How To Clean Shoe Insoles

When it comes to cleaning your shoes, it is common practice to clean the outside of the shoe first, as this is the part that everyone can see. However, this does not mean that your shoes can technically be called clean when you are done, as very few people actually consider the state of the shoe’s interior. 

In fact, many people probably don’t think about the shoe insoles until they begin to smell, which can lead to further problems for you and your footwear. So, if you want to know how you can clean your shoe insoles, then you have come to the right place. 

In the following article, we have compiled a selection of different methods that can be used to clean your shoe insoles, with each one helping to remove dirt and reduce odor. Of course, there is no way to stop your feet from sweating during the day, which is why we recommend using these methods to combat dirty insoles and unpleasant smells. 

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can clean your shoe insoles from the comfort of your home… 

How To Clean Removable Insoles

These days, most shoe insoles tend to be removable, which can make them much easier to clean. In most cases, these insoles are made from synthetic materials and foam, which means they can’t get too wet during the cleaning process. 

Down below, we have outlined various methods that you can use to clean removable insoles without damaging the structure and usage: 

Scrub Brush & Soapy Water 

When cleaning shoe insoles, it is possible to use plain old soap and water, which can help to remove debris and dirt from the material. Fortunately, this method uses accessible products and can be completed from the comfort of your home. 

What You Will Need

  • Liquid dish detergent (mild) 
  • Hot water 
  • Small scrubbing brush 
  • Clean cloth or sponge 


  1. Remove the insoles from your shoes and allow them to air out before beginning the cleaning process. 
  2. Brush off any dirt or debris and fill a bucket with hot water before adding a few drops of detergent to the solution. 
  3. Take the scrubbing brush and dip the bristles into the hot water until the brush is soapy. 
  4. Using a circular motion, scrub the insoles while paying attention to the stained areas around the toes and heels. 
  5. Make sure to work the soap into the stained areas without getting the material soaked, as this could damage the structure of the insole. 
  6. When the top of the insole is clean, turn it over and use the same method to clean the bottom. 
  7. Once you have finished, make sure to wipe away any residual soap or moisture using a clean cloth or sponge. 
  8. Allow the insoles to dry thoroughly before placing them back into your shoes, this can be done by placing them on a dry towel or hanging them from a clothesline. 

Disinfectant With Water & Vinegar 

Another great way to clean your dirty shoe insoles is by using a solution of water and vinegar, which has been used as a homemade disinfectant for over 2000 years. 

Not only does vinegar help to clean your insoles, but it will also refresh them and remove any unwanted smells or odors. 

What You Will Need

  • Water
  • White vinegar 
  • A bowl or container 


  1. Combine equal amounts of vinegar and water in a large bowl or container and stir until mixed. 
  2. Take your shoe insoles and submerge them in the solution before leaving them to soak for around 3 hours. 
  3. When the time is up, take the insoles out of the liquid and rinse them under fresh running water to remove the solution. 
  4. Leave the insoles to air dry, this can be done by placing them on a towel, dish drainer or clothesline. 
  5. For the best results, leave the insoles overnight and make sure they are thoroughly dry before placing them back into your shoes. 

How To Clean Non-Removable Insoles

While many shoe insoles are removable, there are some that are not, which can make disinfecting them a much more complicated process. 

Fortunately, this does not mean it is impossible, as there are still countless methods that can be used to combat your sweaty insoles: 

Household Products 

  • Dryer Sheets: When it comes to ridding your shoe insoles of strong odors, you can do this by placing a dryer sheet into your shoe overnight, which will help to refresh the insole and neutralize the smell. 
  • Handheld Steamer: If you own a handheld steamer, then you can also use this to remove any bacteria that has gathered inside your shoes. However, this does not mean that this method can be used on any material, as suede shoes could be permanently damaged by the moisture and heat. 
  • Charcoal: While there are many household products that can be used to tackle strong odors, one of the most surprising is activated charcoal. All you have to do is fill a sock with the substance and place it in your shoe overnight. This helps to absorb the unwanted odor and leave your insoles smelling fresh. 
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is another versatile product that can be used to remove strong odors from your shoes. During this method, you will need to sprinkle the substance into your shoes and leave them overnight before shaking out the excess and leaving them to air. 

How To Clean Leather Shoe Insoles

Shoe insoles can be made from a selection of different materials, with one of the most challenging being leather. 

When it comes to cleaning leather insoles, it is important to approach the task with care, as it can be very easy to damage the material beyond repair: 

Solution Of Saddle Soap & Water 

While there are various methods for cleaning leather insoles, one of the best involves using a solution of water and saddle soap. 

So, if you want to clean your leather insoles and remove any unwanted odors, everything you need can be found in the section below. 

What You Will Need

  • Saddle soap 
  • Cotton or flannel cloths (x2) 
  • Water


  1. Take one cloth and dampen it, make sure that the cloth is moist and not wet before proceeding. 
  2. Remove the leather insoles from your shoes and pour a few drops of the saddle soap onto the moist cloth. 
  3. Rub the cloth onto the insoles to form a lather and continue to do this until the insole is clean. 
  4. Once the leather insole is shining, remove the lather and any residual soap using the second moistened cloth. 
  5. When you are finished, allow the insoles to dry thoroughly in a warm and airy environment. 

Note: If you cannot remove the leather insoles from your shoes, then you can wipe them down using a diluted solution of alcohol or white vinegar. 

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, there are countless methods that can be used to clean your shoe insoles, with each one helping to remove dirt and reduce strong odors. While some insoles may be trickier to clean than others, this does not mean that the task is impossible and should be approached with a certain level of care. 

And there we have it, that is how you can shoe insoles. We hope that you found this article helpful and that you will refer to it the next time your insoles are dirty or smell like cheese.