How to Clean Birkenstock Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Birkenstock shoes are known for their comfort and durability. The contoured cork footbeds mold to your feet and provide excellent arch support. While the uppers are made of high-quality leather and suedes. But like any shoe, Birkenstocks can get dirty over time. Regular cleaning keeps them looking new and extends their life.

Fortunately, Birkenstocks are very easy to clean at home. With just a few supplies and following these 5 simple steps, you’ll have them looking like new again. The cork footbed cleans up nicely with just soap and water. While the leather and suede uppers may need a more thorough cleaning from time to time.

Supplies Needed

  • Mild soap or detergent
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Old toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Suede brush or eraser (for suede models)
  • Leather conditioner (for leather models)

5 steps to clean Birkenstock shoes

Step 1: Remove the Footbed and Laces

Start by removing the footbed and laces from the upper. This allows you to clean all parts of the shoe thoroughly. Use a soft brush and mild detergent diluted in warm water to gently scrub the footbed. This lifts dirt from the crevices of the cork. Rinse well and allow to fully air dry.

Step 2: Clean Upper Exterior

Dip a soft bristle brush in a dilute soap solution and gently scrub the exterior of the leather or suede upper. Pay close attention to any visibly dirty areas. Use a toothbrush for hard-to-reach spots. Wipe away excess dirt and suds with a damp microfiber cloth. Allow uppers to fully air dry.

Step 3: Clean Upper Interior

With the footbed removed, you can easily access and clean the interior of the upper. Use a soft bristle brush dipped in mild soap to gently scrub the inside surfaces. Wipe away suds and dirt with a damp cloth. Stuff the shoes with paper towels and allow them to fully dry.

Step 4: Condition Leather

For leather Birkenstock uppers that are looking dry, use a small amount of leather conditioner. Rub it gently into the exterior leather surfaces. Wipe away any excess. This restores oils to the leather, keeping it supple. Allow the conditioner to fully absorb before wearing it again.

Step 5: Refresh Suede

Over time, suede can become flattened and rough. Use a suede brush or eraser to buff the nap. Brush in different directions to bring out the texture. This revives the luxury feel of the suede.

Things to Avoid

  • Soaking the footbed – This can cause the cork to crumble
  • Harsh cleaners or bleach – May dry out and damage the leather
  • Putting wet shoes near heat – Causes cracking
  • Using suede brush too roughly – Can damage nap


With just a bit of care, your Birkenstock shoes will provide years of comfortable wear. By regularly cleaning both the footbed and uppers, you can keep them looking great.

Allowing all parts to fully dry after cleaning preserves the integrity of the materials. Follow these simple steps and you can enjoy your favorite Birkenstocks for seasons to come.

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