Ooh That Smell
July 11, 2011 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Can I cure my stinky sandals?

I've got a great pair of LL Bean sandals. The sole is rubber and the tops are mostly canvas with some leather. After trips through Vietnam and Cambodia and a few hikes up Korean mountains, they absolutely reek.

However, they still seem to be in good shape, structurally.

How do I get rid of that sour sweaty stench without ruining them? I imagine the rubber sole precludes them from going into the washing machine.
posted by bardic to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've washed my son's rubber-soled, canvas sneakers in the washer and they were fine. I'm not sure how the leather would react, though.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:17 PM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: "Oh for crying out loud. Get new sandals."

I live in a country that doesn't cater to my (relatively) gargantuan feet.

But thanks for not helping, champ.
posted by bardic at 8:19 PM on July 11, 2011 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Spray with vinegar. Let sit. Sprinkle with baking soda (after the vinegar is dry, you don't want it to go all volcano on you). Let sit.

My dad used to de-stink my brother's shoes this way. It's not going to solve the problem totally, but it does make them considerably less pungent.
posted by phunniemee at 8:19 PM on July 11, 2011

Best answer: I don't know if it's still true, but LL Bean used to take exchanges on any of its products at any time, so if that's still in effect, you can probably get close to identical sandals for nothing from them.
posted by xingcat at 8:19 PM on July 11, 2011

Best answer: you could try putting them in the freezer for a few days.
posted by vespabelle at 8:20 PM on July 11, 2011

Best answer: In combination with your other destinkification methods, park them in outdoors in the sunshine as much as possible. Take them inside at sunset or damp weather, but let wind and heat and UV radiation help you for free.
posted by Quietgal at 8:21 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd soak in vinegar for 1 hour, then wash with a small amount of detergent. Dry in the sun and re-moisturize / polish the leather bits. Works for stinky sailing shoes.
posted by mercredi at 8:26 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: And now I'm looking closer at my stinky sandals and realizing there might not actually be any leather, but just a thicker stretch of canvas, so the washing machine it is.

posted by bardic at 8:29 PM on July 11, 2011

Good luck, some of the Teva/Teva like sandles I've owned still stinked (the rubber part) after washing / different attempts at cleaning them. I've found that several drops of clary sage oil covers up/destroys the smell for awhile.
posted by thylacine at 9:26 PM on July 11, 2011

Nthing a good dose of direct sunshine after you wash them.
posted by desuetude at 9:37 PM on July 11, 2011

Vinegar and sunshine... also, a day off in between wears in the future should be a big help (for when you're not traveling, I mean).
posted by bluedaisy at 9:39 PM on July 11, 2011

I had similar sandals that held up beautifully in the dishwasher -- it's like going through the washer on a rack!
posted by kate blank at 10:09 PM on July 11, 2011

Spray them with alcohol after you wear them, it totally kills the odor, and whatever tries to grow on your feet. I use citrus vodka from Trader Joe's.
posted by effluvia at 10:12 PM on July 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

posted by oceanjesse at 11:20 PM on July 11, 2011

Toothbrush, toothpaste/soap on the canvas-like areas that stink. Usually these tend to be the straps rather than the soles.
posted by suedehead at 12:35 AM on July 12, 2011

You can also go anti-bacterial on their asses! We use an industrial strength antibacterial liquid called Maxima to keep stinky costumes at bay. Also you could try spraying them with vodka or rubbing alcohol. Even a Lysol-type spray would possibly do the job.
posted by ashtabula to opelika at 4:19 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

My kid's Tevas were much better after I sprinkled them heavily with baking soda, let them sit in the sun for a day, and then washed in the washing machine with cold water.
posted by lakeroon at 4:34 AM on July 12, 2011

I put stinky shoes in the freezer in a plastic bag with some dryer sheets in it. That seems to help.
posted by quiet coyote at 7:06 AM on July 12, 2011

Soak them in heavily-salted water and send them into the sun to dry for a few days (old Navy trick).
posted by answergrape at 7:44 AM on July 12, 2011

I travelled for several months with a pair of Chaco sandals as my primary footwear. Used them also as shower shoes; the soap they'd encounter during bathing helped keep them from getting stinky (especially if I washed my feet and then stuck my soapy feet back in the sandals), and then occasionally soaped up the footbeds while showering. Coupling that with drying in the sun when I had the opportunity pretty much guaranteed that they never got smelly.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 9:40 AM on July 12, 2011

Tevas get nasty-stinky. I use some corn starch as powder, and that helps. As needed, I wash them with dish deterg and dry in the sun.
posted by theora55 at 12:20 PM on July 12, 2011

Dr. Bronners Peppermint liquid soap. Saved my Teva's from the trash.
posted by i_like_camels at 10:19 PM on July 12, 2011

Call or e-mail LL Bean and ask them what to do. I've always had good customer service with them, including "How do I wash this?" questions.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:13 PM on July 13, 2011

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