1. 1

    Blend equal parts of alcohol and water in a mini spray bottle. Be sure the liquids are evenly distributed by pouring them in and shaking the container.

    • Antibacterial regular isopropyl alcohol is safe to use on fabrics and is ideal for cleaning delicate items.
    • For those times when you don't have any rubbing alcohol on hand, a solution of distilled white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide with a slightly higher concentration will also do the trick. But vinegar can leave its own smell, and it might take a few washes before it disappears. [2]
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    Apply the alcohol solution to the insoles and spray them. First, make sure the insoles are on a level, watertight surface. Spray both sides of each one with water. Indulge your alcohol consumption needs to the fullest. Getting the insoles wet won't be a problem because it dries fast.

      • If you don't have a spray bottle handy, you can also use a corner of a clean cloth soaked in alcohol to manually clean the insoles.
      • The rest of the shoe can be cleaned in the same way.


    1. 3

      Dry the insoles where they can air out. Place them in a more ventilated area, preferably outside. Within a short amount of time, the alcohol will evaporate along with the water, leaving your insoles dry, sterile, and smelling great once more. 1

      • Until the shoes have dried, you shouldn't wear them again. This will only serve to spread more bacteria and water.


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    Put the baking soda into the large container. Put some baking soda in a quart-sized Ziploc bag or Tupperware container and give it a good shake.

    • Be sure the container you use has a lid or other means of closing and sealing.
    • Many people use baking soda because it is said to neutralize odors effectively and efficiently.
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    Insert the insoles into the packaging. Put the insoles into the baking soda, submerging them entirely. The powder will stick to the upper surface more effectively if you turn them upside down. For maximum effectiveness, spread the baking soda over a larger area. [6]

    • Before applying the baking soda, make sure the insoles are mostly dry.
    • If you don't have anything to put the insoles in, just lay them out and sprinkle the baking soda on top of them. [7]
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    The insoles need a full night to soak. Place the lid on the container and put it somewhere out of the way. When you wake up in the morning, the baking soda should have permanently neutralized even the most potent odors.

    • Baking soda needs at least 6-8 hours to do its thing for optimal results.
    • Because it doesn't require any scrubbing, wiping, or washing, baking soda is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get rid of lingering odors. [9]
  4. 4

    Take out the insoles and swap them out. Remove the baking soda from its container and throw it away. Shake the excess powder from the insoles and allow them to air out for a few minutes before replacing them in your shoes. Soon after that, you shouldn't be able to detect any foul odors.

    • If your insoles are a breeding ground for odor, use baking soda as often as necessary to get rid of the problem.


  1. 1

    Take out your shoe inserts When the insoles are removed from the footbed, the shoe can be worn without the soles. To better target the dirty areas, first brush away any loose dirt, dust, lint, or other debris. Before you start cleaning, put your shoes' insoles in a convenient location to air out.

    • You'll have to do some careful hand cleaning in there if your shoes don't have removable insoles. In cases like these, an old toothbrush can be a lifesaver.
    • To clean shoes that can be washed in the washing machine before replacing the insoles, simply put them through a delicate cycle. [11]
  2. 2

    In a large bucket, mix together the liquid soap and the boiling water. Squirt a few drops of a gentle liquid dish detergent that dissolves quickly in water into the sink or a separate bucket. Combine the soap with the water and stir until a solution is formed. [12]

    • To remove stubborn stains and dirt, hot water is preferable to cold.
    • The smell of mildly used insoles can usually be removed with a simple soap and water scrub.

  3. 3

    Use the soapy water to scrub a hard surface with a bristle brush. Use something like a nylon dish brush or an equivalent tool for this. Shake off any excess cleaning solution after wetting the bristles. When washing the insoles, you should only use a very small amount of soapy water at a time so that the insoles don't get ruined. [14]

    • Most shoe insoles can be cleaned by soaking them in water, but you shouldn't do that. Insoles made of leather, foam, or composite materials are susceptible to damage from excess moisture.
    • Scrubbing can also be done with a regular cotton washcloth or a gentle dish sponge.
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    Use the soapy water to thoroughly scrub the insole. Use a stiff brush and small, circular motions to scrub the soap solution into the insoles. Pay special attention to the smelly and stained spots on the soles of your feet, particularly between the toes and the heel. After cleaning the tops of the insoles, turn them over and clean the bottoms. [16]

    • It's okay to re-soap the brush as often as you like.
    • If any soap residue is still visible after scrubbing the insoles, wipe it away with a clean sponge or cloth. This method can be used to clean the rest of the shoe, as well
  5. 5

    Please let the insoles dry naturally. Make sure the insoles are completely dry before putting them back into the shoes after washing. Bacteria that cause odors thrive in warm, damp environments, so this will keep them at bay. Put them back into your shoes after they've dried and give them a good workout. [18]

    • The insoles can dry more quickly if left in a well-ventilated area or if you place them near a space heater or air conditioner.
    • Put the insoles in the sun to dry if the weather permits. This will allow them to dry more quickly, and the sunlight's ultraviolet rays will help kill any germs that the soap solution missed. [19]


Question New
  • Question

    It is possible to wash the insoles of your shoes?

    Moe Draper
    Draper, Moe
    Expert in Shoe Maintenance and Repair
    When it comes to shoes, Moe Draper knows what he's talking about. He owns Detroit Shoe Shine and Shoe Repair, where he provides expert care and repair services. Moe has been in the shoe business for over 20 years, during which time he has honed his skills in the areas of shoe shining, cosmetic repairs for high-end leather goods, and shoe repairs both small and large. At Detroit Shoe Shine and Repair, Moe and his team have been in business for over 30 years.
    Moe Draper

    Materials considerations aside, in most cases, yes. Wash the insoles separately from the rest of the shoe on a delicate cycle if they come out.

  • Question

    What's the best way to disinfect an insole that won't come out of my sandals?

    Moe Draper
    Ad man Moe Draper
    Professional Shoe Care & Repair
    Moe Draper is the owner of Detroit Shoe Shine and Shoe Repair and a specialist in shoe care and repair. Moe has been in the shoe business for over 20 years, during which time he has honed his skills in the areas of shoe shining, cosmetic repairs for high-quality leather goods, and minor and major shoe repairs. Moe and the rest of the knowledgeable staff at Detroit Shoe Shine and Repair have been in the business for over 30 years.
    Moe Draper

    Sandals with a glossy finish (but not leather) can be cleaned with a combination of warm water and laundry detergent. Towel them off when you're finished.

  • Question

    Does soap work on suede insoles?

    Moe Draper
    A. Moe Draper
    Master Shoe Care & Repair Expert
    Moe Draper, proprietor of Detroit Shoe Shine and Shoe Repair, is an expert in shoe care and repair. Moe has been in the shoe business for over 20 years, during which time he has perfected his skills in the areas of shoe shining, cosmetic repairs for high-quality leather goods, and minor and major shoe repairs. Together, Moe and his crew at Detroit Shoe Shine and Repair have more than 30 years of experience in the industry.
    Moe Draper

    Suede insoles cannot be cleaned at home; they require special equipment and solvents. Most suede shoes, fortunately, do not have suede insoles, so this is not a common problem.

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  • Hot water
  • Dishwashing liquid that is mild
  • A solution of rubbing alcohol
  • Powdered sodium bicarbonate
  • Brush, washcloth, or sponge with stiff nylon bristles
  • Enclosed space
  • Container for dispensing liquid in spray bottles

Moe Draper

This work was written in collaboration with:

Expert in Shoe Maintenance & Repair

Moe Draper is a co-author of this piece. Moe Draper is the owner of Detroit Shoe Shine and Shoe Repair, where he specializes in shoe care and repair. Moe has been in the shoe business for over 20 years, and he is an expert at all levels of maintenance and repair, from simple polishing to complete rebuilding of damaged heels or soles. The staff at Detroit Shoe Shine and Repair, run by Moe, has a cumulative 30 years of experience in the industry. There have been 158,709 views of this article.

Co-authors: 6

Updated: On the eleventh of February, 2022

Views:  158,709

Categories: Main Articles | Restoring Shoes to Their Shine

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