How to clean the cork on Birkenstocks

Written by alicia bodine | 13/05/2017
How to clean the cork on Birkenstocks
Keep your Birkenstocks looking great with regular cleaning. (Image by Maria Morri; Flickr.)

Birkenstock sandals were invented in Germany in 1895. These shoes were designed to make walking comfortable, and they did. As people discovered just how good the Birkenstocks felt on their feet, their popularity grew. Once you buy a pair of Birkenstocks, you will want to do all you can to keep them clean and looking like new. By taking care of your Birkenstocks, you can get many years of wear out of them. You will need to clean the cork in a different way to the rest of the shoe.

Check the cork on your Birkenstocks -- if they are worn, they will need new sealant. Birkenstocks come already sealed, but the sealant wears off over time. The sealant is necessary to keep the cork from drying out. To apply the sealant, just take the brush out of the bottle and brush the sealant on to the cork. Apply until all of the cork is suitably coated with sealant. It will dry clear.

Brush off any dirt that you get on your Birkenstocks. This is important to do in between cleanings, otherwise the dirt will continue to build up. When you get home, take off the Birkenstocks, turn them upside down, and brush them until no more dirt comes off.

Buy shoe cleaner that doesn't require you to use water and is safe to use on cork. Pour some of the solution on to the brush that comes with the kit. Then brush the solution into the cork, in a circular motion. Add more cleaner as needed. Work over all of the cork, or merely the sections that look dirty. You can then air-dry the Birkenstocks. No rinsing or water is needed.

Buy a cleaning eraser stick or pad. Use this to clean the Birkenstocks whenever you get a stain on them. This stick will even remove black scuff marks. Just wet the eraser and rub it over the stain until it is gone. Then let the Birkenstocks air-dry.


Do not use water or water-based products to clean your cork. It will cause the cork to dry out.

Things you need

  • Cork sealant
  • Brush
  • Cleaning solution
  • Cleaning eraser

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