Clean Shoe Insole : 4 Easiest Methods that Actually Work! [2024]

Written By Mahia

Has your favorite pair of shoe insoles become dirty?

Are you tired of finding foolproof solutions of how to clean shoe insoles?


Worry not, my friend. It’s high time to say bye-bye to the unclean insole. Because in this article, I have discussed the mind-blowing tips and tricks to make your insole dirt and odor-free.

Without further ado, let’s move onto the writing.

4 Quick And Effortless Methods To Clean Shoe Insole

While cleaning shoes, we only focus on the sole because it picks the most dirt, but we often forget that the shoe insole gets equally dirty. Not only it becomes messy but due to sweating of the feet, it gets horribly smelly too.

We often wash the shoe insoles without knowing the correct technique, and as a result, the shoe material gets damaged, and ultimately the shoes are of no use.quick-and-effortless-methods-to-clean-shoe-insole

But before that, go through our epic guide how to Clean Shoe Insole.

Here are the 4 Methods to clean shoe insole easily:

Method 1: Scrub The Insole With Water And Soap

  • If the insoles are removable, detach them from the footbed and take them out.
  • Take a small scrubbing brush or a toothbrush and brush off the dirt, soil, and lint stuck to the insole.
  • Make soapy water. You will need a bucket or container, warm water, and a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent to make it. Mix all the ingredients and make a solution. If your insoles are heavily dirty, take hot or warm water. Hot water will make the dirt particles lose, which will make your cleaning easier.
  • Take a scrubbing brush with stiff bristles and dip the strands in the solution made with water and soap and shake off the excess. Don’t over dip the brush in the solution; otherwise, the insole will get too wet.
  • Scrub the insole in a small circular motion with the scrubbing brush. Give extra attention to the area where it is heavily stained, especially the toe and heel area; this is where the growth of bacteria is more and results in a stinky insole. Flip the other side of the insole and wash it in the same process. If you think you need a bit more solution, then reset it but don’t go overboard.
  • After you finish the scrubbing, take a clean cloth or sponge and remove the soap’s remainder if there is any.
  • You are done with the cleaning process. Now it’s time to dry the insoles. Dry the insoles in a well-ventilated place, such as hanging them on the clotheslines or putting them on a towel. Or you can turn them in front of the heater or air-conditioner. But it will be cherry on the top if you dry the insoles in direct sunlight. Sunlight will not only dry the insoles but will make the insoles disinfected by killing the bacterias.
  • Once the insoles get completely dry and crisp, put them back in the shoes.

Check out our separate post on how to Prevent Shoe Polish From Drying Out.

Method 2: Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol like isopropyl has antibacterial properties, which kills any germs and makes the insoles odor-free.

The cleaning method of using rubbing alcohol is discussed below:

  • Take a spray bottle and make a solution by combining 50 percent water and 50 percent rubbing alcohol. Shake the solution thoroughly so that the mixture is combined well.
  • Take out the insoles from the shoes and lightly brush off the excess dirt.
  • Spray both sides of the insoles evenly with the alcohol solution. As the alcohol dries quickly, you can use as much alcohol as you need. If you do not have a spray bottle, you can use clean cloth instead. Dip the fabric in the solution and rub the insoles with your hand.
  • Keep the insoles in a good air circulated place for drying. Once the insoles become completely dry, you can put them back in the shoes and wear them.

Follow our other guide to know how to Stop Shoe Rubbing Back Of Your Ankle.

Method 3: Sterilize With Vinegar And Water

If you can’t access rubbing alcohol, you can use vinegar alternatively. Vinegar has been used as a disinfectant for centuries. Apart from cleaning,  vinegar has antibacterial properties that kill germs and deodorizes the insoles as well.

If you have a smelly insole, this method is perfect for making your insoles smell like a flower garden.

  • Combine equal parts of warm water and vinegar in a bowl or sink and stir it.
  • Immerse the insoles in the water and vinegar solution. Let it sit in the mixture for at least 3 hours. You can add any of your favorite essential oil to the solution to get that extra fragrance.
  • Take out the insoles from the water and vinegar solution after 3 hours and give them a good rinse under fresh water. Make sure there is no residue of vinegar.
  • Place the insoles in a clothesline or on a dry towel and let them sit overnight or until the insoles are completely dry. Once the insoles dry, place them in the shoes.

Check out my new post Does Liquid Shoe Polish Expire.

Method 4: Deodorize The Insole With Baking Soda

An excellent way to remove bad smells from the insoles is by using baking soda. Baking soda has fantastic deodorizing agents that help to remove odor.

Below are the steps that you should follow in cleaning insoles using baking soda:

  • Take a container or a Ziploc bag and put a few ounces of baking soda in it. If you are using a container, make sure it has a cover with it.
  • Place the insoles inside the container or Ziploc bag and place them so that the insoles are fully covered with baking soda. Make sure the insoles are completely dry before you put them in the baking soda.
  • Let the insole sit in the baking soda for 6-8 hours or overnight for a good result. After 6-8 hours, baking soda will absorb the foul odor from the insole.
  • Next morning, take out the insoles from the baking soda. Shake off the powder thoroughly. Leave the insoles in fresh air for a couple of minutes. And you are good to place the insoles back in the shoes and wear them.

How To Clean Non-Removable Insole?

So far, you have got an idea of cleaning the removable insole. But if your shoe insole is not removable, then what will you do? Well, I have a solution for that also. However, cleaning a non-removable insole can be a bit

Below I have discussed the easy ways to clean non-removable insole:

Method 1: Use Handheld Steamer

You can use steamers that are used to get rid of creases in the clothes. Steam the inside of the shoes to kill any bacteria. Dry them thoroughly before wearing them.

However, if you are planning to clean suede shoes with a steamer, then avoid this method. It can damage the shoe material.

Method 2: Use Dryer Sheets

A dryer sheet is a right choice to remove sweat and foul smell from the insole. Place the sheets inside the shoes and let them sit overnight.

The next day, your shoes will feel fresh with a sweet fragrance.

Method 3: Use Charcoal

Charcoal works excellent to remove moisture and foul smell from the insole. Fill a pair of socks with charcoal and put them inside the shoes overnight.

How To Clean A Leather Insole?

The leather insole is more fragile than any other insole and needs a bit more care while

Clean the leather insole in the following ways:

  • Take a clean cloth and damp it with clean water. Make sure to wring out the fabric properly; it should be moist instead of soaked in water.
  • If the insoles are removable, take them off from the shoes.
  • Add a few drops of saddle soap on the cloth and rub insole evenly. Places where it is heavily stained put a little pressure and clean it.
  • Once you feel the insoles are clean, take a clean cloth, moisten it with water and remove the soap’s residue.
  • Keep the insoles in an airy place for drying. Once the insoles are completely dry, put them back in the shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best shoe deodorizers?

There are various types of shoe deodorizer in the market. I have listed the top 5 shoe deodorizers below:

  • Lumi Outdoors Natural Shoe Deodorizer
  • Dr. Scholl’s OdorX All Day Deod Powder
  • Soft Sole Sneaker Shoe Odor Balls
  • Doctorcareplus Foot & Shoe Spray
  • Elite Foot Deodorizer Spray for Athletes

Can you wash the shoe insole in the washing machine?

It’s better not to wash the shoe insole in the washing machine. The insole is very delicate, and cleaning them in the washing machine can damage them. Better you clean them by hand.


Wearing shoes that have unclean and stinky insoles not only troubles you but also bothers other people. Now that you know all the methods of cleaning shoe insoles, why waste time? Go and wash your insoles immediately and let your insoles breathe freshly.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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