How To Take Care of Birkenstock Sandals

how to care for birkenstocks

If you’re the proud owner of a pair of Birkenstock sandals, you will know only too well the comfort they bring. That signature cork footbed contours to your foot arches and provides the perfect amount of support to care for your feet and joints as you walk. But do you know how to return the favour?

Here are a few essential tips on how to take care of your Birkenstock sandals (and how not to) so you can keep your Birks as happy as they keep you:

Key Birkenstock Care Essentials:

  • Nubuck/Suede Brush
  • Cloth
  • Birkenstock Cork Sealer
  • Birkenstock Clean & Refresh
  • Birkenstock Water & Stain Repellent

Our Top Birkenstock Care Tips:

1. Keep them away from heat

Rule number one of caring for Birkenstocks is never to expose them to extreme or direct heat. The cork footbeds and EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) soles of Birkenstocks don’t do too well when exposed to concentrated heat sources like radiators, fireplaces or blow dryers, as this can cause the cork to dry out and crack. You should also avoid leaving them in hot cars or direct sunlight for long periods of time.

Don’t be tempted to try any ‘quick fix’ drying methods if your Birks get wet – air drying them slowly and gently is the only way.

2. Keep your cork sealed

That supportive cork footbed on your Birkenstocks should be shiny and solid, but after extensive wearing, it can dry out, go dull and start to crack. To counter this, you will need a bottle of Birkenstock Cork Sealer, which you should apply in a thin layer whenever your cork starts to lose its shiny gloss. If you keep up this important regimen as often as they need it, you can make your Birkenstocks last a lifetime.

3. Keep them smelling fresh

Birkenstocks are best known for two things: comfort and smell. This unfortunate latter comes from being exposed to bare feet, sweat and, of course, the elements. This is a natural ailment to be expected, and luckily it is also easy to counteract with a little TLC.

Simply grab yourself a bottle of Birkenstock’s Cleaner & Refresher, spray the entire footbed with an even layer and wipe away any dirt or excess cleaner with a clean cloth. Then use your nubuck/suede brush to brush the nap back to its natural state gently. Repeat this process whenever you detect a faint whiff from your sandals to keep them smelling and feeling fresh for longer.

4. Protect them from water stains

As well as the cork footbed, which needs to be cared for, your Birkenstock uppers are made from leather, suede or nubuck. These materials should be proactively protected from water damage from day one, which you can do using your Birkenstock Water & Stain Repellent. Simply brush your suede/leather/nubuck uppers with your suede brush to remove any dust, dirt and loose particles. Then apply the water repellent and give the material another gentle brush to restore the natural nap before leaving it to air dry.

5. Scrub away the stains … gently

The cork footbeds of Birkenstocks tend to develop dark footprint stains over time, which can be rather unsightly. But don’t worry, you don’t need any fancy chemicals to get rid of these; you only need a basin of lukewarm water, a cloth and some good old-fashioned soap. Gently scrub away the footprint stains and any other stains with the cloth and leave them to dry completely and naturally at room temperature. Remember, any direct or extreme heat could ruin your trusty Birks forever.

How to clean Birkenstock sandals

Cleaning Birkenstocks will help keep them smelling fresh whilst prolonging their lifespan. Birkenstock footbeds are known for getting stained easily, so cleaning them is key to keeping them in top condition.

You should clean Birkenstock sandals every few weeks, depending on how often you wear them and how stained or muddy they are. You must first remove any surface dirt before removing any dry, oily or sticky stains.

The material of the shoe determines the best way to clean Birkenstocks. For example, you’d clean suede Birkenstocks differently from leather ones. However, by regularly applying Birkenstock Water & Stain Repellent, you can protect the upper from water and dirt.

Can you wash Birkenstocks?

Birkenstock cleaning tip 101: never put them in the washing machine. They should also never be put in a tumble dryer. Due to how Birkenstocks are made, they’re too delicate to be placed in a washing machine. Instead, they need to be cleaned by hand.

Can Birkenstocks get wet?

To properly care for your Birkenstocks, it’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to water. Though we wouldn’t recommend wearing Birkenstocks to a water park if you’re on holiday, getting caught in a UK sun shower shouldn’t cause any lasting damage.

If your Birkenstocks are overexposed to water, the shoe’s integrity and appearance can be affected. If your Birkenstocks become wet, let them air dry in a cool place away from direct heat or sunlight.

How to stop Birkenstocks from smelling

Smelly Birkenstocks are caused primarily due to bare feet and sweat, especially during summer as the temperatures heat up. Due to the open design of the sandals, it can be hard to hide that famous Birkenstock smell.

If you’ve run out of Birkenstock’s Cleaner & Refresher and need a home cleaning remedy, baking soda is a great way to stop Birkenstocks from smelling. You can make a paste solution by combining baking soda with water, which you can rub into the footbed with a toothbrush. Leave this to dry overnight, rinse thoroughly and use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away the excess. Ensure your Birkenstocks are fully dry before wearing them again by leaving them in a cool space for 24 hours.

If you’re short on time, simply sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the footbed and leave overnight. Wipe away any excess baking soda in the morning with a dry cloth.

How to store Birkenstocks

As we’ve already mentioned, you should keep Birkenstocks away from heat. When you’re not wearing your Birks, they can be kept on a shoe rack alongside your other footwear, providing this is not placed in front of a radiator or area in direct sunlight.

Did you know some people put teabags in their Birkenstocks while they are stored away to keep them smelling fresh?

How long do Birkenstocks last?

While Birkenstock does not offer a specific warranty or guarantee of longevity, you can rest assured knowing that your sandals will last many years with proper care. Their long-lasting durability means you can wear the same pair of Birkenstocks for several summers without worrying about them breaking. Naturally, they may appear worn over time, but by cleaning, maintaining and storing your Birkenstock sandals properly, any wear and tear shouldn’t be too visible.

Normal wear and tear of Birks include cork loss, worn-down soles and staining. If your Birkenstocks look like they need a revamp, you can get them professionally repaired.

And that’s how to take care of Birkenstock sandals. Follow these Birkenstock tips and tricks and pay close attention to your sandals; they’ll remain your loyal, super comfortable sidekicks.

Not yet invested in the footwear revelation that is Birkenstock? Find all the most popular styles in our full collection of men’s and women’s Birkenstocks, including the Gizeh and classic Arizona.

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