how do you clean shoes after plantar warts

How Do You Clean Shoes After Plantar Warts

Last Updated on September 2, 2023

Plantar warts, the type of foot warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), are often contracted through direct contact with the virus. Shoes are a common vessel for transmission, as the virus thrives in warm, moist environments. Cleaning shoes after exposure to the virus is essential to prevent recurrence and spread. So, how do you clean shoes after plantar warts effectively?

Cleaning shoes after plantar warts involves thorough washing with soap and water, using a washing machine, or applying an antifungal spray. Each method aims to eliminate the virus to prevent recurrence and further spread.

This guide offers comprehensive instructions for these three effective cleaning methods.

Clean Shoes With Soap and Water After Plantar Warts

The soap and water method is a basic but effective way to clean shoes and lower the chances of re-infection from plantar warts. Here is a more detailed step-by-step guide:

  1. Prepare a soapy solution. Mix warm water and a gentle dish soap in a basin or bucket until it’s sudsy. The warmth of the water aids in breaking down grime, while the soap helps lift away dirt and kill bacteria.
  2. Remove the insoles and laces. If your shoes have removable insoles or laces, take them out before cleaning. This allows you to clean these parts more thoroughly.
  3. Clean the shoes. Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the inside and outside of your shoes. Pay particular attention to the interior of the shoe where the virus is likely to reside.
  4. Clean the insoles and laces. Scrub these separately, ensuring all surfaces are cleaned. The insoles especially can harbor the wart virus, given their close contact with your foot.
  5. Rinse thoroughly. After scrubbing, rinse the shoes, insoles, and laces with clean water. It’s important to remove all soap as leftover soap residue can attract dirt.
  6. Sanitize. To add an extra layer of protection, consider using a sanitizing spray inside the shoes once they’re rinsed. This can help kill any remaining virus particles.
  7. Dry completely. Leave the shoes, insoles, and laces to air dry fully before wearing them again. The drying process is vital because a damp environment can encourage wart virus growth.
  8. Reassemble the shoes. Once everything is dry, replace the insoles and relace the shoes. They are now clean, dry, and ready to wear.

Remember, routine cleaning of your shoes is a good practice, but it becomes essential if you’ve been dealing with plantar warts. This method offers an efficient way to clean your shoes using household items, ensuring your footwear doesn’t become a source of re-infection.

Clean Shoes in Washing Machine After Plantar Warts

Washing machines provide a more thorough cleaning option for certain types of shoes, such as sneakers.

Washing machines can provide a deeper cleaning option for certain types of shoes, such as sneakers. This method is convenient and effective, but should be used with caution to avoid damaging the shoes.

  1. Check the shoe care label. Before you begin, check the label or manufacturer’s instructions to confirm that your shoes are machine-washable. Not all shoes can withstand a machine wash.
  2. Remove excess dirt. Using a soft brush, remove any visible dirt or debris from the shoes. This step will prevent the washing machine from getting clogged.
  3. Remove insoles and laces. If possible, take out the insoles and laces. These can be washed separately for a more thorough cleaning.
  4. Place shoes in a washing bag or pillowcase. To protect both your shoes and the washing machine, put your shoes in a mesh laundry bag or an old pillowcase. This reduces the impact of the shoes tumbling in the machine.
  5. Add a towel. Consider adding a towel to the washing machine. The towel will balance the load and reduce the noise during the cycle.
  6. Select the appropriate setting. Use a gentle cycle with cold water to avoid damaging the shoes. Add a mild detergent for a thorough clean.
  7. Run the cycle. Let the washing machine do its work. Avoid using a heated drying cycle as high temperatures can warp shoes.
  8. Air dry the shoes. Once the cycle is complete, remove the shoes and let them air dry fully. Stuffing them with paper towels or newspaper can help absorb moisture and maintain their shape during drying.
  9. Sanitize. After the shoes are dry, you might consider using a shoe disinfectant spray to ensure any remaining virus is killed.
  10. Reassemble the shoes. When everything is dry, replace the insoles and laces.

This method, while a bit more labor-intensive, can provide a deep clean for your shoes and help ensure that any plantar wart virus is thoroughly removed.

The Antifungal Spray Method After Plantar Warts

Antifungal shoe sprays can be a convenient and efficient way to disinfect shoes and protect against the HPV virus that causes plantar warts. Below is an extended guide for this cleaning method.

  1. Choose an antifungal spray. A variety of over-the-counter antifungal or disinfectant sprays are available that can kill the virus responsible for plantar warts. Ensure that the product is safe to use on footwear.
  2. Remove excess dirt. Before spraying, ensure the shoes are clean of any visible dirt or debris. Use a soft brush or cloth for this process.
  3. Remove insoles and laces. If the shoes have removable insoles and laces, take them out. You can clean these separately for a more thorough process.
  4. Spray the inside of the shoes. Apply the antifungal spray to the interior surfaces of the shoes. Be sure to cover all areas, paying special attention to the toe and heel regions, where the virus is likely to reside.
  5. Spray the insoles and laces. Apply the antifungal spray to the insoles and laces as well. These items are in close contact with your feet and need to be cleaned as thoroughly as the shoes themselves.
  6. Allow to dry. Let the shoes, insoles, and laces air dry. This usually takes about 15-25 minutes, but can vary based on the specific product’s instructions.
  7. Repeat if necessary. For an added level of protection, consider a second application of the spray after the first has dried.
  8. Reassemble the shoes. Once everything is dry, replace the insoles and laces.

The antifungal spray method is a strong solution for those dealing with plantar warts, as it directly targets the type of virus responsible for this condition. By routinely disinfecting your shoes with this method, you can significantly lower your chances of recurrent warts.


Are there any specific types of shoes that are better for preventing plantar warts?

Yes, wearing shoes that allow your feet to breathe can help reduce the risk of plantar warts. Shoes made from materials such as leather or canvas that are natural, can provide better air circulation than synthetic materials. Additionally, wearing flip-flops in communal areas like swimming pools or locker rooms can prevent direct contact with the virus.

What steps can be taken to prevent the spread of plantar warts through shoes?

To prevent the spread of plantar warts, do not share shoes or socks with others. It’s also advisable to clean your shoes regularly, especially if you have had a plantar wart. Using antifungal or disinfectant sprays are great at reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

Can spraying shoes with Lysol help prevent plantar warts?

Yes, spraying shoes with Lysol can kill the virus that causes plantar warts. However, it should be done in conjunction with other preventive measures, like not sharing footwear and regular cleaning of shoes.


Properly cleaning shoes after a plantar wart is crucial in preventing the recurrence and further spread of the virus. The soap and water method, washing machine method, and antifungal spray method are all effective ways of cleaning shoes.

Wearing breathable shoes, not sharing footwear, and using disinfectant sprays can significantly reduce the risk of contracting or spreading plantar warts.