Leather is a natural material that is strong and durable. It’s also soft and flexible. Leather sandals cradle your feet in luxury and let them breathe even on the hottest day. Leather shoes can take a beating, though. And like most of your other shoes, your sandals will need to be cleaned at some point. But how—water and leather are not exactly compatible. Are you mulling over this question: Can I wash my leather sandals?
Washing usually involves soap and water. These elements aren’t kind to an organic material like leather, but you can wash leather sandals with a damp soft cloth or brush and a very mild liquid soap. You can also treat your sandals with a leather conditioner. Avoid saturating or completely immersing your sandals in water. Too much water will damage leather.
It’s a relief to know that leather sandals can be washed. Sandals crafted from leather are expensive. These shoes are an investment in your wardrobe that needs to be protected. Proper care and maintenance extend the life of the leather. Keep reading as we dig in and help you understand how to give your sandals some lifelong TLC.
How To Clean Leather
As beautiful as leather is, it will show spots or discolor when it encounters a liquid like water. And, like other footwear, your sandals can pick up dirt and dust. Leather also tends to scuff. There’s no need to panic, though. Read below for tips and methods that will get your sandals looking new again.
Soap and Water
It’s counterintuitive that water can clean a water stain on leather. But when we say to clean with soap and water, we mean that you should use the tiniest bit of each. First, you should use a soft dry cloth to blot the stain or a brush to remove debris. If the leather still looks dirty or discolored, put a teeny drop of liquid soap on a soft damp, just barely wet cloth and gently rub away the debris. Let your sandals dry entirely.
Another tip to try on stubborn stains is a solution of vinegar and water. Combine equal amounts of the liquids and blot the stained area on your sandals. Unless you want to ruin your shoes, the most important tip to remember is that you should keep water to a minimum when cleaning.
Sometimes leather dries out and feels stiff. You can rescue your leather sandals from early retirement with a specially formulated leather conditioner. There are products on the market that can restore your leather sandals to their former supple beauty. The conditioner is applied evenly with a soft dry cloth. It penetrates deep into the leather, leaving the material to feel soft and flexible. Be sure to wipe off any excess conditioner.
Your leather sandals may look and feel clean but smell awful. The best way to freshen up stinky shoes is to place them in a sealable bag with baking soda and let them sit overnight.
You can also find commercial shoe deodorizing sprays on the market. Or get crafty and make your own from water, essentials oils, and vinegar. Use the spray sparingly on the footbed of your sandals, avoiding the leather. Then, place them in a sunny window to dry completely.
There are times when you might need professional help to get your leather sandals back to their glory days. Getting caught in the rain or walking through a mud puddle might leave your sandals in a state too dire to rely on do-it-yourself cleaning. Find a cobbler or a shop that specializes in cleaning leather. These pros will have the right products and tools to restore your shoes.
Can You Put Leather Sandals In The Washing Machine?
No, you shouldn’t put your leather sandals in the washing machine. Full submersion into water will ruin the leather. Your shoes might get squeaky clean, but as they dry, the leather will stiffen. All the natural moisture will disappear, and the leather will eventually crack. It will be challenging to restore your leather shoes if they accidentally get tossed in the wash. If that happens, find a professional cleaner that deals with leather for help.
How Do You Clean Teva Leather Sandals?
Leather Teva sandals should be cleaned like any other leather sandal. Assess what needs to be cleaned and pick one of the methods we’ve suggested in this post. There are styles of Teva sandals that don’t have leather footbeds. Clean the top of the soles with mild soap and water. Just remember not to get the leather uppers wet. And always let your Teva sandals dry thoroughly.
How Do You Clean Birkenstock Leather?
Birkenstock leather sandals can be cleaned like your Teva sandals or any other leather sandal. Minimum amounts of soap and water can be used as needed. And again, any contact with water or a conditioner means your sandals need time to dry.
After cleaning, you should protect your sandals with Birkenstock Water & Stain Repellent.
How Do You Protect Leather Sandals?
Leather sandals are expensive but can last for years if properly cared for. Many brands will treat leather shoes with a water and stain repellent after they are manufactured. That coating will last a few months. It’s a good practice to treat your leather shoes with this type of product at the beginning and end of a season.
And, there might be parts of your sandal that aren’t crafted with leather. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and preserving soles or footbeds that aren’t leather.
Water and Leather
If you wear your leather sandals often, they will need to be cleaned or, at least, treated. Hopefully, we’ve given you plenty of ways to get your sandals looking and smelling like new again. Remember, you can wash leather as needed but only with a bare minimum amount of water. A damp cloth is not wet cloth. Keep your leather sandals soft and flexible by keeping them away from water.