning Sandals

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How to Clean Women’s Leather & Suede Sandals

Next up, how to clean your leather sandals. Cleaning these is a bit more tricky as you don’t want to ruin the leather. You can put your toothbrush away for this, but the method is pretty similar again.

If you just want to deodorise your leather sandals, baking soda is your friend again. Put your leather sandals in a bag, pour in some baking soda, leave it overnight and it should absorb some of those odours.

In general, avoid putting liquid onto your leather sandals. If the stains on them are solid, like dirt, see if rubbing the stains with a soft cloth lifts them first.

Clean your leather sandals with leather conditioner instead of with water and a toothbrush. Apply a few drops to a cloth and rub the problem areas. Leather conditioner is easily found online but, again, make sure you’re buying a tried and tested brand.

Using a clean, slightly damp cloth, rub off the conditioner and leave your sandals to air-dry in the sun.

Suede is a slightly different story. It’s a sensitive material and needs extra care. Cleaning ladies’ suede sandals is possible if you exercise caution. You may need to draft in some extra tools to help with this. Try and get your hands on a suede brush, a sharp knife or an eraser.

If you have a suede brush, lift up the nap of the suede by brushing it against the direction it sits in (or use a sharp knife to lift). This will help remove scuffs. After you’ve brushed it, take an eraser and rub it back and forth on any marks that are still there.

If you have liquid stains on your suede sandals, all is not lost. Put some vinegar on a paper towel and work it back and forth over the stain.

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How to Clean Fabric & Canvas Sandals

When it comes to cleaning canvas and fabric sandals, a mild laundry detergent is more effective than baking soda. Baking soda is still recommended for insoles and for absorbing odours but for the canvas upper, a detergent should lift stains.

Canvas and fabric sandals require a slightly different method and some different tools. You’ll need:

  • A bucket
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Toothbrush or sponge
  • A towel
  • Paper (not newspaper)

The trusty toothbrush returns! Make sure that your towel is an old one or one you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. If you have no paper to hand, that’s fine, you just need something that will hold the shape of your shoe. Here we go:

  1. Fill your bucket with warm water and add detergent to it, stirring until it lathers.
  2. Get your toothbrush or sponge and, holding the shoe above the water, scrub the shoe where needed. Dip your shoes carefully in the water whilst scrubbing to wash off dirt but avoid dunking the whole shoe in.
  3. Once you’ve lifted the stains, carefully rinse shoes with some clean water. Get your towel and squeeze the shoes in it until they’re no longer dripping and all excess water is gone.
  4. With your paper or substitute material, place it in the sandal to keep it in its desired shape.
  5. Leave your sandals out to dry, preferably in the sun, but if that’s not possible, a warm, dry place indoors will do. Avoid drying your sandals on a direct heat source as this will likely damage them.

This method should work for fabric, cotton and cloth sandals as well. There are some materials which this method will not work on. If you have velvet sandals for instance, your best chance of preventing a stain is if you spot it before it has dried. If it is still fresh, grab a microfiber cloth and try to soak up as much of the stain as possible.

If you didn’t spot it in time and it has dried, washing up liquid mixed into water can do you some favours. If you have none to hand, try lemon juice and baking soda mixed into water. Grab a toothbrush and carefully try to scrub the stain. Exercise extra caution with velvet as it’s another sensitive material. Dry the area with a cloth or paper towel. If this doesn’t work, it might be time to call in the professionals.

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How to Store Ladies’ Sandals

How to Store Ladies’ Sandals

You’ll never be able to fully prevent your sandals from getting dirty but there are some storage ideas which you can apply to all your shoes that will make them easier to find, that look good and will help to keep them clean. If you like little DIY projects, there is plenty of inspiration online if you want to take one on. Try these:

  • A really easy tip and one that involves some upcycling is using wire hangers as sandal holders. Simply cut the bottom wire of the hanger and, using pliers, curl the ends upwards and voilà! That’s a really quick fix – and you don’t have to stop there. You can dress up the hangers with jackets, add your own little twist to them, be as creative as you like.
  • Another easy one, try and keep them off the floor. If you have shelving units that are holding a lot of junk or anything that you could use to organise your shoes, keeping them off the floor will help a lot in keeping them clean. Having them up off the floor makes them easier to identify quickly and saves you from rummaging through heaps.
  • A hanging organiser is a cheap, easy solution. You can get hanging fabric shelves that can go over your door or inside your wardrobe. Each compartment will fit a pair of sandals in easily. This keeps your shoes off the floor, gives them their own compartment so they’re easy to spot and these shelves are readily available in home stores for cheap prices.
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How to Fix Broken & Scuffed Sandals

If your sandals need a fix, depending on the severity of the damage, there’s a good chance you can fix it yourself at home. We’re going to run through how to fix your flip-flops and strappy sandals and how to patch a canvas shoe.

First, flip-flops. This is quite a straightforward quick fix and it’s likely you’ll already have all the tools you need to do it. The most likely break will be the strap falling through the sole. You just need something that you can force the strap through that will cover and support the hole in the sole. A spare washer will do the trick, but if you don’t have a washer then you will need:

  • Plastic bag
  • Scissors

That’s it! Here’s the method:

  1. Take your broken strap and pull it back through so it’s on top of the sole. With your scissors, cut the toe-post as close to where it intersects with the rest of the strap as you can. You should be left with just a kind of V-shaped strap (the bit that usually sits on top of your foot).
  2. Take your plastic bag (preferably one that matches the colour of the rest of the flip-flop to make it less noticeable), and put it on its side, so its handles are on top of each other. With the handles facing the heel of your flip flop, put them underneath the strap. Take the bottom part of the bag and pull it through the loops of the handles so it wraps around the strap.
  3. Twist the plastic bag so it forms a thin "strap", removing air from it as you go. You should now be able to pull the twisted bag through the hole in the sole of your flip flop. Pull it through so that the V of the strap is actually touching the sole.
  4. Tie a double or triple knot, depending on the strength of the bag, underneath the sole and cut off any excess. Try and cut it as close to the knot as possible.

Hey presto! Your flip-flops should be fixed. Now, you might be thinking what about the huge knot underneath the flip-flop? That knot will gradually push itself into the hole and become part of the sole. Wear them in around the house and eventually you’ll find that it will become completely unnoticeable.

Next, how to fix strappy sandals. The most common fix needed with strappy sandals is the toe strap coming out of the sole. Unlike flip-flops, these straps are attached inside the sole so are a little trickier. For this, you’ll need:

  • Strong superglue
  • Small pliers
  • Cotton earbuds

The method is as follows:

  1. Hold your pliers at a shallow angle to the sole and try and cut into it on either side of the hole left by the strap (between the inner and outer soles). You don’t want to go through the sole but rather make some room within it. Your loose strap will probably “fork” in two at the end and the aim is to attach the ends through the hole.
  2. Using the pliers still, you want to work the strap into the hole so that the ends sit flat under the inner sole. This can be quite fiddly and might need some patience. Be careful to not make the hole any bigger.
  3. Get your cotton earbuds and cut off one end so you’re left with just the plastic. Work superglue into the hole using the cut-off earbud. Use a small screwdriver to hold the hole open if needed.
  4. Leave to dry for 24 hours.

This is slightly more fiddly and if the straps along the side come unattached, then the same principle applies but you might have to adapt it slightly to reattach it. Failing this, it’s best to get a cobbler to fix.

Finally, here’s our quick fix for patching up small tears in canvas. Be warned, this won’t make it look as good as new, however. You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Ice lolly stick or an equivalent
  • Soft sponge
  • A strong adhesive

Fabric scissors are best for this and for the adhesive, one that is marketed towards shoes or fabrics is recommended but a strong superglue will also do the trick. Here’s what you do:

  1. With your scissors, cut off any loose fabric in the target area that you plan on patching up. These loose bits of fabric will affect how well it will stick together.
  2. Dampen your sponge and rub clean the problem area.
  3. The torn part of the canvas should now be clean and free of excess fabric. Using the stick, apply a medium amount of glue across the tear. Try and spread it evenly throughout and avoid getting big blobs on it. The stick will come in handy for spreading it evenly, try and spread it so that it is secure but not that it takes up a lot of room.
  4. Leave to dry for at least 24 hours. For best results, leave for up to 3 days.

There we have it. Your one-stop shop for cleaning, storing and fixing your sandals. These tips can save you some money and keep your sandals looking fresh and clean. If you’re breaking out the sandals, that can only mean that the sun is out, so off you go and enjoy it!

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