While not many people understand its importance, shoe cleaning is a crucial step in maintaining good health as shoes can harbor some nasty coliform bacteria, fungal growth, and odor causing bacteria that can cause illnesses like athlete's foot.
The combination of sweat, coupled with whatever microorganisms your shoes pick up while outside can create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and viruses that could make you sick! These microorganisms can cause those embarrassing foot odors, and transfer to your hands as you handle your shoes.
For these reasons, knowing how to disinfect shoes is a good way to keep healthy, particularly during the pandemic as studies have found that the Covid-19 virus can thrive on shoe soles for up to nine days at a time. The virus may cause cold-like symptoms, as well as sore throat and difficulties breathing.
In this article, we'll present ten different ways for you to clean, sanitize, and disinfect your shoes to protect yourself from any bacteria and diseases. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by not only cleansing yourself, but also your everyday garments!
10 Easy Ways to Disinfect Your Shoes
The easiest way to disinfect any type of shoe is to use a disinfectant solution. Lysol is the most commonly used disinfectant that works well to kill off 99.9% of germs and viruses. Give your shoes a spritz before you enter your home, or after taking off your shoes once home.
Keeping a disinfectant mat by your doorstep allows you to disinfect your shoes before you get indoors. The mat should have a wet side which contains a disinfectant solution, as well as a dry side where you may wipe your shoes after disinfecting. However, this method only disinfects the soles of your shoes.
Disinfect Shoes Using Rubbing Alcohol
If you don't have a disinfectant spray around, or are worried about damaging your shoes, then rubbing alcohol can be used to sanitize your shoes just as well. Either spray or wipe on 70% rubbing alcohol onto the surface, sole, and interior of your shoes, and allow to dry completely.
Keep a bottle of alcohol by your shoe rack, and have a clean cloth ready to wipe your shoes once you get home. Rubbing alcohol should also remove any odors from bacteria, and kill off fungal infections that cause athlete's foot.
Deodorizing Shoe Odor
If your shoes are clean, but have a musty, damp, or foot smell, then you may use a deodorizing powder to remove the smells. Sprinkle plain baking soda all over the insides of your shoes to deodorize any foul odors, and let the powder sit for at least an hour. Vacuum or shake the powder out, and your shoes should be deodorized.
Keep dry tea bags in your shoes as you store them to remove any foul odors cause by bacteria and sweat. You may also use foot powder in foul-smelling shoes to remove the bad odors, or spray some alcohol in them to allow the smell to dissipate.
Leather Shoes Care
A good wipe down of 70% alcohol is the best way to clean leather shoes, even for sneakers with leather uppers. Disinfect shoes with alcohol by spraying the solution on a clean cloth, and wiping down each shoe.
Use a wax sealant or oil to keep the leather in good condition, and prevent cracking during the heat of the summer months, or the sheer cold of winter. Deodorize your leather shoes with foot powder or baking soda to remove any odors.
Heels can be made with a variety of materials depending on the shoe type, but can be easily cleaned with a wipe of a disinfectant solution. With the exception of corduroy or suede heels, most heels have a smooth surface that can be disinfected with alcohol, disinfectant sprays, or a mild mixture of soap and water.
Don't forget to sanitize the bottom of your heels as well, as the soles are what picks up the most germs and bacteria. Good quality shoes should have soles that are durable against most disinfectants, so there is no worry in damaging your heels through cleaning.
Sanitizing Corduroy and Suede Shoes
For shoes made from corduroy or suede, which cannot be left damp, you can use a UV light to sanitize your shoes the dry way. Clean your shoes with a suede cleaner as you would normally, and place the shoes in a box fitted with a UVC light to disinfect shoes.
Avoid using oils and moisture on suede shoes as these will cause stains on the material. When in doubt, try using a disinfecting solution on a cloth on a small, unnoticeable area of your shoe to test its reaction to the material before attempting to disinfect the rest of the shoe.
Cloth and canvas sneakers can be washed by hand as long as you remove the shoelaces, and take care not to scrub out the designs of the shoes. Create a mixture of warm water and dish soap to make a mild solution that will clean and sanitize your sneakers. Take a soft-bristled brush like an old toothbrush, use it to scrub your shoes.
Rinse out the solution, and allow the sneakers to completely dry in a well-ventilated area. Alternatively, you may disinfect shoes with a disinfectant spray for a quick sanitizing, but the spray would only disinfect shoes, and will not remove stains or grime.
Disinfecting Winter Boots
Disinfect shoes meant for winter months either by washing or spraying disinfectant. Winter shoes would have a thick inner liner that could grow fungus and mold when not properly dried, so it would be best to use a spray to disinfect shoes.
You may opt to wash your winter boots, but you will need to dry them properly before using or storing to avoid bacterial, fungal, and mold growth. White winter boots may be cleaned and disinfected using hydrogen peroxide, wiping the solution directly onto the boots.
Disinfecting White Shoes
White shoes can be cleaned using a paste made of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Apply the paste directly on stained areas, and allow the paste to dry before scrubbing out the stains with an old toothbrush.
Create a diluted spray with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and water to spray all over your white shoes from interior to exterior. The solution will disinfect shoes as it dries, while bringing a clean-white color back to your shoes!
Disinfect Shoes Using an Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer
Ultraviolet sanitizers can be used to disinfect shoes quickly and easily if you have a UV sanitizing box that fits your shoes. Disinfect shoes using a UV sanitizer right after you remove your shoes, and wash hands immediately to prevent the spread of germs.