can you wash rubber birkenstocks in the washing machine

Can You Wash Rubber Birkenstocks in the Washing Machine?

Comfortable, durable, and timeless, rubber Birkenstocks have been a beloved footwear choice for years. As any wearer of these iconic sandals knows, routine cleaning is an essential part of maintaining their look and extending their life. Can rubber Birkenstocks be tossed in to the washing machine?

Yes, you can wash rubber Birkenstocks in the washing machine. However, it’s crucial to use a gentle cycle, a mesh laundry bag for protection, and to let them air dry afterwards.

This article will guide you through the three effective methods of cleaning your rubber Birkenstocks, including the often-debated washing machine approach.

Wash Rubber Birkenstocks in the Washing Machine

Using a washing machine can provide a more thorough clean, particularly for heavily soiled rubber Birkenstocks. This method is more time-efficient but should be used with caution and less frequently due to the potential for increased wear and tear.

  1. Begin by brushing off any loose dirt or debris from your sandals with a soft brush. This step is particularly important because excess dirt can muddy your wash water and reduce the effectiveness of your washing cycle.
  2. Place your sandals inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them during the wash. This will prevent them from becoming damaged by the machine’s agitator or by banging against the drum during the cycle.
  3. Add a pair of old towels or similarly colored clothes into the washing machine along with your Birkenstocks. This acts as a buffer, further protecting your sandals from any harsh movements.
  4. Use a gentle or delicate cycle with warm, not hot, water. This helps to protect the material of your rubber Birkenstock sandals while still providing a thorough clean.
  5. Add a small amount of mild detergent, preferably one without bleach or harsh chemicals. These can damage the rubber and lead to discoloration.
  6. Once the wash cycle is complete, promptly remove the sandals to prevent any chance of color bleeding or reshaping.
  7. Shake off excess water and pat dry with a clean, soft towel. Avoid wringing out the sandals as this can damage their shape.
  8. Finally, let your Birkenstocks air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct heat or sunlight. This prevents any potential damage or deformation due to excessive heat.

By adhering to these steps, the washing machine method can serve as an efficient and effective way to clean your rubber Birkenstocks. Always keep in mind that this method should be used sparingly and when other methods fail to remove heavy soil or stains.

Hand Washing Rubber Birkenstocks

Hand washing is the gentlest and most traditional method to clean your rubber Birkenstocks. It provides the most control and is less likely to damage your sandals. Moreover, it helps in maintaining the vibrant color and texture of the sandals.

  1. Begin by rinsing off any loose dirt or debris from your sandals under warm running water.
  2. Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a few drops of mild detergent or dish soap. Stir until suds form.
  3. Submerge your Birkenstocks in the soapy water. This will help to loosen any embedded dirt or stains.
  4. Dampen a soft cloth, sponge, or soft-bristle brush with the soapy water.
  5. Gently scrub the entire surface of the sandals. Pay special attention to areas where dirt tends to accumulate, such as the footbed and around the straps.
  6. For stubborn stains, you may use a soft toothbrush with the soapy water to lightly scrub the area.
  7. Rinse thoroughly under warm running water to remove all soap residue. It’s crucial to rinse well as soap residue can attract more dirt and create a buildup over time.
  8. After rinsing, gently shake off the excess water from the rubber sandals and pat dry with a clean towel.
  9. Lastly, allow your rubber Birkenstocks to air dry at room temperature. It’s important to keep them away from direct sunlight or heat sources, as this can cause the rubber to warp or shrink.

Remember, regular gentle cleaning can extend the lifespan of your rubber Birkenstocks and keep them looking their best.

Professional Cleaning Rubber Birkenstocks

For very stubborn stains or for maintaining the pristine look of white rubber Birkenstocks, a professional cleaning service may be your best bet. While this option may cost a bit more, the results can be quite satisfying.

  1. Research and identify a reputable shoe cleaning service in your area. You can do this by looking up online reviews or asking for recommendations from friends or family.
  2. Before engaging the service, have a conversation with the professionals. Discuss your specific concerns and the materials of your sandals. This is an important step as different types of footwear materials require different cleaning methods.
  3. Follow their instructions for either shipping or dropping off your sandals. If dropping off, ensure your sandals are as clean as possible to avoid any additional fees.
  4. It’s worth noting that some cleaning services may have a pick-up and delivery option. This could be a convenient alternative if you’re unable to drop-off or pick up the sandals yourself.
  5. Take note of any advice or recommendations given by the professionals for future care of your Birkenstocks. This could include specific cleaning products to use, or ways to prevent stains and scuffs.
  6. At home, continue regular maintenance of your rubber Birkenstocks. This, in combination with professional cleaning when needed, will help prolong the life and look of your rubber Birkenstocks.

Engaging a professional cleaning service is a great option for deep cleaning and for addressing stubborn stains, particularly on white rubber Birkenstocks. With their expertise and specialized equipment, they can bring your sandals back to their original glory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any special instructions for washing white rubber Birkenstocks?

White rubber Birkenstocks can show dirt and stains more easily than their darker counterparts. In addition to regular cleaning, you may want to consider a professional cleaning service if your sandals become heavily stained or discolored.

Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can discolor the rubber.
Instead, consider using a solution of equal parts vinegar and water for a mild but effective cleaning treatment. When using any new cleaning solution, always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure that it doesn’t discolor or damage the material.

How can you remove scuffs and stains from rubber Birkenstocks?

Scuffs and minor stains on your Birkenstocks can often be removed with a magic eraser. For tougher stains, a paste made from baking soda and water can be effective. Apply this paste gently to the stain, leave it to sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off. Remember to dry your sandals thoroughly after any cleaning to prevent moisture damage. For deeply set stains, a professional cleaning service can be considered.

Can you put rubber Birkenstocks in the dryer after washing them?

Rubber Birkenstocks should not be placed in the dryer after washing. The high heat of the dryer can cause the rubber to warp or shrink, potentially damaging your sandals. Instead, after washing your Birkenstocks, gently remove excess water with a towel and then allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Do not place them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as these can also cause damage.

Will washing rubber Birkenstocks in the washing machine damage them?

While washing rubber Birkenstocks in the washing machine won’t necessarily damage them immediately, it can contribute to quicker wear over time. To minimize the potential for damage, place your Birkenstocks in a mesh laundry bag during the wash and use a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals. After washing, remember to let your sandals air dry rather than using a dryer.

How can you remove odors from rubber Birkenstocks?

Rubber Birkenstocks can sometimes develop unpleasant odors due to sweat and bacteria buildup. To remove these odors, try sprinkling the inside of your sandals with baking soda, let it sit overnight, then rinse thoroughly. The baking soda will absorb the odors, leaving your sandals smelling fresh.
For persistent odors, consider using a specialized shoe deodorizer or odor-absorbing inserts. If odors persist even after these treatments, it may be time to replace your sandals.


Rubber Birkenstocks, though durable, require regular cleaning to maintain their appearance and longevity. Hand washing, washing machine cleaning, and professional cleaning are three viable methods. Each method has its own considerations, particularly when it comes to white rubber Birkenstocks and the removal of scuffs, stains, and odors. No matter the method, remember to air dry your sandals and avoid exposure to intense heat to keep them looking and feeling their best.