There is nothing better than long summer days and being able to walk around with bare legs and flip flops enjoying the warmth. That is until the pungent smell of sandal pong hits you and shatters your summer bliss. Don’t worry funky smells can be dealt with and our guide on how to clean smelly flip flops will help you to salvage your favorite footwear.
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Why Do Your Flip Flops Stink?
The simple fact is that all types of footwear are susceptible to odors and flip flops are no exception. Here are some of the reasons why you get smelly flip flops in the first place.
Firstly flip flops by their very nature are open to the elements. This means that when you are walking around in them in your bare feet they are naturally going to attract dust, dirt and grime from their surroundings. Part of this is going to end up on the flip flop and part of it on your feet themselves.
Add into the mix the fact that sandal odor is going to get worse because you are going to be wearing them in hot summer weather. The sweat from your feet is going to mix into the dirt and grime on the footbed and create that familiar smelly shoe pong.
This creates a wonderful breeding ground for bacteria which in turn will cause more bad smells.
Therefore learning how to clean smelly flip flops should be part of your summertime routine to prevent your footwear from getting that overpowering stench.
Basic Steps You Can Take to Help
Before we get into the various ways you can clean your flip flops there are some ways that you can stop the bad smell by taking some simple basic steps.
The first is regularly wash your feet and dry them when you are wearing flips flops or sandals. This helps to remove the dirt from your feet so that it doesn’t become ingrained into the flip flop footbed. Having clean feet is a great way to reduce the problem before it takes hold.
Also, try and avoid wearing the same pair of flip flops or sandals every day. When you have worn them on one day make sure that you swap to a different pair the following day. Allow the used pair to air dry which will make it less likely for you to get stinky sandals between uses.
How Do You Get the Smell Out of Your Flip Flops?
Once you have smelly flip flops there are a number of methods that we recommend you do to help resolve the problem. Here are some of our best cleaning methods that you can use to help kill bacteria and make them smell fresh and clean again.
Our first method concentrates on removing the bacteria quickly and simply. All you need to do is get your flip flips and place them in a sealable plastic bag. Add baking soda and sprinkle it on the footbed and then place the bag in your freezer compartment and let it sit overnight.
The bacteria you find on sandals and flip flops is unable to survive in the cold whilst the baking soda helps to absorb any residual odors. When you take it out the following day you should hopefully have clean smelling flip flops.
Can You Wash Flip Flops in The Washing Machine?
Many basic rubber flip flops are perfect for placing in your washing machine to help clean them. Remember if you are in doubt check the manufacturer’s instructions as you don’t want to ruin expensive sandals or flip flops.
To clean flip flips place them into the washing machine drum and set your machine to run on a cold water wash. The washing machine should be run on a gentle cycle with minimal spin to avoid damaging the flip flops.
Where possible place the flip flops into a laundry bag to prevent them from damage.
For the washing product use normal laundry detergent and a cup of white vinegar as well. The white vinegar will help to neutralise any smells whilst the laundry detergent is great at helping to remove any dirt from the rubber.
When the cycle has finished allow them to air dry outside in direct sunlight.
Use a Dishwasher to Clean Your Thongs
Traditionally you may think about using a dishwasher for your plates and cutlery but did you know that you can clean everything from plastic toys and toothbrushes in one? Flip flops can also be popped into the dishwasher for a good clean but we would issue a word of caution first.
Ornate flip flops with bows, diamante and sparkles are not going to work in a dishwasher. Think about using this method to make flip flops clean when you are dealing with basic rubber flip flops. Leave some of our other cleaning methods for your favorite pair of flip flops so they don’t get ruined.
How to Clean Smelly Flip Flops With Baking Soda
Don’t worry if you can’t use a washing machine or dishwasher to clean your thongs. There are plenty of other solutions that also work well that you can use.
Going back to the baking soda solution this can work just as well but you need to do things in a slightly different way.. To clean flip flops run them under some warm water under a tap so they are wet. Then sprinkle them with baking soda and a small amount of salt.
Using an old toothbrush start to mix the salt and the baking powder into a paste on the flip flop. Let the paste sit on the footbed for at least ten minutes.
When the time is up begin to scrub the baking soda paste vigorously to remove any dirt or grime and to help the product to absorb any bad smells. When you have finished wash the flip flops in clean cold water to remove the residue. Then leave them outside until they are completely dry.
Remove The Smell From Slides
If you weren’t aware UV or Ultra Violet light is an incredible method for sanitising and cleaning products. This method has been particularly talked about since the latest epidemic.
Finding out how to clean smelly flip flops is as simple in some cases as placing them outside in direct sunlight. The UV light will help to kill the odors and leave the flip flops smelling fresh.
Obviously, the sunlight won’t help to remove ingrained dirt but can work when just the smell is causing a problem.
If you want to invest in a UV light Sanitizer Box you can take your cleaning to the next level. Whilst you may not choose to buy a box just for your flip flops they are great for helping to sanitize germs from phones, baby products, toys and much more.
Just place the products inside on the specified time setting and allow the box to do all the work. When you take out your sandals you should have clean flip flops again.
How to Clean Flip Flops With a Magic Eraser
Whilst a magic eraser won’t get the smell out of your thongs it can certainly help to remove ingrained dirt and get brighten white flip flops.
Magic erasers are great products to have around your home and can help to clean marks from walls, clean mugs and even to remove rust. This is why if you have one around your house use it to clean the layer of dirt that sometimes gets ingrained in your slides.
Just wet the eraser under some cold water and then start to rub the eraser over the flip flop. You should start to see the eraser start to get dirtier and your flip flops getting brighter.
If Your Flip Flops Smell Really Bad Use Vinegar Regularly
White vinegar which got a mention earlier on in our washing machine hack is a great product for neutralising bad smells in flip flops.
Don’t apply the mixture neat. Instead, get a spray bottle and create a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar and aim it at the flip flop footbed. Spray the solution over the shoes or sandals and then leave them to air dry. This should help to remove the smell.
As vinegar is safe to use on leather as well this works for more expensive slides and sandals.
Get Rid of Smell From Sandals and Slides With Dish Soap
A simple cleaning method can be just as effective as a more complex method. Common dish soap for example is a great product to use when you want to clean flip flops.
Just get a basin and fill it with a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Allow the flip flops to sit in the mixture for 5 or 10 minutes to allow the dirt to be loosened.
Then get a cleaning toothbrush or cloth and start cleaning the smelly sandals with the product. When you have finished rinse the flip flops under some cold water and allow them to dry.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Sanitise Flip Flops
Hydrogen peroxide is one of our favorite cleaning methods as it takes barely any time to work.
To use this method wash your flip flops in some water and dish soap and then place them to soak in the hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes.
You should never leave them for too long in case the product causes them to discolor. Make sure the flip flops are thoroughly rinsed so all the cleaning products are removed and then allow them to dry.
Other Ways to Remove Smells From Thongs and Slides
Some of the less common methods to clean flip flops are also worth mentioning. We have seen suggestions that using orange peel can help to neutralise odors.
Just leave the orange peel in the footbed of the shoe or sandal overnight and hopefully you will have sweet smelling slides the next day.
Alternatively for a wackier solution one scientist on a forum we saw recommends smearing Marmite onto the footbed of flip flops as it helps to change the PH balance. When the PH is changed this kills off the bacteria that were hanging around causing the smell.
We haven’t tried this method but if nothing else works for you what have you got to lose?
We hope you enjoyed our hacks to teach you how to clean smelly flip flops and that our simpler solutions worked first time for you.
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