A good pair of slippers is one of life’s greatest comforts. They keep you warm, help you relax, and support you when you need it most. Needless to say, it’s easy to get attached to your favorite house shoes.
Like all footwear, there comes a time when home slippers need to be replaced. However, if they’re a little dirty, scuffed up, or discolored but otherwise in good shape, they might just need to be cleaned.
If you want (or need) to know how to wash slippers, Vionic is here to assist. But first, let’s clarify something. When we talk about washing slippers, we don’t mean a machine wash, we mean hand wash. While there are some exceptions, machine-washing isn’t recommended in most cases because it can shrink the material and potentially damage the drum of your washer.¹
How to Clean Slippers without Ruining Them
The whole idea behind cleaning your slippers is to extend their lifespan. For this reason, you’ll want to be very careful about what you use and how you go about it. Though it depends on the material and if they’re slippers you can wear outside, you probably have a lot of the necessary tools and products lying around your house.
To clean your slipper, you may need:
- A large bowl or plastic tub (a sink can also work)
- Dish soap or laundry detergent
- A few clean cloths
- A large towel
- Baking soda
- A soft toothbrush
- Baby wipes or makeup remover wipes
- Leather conditioner
- A nylon bristle brush
Leather conditioners can be used to clean suede and leather house shoes, and bristle brushes are specifically for suede. Vionic’s Shoe Care Kit includes both these items, plus a protective spray treatment and a footbed deodorizer.
How to Clean Cloth Slippers
If you want to learn how to wash house slippers with fabric uppers, you’ll be glad to hear it’s not all that hard.
Here’s how to hand-wash cloth slippers:
- Start by wiping down the soles to remove excess dirt, mud, and grime. You can use a damp rag, a baby wipe, or a makeup remover wipe.
- If your house shoes have spots or stains (as opposed to just being dirty or discolored), you’ll want to pre-treat the fabric before washing them. Apply a few drops of mild soap, dish soap, mild detergent to the spots, then rub it back and forth and up and down with your fingers or a damp cloth. Let the gentle detergent sit on the material for a half-hour or so before moving onto the next step.
- Fill up a plastic tub, a large bowl, or your kitchen sink with warm water. Add about a teaspoon of dish soap or a drizzle of laundry detergent.
- Submerge your slippers into the soapy solution. (Depending on the side of your bowl or sink, you may need to do one at a time.)
- Holding your slippers in the soapy water, shake them slightly to agitate them. Then use your fingers to massage the fabric on the uppers and lining to lift the grime.
- Let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes. (If they were extremely dirty to begin with, they might need a little longer.) After a few minutes, you should start to see the water get darker as the dirt and muck wash out.
- When your slippers appear clean, remove them from the solution and rinse them off. You can rinse them either directly under your sink faucet or in another bowl of clean cool water.
- Knead and squish the material a bit to make sure all the soap comes out and no bubbles appear when you press down. (It might take a few minutes for them to rinse totally clean, but it’s important all the soap comes out, as it can affect the softness of the material once it dries.)
- Set your slippers down on a large towel, wrapping them up in the material. Gently press down some more to squeeze out excess water.
- Carefully reshape your slippers. If the uppers don’t stay up on their own, you can stuff a couple pairs of socks in them.
- Set them in a cool, ventilated place and allow them to air-dry the rest of the way.
At this point, you know you should avoid washing your slippers in a washing machine. But just so we’re on the same page, tossing them in the dryer is also not recommended. The heat can melt the glue that connects the footbeds to the soles and distort the rubber.² Running a blowdryer on your cloth slippers can speed up the drying process, but air-drying is typically best to avoid shrinking the material.
How to Clean Slippers with Fur
Slipping into a pair of warm, fuzzy house shoes on a chilly day is a true delight. That said, cleaning a house shoe with fur or faux fur lining can be tricky—but not impossible.
Here’s how to clean slippers with fur:
- The first thing you need to do is deodorize the fuzzy slipper material. A day or so before cleaning them, sprinkle a little baking soda onto the lining. Allow it to sit for 12 to 24 hours, and then shake out your slippers thoroughly to remove all the powder.
- Grab a clean damp cloth and lightly dab it with a small amount of dish soap.
- Gently rub the soapy cloth all around the inside of your slippers, paying extra attention to soiled areas and where your toes and heals sit.
- For stubborn spots, dab the bristle of a soft toothbrush with soap and gently scrub until the stains lift.\
- Once the fur lining appears clean, dampen another clean cloth and run it over the material to remove the soapy residue.
- Set your slippers in a well-ventilated area and allow them to air-dry.
Fur footwear can be blow-dried on a low setting to fluff up the material.³ Having said that, too much heat can damage faux fur, so you may want to stick to air-drying to play it safe.
How to Clean Suede Slippers
If you’re working with suede mules, moccasins, or slip-ons, the soap and water method won’t work. As you may know, the soft, velvety material is delicate and easily damaged. To clean your slippers, you’ll need the nylon bristle suede brush and leather conditioner we mentioned above.
Here’s how to clean suede house shoes:
- Start by running the bristle brush all over the uppers without any cleaning solution, focusing on spots, stains, and muck. If dry-brushing doesn’t get all the spots out, you can try using a leather conditioner.
- Apply a few drops of conditioner to the brush and then gently rub it into the suede. Add more conditioner as needed, but just a few drops at the time so you don’t oversaturate the material.
- Using a dry cloth, wipe away any remaining moisture or residue.
- Allow your slippers to air-dry in a well-ventilated area.
You can also use a protectant spray like Vionic’s Rain & Stain to create a stain-resistant, water-repellent barrier.
Where to Buy the Best Slippers and House Shoes
Keeping your house shoes fresh and clean with regular washes and protective treatments will help you get the most out of them. However, like all shoes, old pairs eventually need replacing.
Vionic carries an excellent selection of women’s and men’s house slippers, as well as unisex indoor/outdoor slides. We’ve got terrycloth slip-ons and quilted clogs, suede moccasins and mules, and fuzzy open-toed styles.
There are a lot of types of slippers to choose from. But, no matter what type of slippers you choose, you can count on our Vio-Motion Support technology. Each pair has contoured arch support, deep heel cups, comfy cushioning, shock-absorbent midsoles, and durable outsoles with patterned treads. And all orthotic features are built right into the shoes without sacrificing the silhouette.
Check out our fashionable orthotic slippers today!
1. Mary Marlowe Leverette. “How to Wash Slippers”. The Spruce. Jan 05, 2021, https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-clean-slippers-4779944
2. Marc Sigal. “How to Wash Slippers”. Wiki How. Sept 16, 2021, https://www.wikihow.com/Wash-Slippers
3. “How to Clean Fleece Lined Non-Washable Slippers”. How to Clean Stuff. http://www.howtocleanstuff.net/how-to-clean-fleece-lined-non-washable-slippers/