How To Clean Orthotic Insoles Effectively

If you haven’t discovered orthotic insoles, you might be missing out on the most comfortable steps of your life. You may be thinking, what are insoles? Put simply, they help the realignment of your feet and legs to alleviate pain, all the while giving you extra cushion and support anywhere you go. 

As miraculous as they are, wearing your insoles every day can wear them down, exposing them to sweat, dirt, and bacteria. Can you wash shoe insoles? Yes, absolutely. 

Here’s how you can keep your orthotic insoles clean and maintained so you can enjoy their support for miles down the road. 


How to Clean Insoles: A Step-by-Step Guide 

Keeping your insoles clean can easily become an afterthought, especially when the priority is making sure your body is pain-free. But if you’re asking yourself how to clean orthotics, don’t worry. 

Here’s how to wash shoe insoles: 


1. Remove the Insole

First thing first, remove the orthotic insole from the inside of your shoe. This allows for easy access, and you’ll be able to shake out any dust or dirt that has accumulated from wear. 


2. Use Soap and Water

In many cases, water and soap or laundry detergent is all you need to clean the surface of your insoles. Combine warm water with gentle soap in a bowl (but try not to drench your orthotics, as that can deform their shape).

Some inserts may have tricky stains that water and soap aren’t strong enough to erase, but more on that later. 


3. Use a Gentle Scrubber

When cleaning your insoles, you’ll want to use scrubbing tools that will be gentle on the materials so that the insert won’t become damaged. 

Some gentle products include: 

  • Soft-bristle brush (this may include an old toothbrush, fingernail brush, or dish brush)
  • Dish sponge
  • Washcloth 

Once you pick your tool, dip it into the soapy water. You won’t want a lot of water on the brush so that your orthotic doesn’t get too saturated. 


4. Start Scrubbing

With your gentle scrubbing tool, start brushing down the orthotic in circular motions. You may need to focus on high-impact areas like the heel and the toes. Remember to scrub both sides of the insole. 

When you’re finished scrubbing, wipe the soap away with a clean washcloth and leave it out to air dry. 


Drying and Reinserting Insoles Properly

Drying may be the most important step in orthotic insole care and maintenance. While inserting it back into your shoe while still wet could harm the shape of the insole, the moisture also creates a warm environment that’s perfect for odor-causing bacteria.



The best method is to let your insoles air dry. This is gentle on the insole and doesn’t damage the form the way a dryer can. You can even leave them in the sun or by a ventilated air conditioner to accelerate the process.



Make sure your insoles have dried completely before reinserting them. When you’re ready, just slide them back inside your shoe, from the toe to the heel, so they fit securely.


Deep Cleaning Methods for Stubborn Stains

If you’ve followed those steps but are still finding stains on your orthotics, not to worry. Some insoles may require a more heavy-duty mixture than soapy water. 

If you’re struggling with some stubborn stains, try these methods:


Baking Soda

Readily available in most pantries, baking soda works wonders on tough stains and lingering odors. Create a paste by combining two tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water.

Scrub the paste onto the stained areas using your brush or finger as many times as needed, and there you have it! Clean, stain-free insoles ready for use. 



Vinegar, such as distilled white vinegar, can be one of the best stain removers and it’s also often already found right at home. To combat tough stains on your insoles, combine one part water and one part vinegar in a bowl. You can also add the vinegar to your baking soda and water paste for an even stronger solution. 

Apply the vinegar mixture directly onto the stain with your finger or brush and let it soak for about 15 minutes. For particularly tough stains, you may need to do this a second time. 



Applying denatured or isopropyl alcohol can also be an effective way of removing stains. However, be cautious to do this sparingly, as alcohol can damage some fabrics. 

Dip a cotton ball into the alcohol. Apply to the stained area and gently scrub, then dab it away with warm water until the stain releases. You may want to do a test swab and allow the insert to dry to ensure it won’t damage the material. 


Preventing Odors: Insole Cleaning Techniques

Cleaning your orthotics doesn’t always erase the tricky odors, but there are many methods to prevent it. Here are some techniques to keep your insoles smelling fresh.


Baking Soda

Baking soda isn’t only great for stain removal. It’s also a boon for odor management. 

After you’ve washed and dried your orthotics, sprinkle a layer of baking soda onto the surface of your insoles and let them sit overnight. In the morning, simply dust off the baking soda, and the odor should be gone. 


Talcum Powder

Just like baking soda, talcum powder (or baby powder) works by absorbing excess moisture, the breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.  

Apply a layer of powder onto the orthotic and let it sit overnight. Shake it out in the morning, and your inserts are ready to go.


Remove Insoles After Use

Preventing the odor from your orthotics can be as simple as removing them from your shoes after use. This allows your inserts to dry, ensuring bacteria can’t grow and thus, removing those odors.


Use the Sun

Did you know that the sun’s ultraviolet rays can kill bacteria? This is a simple and effective way of reducing insole odor. Just leave your orthotics in the sun after usage, which will both accelerate the drying process and eliminate the bacteria. 


Insole Maintenance Tips for Longevity

Properly maintaining your insoles is just as important, if not more so, in maximizing effectiveness and longevity. Here are some tips so you know just how to do it:

  • Don’t machine wash – No matter what type of insoles you have, placing your insoles somewhere like the washing machine or dryer can damage their shape. Shapeless and flattened insoles no longer benefit your feet, and may even cause pain.
  • Remove insoles regularly – Exercising, hiking, and even walking generates a lot of sweat from our feet, which dampens our insoles. When insoles get too wet, they can lose their shape. Removing your orthotics regularly allows them to air dry so they will continue to contour to your feet. 
  • Limit wear – Wearing your insoles for long periods every day can accelerate wear and tear on the materials, causing them to lose their shape faster. Try switching to a different pair of shoes after athletic activity or after a long day to give your inserts a break, too. 

Taking care of your orthotics allows you to enjoy their comfortable support for as long as you need. 


Selecting the Right Insoles

Now that you know how to clean insoles, why not find the pair that’s just right for you? Between ample shoe cushioning, arch support, stability, and alleviating leg pain, anyone can benefit from shoe insoles. 

With Vionic, there are options for everybody, no matter what you need.


Women’s Relief Insole

The Women’s Relief Insole is a classic design for everyday support. This orthotic features a heel and forefoot pad to boost shock absorption and biomechanical Tri-Planar motion control for added stability and realignment. Clinically proven to reduce excess pronation, this insole is ideal for those with flat feet.


Women’s Active Insole

If you’re an athlete, the Women’s Active Insole is just the support for you. It features ample cushioning to support your feet during fast-moving sports such as running, tennis, and even power walking. 

This orthotic is designed with a hardened plastic shell for enhanced stability so you have greater control during your fast-paced activities. Its cushioning at the heel enhances shock absorption and is contoured for complete foot contact. 


Women’s Slim Fit Insole

Inserts don’t just belong in sneakers, but in dress shoes too. The Women’s Slim Fit Insole is perfect for casual and dressy-heeled shoes. Women’s heels are known for causing bunions and painful aches, but with this insole, you can alleviate that pain while still looking chic. 

The Women’s Slim Fit Insole is cushioned and flexible, supports foot realignment, and helps provide relief from bunions, calluses, corns, metatarsalgia, and more. 


Unisex Relief 3QTR Insole

The Unisex Relief 3QTR Insole is the answer for everyday relief for all wearers. Whether it’s support for a long day at work or walking the park with your pup, this orthotic features a deep heel cup for daily stability. 

The Unisex Relief 3QTR is for maximum comfort, designed with a molded, EVA foam base for superior cushioning, a heel pad for shock absorption, and motion control to realign and stabilize the feet. 


Vionic is Here to Support Your Feet

Who would have thought that everything you need to clean your orthotics can be found right at home? Make baking soda, vinegar, and the sun your new best friends to have your insoles looking and smelling brand new!

Wherever you are on your insole journey, Vionic is here to support you every step of the way. Each of our orthotic insoles is designed to provide comfort and help realign your feet so you can enjoy every step you take. 




MedicalNewsToday. How can I stop my feet sweating?

TRUEARTH. The Magic of Baking Soda as a Stain Remover.,it%20should%20do%20the%20trick!

Laundryheap. How to Remove Stains With Vinegar.

IFIXIT. Stain Removal Help.,Alcohol,to%20remove%20ink%20or%20sap.

The Shoe Doctor. How Do I Maintain My Custom Orthotics? 6 Do’s and Don’ts You Need to Know.

National Library of Medicine. The History of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation for Air Disinfection.

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