How Do You Clean Water Shoes?

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How to get rid of the bad odor in water shoes?


Forgot to wash your water shoes after that fun day at the beach a couple of weeks ago? They probably smell terrible by now, don’t they? The whole situation likely has you wondering, “how do you clean water shoes?”. Well my friend, fret not, because we’re here to help you handle this stinky situation. After reading this article, you’ll know how to clean a water shoe, how to take out the bad odor and how to prevent the smell from occurring in the first place! Let’s begin!

What makes shoes smell bad?

Before we get into learning about cleaning water shoes, let’s see what makes them smell bad in the first place. The primary reason for that terrible stench is your sweat! When your feet sweat, it gets trapped in the shoe. This trapped sweat, some dirt along with heat turns your water shoe into a paradise for bacteria to multiply themselves rapidly and take over. This bacteria is what really causes your water shoes to smell bad. This can get worse with time if you leave your shoes in a warm, damp place for a long time without washing them.


Fun Fact: There are over 150,000 sweat glands in just one human foot! No wonder feet smell bad!

How do you clean water shoes

Let’s get into the meat of the matter. How do you clean water shoes?

Cleaning water shoes is usually easier than cleaning regular shoes because these are made to keep water off and drain it efficiently, unlike other shoes that can get soggy and yucky.


A simple solution is to wash your water shoes right after getting home from a trip to the beach. This immediate step eliminates any chances of bacteria getting the time to multiply and make the shoe their family home.

Soak them in water with some powdered detergent (or wet suit shampoo) for a couple of hours. Then, throw them in the washing machine for a quick rinse and spin to get a clean and fresh-smelling pair of shoes! Afterward, blow some hot air into them with a hairdryer and stuff a dry rag inside to dry them out.

How to get rid of the bad odor

So you forgot to clean your water shoes and now they smell like the bottom of the ocean. You’re not alone, it happens to the best of us. Let’s see how we can take care of this stinky issue.

There are multiple means to this end. Including, but not limited to:

  • Sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda inside and on top of your shoes, then cleaning them thoroughly with clean water after an hour. The baking soda will kill all the odor-causing bacteria, and will also absorb the odor.
  • The next way is spraying your shoes with rubbing alcohol to kill the bacteria. Remember, you don’t have to drench your shoes completely, just spray a few times in the problem areas.
  • An age old solution is spraying equal parts white vinegar and water solution inside and on your shoes. This powerful solution will kill any odor causing bacteria in your shoe.
  • Finally you have another old trick. Just freezing the bacteria in your shoes to death. Set your freezer down to its lowest temperature, put your water shoes in a resealable bag and toss them into the freezer (not literally).

How to prevent bad shoe odor

You know what they say, prevention is better than cure. The same holds true with stinky shoes. You just need to follow a few practices to make sure your shoes stay smelling fresh.

  • Apply a high-quality foot powder before wearing your water shoes.
  • Pay good attention to your feet and scrub every crevice with an antibacterial soap.
  • Store your shoes in a dry, airy place.
  • Lightly wash your water shoes with clean water after every use.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, cleaning your water shoes is not as hard as you might think! So, how do you clean water shoes? With warm water and a good cleaning solution! Also, the bad odor does not mean the end of your favorite pair of water shoes, you can always get it out with one of the ways we’ve listed above. Happy cleaning!

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Jenny Schmidt

Jenny Schmidt

As an avid swimmer and kayak lover for decades, I know how important it is to get the right shoes to keep your feet healthy.
I'll let you in on some secrets only a few know...

About Me

As an avid swimmer and kayak lover for decades, I know how important it is to get the right shoes to keep your feet healthy.
I’ll let you in on some secrets only a few know…

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