June 9


How to Wash Water Shoes

By Teddy

June 9, 2023

Water shoes are a fantastic footwear option for activities that involve water, such as beach trips, water sports, or hiking near streams. These shoes are designed to provide protection and grip in wet conditions, making them popular among outdoor enthusiasts. However, just like any other footwear, water shoes require regular cleaning to maintain their performance and prolong their lifespan. In this article, we will explore the best practices for washing water shoes and keeping them in excellent condition.

Importance of Keeping Water Shoes Clean

Cleaning water shoes is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, regular cleaning helps remove dirt, sand, and other debris that can accumulate on the shoes during outdoor activities. These particles can not only make the shoes uncomfortable to wear but also lead to increased wear and tear. Secondly, washing water shoes prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungi, which can thrive in moist environments. By keeping your water shoes clean, you ensure that they remain fresh and hygienic for your next adventure.

Preparing Water Shoes for Washing

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to prepare your water shoes properly. Start by removing any removable insoles or inserts. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if these components can be washed separately. If they are not washable, set them aside to clean them later using suitable methods. Additionally, remove any loose dirt or debris by tapping the shoes together or using a soft brush.

Handwashing Water Shoes

Handwashing is an effective method for cleaning water shoes, especially if they are made of delicate materials or have intricate designs. Here’s a step-by-step guide for handwashing your water shoes:

  1. Gather Necessary Supplies: To clean your water shoes, you will need a mild detergent or soap, a soft brush or sponge, and a clean towel.
  2. Removing Excess Dirt and Debris: Use the soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the shoes and remove any remaining dirt or debris. Pay extra attention to the areas where dirt tends to accumulate, such as the sole and crevices.
  3. Washing the Shoes: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or soap. Immerse the shoes in the soapy water and use the soft brush or sponge to clean them thoroughly. Be gentle while scrubbing to avoid damaging the shoe material.
  4. Drying the Shoes: After washing, rinse the shoes with clean water to remove any soap residue. Gently squeeze out excess water and place the shoes on a clean towel. Allow them to air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

Machine Washing Water Shoes

Machine washing can be a convenient option for certain types of water shoes. However, it’s crucial to check the shoe material and manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding. Here’s how to machine wash water shoes safely:

  1. Checking the Shoe Material: Ensure that your water shoes are machine washable. Some materials, such as neoprene or mesh, are generally safe for machine washing, while others may require handwashing or alternative cleaning methods.
  2. Preparing the Shoes for Machine Washing: Remove any detachable components, such as insoles or laces. Place the shoes inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them during the washing cycle.
  3. Selecting the Appropriate Washing Settings: Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle with cold water. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can damage the shoe material. Instead, opt for a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics.
  4. Drying the Shoes After Machine Wash: Once the washing cycle is complete, remove the shoes from the mesh bag or pillowcase. Gently reshape the shoes if needed and allow them to air dry naturally. Avoid using a dryer or direct heat sources, as they can warp or shrink the shoes.

Cleaning Specific Types of Water Shoes

Different water shoes may require specific cleaning methods based on their materials. Here are some guidelines for cleaning specific types of water shoes:

  • Neoprene Water Shoes: Neoprene water shoes can usually be hand or machine washed using the instructions mentioned earlier. Ensure that you avoid using excessive heat during the drying process, as it can damage the neoprene material.
  • Mesh Water Shoes: Mesh water shoes are prone to trapping dirt and sand. To clean them, follow the handwashing method outlined earlier, paying extra attention to the mesh areas. Allow the shoes to dry thoroughly to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  • Rubber Water Shoes: Rubber water shoes are relatively easy to clean. Rinse them with clean water and use a mild soap or detergent to remove any stubborn stains. Avoid using abrasive brushes or harsh chemicals that can damage the rubber.
  • Fabric Water Shoes: Fabric water shoes require gentle care to prevent damage. Handwashing is usually the best option for these shoes. Use a mild detergent or soap and a soft brush to clean the fabric surfaces. Air dry them away from direct sunlight.

Tips for Maintaining Water Shoes

Proper maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your water shoes. Consider the following tips to keep your water shoes in excellent condition:

  • Regular Cleaning Routine: Establish a cleaning routine to remove dirt and prevent odor buildup. Depending on usage, clean your water shoes after every outing or at least once a month.
  • Proper Storage: Store your water shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in sealed plastic bags or containers, as this can promote moisture retention and mold growth.
  • Avoiding Harsh Chemicals: When cleaning your water shoes, use mild detergents or soaps specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. Harsh chemicals can damage the shoe material and affect their performance.
  • Checking for Damage: Regularly inspect your water shoes for signs of wear, loose seams, or damaged soles. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the shoes remain safe to use.

Water shoes are essential gear for water-based activities, and keeping them clean is crucial for their performance and longevity. By following the proper cleaning methods outlined in this article, you can ensure that your water shoes remain fresh, hygienic, and ready for your next adventure. Remember to tailor the cleaning process based on the shoe material and always check the manufacturer’s instructions. With regular cleaning and proper maintenance, your water shoes will continue to serve you well in various water-filled escapades.


  1. Can I machine wash all types of water shoes? Machine washing is suitable for some water shoe materials, but it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions. Delicate or specialized materials may require handwashing or alternative cleaning methods.
  2. Can I use bleach to clean my water shoes? It’s best to avoid using bleach on water shoes, as it can damage the shoe material. Opt for mild detergents or soaps specifically formulated for delicate fabrics.
  3. How often should I clean my water shoes? The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use your water shoes. As a general guideline, clean them after each outing or at least once a month to remove dirt and prevent odor buildup.
  4. Can I dry my water shoes in a dryer? It’s not recommended to use a dryer or direct heat sources to dry water shoes, as they can warp or shrink the shoes. Instead, allow them to air dry naturally.
  5. What should I do if my water shoes develop a foul odor? To eliminate odors, wash your water shoes thoroughly using mild detergent or soap. Allow them to dry completely before storing them. You can also use odor-eliminating products specifically designed for footwear.
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