can you wash rubber flip flops in the washing machine

Can You Wash Rubber Flip Flops in the Washing Machine?

In the summer heat, a pair of flip-flops is a versatile companion for beach outings, casual city strolls, and comfortable home lounging. Over time, though, they may start to show signs of dirt and grime. Luckily, there are effective ways to keep them looking fresh and clean. But is washing them in a washing machine one of those methods?

You can wash rubber flip flops in the washing machine, but take precautions such as using a gentle cycle and air drying them afterward.

This guide will explore the three different methods for cleaning rubber flip-flops, including the use of a washing machine.

Wash Rubber Flip Flops in the Washing Machine

Using a washing machine is a straightforward, efficient method for cleaning rubber flip-flops. However, it’s essential to follow certain steps to ensure you avoid damaging both your flip-flops and your washing machine.

  1. Check the care instructions: The first step is to inspect your flip flops for any manufacturer care labels or instructions. Some brands might specify whether or not their flip-flops are suitable for machine washing.
  2. Pre-wash with a toothbrush: Before placing your flip-flops in the washing machine, you can pre-treat especially dirty or grimy spots. Using an old toothbrush, gently scrub these areas with a solution of warm water and dish soap. This pre-treatment can help loosen stubborn dirt and make the machine washing more effective.
  3. Place in a mesh bag: To protect your flip-flops and your washing machine from possible damage, it’s best to place your flip-flops in a mesh laundry bag. This prevents the flip-flops from tumbling around aggressively during the wash cycle. If you don’t have a mesh bag, an old pillowcase secured with a rubber band can serve as an alternative.
  4. Add Towels for Balance: To help balance the load and provide a cushion for the flip-flops, consider adding a few towels into the wash. This can also help minimize any loud noises during the wash cycle.
  5. Set the Machine Settings: Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle with cold water. The gentle cycle ensures a less intense wash, preserving the shape and condition of your flip-flops. Cold water is preferable as hot water could potentially warp the rubber material.
  6. Add Mild Detergent: Use a mild detergent for the wash. Pour the recommended amount of detergent into the dispenser. It’s not necessary to use fabric softener for flip flops.
  7. Start the Machine: Once everything is set, start the machine. It’s best not to leave the flip-flops in the washing machine after the cycle ends as this could lead to mildew growth.
  8. Air Dry: After the wash cycle is complete, remove your rubber flip-flops from the machine and the mesh bag. Pat them dry with a clean towel to remove excess water, and then leave them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Do not place them in direct sunlight as this may cause the rubber to shrink or warp. Also, avoid using a dryer as the intense heat could damage the rubber material.

This method allows you to clean your flip-flops with minimal effort and ensures a thorough clean. If you follow these steps carefully, your rubber flip-flops will be refreshed and ready for their next outing.

Hand Washing Rubber Flip Flops

Hand washing your rubber flip-flops can give you a more precise and gentle clean. It’s especially ideal for flip-flops with intricate designs or delicate embellishments. Here’s how you can effectively hand wash your footwear:

  1. Prepare your cleaning solution: Fill a basin or your sink with warm water, but not so hot that you can’t comfortably put your hands in. Add a few drops of mild detergent and mix until it forms a soapy solution. You don’t need a lot of soap, just enough to make the water sudsy.
  2. Pre-soak your flip flops: Place your flip flops in the soapy water and let them soak for about 10-15 minutes. This pre-soaking phase helps to loosen the dirt and makes the cleaning process easier.
  3. Scrub the flip-flops: Take a soft brush, such as an old toothbrush or a nail brush, and gently scrub the flip-flops. Start with the soles, focusing on areas where dirt tends to collect. Next, scrub the top side, paying particular attention to the footbed and straps where sweat and dirt can accumulate.
  4. Clean between the straps and soles: Often, dirt and grime are lodged between the straps and the soles. You can use a toothpick or a similar small tool to gently pry out the grime.
  5. Rinse off the soap: Once you’re satisfied that you’ve scrubbed away all the dirt, rinse the flip-flops under running cold water. Ensure all soap has been washed off to avoid any residue, which can attract more dirt.
  6. Remove excess water: Using a clean towel, pat the flip flops dry to remove excess water. Be careful not to rub or scrub with the towel, as this could potentially damage the rubber.
  7. Air dry: Finally, let your flip-flops air dry. Place them in a well-ventilated area, but avoid direct sunlight or heat sources. Such exposure could warp or discolor the rubber.
  8. Regular Maintenance: If your flip-flops are frequently used, it’s beneficial to maintain a regular hand-washing routine. This ensures your flip-flops remain clean and comfortable to wear.

Hand washing is a great option when you want to give your flip-flops a little extra care and attention. It’s also an excellent choice for those who prefer to avoid machine washing.

Bleach Solution to Clean Rubber Flip Flops

A bleach solution can be an effective cleaning method for rubber flip-flops that have become heavily stained or discolored, especially if they are white or light-colored. This method should be used sparingly as frequent bleach use can weaken the rubber over time. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prepare your bleach solution: Start by mixing one part bleach to four parts water in a basin or sink. This ratio is important to maintain, as too much bleach can damage the rubber. Always ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area when using bleach, and consider wearing gloves to protect your skin.
  2. Pre-treat stubborn stains: If your flip flops have stubborn stains, pre-treat them with a toothbrush and some of the bleach solution. Gently scrub the stains, then allow the flip-flops to sit for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Soak the flip flops: Place your flip flops in the bleach solution and let them soak. Keep the soaking time under 15 minutes to prevent the bleach from damaging the material.
  4. Scrub if needed: For especially grimy or discolored areas, gently scrub with a brush while the flip-flops are still submerged in the bleach solution.
  5. Rinse thoroughly: Once the soaking time is complete, remove your rubber flip-flops from the bleach solution. Rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. This step is important to remove any bleach residue that might continue to affect the rubber after cleaning.
  6. Check for any remaining stains: After rinsing, inspect the flip-flops for any remaining stains. If necessary, repeat the process, but avoid over-soaking.
  7. Pat dry: Use a clean towel to pat dry the flip flops, removing as much excess water as possible.
  8. Air dry: Finally, allow your flip-flops to air dry completely. Place them in an area with good air circulation, but avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, which can damage the rubber.

We found it a good idea to push the thong stop out of the sole and rinse, so no bleach remains in that join.

Does It Wash Team

Remember, while the bleach solution can be a powerful cleaning method, it’s important to use it sparingly and responsibly. Always rinse your flip-flops thoroughly after soaking them in bleach to ensure no damaging residue remains. With careful use, this method can help revive your discolored or heavily stained rubber flip-flops.


How often should you wash rubber flip-flops?

The frequency of washing rubber flip-flops will depend on how often they are used and in what conditions. If you’re wearing your flip-flops daily and in places where they’re exposed to dirt or sand, you should consider washing them once a week. However, if you use them less often or mainly indoors, washing them bi-weekly or even monthly may be sufficient. Regular cleaning can not only keep your rubber flip-flops looking good but also prolong their life and prevent bacterial growth.

Can you use regular detergent to wash rubber flip-flops?

Yes, a regular mild detergent can be a suitable choice for cleaning rubber flip-flops. When selecting a detergent, choose one that is mild and free from harsh chemicals which could damage the rubber material over time. When hand washing, a small amount of detergent mixed with warm water will be sufficient. If you’re using a washing machine, use the recommended amount of detergent for a small load. Always rinse thoroughly after washing to ensure all detergent residue is removed.

Should you air-dry rubber flip-flops or put them in the dryer?

Air drying is the recommended method for rubber flip-flops after cleaning. High heat can warp or shrink rubber, altering the shape of your flip-flops and potentially making them uncomfortable to wear. After washing, pat dry with a clean towel to remove excess water, then let them air dry in a well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as these could also have a similar warping effect.

What are some other tips for keeping rubber flip-flops clean and in good condition?

To maintain the cleanliness and extend the life of your flip-flops, consider a few additional tips. A protective spray can be a great preventative measure against stains, making future cleanings easier. Avoid exposing your flip-flops to extreme heat or cold, as these conditions can damage the rubber.

When storing, choose a cool, dry place. If your flip-flops get sandy or very dirty, give them a quick rinse or wipe as soon as possible. This will prevent dirt from settling in. And, of course, regular cleaning as outlined in the methods above will keep your flip-flops looking their best.


Rubber flip-flops can be easily cleaned in a washing machine, by hand, or with a bleach solution. Remember to use a gentle cycle with cold water when machine washing, and to always air dry. Regular cleaning, proper use, and good storage habits can extend the life of your favorite summer footwear, keeping them ready for many seasons to come.