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How Do You Deodorize Leather Sandals? Odor Removal Tips for Flip Flops

How Do You Deodorize Leather Sandals? Odor Removal Tips for Flip Flops

Lazy summer days spent reading in the park or enjoying an ice cream at the beach are pretty much perfect, especially with a quality pair of leather sandals that elevate your outfit while letting your feet breathe. 

Unfortunately, while leather sandals are the most comfortable option for your feet, they inevitably start to develop an odor, especially if you’re living in them all summer. So, what can you do when your leather sandals start to smell?

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to deodorize leather sandals. Not only will we show you how to remove odor from leather sandals, but we’ll also give you some tips for preventing your sandals from getting smelly in the first place. 

And, if your favorite sandals are beyond saving, stay tuned - we’ll show you where you can find premium American-made sandals that are more comfortable than anything else you’ve ever worn!

Why Do Leather Sandals Get Smelly?

Before we discuss how to deodorize leather sandals, let’s take a step back. Why do leather sandals develop an odor in the first place? Here’s a quick crash course on leather sandals and the odor that can come with them. 

Understanding Leather’s Absorption Properties

Leather is very absorbent, and readily soaks up moisture. In the case of sandals, sweat from your feet gets absorbed into the leather, creating a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. While leather’s absorption properties make your sandals more durable, it also contributes to their odor. 

Bacterial Growth and Odor Development

Moisture trapped within the leather creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. As bacteria feast on the organic matter present in sweat, they emit foul-smelling byproducts, leading to the distinctive foot odor associated with well-worn leather sandals.

Factors Contributing to Increased Odor in Sandals

While just about every pair of leather sandals will develop an odor at some point, there are a few factors that cause an odor to develop more quickly, or result in a more intense odor. 

For example, wearing your sandals for extended periods, especially in hot and humid conditions, increases sweat production and leads to a more intense odor. Also, inadequate ventilation within the sandals allows moisture and bacteria to accumulate, intensifying the unpleasant smell. 

Other factors that may make your sandals’ odor worse include wearing socks with leather sandals or not learning how to clean leather sandals properly. But how do you deodorize leather sandals once they start to smell? Let’s take a look. 

How Do You Deodorize Leather Sandals?

Learning how to deodorize leather sandals can help keep your sandals odor-free for longer, extending their lifespan and sparing you the embarrassment of walking around in a smelly pair of sandals. Here are some safe, effective tips on how to remove odor from leather sandals. 

Home Remedies and Natural Solutions

Using household items like baking soda, vinegar, or essential oils can work wonders in neutralizing odors. But how do you deodorize leather sandals with these products? 

Baking soda, a powerful deodorizer, can be sprinkled inside the sandals and left overnight to absorb moisture and odor. Similarly, a solution of water and vinegar, sprayed lightly onto the interior, helps kill bacteria. 

Essential oils like tea tree or lavender oil offer a pleasant scent and possess antimicrobial properties that combat odor-causing bacteria. Don’t apply essential oils directly to your leather sandals - add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and give your sandals a light spritz. 

Commercial Products Designed for Leather

If natural home remedies don’t seem to be working for you, there are a lot of specialized sprays and powders out there designed specifically for deodorizing leather. Look for products that contain natural ingredients, and make sure they won’t damage or stain your leather.

Step-by-Step Guide for Deodorizing

Regardless of whether you’re using a natural home remedy or a commercial odor remover, here’s how to deodorize leather sandals in a few simple steps: 

  1. Clean your sandals by wiping them with a damp cloth, then air-drying
  2. Apply your deodorizing solution (check the instructions if using a commercial product)
  3. Leave the solution for several hours or overnight to work its magic 
  4. Remove any residue with a light brush or dry cloth 
  5. Dry your sandals in the sun briefly, as UV rays can help kill bacteria and remove odors

For particularly strong or stubborn odors, you may need to repeat these steps multiple times. If you wear your sandals for long periods or live in a particularly humid environment, you can treat your sandals weekly to keep unpleasant odors at bay. 

Tips on Preventing Odor Build-up in Leather Sandals

Rather than learning how to deodorize leather sandals after they’ve developed a distinct smell, following these tips to prevent odor build-up in the first place is a great way to keep your sandals fresh for longer. You’ll extend their lifespan and get more miles out of your favorite summer footwear.

Daily Care and Maintenance

First of all, make sure your feet are clean and completely dry before you put on your sandals. Clean feet reduce the amount of moisture and organic matter that contribute to your sandals developing an odor.

If it’s possible, try to avoid wearing the same pair of sandals every day. Rotate between multiple pairs to allow each one to air out and dry completely between uses. Also, establish a routine for cleaning your sandals periodically. Wipe them down regularly to remove sweat and dirt. 

Proper Storage and Ventilation

When you’re not wearing your sandals, make sure they’ve had a chance to air dry properly before you store them. Any residual moisture can lead to bacterial growth and contribute to your sandals’ odor.

Store your sandals in a well-ventilated area. Avoid enclosed spaces like shoe boxes, your car, or airtight containers, as these can trap moisture and exacerbate odor problems. Try to use shoe racks or open shelves for storage to allow air circulation.

Inserting shoe trees or shoe inserts can also help maintain the shape of your sandals while still allowing for air circulation. Some inserts also come with deodorizing properties to combat odors while you’re not wearing your sandals.

Understanding When to Replace Your Leather Sandals

While you’ll enjoy a significantly longer lifespan of leather flip flops vs rubber, even the best leather sandals will eventually run out of life. In some cases, they might literally fall apart - straps can break or fray, or the sole may become too worn and uncomfortable.

If wearing your sandals starts to cause discomfort, such as blisters, arch pain, or aching in the heels or toes, make sure you learn how to break in leather sandals properly. If they’re still not comfortable, your sandals might no longer be providing adequate support or have worn out. 

Or, perhaps you’ve learned how to deodorize leather sandals but the smell simply won’t go away? This might signal that the leather has absorbed too much bacteria and moisture, making it challenging to salvage.

If You Can’t Get the Odor Out of Your Leather Sandals, Treat Yourself to a New Pair at Southern Polished!

Saying goodbye to your favorite pair of leather sandals can be sad, but it’s also an opportunity to welcome a new pair of quality sandals into your life. At Southern Polished, we have the best men’s leather sandals - American-made from premium leather. 

Our sandals are crafted from the finest vegetable-tanned leather and constructed using traditional Italian techniques. Not only are they made with longevity in mind, but they’re also designed to become more comfortable and develop a beautiful, unique patina over time. 

We stand by the longevity and workmanship of every pair of sandals we proudly make. With a one-year manufacturer’s warranty for added peace of mind, you know you’re investing in quality when you choose Southern Polished.

Parting Thoughts on How to Deodorize Leather Sandals

By following routine cleaning tips and learning how to remove odor from leather sandals, you can extend the lifespan of your favorite pair of leather flip flops. However, just like everything in your wardrobe, there will unfortunately come a time when your sandals are due for an upgrade.

When that day comes, visit Southern Polished for the finest men’s leather flip flops. With unparalleled comfort and quality, our flip flops made in USA will become your new favorite footwear in no time at all!

While you’re here, don’t forget to check out our beautiful southern bags, made from the same premium leather with sophisticated designs to elevate any outfit. 

When it comes to leather, there’s no substitute for quality. Invest in the best with premium leather sandals from Southern Polished. 

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