When it comes to our water sports activities, we want shoes that can keep up with us. But after a few hours spent in the water, those shoes can start to look a little worse for wear. That’s why the key to keeping your water shoes looking and feeling new is to maintain them properly, which means regular cleaning.
Now, cleaning your water shoes isn’t as easy as throwing them in the washing machine or wiping them down with a cloth. After all, these shoes were specifically designed for water contact, so you’ll want to avoid any harsh chemicals or materials that could damage them. That’s why we put together this guide about how to clean your water shoes for good: so you can spend more time enjoying activities on the water and less time worrying about your footwear.
Pre-Wash Prep – What You Need to Know
Before you even begin cleaning your water shoes, there are a few things you need to know. First, check the label on your shoes and read any specific instructions they may provide. Some materials will require special care, such as using only certain cleaning products or not putting them in the washing machine.
Next, remove any excess dirt and debris from the surface of your water shoes. This can be done with a damp cloth or a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to brush away in one direction to avoid damaging the material. Finally, if needed, use a concentrated cleaner meant specifically for outdoor gear to spot clean areas that are heavily soiled. Now that you’ve prepped your water shoes for cleaning, you’re ready for the next step.
Removing Loose Dirt and Debris from Water Shoes
The first step when cleaning your water shoes is to remove any loose dirt and debris from the outside. To do this, you can either use a soft bristle brush or a cloth, but be sure to do it gently so that you don’t damage the material.
Once the loose dirt and debris are gone, take a look at the insides of your shoes for any clumps or chunks of dirt or mud. If there are any, grab a stick or a chopstick and use it to loosen up the chunks and scrape them away from the shoe. Once everything has been removed, shake out any remaining dirt and debris that may have been loosened up.
Finally, rinse off your shoes with cool water to make sure that all of the dirt and mud is gone. This will also help further loosen up any stubborn chunks left in the shoe, which you can then take out before you start washing them.
Cleaning With Soap and Water
Cleaning your water shoes with soap and water is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get rid of dirt and grime. You can use warm, soapy water and a soft scrub brush or an old toothbrush to get the job done.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Start by removing any excess dirt and mud from the surface of your shoes using a soft brush or a cloth.
- Then, fill a bucket with warm, soapy water and submerge your shoes in it for about 10 minutes.
- Take a clean cloth or a soft scrub brush and gently scrub the entire surface of your shoes, paying special attention to high-traffic areas like the toe box, laces, tongue, and outsole.
- Rinse off your shoes with clean water and let them air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
- Once they are completely dry, apply a waterproofing spray or wax on them to maintain their condition for longer periods of time.
By following these steps regularly, you can keep your water shoes looking great for years to come.
Sanitizing With Vinegar and Baking Soda
Using vinegar and baking soda to clean your water shoes is another excellent tip for preventing mold. Baking soda mixed with white vinegar produces a fizzy mixture that aids in the removal of debris such as mold and bacteria.
To sanitize with this solution:
- Fill up a bucket with warm water, then add 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts baking soda.
- Soak the water shoes in the solution for 15 minutes to remove any dirt or debris.
- Then take them out, rinse them off with cold water, and let them air dry in the sun.
Instead of baking soda, use salt for a stronger cleaning effect if you want to cleanse your body even more thoroughly. Just remember to rinse off any extra salt from your shoes once you’re finished to prevent permanent harm.
Drying and Waterproofing Your Shoes
Another important step in keeping your water shoes in tip-top shape is getting them completely dry and waterproofed. After you’ve taken the time to clean your shoes, you don’t want to negate all of that work by not taking the time to dry and waterproof them properly.
Drying Your Shoes
It’s important to make sure your shoes are completely dry before you waterproof them. If they’re still wet or damp, the waterproofing won’t work as well as it should. To make sure you get all of the water out, turn your shoes upside down and stuff them with newspaper or paper towels to help absorb any remaining moisture. If your water shoes have removable insoles, take them out so that they can be dried separately.
You can also use a blow dryer (on a low heat setting) or a fan to speed up this process if needed. Just remember to be careful when using either a blow dryer or fan – you don’t want to damage the material.
Waterproofing Your Shoes
Once your shoes are fully dry, it’s time to add an extra layer of protection with a waterproof spray or gel. This will help protect them from water damage in the future and keep their materials looking fresh for ages. Just spray or apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions and let it sit for about 10 minutes before wiping off any excess product with a soft cloth. And voila — you now have sparkling, clean, waterproof shoes that look (almost) like new.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Water Shoes
Extend the shelf life of your water shoes with a few easy tips. By regularly cleaning and taking care of your water shoes, you can keep them looking and performing great for much longer. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your water shoes:
Remove Any Excess Water
Always make sure to remove any excess water from the shoes after every use. Wring out the inside of the shoe to remove any remaining moisture and dry it in a well-ventilated area. This will also help reduce any chances of odor or mold build-up.
It’s important to clean your water shoes regularly with a mild cleanser or soap. Make sure to scrub away any dirt or debris that may have become lodged in the shoe and rinse it off with clean water. If necessary, you could use a small brush or an old toothbrush to help remove tough stains. Refrain from submerging your shoes in water, as this could cause them to break down faster.
When not in use, make sure to store your shoes properly and away from direct sunlight or heat sources if possible. This will ensure that they don’t get worn out too quickly due to heat or UV rays deteriorating their material over time.
What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Water Shoes
When it comes to cleaning your water shoes, there are some things you should avoid. Depending on the material of your water shoes, certain products, and techniques might not be suitable and can actually damage them. Here’s a list of what to avoid:
- Avoid using harsh detergents, abrasive scrubbing pads, or bleaching agents. These can damage the material and deteriorate the water resistance properties of your shoes.
- Avoid placing your shoes in the washing machine, as it agitates them too much and can cause fabric tearing.
- Avoid soaking your shoes for too long, as this can also wear out the material over time.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents on any glued parts of your shoes, as this could cause them to come apart.
- Avoid direct heat, such as a hairdryer, as this will dry out the leather and cause it to become stiff and brittle.
By avoiding these common mistakes when cleaning your water shoes, you will ensure that they remain in good condition for longer and will continue to provide superior performance for years to come.
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With the right tips and techniques, you can keep your water shoes performing at their best. If you’re dealing with mud, dirt, or sticky remains, be sure to give them a thorough cleaning. The process is simple, but the steps are important so you can extend the life of your shoes.
Whatever kind of water shoes you wear, the most crucial thing to keep in mind is to be patient and kind. Utilize the proper cleaning supplies instead of damaging the materials with dryers or harsh scrubbing. Your sandals, shoes, and boots should ideally be allowed to air dry to avoid further dirt accumulation. Your shoes will be prepared to go on the upcoming adventure with you with a little tender loving care.