The bottom of shoes can get very dirty. Here are a few tips on how to clean the bottom of your shoes quickly and easily to help you step out in style in no time!
How Dirty Are the Bottom of Shoes?
Footwear is a common source of introducing bacteria in our homes, and the bottom of shoes are the dirtiest. According to the University of Utah, more than 90% of bacteria (including e-coli) found on shoes is transferred onto floors where it can live for weeks.
It is best to remove your shoes at the entrance of your home to prevent treading in any bacteria. It’s also a good idea to reduce buildup by scraping away mud, dirt, and debris from your shoes before entering your home.
What are Shoe Soles Made Out of?
Shoe soles have many functions like providing traction as you walk and protecting. Shoe soles are made out of rubber, leather, synthetic materials and more. (Source: Shoes report)
How to Clean the Bottom of Shoes
There are many ways you can clean the bottom of your shoes, the methods below will help make this task as easy as possible. Start by selecting a basin, sink, or bathtub for your workspace. If you have a lot of caked on mud on the bottom of your shoes, use a boot scraper first.
Clean Shoe Soles with Dish Soap and Oxygen Bleach
Oxygen bleach, also known as percabonate of soda, is a non-toxic alternative to chlorine-based bleach. It removes stains and can whiten and deodorize materials (bonus for smelly shoes with white soles!). Combining this fantastic all rounder with dish soap is an effective way of getting soles clean.
Step 1: Gather Supplies and Ingredients
All you need are your dirty shoes, a bucket of warm water, dish soap and oxygen bleach.
Step 2: Clean
Place your shoes in a bucket of warm water, and add in equal parts of dish soap and oxygen bleach to the warm water. Let them soak overnight.
Step 3: Dry
After letting your shoes soak overnight, rinse them off in cold water and let them air dry.
Clean Shoe Soles with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural, inexpensive and effective cleaning agent. When baking soda is combined with water, carbonic acid is formed which releases carbon dioxide gas. This reaction helps dissolve dirt and grime on surfaces such as countertops, sinks, stovetops, bathtubs, toilets etc. (Source: Encyclopedia)
Step 1: Create a Cleaning Paste
Mix water and baking soda together until you make a paste the consistency of toothpaste.
Step 2: Scrub
Using a cleaning toothbrush, scrub some of the paste onto the soles and gently rub away the dirt. Rinse and repeat until all visible dirt is gone.
If the soles are white and badly stained, refer to the oxygen bleach method (above), or add in a splash of dish soap to your paste for an extra cleaning boost.
Step 3: Dry
Once you’re satisfied with your squeaky clean shoes, simply give them a final rinse and allow them to air dry.
Clean Shoe Soles with Toothpaste
This method involves using an old toothbrush and a little toothpaste to scrub the bottom of your shoes clean. Non-gel white toothpastes work a treat for cleaning white-soled shoes.
Step 1: Apply the Product
Apply toothpaste to an old toothbrush, and work it into the dirty spots on the soles of your shoes, getting into grooves of your sole. For badly stained soles, leave the paste on your shoes for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 2: Rinse Clean
Rinse off the toothpaste from the toothbrush and wet it slightly, going over the same grooves again to make sure all toothpaste residue comes out. Then get a damp towel and wipe off any residual toothpaste. Repeat steps 1 and 2 if necessary.
Clean Shoe Soles with a Magic Eraser
Powering through tough marks and embedded dirt is no problem with the legendary Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable.
Step 1: Wet the Magic Eraser
To start, all you need to do is wet your magic eraser to activate the micro-scrubbers inside. Squeeze out any excess water.
Step 2: Scrub
Wipe across the sole of the shoe and watch the marks disappear.
How to Remove Gum from the Bottom of Shoes
We’ve all been there, walking along the pavement and you suddenly step in some fresh gum someone has irresponsibly discarded, annoying isn’t it? My favorite method for removing gum off the bottom of shoes is the freezer method.
Step 1: Put Your Shoes in a Plastic Bag
Grab a plastic bag and put your shoe (or shoes – unlucky you!) inside. Push the plastic right up into where the gum is stuck, and pop it in your freezer – carefully avoiding any food items. Leave the plastic bag in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight, to work its magic.
Step 2: Remove the Shoes (and Gum!)
Take your shoes out of the freezer, and peel off the plastic bag. This peeling action should take the gum right off from the sole of your shoe!
RELATED: How to Clean White Shoes
Tips for Drying Freshly Washed Shoes
Most shoe styles and materials can be easily dried outside by means of wind and sun. Leather shoes might require special care in order to maintain their shape.
Cedar shoe trees are great for maintaining the shape of your favorite leather shoes. For non-leather shoes, try filling them with rolled up newspaper to minimize drying time.
Oxygen bleach can help to whiten the bottom of your shoes. You can mix up a paste with water, scrub it into the bottom of your shoes with a cleaning toothbrush, allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse them clean. Repeat if necessary.
Soles turn yellow because of a natural process called oxidation. Combined with accumulation of dirt, the bottom of your shoes are likely to yellow over time.