Dirty Slippers? Here's how to wash them.
Although they are often overlooked, your slippers may spend more time on your feet than any other footwear you own. Wearing slippers indoors is beneficial because they protect your feet from injury and from spreadable disease (think athlete's foot), keep you stable on your feet, and warm you up. But all that use means that they require regular cleaning—probably more often than you are currently cleaning them.
The proper way to clean slippers will depend on the materials they are made from. Cloth fabric, suede, and leather all require different techniques, which can be further complicated by structural elements such as arch supports or sole cushions. But whether you are washing cloth slippers in a clothes washer using a warm regular cycle or hand-cleaning fine leather slippers with saddle soap, you'll be eager to clean them more often once you learn these easy, simple methods.
How Often to Wash Slippers
- Do you wear slippers outside?
- Do you wear socks with slippers?
- Do you deal with foot fungus and odor?
Every type of slipper should be cleaned as soon as any odors or heavy soil become apparent.
Generally speaking, it's a good idea to clean your slippers once a month, but you may well find it beneficial to clean them more often. How often slippers need to be cleaned depends on several factors:
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Washing machine or large sink
- Suede brush
- Soft cloth
- Clothes drying rack
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent
- Suede cleaner
- Saddle soap
- Leather conditioner
- Baking soda
- Wool wash or gentle detergent
- Baby wipes
How to Clean Cotton and Synthetic Fabric Slippers
Cotton terry cloth slides and any slippers made from polyester fabrics, even those lined with faux fur, can be machine or hand-washed to revive and deodorize them.
Wipe Down Soles
If the slippers have been worn outside, wipe down the soles with a damp cloth or baby wipes (they are infused with gentle soap) to remove any mud or grit.
If the slippers have food stains or heavily soiled areas like interior soles, use a dab of heavy-duty detergent that contains enzymes (like Tide or Persil) to pre-treat and break apart stains. Work the detergent into the stained area with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Allow the detergent to work for at least 15 minutes before washing.
Machine-Wash Fabric Slippers
If you are machine-washing fabric slippers, add them to a load of similar colors and fabrics. A load of towels usually works well. Wash in warm water with your regular detergent on a regular cycle.
Hand-Wash Fabric Slippers
Fabric slippers can also be hand-washed in a sink in warm water with about one teaspoon of a heavy-duty detergent. Add the slippers to the soapy water and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes to lift the soil. Gently squeeze the solution through the slippers and then drain away the soapy water.
Fill the sink with fresh water and rinse the slippers until no more soap bubbles appear. Gently press out excess water. Roll the slippers in a thick towel to help absorb water.
Drying Washable Fabric Slippers
Whether machine or hand washed, all slippers should be allowed to air-dry. Reshape the slippers and place them in a well-ventilated space to dry. If you are concerned about them holding their shape, stuff the slippers lightly with paper towels or white tissue paper. Don't use newspaper because it can leave ink stains on your slippers. Change the paper frequently as the slippers dry.
Never place slippers in an automatic dryer. The high heat can cause the soles to become distorted and any glues used in construction to dissolve.
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