How to Get the Stink Out of Rubber Sandals

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Despite good hygiene and clean feet, rubber sandals tend to smell after several wearings. The cause is not necessarily sweat, as you might think, but a collection of bacteria on the sandal itself. Many products kill bacteria, and because rubber is washable, the problem of stinky sandals is easily fixed.

Things You'll Need

  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Alcohol
  • Bleach

Cleaning rubber sandals

  • Sandals that are entirely made of rubber can be washed in your dishwasher on a regular cycle. This is the easiest and fastest way to remove the smell from your sandals. If you are concerned about washing smelly sandals with your dishes, run the sandals in an empty dishwasher.

  • If you do not have a dishwasher, you can also put the rubber sandals in your washing machine on a warm setting with laundry detergent. Do not dry them in your dryer. The best way to dry them is to use a towel to remove excess water, then lay them out in the sun. The direct sunlight will also help to kill any bacteria accumulation on the sandals. Avoid washing them with your clothes, because your clothes may come out smelling a little rubbery.

  • Should the smell remain, or if you do not have either a dishwasher or a washing machine, you can also hand wash the rubber sandals with a rag and antibacterial soap. The soap will kill the bacteria accumulated on the rubber sandal. Dry in the sun.

  • Alcohol will also kill bacteria. If the antibacterial soap didn't do the trick, rub the rubber sandals with alcohol, and rinse with warm water thoroughly. Dry in the sun.

  • As a last resort, you can always wash the rubber sandals with a mild bleach and water solution. This may fade the color, but will kill all the bacteria. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry with a towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • After you have tried all these methods, if your sandals continue to smell, then the cause may not be bacteria. Sandals with nylon straps may start smelling because the nylon webbing is disintegrating. If this is the cause, there is no cure and it is best to throw out the sandals. Rubber sandals with any leather will need special cleaning. Rub the leather with a mild soap and damp cloth, and treat the rubber with either the antibacterial soap, alcohol or bleach. Be sure to not get any alcohol or bleach on the leather.

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