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How to Wash Slippers

Learn how to wash dingy slippers

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that we have a no-shoes-inside policy in our home. During summer months we spend our days barefoot, but during the winter months I love wearing slippers (or “house shoes”) inside. 

Because my slippers get so much use, I try to invest in high quality pairs and clean them somewhat regularly. If you’re also a slipper fan, it’s a good idea to learn how to clean yours as well! Here’s how to wash slippers in just about every material.

How to Wash Cotton and Synthetic Fabric Slippers

Cotton slippers or slippers made from synthetic fibers can be easily washed in your washing machine. You can of course choose to spot clean or hand wash, but if you want to save yourself some time and effort, a washing machine is the way to go.

What You’ll Need:

Hand Wash Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Pre-treat stains by applying a small amount of detergent or an enzyme cleaner.
  2. Mix one teaspoon of laundry detergent with a few gallons of water in a sink or other small basin. 
  3. Submerge your slippers and agitate with your hands then let them soak for 20-30 minutes. 
  4. Rinse clean in cold water. You can also submerge in a separate basin with clean water and press out detergent repeatedly until clean.
  5. Drain the water from your cleaning basin then press out excess water from the slippers. 
  6. Place the slippers between two towels and continue to press dry (never wring them dry!).
  7. Re-shape your slippers before air drying them. You can easily reshape damp slippers by putting them on your feet and walking around a little. Set them on a towel (preferably in the sun) to air dry completely.

Machine Wash Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Pre-treat stains by applying a small amount of detergent or an enzyme cleaner.
  2. Wash slippers on a cold, delicate cycle with a very small amount of laundry detergent.
  3. Re-shape your slippers before air drying them. You can easily reshape damp slippers by putting them on your feet and walking around a little. Set them on a towel (preferably in the sun) to air dry completely.
  4. Never heat dry your slippers!

How to Wash Wool Slippers

Wool slippers are my favorite to wear during the coldest months of the year (my favorites are these Nootkas). Few things warm my feet better than wool socks or wool slippers. I also love that wool is a relatively sustainable and renewable resource! Here’s how to clean them.

What You’ll Need:

  • Vacuum cleaner and a soft brush attachment
  • Wool detergent or gentle laundry detergent

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Start by vacuuming any loose dirt away from your wool slippers using your vacuum’s soft brush attachment.
  2. Spot clean stains with water and a very small amount of wool soap.
  3. If your slippers need more than spot cleaning, hand wash them by submerging in a basin with water and a small amount of wool soap. Agitate with your hands, then rinse clean under cool water.
  4. *NOTE: If your slippers have a suede or leather sole, do not completely submerge into water to clean!
  5. Press excess water out of your slippers with a dry towel.
  6. Put the damp (not wet) slippers on your feet to help reshape them to your foot.
  7. Air dry by laying flat in the sun.

How to Wash Sheepskin and Suede Slippers

What You’ll Need:

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Use a suede brush to loosen and brush away dirt from the surface of your suede slippers.
  2. Clean the inside of shearling lined suede slippers by sprinkling baking soda inside of the slipper. Let it sit for an hour or more before vacuuming with the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner.
  3. If the shearling liner is stained, you can spot clean it using a gentle wool detergent and some water. Dip a white cleaning cloth in the mixture and blot or gently rub until the stains start to lift. 
  4. Repeat as necessary then blot again with a clean white cloth dipped in water.

How to Wash Leather Slippers

You will want to avoid getting leather slippers wet because too much moisture can cause damage. Invest in specialty leather cleaning products for best results.

What You’ll Need:

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Wipe the exterior with a clean, damp cloth.
  2. Buff with a leather cleaning product.
  3. Follow up by applying a leather conditioner.
  4. Allow to dry completely before wearing to prevent unwanted stretching.

How to Wash Plastic Slippers

Cushy plastic slippers have become popular for padding around in and around the home. I’ll admit, I have a pair that I save for use outside when I’m working in my garden. I like them for outdoor use because they are SO easy to clean. Here’s how.

What You’ll Need:

  • Soap and water
  • Sponge or gentle scrub brush

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Rinse the slippers under running water or submerge them in a basin full of water.
  2. Scrub them with dish soap using a sponge or scrub brush.
  3. Rinse clean and allow them to air dry on a towel.
  4. Be careful to avoid drying them in direct sunlight – too much heat can warp the plastic causing your slippers to lose their shape!

How Often Should You Clean Your Slippers?

Your slippers need to be cleaned whenever they get dirty, dingy, or start to smell funny. How quickly that happens depends entirely on when, where, and how you wear them! 

For instance, if you wear socks with your slippers indoors, you’ll need to wash them less frequently than if you wear them without socks both indoors and outdoors. Especially if your bare feet aren’t always super clean…

How to Keep Slippers Cleaner, Longer

If you want to minimize the frequency of slipper cleanings, follow these tips for keeping your slippers clean:

  • Wear socks with your slippers. This will minimize the amount of dead skin, oils, and smells that your slippers will absorb from your sweaty feet!
  • Keep them indoors. Wearing slippers outside will of course get them dirtier, faster.
  • Give slippers time to breathe. They need time to properly air out (or dry out if your feet are sweaty) in between wears. Invest in multiple pairs if you wear slippers all day long every day.

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How to wash dingy slippers