How to Clean, Wash, Deodorize Crocs and Rubber Sandals

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Close-up of Crocs on a little girl's feet.
Image Credit: Cate Gillon/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Half of the appeal of Crocs and similar rubber sandals is that they let your feet breathe. Surely that should keep those sandals from developing that distinctive stink that plagues your other shoes... right? If only. Sweaty feet can leave a lasting impression on any kind of shoes, even sandals. Luckily, cleaning is simple with this kind of footwear. If your Crocs stink or your rubber sandals are looking dingy, you'll find everything you need at the kitchen sink.

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Cleaning Classic Crocs or Rubber Sandals

While we tend to think of classic Crocs as being made of rubber, they're technically made of something called Croslite. It's proprietary to Crocs, and the company describes it as a "closed cell resin material." It's neither rubber nor plastic, but these shoes can generally be washed in the same way that you would wash rubber sandals.

For both Croslite Crocs and rubber sandals, start the cleaning process by using a stiff brush to remove any caked-on dirt. Next, put a few squirts of dish soap in a bowl and fill it with lukewarm water. Dip a soft cloth or clean sponge in the soapy water and use it to scrub the shoes clean. Alternately, make the soapy solution in a large dishpan and soak the shoes in the water for a few minutes, following with another scrub with the brush. Rinse the shoes under cool water.

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Sometimes a soak in soapy water isn't enough to clean a pair of really dirty or smelly Crocs. Don't wash Crocs in a dishwasher, but the company says it's okay to wash Croslite Crocs in a washing machine on the gentle cycle. Wash the shoes alone, with a mild detergent and on a cool water setting. (Don't try this with rubber sandals unless you've checked with the manufacturer first; some rubber sandals may be made with components that shouldn't go in a washing machine.)

Never put Crocs or rubber sandals in a dryer, since they may shrink or be warped by extreme heat. Always air dry your Crocs and rubber sandals. They'll dry quickly in the sun. Or, if it's a sweltering hot day, air dry shoes indoors just to be safe; it's possible they could be warped by the heat if you forget about them outdoors.

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Cleaning Fuzzy Crocs or Leather Crocs

Crocs that are lined with faux fur certainly are cozy for your toes. They're also more prone to develop odors and a little harder to clean than classic Crocs are, since the fuzzy lining isn't removable. Mild dish soap and water is still all you need, though.

Start by cleaning the outside of the shoes with a soapy water. Get the fuzzy lining wet and squirt a few drops of dish soap into it. Use a soft brush to work the soap into the material, then rinse the shoes well. Don't put fuzzy Crocs in the washing machine.

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Leather Crocs also require a different cleaning process than Croslite Crocs. The company recommends using just a damp rag to clean the inside of leather Crocs. Don't use soap on these shoes or soak them in water at all.

Deodorizing Crocs and Rubber Sandals

Cleaning will remove dirt from Crocs and rubber sandals but won't necessarily stop your shoes from smelling. If your sandals or Crocs stink, it's going to take more than soap and water to fix. Baking soda absorbs odors, so it's a powerful antidote to foot funk, and it shouldn't damage your shoes in any way.

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Try sprinkling plain baking soda over the footbed of your smelly sandals. Let it sit overnight, then simply brush it off when you're ready to wear the shoes. This method is the best choice for deodorizing fuzzy or leather Crocs. For more stubborn smells in Croslite Crocs or rubber sandals, make a paste of equal parts baking soda, white vinegar and water. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste all over the footbed and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and air dry. Repeat this process whenever you notice your Crocs stink.

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