How to Clean Shoe Insoles

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Shoe Insoles: Steps to Freshen Up Your Footwear

Shoe insoles are an integral part of our everyday lives, providing comfort and support to our feet as we go about our daily activities. Over time, these insoles can accumulate dirt, sweat, and unpleasant odors, making them less effective and hygienic. Cleaning your shoe insoles regularly is essential to maintain their performance and keep your shoes smelling fresh. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning shoe insoles effectively.

Step 1: Remove the Insoles

Before you begin the cleaning process, remove the insoles from your shoes. Most shoe insoles are removable and can be easily taken out by gently pulling them from the inside. In some cases, there might be a small notch at the back of the insole to help with removal. If the insoles are glued in place, be careful not to damage them while taking them out.

Step 2: Shake off Loose Dirt and Debris

Take the removed insoles outside or over a garbage bin and gently shake them to remove any loose dirt, debris, or small stones that may have accumulated. This step will help you get rid of the surface-level grime before moving on to deeper cleaning.

Step 3: Hand Wash or Machine Wash (if suitable)

The method of cleaning your shoe insoles will depend on the material they are made of. Here are two common cleaning methods:

a. Hand Washing:

Materials needed:

  • Mild detergent or dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Soft brush or cloth
  • Towel


  1. Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or dish soap.
  2. Submerge the insoles in the soapy water and gently agitate them for a few minutes.
  3. Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the insoles, paying particular attention to areas with visible stains or buildup.
  4. Rinse the insoles thoroughly under running water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Gently squeeze out excess water from the insoles without wringing or twisting them.
  6. Place the insoles on a clean towel and pat them dry to absorb remaining moisture.

b. Machine Washing:

Materials needed:

  • Mild detergent
  • Mesh laundry bag


  1. Place the insoles inside a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine.
  3. Set the machine to a gentle cycle with cold water.
  4. Start the washing machine and let it complete the cycle.
  5. Once the cycle is finished, remove the insoles from the mesh bag.

Note: Not all insoles are suitable for machine washing. Check the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting this method.

Step 4: Deodorize the Insoles

Even after cleaning, shoe insoles may retain unpleasant odors. To combat this issue, follow these deodorizing steps:

a. Baking Soda:

Materials needed:

  • Baking soda


  1. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the entire surface of the insoles.
  2. Let the baking soda sit on the insoles for at least a few hours or overnight.
  3. Shake or brush off the excess baking soda.

b. Vinegar Solution:

Materials needed:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle


  1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  2. Lightly spray the solution on both sides of the insoles.
  3. Allow the insoles to air dry completely before using them again.

Step 5: Dry the Insoles

After washing and deodorizing, it’s crucial to ensure the insoles are completely dry before placing them back in your shoes. Proper drying prevents mold and mildew growth and maintains the integrity of the insoles.

Methods for Drying:

  • Air Drying: Place the insoles in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Let them air dry naturally.
  • Paper Towel Method: Lay the insoles on a few layers of paper towels and change the towels periodically until they are dry.

Step 6: Reinsert the Insoles

Once the insoles are thoroughly dry, insert them back into your shoes. Ensure they are correctly aligned and sit comfortably inside the shoe.

Additional Tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Make it a habit to clean your shoe insoles every few weeks, depending on how often you wear your shoes. Regular cleaning prevents stubborn stains and odors from building up.
  • Alternate Insoles: Consider having multiple pairs of insoles for your shoes, allowing you to alternate between them. This way, you can let the used insoles air out before wearing them again.
  • Insole Replacement: If your insoles are excessively worn, torn, or damaged beyond repair, consider replacing them with new ones. Many shoe stores offer replacement insoles that can be customized for your specific needs.

By following these steps, you can keep your shoe insoles clean, fresh, and in excellent condition. Not only will this contribute to better foot health and comfort, but it will also extend the overall lifespan of your favorite footwear. Remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning recommendations, especially if you’re dealing with specialty insoles or those with unique materials. Happy cleaning and enjoy your refreshed shoes

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