How to Clean the Insoles of Shoes

The outsoles of your shoes take the most beating from the outside world, but your insoles also get a portion.


Quality shoe insoles offer various benefits, including pain relief and better alignment. This makes them an excellent option for those who seek relief from foot and body discomfort. And many brands use antimicrobial materials designed to reduce the growth of bacteria that cause unpleasant odors.


However, even odor-controlling insoles are still vulnerable spots for bacteria. That said, cleaning and deodorizing insoles will keep your shoes and feet fresh. Read on to learn how to clean the insoles of shoes and keep them that way.

Be Gentle When Cleaning Your Insoles

Before you start cleaning, check if the manufacturer has any information about his product on their packaging or website. Every company uses slightly different materials, and the manufacturer will know what’s best for their insoles.


Generally, it’s recommended to hand wash your insoles with lukewarm water and mild soap and let them air dry. Avoid applying heat to your insoles because heat can soften the adhesive used on the insole, causing the layers to sit differently or come apart. It can also cause specific areas to contract, changing the shape or fit of the insole and how well it fits your shoe.

How to Clean Removable Insoles

Nowadays, many shoes are made with removable insoles. While tossing them in the washing machine may sound like a good idea, shoe manufacturers typically advise against washing your insoles this way.


Shoe insoles are often made of synthetic materials, such as rubber and foam, that can be damaged in the washing machine. So, if you’re wondering how to wash the insoles of shoes, stick to hand washing.


You can use dish soap or laundry detergent to clean removable insoles. Follow the steps described below:


  • Squirt a bit of soap into a bowl and fill it with warm water.
  • Stir a clean stiff-bristled brush or a cloth in soapy water and scrub each side of the insole, paying extra attention to the toe and heel areas as the majority of dirt and bacteria concentrate there.
  • Now, rinse the insoles, squeeze excess water, and pat them dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.
  • Once you’re done with cleaning, lay your insoles in a ventilated room to dry.

If you believe your removable insoles need a deep cleaning and you’re willing to take your chances with machine washing them, put them in a laundry bag and wash them in cold water on a delicate cycle, and air dry them once they’re done. Never put your insoles in the dryer and ensure they’re completely dry before you put them back into your shoes.

How to Clean Non-Removable Insoles

Cleaning non-removable insoles requires a different process. Rubbing alcohol can help clean them as it has disinfectant properties, so it can kill bacteria and reduce odors. And since alcohol evaporates, you don’t have to rinse it.


To clean your non-removable insoles, mix equal parts alcohol and water in a bowl or spray bottle. Then, dip a cloth in the liquid and wipe the insoles with it or spritz it onto your insoles and wipe them. Once done, let them air dry.


However, if your non-removable insoles still have unpleasant odors or stubborn stains, consider having a shoe repair professional replace your insoles with new ones.

Keep Your Insoles Fresh

Timberland Insoles

Scrubbing your removable insoles with soap and water and cleaning your non-removable insoles with rubbing alcohol can effectively reduce the built-up odors in your shoes. But it’s a good idea to use preventative measures between washings to keep them clean as long as possible. That’s especially true for non-removable insoles.


Wearing clean socks can help as bare feet tend to sweat a lot inside closed shoes. And wearing socks will minimize sweating and help absorb it.


You might want to let your shoes air dry completely between wearings. Set the in a ventilated place instead of inside a stuffy closet. And if your shoes get wet from rain or snow, use a dry towel to absorb the water as soon as possible.


Consider buying shoe deodorizer pouches filled with active charcoal. Keep it inside each shoe whenever you’re not wearing them as charcoal will absorb both moisture and odors that may be lingering in your insoles.

Preventative Measures to Keep Your Insoles Clean

If you’re looking at how to clean the insoles of your shoes, you may also be interested in what preventative measures you can take to reduce the odor coming from your insoles.


Store your shoes in a dry environment. And if they get wet while you’re outside, remove the insoles to allow them to thoroughly dry. You can also try wearing moisture-control socks to help keep the shoe footbeds dry. Of course, you could always buy waterproof boots, so the chance of your insoles getting wet will be minimal.

Keep Your Insoles Fresh

After reading this article, you have a good idea of how to clean the insoles of shoes. Following these guidelines will help you keep your insoles clean and fresh, whether they’re removable or non-removable. But getting quality shoes and boots with odor-controlling insoles in the first place will make your cleaning job much easier.


On our website, you can find high-quality work boots and shoes from renowned brands that will boost your performance regardless of how many hours you spend on your job. And once you’re done, your feet will still feel fresh.