How do I clean Tevas?
June 26, 2005 2:19 PM   Subscribe

Tevas & rubber(plastic) garden clogs plus bare feet smell like old cheese after a while (many wearings, not one wearing of many hours.) What is the best way to clean the footware? (The feet are clean, it's the footwear.)
posted by leafwoman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
wash them in a washing machine, or leave them in the sun. use deodorant powder when you wear them in future.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:37 PM on June 26, 2005

Take an old toothbrush and scrub them with lots of baking soda. Wash off, leave outside to dry.
posted by Happydaz at 3:17 PM on June 26, 2005

I've splooshed tea-tree oil on the foot side of my Teva soles, let it sit a little while, rinse off. But the sun sounds like a plan too.
posted by zadcat at 3:22 PM on June 26, 2005

Had some of this problem on a long trip in the tropics I just took. I was wearing Tevas alot, which would get muddy or soaked with river-water and then end up smelling funky the next day. The best solution was a good washing with a detergent/camp-soap and lots of water, followed by a long exposure to direct equatorial sun (wonderful what UV will do to smelly bacteria) until fully and completely dried.

I noticed that the worst smell arose when we'd come back from a long day, give the sandals a rinsing, and then let them sit damp overnight. That amount of damp darkness was just the thing to cultivate the sort of funky bacteria that made shoes reek. So a complete sun-baking seemed to be the most important thing for keeping shoes smelling good.
posted by Mercaptan at 3:32 PM on June 26, 2005

if you use soap make sure you get it completely rinsed out, or your shoes will start to foam the next time they get wet.
posted by clarahamster at 3:41 PM on June 26, 2005

Tea tree oil is a popular remedy. I've heard of (but not tried) just using a regular deodorant stick on them. And of course, the fine people at Teva have thoughts on the issue.
posted by jewishbuddha at 3:52 PM on June 26, 2005

I've found the best way to keep mine clean is the top shelfm of my dishwasher. Seriously. I'd suggest running the idea by your signifigant other or roomates first, though.
posted by jrhyley at 3:55 PM on June 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

I've always been a sucker for Simple Green and a stiff nylon brush.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:12 PM on June 26, 2005

The smell is usually caused by bacteria.. putting 'em in a plastic bag and tossing them in the freezer for a couple days works pretty well.
posted by Orrorin at 4:14 PM on June 26, 2005

Don't know about Tevas, but sometimes plastic and rubber items just get incurably funky. It seems to be some chemical breakdown that gives off eau d' crap. I had a set of plastic-handled nut drivers (settle down over there!) that became too stinky to use. I have also had sandals that would not stop smelling, regardless of what deodorant/detergent/bleach treatment I gave them. Other similar sandals don't have the problem, so it's not my feet doing it.

I'd be interested in hearing a chemist's explanation of what's going on, or better yet, how to recognize future stinky items before I buy them.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:49 PM on June 26, 2005

Scrub them with laundry detergent and a scrubbing sponge. Let them dry.

Then soak them (strap/foot pad side down) in hot water with as much baking soda dumped in as will dissolve. Rub any extra baking soda paste into the straps and foot pads. Let it soak for a good while, maybe overnight. This eliminated the smell in my Merrells. Unfortunately it'll eventually come back.

I think you can buy sandals with anti-bacterial stuff built into them to prevent smells.
posted by Anonymous at 8:12 PM on June 26, 2005

I always used Doc Bronner's peppermint soap. Wish they didn't pick up the funk, though.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:15 PM on June 26, 2005

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