Cleaning TOMS Shoes

Cleaning TOMS Shoes

by Michelle on May 12, 2011

Post image for Cleaning TOMS Shoes

So if you own a pair of TOMS, you know that they are pretty cool, but also pretty smelly even if you don’t generally have super stinky feet (and especially if you walk in any water). TOMS are meant to be worn without socks and comfortable enough to wear all the time, but can thus create a need for more odor control. Before we get into some natural cleaning solutions for them, here’s a little background in case you haven’t heard why TOMS are so neat.

For every pair that you purchase, another new pair is donated to a child in need somewhere around the world (as of last year over 1 million pairs of shoes were donated!). It might not seem initially that shoes are an extremely important human need, but this donation actually protects children’s feet from burns (in hot parts of the world), cuts, infection, bacteria, sewage, etc. They even make it possible for some kids to go to school if they can’t afford shoes, but are required to have them to attend.

TOMS also takes the environment into account as you can choose to purchase vegan shoes (no animal products used) as well as Earth-friendly ones made with sustainable and recycled materials. The shoes most environmentally friendly are specified on the web site and are still really great looking.

So now on to the cleaning part. The instructions for cleaning on the website state to hand wash using cold water and a mild detergent and air drying. They state that washing with a machine “gentle” cycle works, but never to put TOMS in the dryer. Some people suggest washing the shoes and then drying them in the sun (which is a great way to kill bacteria), but the website states that this can cause fading (although not affecting the durability), so be aware of this potential issue.

Another suggestion is to wash them on your most gentle machine cycle using detergent and then adding them to the dryer (on low or no heat) with a bunch of wet towels. Wearing them again afterwards is supposed to stretch them right back to normal.

Some other ideas include wiping down the insides with rubbing alcohol (perhaps try that in a small spot first), stuffing them with paper (which can be reused) to help absorb moisture after wearing, sprinkling baking soda in them which absorbs odors (leaving overnight if necessary), and placing them in a freezer overnight to kill bacteria.

If you decide to take the baking soda route, you can also try making this natural odor killer with essential oils by shaking in a sealed container 1 cup baking soda with 4 drops tea tree oil, 3 drops lavender oil, 3 drops rosemary oil, and 2 drops peppermint oil. These essential oils together offer disinfecting, antibacterial, and antifungal properties which should greatly help with odor when sprinkled regularly in the shoes. Hopefully this solution could increase the time needed between washings.

Now last, but not least, I’ve even heard of some people using Efferdent (denture cleaner!) for odors in certain shoes, but that could be an especially risky trial- since it’s blue. ;)

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Popkewitz Alper May 13, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Good to know about TOMS shoes. I don’t own a pair, but have always been interested in their vegan shoes. Do you have a pair? They look very comfy.

Michelle May 18, 2011 at 11:35 am

I actually don’t have a pair of TOMS yet, but I did just find them at a local Earth-friendly store nearby though so I think I’l be getting a pair soon! My brother (whose TOMS are pictured above) asked me to research natural solutions for his stinky TOMS so I decided to turn it into a post :)

katie December 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I have 8 pairs, thanks for the info!!!

Brenda January 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I have a pair of Tom’s. I washed them in the washer, gentle cycle, then put them in the dryer. Mistake! The inside layer was left crinkly, a little bothersome. Otherwise I love them, very comfy. Will definitely buy more.

marie ventura February 25, 2012 at 6:16 am

so nice to hear it bout toms shoes and h0w to wash it.thanks guys…!!?

lashawna ricks March 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm

i have 2 pair of toms they are my favorite shoes to wear, super comfortable. will be getting another pair next month for spring.

Laura April 16, 2012 at 3:58 am

This is awesome. I got a pair of TOMS last summer and pretty much wore them everyday. I dug them out last night to find that they where not in the best state. I washed mine in a the washing machine and they turned out fine. Although I was literally seconds away from tossing them in the tumble dryer… Good thing I Googled it!

EL Lisa June 9, 2012 at 12:35 am

A simple spritz of febreeze will do just as well too! :)

fun girl101 September 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Ihave a pair of toms that my cosin gave me. she let her friend use them and her feet STINK so bad. i am trying to wash them what do i do?

Kelli October 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

If you go the baking soda route, make sure you make a sachet (out put cloth down and then sprinkle.) The insides of the non-vegan shoes are leather, and direct contact with baking soda can destroy them.

Emma January 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Freezing does not kill bacteria, so that will not help with odor. Also, baking soda will destroy the leather insoles after time, so it’s best to not apply that directly.

Melanie March 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Another good way to eleminate smelly and sweaty feet (specially in TOMS) is to put special cedarsoles from zederna in your shoes. I tried it once and I was still surprised. It really works after a few days because of the “magic” cedarwood.

Jen May 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I have a pair of fuchsia “Freetown” Toms and would like to wash them. They are pretty delicate, though, and I’m not so sure they will come out in one piece. They also have the straw around the sole…

Has anyone had luck washing this style? They aren’t like the canvas ones, unfortunately…

Sam September 13, 2013 at 7:45 pm

my vegan toms insoles come out, is it safe to wash them in the washing machine or get them wet?

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