How Do You Clean Smelly Flip Flops? [Even Gucci!]

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Flip-flops are popular, easy breezy summer style! They slip on and off for a casual, fun look. At least, until they’re covered in a smudged, black funk that makes your feet dirty when you try to wear them. And the smell! But luckily, cleaning smelly flip-flops isn’t so hard. We’ve checked all the tips, even from sandals makers themselves, to let you know just how to clean smelly flip-flops.

Cleaning your smelly flip-flops doesn’t take a ton of time or work, though you may have to avoid wearing them for a day or so while they soak and dry. Just follow these steps:

  • Rinse off the surface dirt with a sink, sprayer, or hose.
  • For extra cleaning power, soak in a bucket or container of warm, soapy water.
  • Add any extra cleaners to combat tough stains or odors, such as baking soda or white vinegar. You can also spray a mixture of bleach water. Add cleaners to the flip-flop directly.
  • Clean by hand with a sponge or brush and soap.
  • Rinse off thoroughly.
  • Let dry.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about cleaning your flip-flops. This article will teach you the best way to kill bacteria and viruses on your flip-flops. We’ll cover in more detail how to clean and some pointers for what kind of special cleaners you might want to try for those challenging cases. And we even cover what causes odor, how to remove it, and how to prevent it in the future. So read on to learn all this and more, and be ready to wear your flip-flops with no shame!

top view of many colored flip flops on yellow background. How Do You Clean Smelly Flip Flops [Even Gucci!]

How Do You Clean And Sanitize Flip Flops?

First, knock off any loose dirt. This will make clean them easier. Next, spray with cold water. If a regular sink isn’t strong enough, consider using a hose for an extra powerful spray.

Old and shabby yellow flip-flops lay on the concrete floor.

Then, you can use a toothbrush or sponge to apply soap (dish soap or bar soap). A toothbrush works well for flip flops that have a lot of texture or fuzz. It can get into the nooks and crannies in a way that a sponge just can’t.

Another option is to soak your flip-flops in warm, soapy water. Make sure that they are entirely submerged for the best clean. You can put something on top to weigh them down. Try concentrated dish soap for more effective results.

After soaking, you can always try using a toothbrush or sponge as described above. Combining various cleaning methods can help combat the deepest stains. Then rinse in cold water. Repeat with more than one cleaning if needed. When you finally have the results you want, let them air dry in the sun. Avoid artificial heat like a clothes dryer – it’s likely to damage your shoes.

Can You Wash Flip Flops In The Washer?

Technically, you can wash your flip-flops in the washer. Just remember, this uses a lot of water for a job that isn’t that hard to do by hand. If you can spare 15 minutes to clean your flip-flop yourself, Mother Earth would certainly appreciate the effort.
But if that’s just never going to happen, at least follow a few basic guidelines. Use cold water, as warm water may warp or damage your shoes. If you can, try to use a cycle that is “no-spin.” Use only a little detergent. And once they are done, you should probably rinse the flip-flops off thoroughly. A lot of the dirt and grime may still be there, pushed down further past the surface of the flip-flop. A good soaking rinse will make sure you’ve knocked it all loose.

How Do I Get My White Flip Flops White Again?

The best way to restore the luster of your white flip-flops will vary, depending on the material and texture. Try cleaning with a variety of items to see what has the best results. Some suggestions are:

  • Soaking in diluted bleach water
  • White vinegar
  • Scrubbing with baking soda
  • Try using a Magic Eraser to clean the surface

Click here to see this pack of Magic Erasers on Amazon.

Can You Put Bleach On Flip Flops?

Bleach can help get your white flip-flops back to their original glow. If you want to try bleach, then clean your flip-flops by soaking them in a bucket or other container of warm, soapy water. Just add a little bleach to the water as well. Again, you should use something to weigh the flip-flops down so that every surface gets clean.
And be careful with bleach. Spills or splashing can damage anything that it touches – like your clothes. Don’t over-mix the bleach. It needs to be appropriately diluted – overdoing it can be bad for your skin. Always follow the ratio for cleaning as given in the bleach instructions. Also, wear gloves to protect your hands when you put in or take out the flip-flops.
If you aren’t focused on cleaning as much as disinfecting, then you can always spray your flip-flops with a bleach-water mix. Stir a gallon of water and 3/4 of a cup of bleach together. Fill a spray bottle with this mixture, and apply to your flip-flops as needed. Leave them in the tub or on another nonporous surface that the bleach won’t damage.
Let it absorb and disinfect for five minutes – it will kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. If you’ve been wearing your flip-flops in public places like locker rooms and campground showers, this can help prevent you from picking up nasty diseases such as athlete’s foot. After five minutes, rinse the flip-flops thoroughly to remove any leftover bleach, and let them dry outside.
Foot under shower wearing flip flops

Why Do My Flip Flops Stink?

Flip-flops are known for being summer footwear, which means they can be exposed to heat and lots of sweat. Sweat can cause odor and might be the cause of any funky smells. But if you’ve already tried washing off the sweat, and they still smell, it could be another culprit to blame.

Sometimes, the stench is caused by bacteria. To prevent this bacteria growth and smell, try leaving your flip-flops out in the sun. The UV light can help to keep the bacteria from spreading. It also helps to keep your feet clean and dry. Wipe wet feet before putting on sandals, and consider using baby powder if you’re prone to sweating.

How To Get Rid Of Bad Smell In Flip Flops?

If you need some extra help to combat odors, follow the same cleaning process already described.  Rinse off the dirt, soak, scrub, rinse clean, and dry. But before scrubbing, add one beneficial ingredient. Place baking soda in the flip-flop, working it over the surface and into every nook and cranny.
Let it sit for five minutes or so to deodorize and work its magic. Then, use your toothbrush or sponge to scrub it in. Let it sit for another five minutes to finish the job before rinsing it off.
If that doesn’t work, the suggestions of cleaning with bleach water or white vinegar can also be useful for odor. And finally, consider putting the flip-flops in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer. Leave them for 24 hours, which will kill off the odor-causing bacteria. After 24 hours, remove them and let the flip-flops thaw out.

How Do You Get Stains Out Of Gucci Flip Flops?

The same general cleaning process will work for your Gucci flip-flops as any other pair. Wipe off the surface, scrub with soap, rinse clean and dry. But for the material, try using Dawn dish soap, specifically. It’s the easiest, most effective cleaner for Gucci flip-flops. For more advice or to see it in action, check out this tutorial.

How Do You Keep Flip Flops Clean?

When it comes to keeping your flip-flops clean, good smelling, and stain-free, the best weapon in your arsenal is good foot hygiene. Yes,  if you walk through mud in your flip-flops, you’ll need to give them a good rinse. But the majority of what makes your flip-flops dirty and stinky comes from the overall condition of the feet wearing them.

First, be sure to wash your feet well with a washcloth in the shower. No, soap running down your body doesn’t count. You need to scrub so that you can exfoliate and remove the dead skin cells. The build-up of dead skin leads to a build-up of dead skin cells in your shoe, which accounts for many odor problems.

Also, be sure to dry your feet well post-shower. Dampness causes odor. Applying powder such as Gold Bond can also help to keep feet dry and odor down. It’s also available as a spray, which makes the application a little less messy.

Click here to see this body powder spray on Amazon.

If you’re prone to sweating, a foot antiperspirant may be a necessity for you. Just like regular underarm deodorants, different ones work best for different people. You may have to try more than one to find the right match for your body type and chemistry. This one works as an antiperspirant but is applied as a lotion.

Click here to see Carpe antiperspirant foot lotion on Amazon.

In Closing

Flip-flops are easy, convenient summertime wear. But they do tend to get dirty and smelly. Since they’re out in the open for everyone to see, that grungy look can get unappealing in a hurry. To keep them clean and presentable, just knock off any extra dirt and rinse them well.

Then soak in a bucket of warm soapy water for a good clean. You can add vinegar or bleach to the water for even better results. Then clean with soap and a brush or sponge to get all the stains out. Rinse, dry, and enjoy your fresh new (looking) flip-flops!

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