Cleaning Teva Sandals

Sometime I’ll put a bigger discussion here but here are the basics about getting the stink out of your Teva sandals:

  • I’ve tried putting them in the laundry. The webbing got beaten up so I don’t like that.
  • I tried soaking them in floor cleaner but that didn’t help much.
  • I tried Windex to no avail.
  • I tried a bunch of other stuff.

Here’s what works best for me:

  • Fill the sink with warm water
  • Put in a bit of Tide clothes washing detergent
  • Weigh the Tevas down in the sink (they float)
  • After a few hours soaking, scrub all the nooks and crannies in the top part of the sole with a toothbrush (not your active toothbrush, please)
  • Stink will be gone for a few weeks

Update Sept 2005:

I’ve given up trying to clean the perfectly good but perfectly stinky sandals and have gotten a new pair.

If you’ve got a better (easier!) solution, write me at

Update June 2007:

From the mailbag. I cannot vouch for any of these.

Quoth Libby F:

I was cruising around the net looking how to clean some white sandals and came across your teva problem, or should I say the universal teva problem.

My brother came up with the best way with the least effort.

Unstrap sandles so that the interior sole is exposed. Soak in 1/3 to 2/3 bleach to water solution overnight. Rinse well with warm water and let dry (I usually rehook the straps so that the upper sole creveses are more exposed). After they have dried, try putting a little baby powder on your feet when you put them on, that helps keep the stink away a little longer.

The real reason that tevas stink so bad so fast is because your feet shead and the teva holds the dead skin so keeping your feet in good shape also helps. The other thing that we found is that if you just leave them outside after you take them off the “open air” keeps them fairly unstinky.

Quoth Shu H. from Singapore:

I too have stinky Teva sandals. In fact, I stunk up an entire tutorial room 2 days ago. The worse thing was I didn’t know it was my pair of sandals that smelt so bad. We always eat in the room so I just thought some food had gone bad. Anyway, me being indifferent and nonchalant abt these things, I really didn’t care.

Unfortunately, several other people i nthe room apparently did. And they knew it was me! And they were talking abt it, as a friend later told me. However, Tevas apparently will inevitably get smelly, and several of my friends have reassured me that’s normal.

What I find works best to remove the smell is to soak the sandals in some strong disinfectant mixed with water. We have a brand over here called Dettol which is potent stuff. It has a really strong, almost overpowering, clinical smell….which I kinda like because it makes everything smell so…well…clean and hygenic. Give it shot. It may work for you, as it did for me!

The word from Teva, August 2008


I stumbled across your blog last night when looking for effective ways to clean my teva’s. anyway, I wasn’t 100% satisfied with what I found there (or anywhere else, for that matter), so I e-mailed teva directly. pasted below is their reply. not sure if you even care, but figured I’d share with you (to post) as your blog came up first in a google search “cleaning teva sandals” so I figured you’re getting at least some traffic. anyways…be well.


Thank you for your email. Here are the Teva Footwear Cleaning Instructions:

We foremost recommend using a mild soap and water and hand wash, please do not machine wash. Also try scrubbing the top sole with a soft bristled brush while cleaning and gently bending the sandal from heel to toe under water pressure so that any dirt in the grooves of the top sole will wash away.

Another option for killing bacteria is to place the sandals in a sealable freezer back and freeze them overnight.

Other options:

  • Mix 1 cup of Listerine (or any antibacterial mouth wash) to 2 cups of water. Soak for 15 minutes and scrub with a bristled brush. Let air dry.
  • Put sandals in a pool with chlorine for 15-20 minutes. Scrub with a hard bristled brush. Rinse. Air dry.
  • Wash them in the shower with Shampoo.

Leather shoes:

For our leather sandals, we suggest cleaning with a nubuck leather cleaner. This will clean the sandals and get rid of the odor, while keeping the unique look of the leather. If you desire to clean just the top sole, gently scrub with a mild soap and a good rinse will usually be sufficient. Please allow your sandals to dry in an open, well ventilated area – but not directly in sunlight.

How often:

We recommend washing your sandals every two to four weeks, depending on use.

If I can be of further assistance please contact me by email or phone at (800)367-8382 between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Arizona Time.

Tim Beauchamp

Customer Service Representative