Sandals can take a beating in the sand and dirt.

Leather Sandal Cleaning Instructions

by Mimi Bullock

Leather sandals are comfortable to wear during warm weather, but sweaty feet and contact with the elements can make them dirty -- even smelly. Keep odors and discoloration under control by cleaning leather sandals four to five times a year. It only takes a few minutes to give your sandals some much needed attention and prolong the life of your favorite summer footwear.

Cleaning Finished Leather

Squirt a dab of liquid hand soap on a damp cloth. Rub the cloth together to create a cleansing lather.

Rub the soapy cloth over the leather without saturating the entire shoe. Work the cloth over straps and the outside of the sandal.

Take a clean, damp cloth and wipe away the lather. Never immerse the leather in water, because this can cause the leather to shrink and crack.

Wipe the leather with a microfiber towel until the sandals feel dry. Using a terry cloth towel can leave fuzz behind.

Cleaning Untreated Leather

Rub a clean, dry cloth over a tin of leather soap. A dime-sized amount is enough leather soap for both shoes. Lather up the cloth by rubbing it together.

Apply the lather to the shoes with the cloth. Rub the leather soap into the leather areas of the sandal.

Take a clean cloth and rub off the lather. Place the sandals in the sun to dry. Finish the cleaning by applying leather preservative to the shoes.

Minimize smells by mixing 1 teaspoon of vinegar with one cup of warm water. Dip a cloth in the vinegar and water mixture, then rub the cloth around the interior of the shoe to kill odor-causing bacteria.

Items you will need

  • Liquid hand soap
  • Cloths
  • Microfiber towel
  • Leather soap
  • Leather preservative spray
  • Vinegar
  • Water


  • Try a sandal wash product and shoe bristle brush to remove excess dirt in the leather.

About the Author

Mimi Bullock's writing reflects her love of traveling the back roads of small towns and sampling the local cuisine. As a regular feature writer for "Southern Hospitality Traveler" and journalist for "Beachin' Magazine," she gets to experience the rich heritage of the southern culture. She is also a licensed cosmetologist who has her own skin care line.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images