Can You Wash the Insoles of Your Shoes? Yes, you can!

Smelly shoes! One of the actions you can take is to wash the insoles of your shoes. Wash the insoles by hand, DO NOT wash them in a machine. The insoles might lose shape and the top layer can come loose. With smelly shoes, most of the time, it is not the shoe; it is the insole that is stinking up the entire shoe. And, yes, you could buy new insoles, but that is just a last resort solution. Cheap aftermarket insoles will not fit your shoes as well as the originals, and the expensive ones will get dirty, so you will need to deal with them sooner or later. And here is how you can do that!

wash the insoles of your shoes with these products
wash the insoles of your shoes with these products (amazon)

Can You Wash the Insoles of Your Shoes?

You can wash your insoles by oversaturating them with lukewarm water and then scrubbing off the stains after. Do not machine wash or machine dry since it may damage them. For hard to remove stains, try to carefully scrub the affected area with a soft bristle brush but don’t use any silicone-based cleaning products. After you’re done washing, make sure you rinse them properly to remove excess water and dirt. Leave them to air dry for at least 24 hours after washing.

Can You Wash Memory Foam Insoles?

Memory foam insoles provide a certain level of cushioning to your feet and add to the comfort of wearing your shoes, although washing them can take some extra elbow grease.

The best method to wash your memory foam insoles would be to soak them in a bucket of warm water with Borax or some other detergent. Let them soak for a couple of hours or even days depending on how much washing they need. Once they are done soaking, you can scrub off the stains with the help of an old toothbrush and let them air dry after rinsing.

You can also wash your memory foam insoles in a washing machine, which may warp them out of shape. For best results, do not machine wash the memory foam separately. Instead, stuff the whole shoe with plastic bags and throw it inside the machine to take care of itself.

Make sure the water you use is just warm and not hot. When you’re done washing, put the shoes out to air dry. Once completely dry, take the bags out and they are ready to wear.

Related: Memory Foam Vs Gel Insoles , How Long do Memory Foam Insoles Last

Can You Wash Orthotic Insoles?

Washing Orthotic insoles is more or less the same except that you need to take extra care when washing them so that they do not lose their original form and structure. Since their structure is medically designed to realign your foot, they become useless if you mess up their structure.

It is better if instead of washing your orthotic insoles like the memory foam ones, you use different ways to clean them, although if need be, you may try to wash them. A soft cloth or sponge with a mild soap or detergent will do the job if you do not want to wash them. Soak the orthotics in cold or lukewarm and rub the surface which touches your foot with a soaped cloth. Rinse the soles afterward and let them air dry.

You can also consider using talcum powder inside your shoes to suppress the odor and make the soles last longer without washing.

Related: Top 10 Best insoles for sneakers

Can You Wash Birkenstock Insoles?

This question particularly strikes shoe-lovers’ minds since the Birkenstock insoles are not like any other insoles. In fact, they are made out of natural cork, latex, jute, and suede. This material requires extra care as it is not like the conventional soft foam but instead, it is a firm orthopedically correct mattress that improves posture and comfort when walking.

It is not recommended to wash or soak the Birkenstock insoles since longer exposure to water may damage the material, but there are other methods you can use to ensure that they last longer and stay fresh.

You can use Birkenstock’s cleaner and refresher designed specifically for these insoles but if you’re running out of it, the old-fashioned soap method also works. Use lukewarm water and a cloth soaked in soap or detergent to scrub the inner side of the insoles. Once done, clean them with a dry cloth and leave for drying in the air for at least 24 hours.

Excessive washing and cleaning might remove your Birkenstock’s shine and texture. If that happens, apply a cork sealer to the surface in a thin layer. Besides washing, this can also happen from continuous use in dry or hot areas so make sure you use the cork sealer regularly to retain their freshness.

How Do You Clean Smelly Shoe Insoles?

Smelly shoes can be annoying not only for you but also for the people around you, but luckily enough, smelly shoes can be fixed. There are hundreds of ways you can go about taking care of your smelly shoes and make the smell go away. Here’s how to go about that:

  • Dry out your shoes properly after every use. You may have noticed this or not, but your foot sweat is the number one reason for your smelly shoes. So, dry out your shoes every time you use them for extended periods.
  • Use baking soda or vinegar inside your shoes to reduce the smell. Both act as deodorizing agents and can be helpful in this regard.
  • Using talcum powder inside your shoes will make them smell fresh and control your foot sweat.
  • Wash your shoes every once in a while to ensure the smell goes out for good.

How to wash the insoles of your shoes explained (video)

Wash the insoles of your shoes: How To Deep Clean Insoles by DNA SHOW


If you want to wash the insoles of your shoes, always take them out of your shoes first. Soak your insoles in water and soap. Finally air-dry your insoles for at least 12-24 hours.

Related insoles and shoe care guides