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How to Disinfect Your Shoes Effectively at Home?

With the growing concern of maintaining proper hygiene and sanitizing all the surfaces that we might come in contact with, especially after the whole world has come to a pit stop due to the global pandemic, it is crucial to pay attention to effective disinfection of our clothing and shoes.

As shoes are one of the main points of contact with the public spaces, you can risk bringing viruses and dangerous pathogens into your home; therefore, it is essential to follow proper guidelines to make sure that your shoes are disinfected effectively. Here’s a step to step guide of different ways to make this possible from the comfort of your home.

Ways to disinfect shoes

Basic Guideline

First, remove shoes and socks before you enter your house. It is preferable to leave them in the garage or entryway, so they remain isolated. In case this is not possible, it is advisable to put them in a sealed plastic bag.

Disinfecting the bottom of the shoes

How do I disinfect shoe soles?
Disinfect shoe soles

Supplies needed:

For properly disinfecting the bottom of your shoes, which is the prime carrier for germs, you will need supplies which include: Disinfectant spray or wipes, hydrogen peroxide, cloth, water, bowl or a tub, and soap.


1. After taking off your shoes and following the basic guideline, the first thing you need to do is remove any debris from the sole of the shoe with the help of soap, water, and cloth.

2. Let the shoes dry for at least two minutes and then proceed by spraying the disinfectant on the sole. Wipe that down or use a disinfectant wipe. In case you don’t have either of those items, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is commonly available at any department store or pharmacy. Spray the hydrogen peroxide and set the shoes aside for a minimum of five minutes, after which you should wipe them away.

3. Finish off the process by drying the shoes and washing your hands.

Disinfecting the exterior and top of the shoes

It’s not just the sole that might be carrying germs; hence you should also disinfect the top exterior of the shoe. Keep in mind that depending on the material with which your shoe is made, you will have to follow different directions.

Supplies required:

As a basic starter kit, you will require the following items: Hydrogen Peroxide, chlorine bleach,91% rubbing alcohol, dish soap, and a white cloth.

Read Also: How to Clean White Shoes With Baking Soda

Directions for disinfecting the exterior of leather, patent leather, and running shoes

1. As these materials are delicate, you will need to pay close attention when cleaning the outside of shoes which are made from them.             

2. The first thing you need to do is take the rubbing alcohol and create a 3 to 1 solution of rubbing alcohol to water ratio; after diluting the mixture, dip the cloth in it and gently rub the wet cloth on the outside of your shoe.

3. After ensuring that each side has been thoroughly cleaned, leave the shoes outside for 5 to 10 minutes to dry them out.

Directions for disinfecting the exterior of white sneakers

How to disinfect the outside  of white sneakers?
Disinfect white sneakers

1. The great thing about properly disinfecting this type of shoe is that you can use bleach, no need to find fancy sprays or solutions. Just some good old bleach will get the job done. To prepare the solution, you will require watering the bleach down by mixing 1 part bleach and five parts water.

2. Dip in your washcloth into the solution and wring it up. Next, you need to meticulously run it over the shoes to ensure you don’t leave out any spaces.

3. After wiping down the exterior surface of your white sneaker, you need to let them dry. This can be done by placing them outside for a while. Don’t forget to wash your hands when you are done.

Directions for disinfecting the exterior of open-toe sandals or wedges

Since these types of shoes come in a variety of materials which can range from cork to rope and sometimes even leather, here’s a foolproof method to effectively disinfect your shoes no matter what kind of material they are made of.

1. To begin the process, you need to prepare a solution of soap and water. Ideally, put in at least 2-3 drops of soap in the bowl of water.

2. As mentioned in the above direction, the next step is simple; all you have to do is dip the cloth in the water and soap mixture and thoroughly wipe the entire exterior surface of the shoe.

3. The disinfecting process is not finished yet as you will need to make another solution. For this mixture, add three parts of rubbing alcohol to one part of water and submerge the cloth in it.

4. The last step includes wiping down the whole shoe with the damp cloth and leaving them outside to completely dry.

Directions for disinfecting the exterior of Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are the way to external disinfection
Disinfect Canvas Shoes

After cleaning the sole of these shoes with the help of the directions given above, the next step is to disinfect the outside of your canvas shoes.

1. The great thing about canvas shoes is that they are either made from cloth or machine wash material, so to ensure effective disinfection, all you need to do is pop them into the washing machine.

2. You can use bleach or any other substitute like hot water and detergent to get all the germs out. It is also recommended to use the sanitization function if your washing machine has that feature. This whole process will get your canvas shoes ready to be worn while completely getting rid of any germs on them.

Read Also: What shoes to wear with scrubs

Disinfecting Used shoes/ the insides of the shoes

How to clean the inside of the shoe?
Clean Process Inside parts

Using second-hand shoes is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint and is a far more sustainable way of living. Not to forget, sometimes you find an amazing vintage design that you just cannot let go of. In such scenarios disinfecting the shoe is a necessary step that you must not skip as you could be putting your feet at risk of any lingering fungus both inside and outside of the shoes.

Supplies needed:

Don’t worry, though, because I have a step to step guide that can help you. All you need are the following items: Rubbing alcohol, bleach or bleach alternative, and some disinfecting spray.

1. Check if the shoes are machine washable; if the answer to that is yes, then your life just became a whole lot easier as all you need to do is pop them in the washing machine. Don’t forget to follow these steps, though.

2. First and foremost, remove the insoles. The next thing you need to do is take them and put them in alcohol. Allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes.

3. After you have let the insoles soak, put the shoes in the washer. You can use detergent and hot water, bleach/ bleach alternative so that the shoe can be disinfected well. Remember that the amount of detergent or bleach you use depends entirely on its potency and the kind of show you are washing.

4. After the shoes have been washed up in the washing, let both the shoes and insoles air dry completely.

Read Also: How to Measure Your Feet for Shoes

How to disinfect non-machine washable used shoes?

Don’t worry if your shoes aren’t machine washable and are made of cloth instead because I have the solution for you too. The answer lies in using alcohol for the disinfection of such kind of shoe.

1. Just pour in rubbing alcohol in a bowl or tub and soak your entire shoe in it for at least 30 minutes. Make sure you have taken out the insoles and let them simmer in the rubbing alcohol as well.

How to disinfect used shoes made of leather or other delicate materials?

How to disinfect shoes made of leather?
Disinfect Shoes Made of Leather

I’ve already discussed how to clean used shoes that are made from machine washable materials and cloth, but what about used shoes made from delicate and sensitive materials like leather. You can disinfect your used dress shoes and high heels easily by following the steps mentioned below.

1. Start the process by preparing a concoction of rubbing alcohol and water. The way to make this solution is by mixing three parts of rubbing alcohol with one part of clean water.

2. Wet the cloth by submerging it into the solution but make sure it’s not dripping wet as that will both cause a mess and ruin your shoe. After you wring out the cloth, cautiously clean every inch of your shoe by rubbing the cloth on its surface.

3. Next, you will have to wait for the shoe to dry completely. You can do this by placing it outside and letting it air dry.

4. Once the shoe has dried up, bring out the antibacterial spray and closely spray the insides of the shoe. Don’t miss any spot, as this step is crucial to get any bacteria or fungus on the inside of the shoe. You can use this method for gym shoes as well and find it to be super effective. Finish the process up by allowing the shoes to dry up completely.

Final Thoughts

Disinfecting your shoes will help you protect both yourself and those around you from harmful pathogens. Remember to wash your hands right after you disinfect your shoes, and be safe!

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