How to clean smelly leather sandals

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather sandals have a way of getting smelly after a month or so of wear. The sweat from your feet soaks into the leather of the sandals giving them a distinct smell. When this occurs, taking your sandals off could lead to a potentially unpleasant experience. Many people are weary about putting their sandals in the washing machine. This is for good reason because a washing machine will ruin the sandal. The good news is that you can clean the leather on your sandals and still keep the sandal comfortable and undamaged.

Brush a nubuck or a suede sandal with a suede brush. This brush is made specifically for taking any dirt off the sandal.

Spray the leather down with a liberal amount of leather cleaner. Get a damp rag and rub the cleaner into the leather gently.

Brush the sandal again to polish the leather sandal.

Spray the leather down with a leather protection sealer. Spray the leather down just enough so you can see the cleaner on the surface, but not enough so the cleaner is dripping off the leather. Find these products at local shoe stores or at a department store.

Allow the sandals to dry out of direct sunlight. Place the sandals face down on an air vent in your home to help them dry with cool, dry air.


Never wash your leather sandals in the washing machine. Spray the leather protectant in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Suede brush
  • Leather cleaner
  • Dry rag
  • Leather protection solution
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About the Author

Charles Poole holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Appalachian State University. He started freelancing in college for local publications in Boone, N.C. and is continuing his career through online freelancing with a specialization in affiliate marketing, blogging and SEO.