How to Wash Shoe Insoles: Guide for Clean and Fresh Footwear

Shoe insoles are an often-overlooked but essential part of footwear hygiene. Over time, insoles can accumulate dirt, sweat, and odor-causing bacteria, leading to unpleasant smells and potential foot health issues. Regularly washing your shoe insoles is crucial for maintaining freshness, hygiene, and overall comfort. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to effectively clean and care for your shoe insoles, ensuring they stay fresh and odor-free.

How to Wash Shoe Insoles

Understanding Shoe Insoles

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to understand the different types of shoe insoles and their materials. Common types of insoles include:

  • Foam Insoles: Lightweight and flexible, foam insoles provide cushioning and shock absorption. They are often found in athletic shoes and casual footwear.
  • Gel Insoles: Gel-filled insoles offer superior cushioning and support, making them ideal for high-impact activities and relieving foot pain.
  • Orthotic Insoles: Designed to address specific foot issues such as overpronation, flat feet, or plantar fasciitis, orthotic insoles provide customized support and stability.
  • Leather or Fabric Insoles: Found in dress shoes and casual footwear, leather or fabric insoles offer moisture-wicking properties and can be more breathable than synthetic materials.

Steps to Wash Shoe Insoles

Follow these steps to effectively clean your shoe insoles and keep them fresh and odor-free:

1. Remove the Insoles:

Start by carefully removing the insoles from your shoes. Use gentle pressure to detach them from the shoe’s interior, taking care not to damage or tear the insoles.

2. Shake Off Loose Debris:

Take the insoles outdoors and gently shake them to remove any loose dirt, debris, or particles trapped in the material. This step helps prepare the insoles for thorough cleaning.

3. Hand Wash or Machine Wash:

Depending on the material and construction of your insoles, you can choose to hand wash or machine wash them:

  • Hand Washing: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Submerge the insoles in the soapy water and use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub away dirt and stains. Rinse the insoles thoroughly with clean water to remove soap residue.
  • Machine Washing: If the care instructions on your insoles allow for machine washing, place them in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them during the wash cycle. Use a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water and a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that may damage the insoles.

4. Air Dry Thoroughly:

After washing, remove the insoles from the water and gently squeeze out excess moisture. Avoid wringing or twisting the insoles, as this can distort their shape. Place the insoles in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight to air dry completely. Allow sufficient time for the insoles to dry thoroughly before placing them back into your shoes.

5. Optional: Use Odor Eliminators:

If your insoles still retain odor after washing, consider using odor-eliminating products such as baking soda, activated charcoal, or specialized shoe deodorizers. Sprinkle or insert these products into the shoes before reinserting the clean, dry insoles.

6. Reinsert Insoles:

Once the insoles are completely dry and odor-free, carefully reinsert them into your shoes, ensuring they fit snugly and securely in place. Press down on the insoles to ensure they are properly seated and provide adequate support and cushioning.


Regularly washing your shoe insoles is essential for maintaining footwear hygiene, preventing odor buildup, and prolonging the lifespan of your shoes. By following these simple steps and incorporating proper care and maintenance into your shoe care routine, you can keep your insoles clean, fresh, and comfortable for longer-lasting wear. Prioritize foot health and hygiene by giving your shoe insoles the attention they deserve.

Also read: How to Clean Suede Shoes: Maintaining Your Footwear

Latest articles

Related articles