Whether you wear terry cloth slides, fleece-lined leather slippers, or novelty superhero booties, slippers should be cleaned regularly to keep them soft, comfy, and looking good for as long as possible.
How Often to Clean Slippers
How often slippers need to be cleaned depends on several factors:
- Do you wear the slippers outside?
- Do you wear socks with the 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. Most slippers should be cleaned at least monthly.
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 to break apart stains (like Tide or Persil) to pre-treat 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-Washing 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-Washing 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.
How to Clean Suede Slippers
Suede slippers like those from Deckers X Lab are made from leather hides and must be spot cleaned to maintain the finish. Diligently work on the inside of slippers because when they become moist, bacteria begin to grow, which is the reason your slippers have that lingering odor.
Remove Loose Soil
Use a suede brush or a soft cloth to remove loose soil from the surface of the suede.
Spot Clean Stains
Treat grease stains by sprinkling them with cornstarch to absorb the grease. This is most effective if done as soon as stains happen. Allow the cornstarch to sit on the stains for several hours and then brush away. Repeat until no more grease is absorbed.
Use a commercial suede cleaner to treat heavy soil and stains following the product instructions.
Clean the Interior of Suede Slippers
Most suede slippers have a shearling-lined interior. To clean and freshen the lining, sprinkle in a heavy layer of baking soda. Use the suede brush to work it into the lining and allow it to sit for several hours. Vacuum out the baking soda.
If the lining is heavily soiled, mix a solution of two cups of warm water and one teaspoon wool wash or gentle detergent. Dip a soft cloth in the solution and wring until just damp. Gently scrub the interior of the slippers until most visible soil is removed, rinse the cloth frequently.
Finish by rinsing the cloth in clean water and wiping down the interior of the slippers to remove any soapy residue. Allow the slippers to air-dry for several hours. You can also use a blow-dryer on a low setting to dry the interior; use your fingers to work the fur to make it fluffy again.
How to Clean Leather Slippers
Leather slippers should not be machine-washed but can be hand-cleaned.
Remove Loose Soil
Wipe down leather slippers with a slightly damp cloth or baby wipes (wring them out a bit to remove excess wetness) to remove loose soil.
Clean With Saddle Soap
Mix a solution of warm water and Castile or saddle soap following product directions. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and wring until only slightly damp. Working in sections, gently wipe down the exterior and leather interior of the slippers.
If the interiors are shearling-lined, clean them separately after the exterior leather has been cleaned and conditioned.
When the leather is cleaned, wait about five minutes and then buff with a clean, soft cloth.
Apply Leather Conditioner
To keep the leather soft and supple, apply a commercial leather conditioner following the product directions. Finish by buffing to a shine.
Allow to Dry
Allow the slippers to air-dry for several hours before wearing them. This will help prevent stretching.
Tips to Keep Slippers Clean Longer
- Do not wear the slippers outside. If you do wear your sheepskin slippers outdoors, protect the interiors from sweat and other dirt by wearing lightweight no-show socks.
- Put on fresh socks before changing into slippers after work.
- Clean slippers regularly.
- Rotate slippers so they have a chance to breathe between the times you wear them.