How to Clean Smelly Birkenstock Sandals

Updated November 21, 2016

Birkenstock sandals feature a cork foot-bed and leather straps. Available for both men and women, Birkenstock sandals can trace their roots back to the late 1700s in Germany. Proper care and maintenance is essential to prolong the life of Birkenstock sandals and often includes odour removal from the foot-bed. A few steps can both clean and deodorise a pair of smelly Birkenstock sandals.

Make a solution of soapy water with mild soap and warm water. Mix the soap and water in a small container thoroughly.

Dip a clean rag into the mild soapy solution and wring out excess water.

Wipe down the cork foot-bed of the Birkenstock sandals with the damp rag. Work in small areas at a time and use a circular motion to help break down and remove dirt and debris that can be holding odours.

Dip the rag in the soapy solution, wring out excess water and continue cleaning until the entire foot-bed, including the sides, are clean.

Clean the leather of the Birkenstock sandals by gently wiping with a damp rag. Avoid using a saturated rag as this can cause water spotting on the leather.

Apply a small amount of leather cleaner on a dry section of the rag to clean heavily stained or stubborn stains on the leather.

Wet a cloth with warm water only and wring out to remove excess water. Wipe surfaces of the sandals where you applied the soapy solution to remove any excess soap. Place the sandals in a warm location out of direct heat or sunlight to dry.


Choose a well-ventilated area in which to dry the sandals as this will also allow the cork to further air out and any remaining odours to disperse.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Container
  • Leather cleaner
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About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.