Can You Wash Birkenstocks in the Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Birkenstocks in the Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash your Birkenstocks in the washing machine, but it’s important to do it right to avoid damaging these beloved sandals. In this article, we’ll provide you with essential dos and don’ts, step-by-step instructions for machine washing, and alternative methods for those who prefer a different approach.

Birkenstock sandals are not just a fashion statement; they’re a symbol of comfort and durability. Over time, your Birkenstocks may accumulate dirt and odors, and you might be wondering if tossing them in the washing machine is a viable solution.

The good news is that it can be done but with some precautions. Let’s explore how to safely clean your Birkenstocks using a washing machine, as well as alternative methods for those who are cautious about machine washing.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Birkenstocks in the Washing Machine


  • Protect Your Birkenstocks: Place your Birkenstocks in a lingerie bag or a pillowcase. This step is crucial to prevent the straps and buckles from tangling and potentially causing damage during the wash cycle.
  • Gentle Cycle with Cold Water: Use the gentle cycle on your washing machine, and set the water temperature to cold. Hot water can cause the glue holding your sandals together to weaken, so stick to cold water.
  • Mild Detergent: Choose a mild detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as they can harm the materials of your Birkenstocks.
  • Air Dry Only: After the wash cycle is complete, resist the temptation to speed up the drying process by using a dryer. Instead, let your Birkenstocks air dry in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.


  • Avoid the Dryer: Never put your Birkenstocks in the dryer, as the heat can cause the materials to warp or shrink.
  • Skip the Bleach and Fabric Softener: Stay away from bleach and fabric softener, as they can weaken the integrity of the straps and the overall structure of your sandals.
  • Check for Manufacturer Recommendations: Some Birkenstock models have specific care recommendations from the manufacturer. Always check the care instructions provided with your sandals before attempting to wash them.
  • Use Caution with Older Pairs: If your Birkenstocks are older or have already experienced some wear and tear, machine washing may not be the best option. Delicate or damaged straps may not withstand the washing process.

Steps to Wash Birkenstocks in the Washing Machine:

Now that you know the dos and don’ts, here are the steps to safely wash your Birkenstocks in the washing machine:

Step 1

Place your Birkenstocks in a lingerie bag or pillowcase, securing them to prevent tangling.

Step 2

Select the gentle cycle with cold water on your washing machine.

Step 3

Add a small amount of mild detergent to the machine.

Step 4

Start the washing machine and let it complete the cycle.

Step 5

After the cycle is finished, remove your Birkenstocks from the lingerie bag or pillowcase.

Step 6

Allow your Birkenstocks to air dry in a cool, dry place. Do not expose them to direct sunlight or heat sources.

Alternative Washing Methods for Birkenstocks:

If you’re hesitant about using a washing machine, or if you have older Birkenstocks with fragile straps, there are alternative methods to consider:

  • Leather Cleaner: Use a leather cleaner specifically designed for Birkenstock sandals. Apply the cleaner according to the product instructions and wipe it off with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Water and Saddle Soap: Mix water with saddle soap and apply it to the straps and footbed using a soft, dry cloth. Gently wipe away any dirt or stains, then allow them to air dry.
  • Suede Brush: For Birkenstocks with suede footbeds, use a suede brush to remove surface dirt and stains. You can also lightly dampen the suede with water and a cloth, then allow it to air dry.


Can I wash my Birkenstocks in the washing machine if they have suede footbeds?

Answer: It’s generally not recommended to wash Birkenstocks with suede footbeds in the washing machine, as excessive moisture can damage the suede. Instead, use a suede brush or a damp cloth for cleaning.

How often should I clean my Birkenstocks?

Answer: Cleaning frequency depends on wear and environmental conditions. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your Birkenstocks in good shape. Clean them when they appear dirty or start to develop odors.

Are there specific Birkenstock models that shouldn’t be machine-washed?

Answer: Some Birkenstock models may have unique materials or construction methods. Always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer for specific guidance.

Can I use a shoe deodorizer on my Birkenstocks to keep them fresh?

Answer: Yes, shoe deodorizers can help keep your Birkenstocks smelling fresh. Just be sure to follow the product’s instructions and avoid excessive moisture.

Can I repair my Birkenstocks if they get damaged during washing or regular wear?

Answer: Yes, many Birkenstock stores and authorized repair shops offer services for repairing and repairing your sandals. It’s a sustainable option to extend their life.

Final Words:

You can indeed wash your Birkenstocks in the washing machine, provided you follow the recommended precautions. Using a lingerie bag or pillowcase, a gentle cycle with cold water, and mild detergent will help preserve the quality of your beloved sandals. However, if you’re uncertain or have older Birkenstocks, alternative cleaning methods like leather cleaners or saddle soap can also be effective. With proper care, your Birkenstocks can continue to provide comfort and style for years to come.

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