How To Clean Toms Shoes

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Ah! The feel of wearing new shoes is just heavenly but alas all good things must come to an end. I was faced with such a situation recently, wherein I bought a pair of ‘Toms’; I must say the major selling point was the ‘Growing the Good’ initiative that they’re promoting.

After wearing them for nearly a month to every place imaginable, they started to smell funky and needed a makeover! Scouring the internet on ‘How to clean Toms shoes’ for tips and tricks didn’t work in my favor though because the endless hacks left me dumbfounded, but I willed myself to try out a few of them.

So here are a few tried and tested options that worked well!


How to Clean Toms Shoes

The most obvious hacks are as stated on the website itself-

  • We highly recommend hand washing TOMS in cold water with a gentle detergent and let them air dry.
  • We do NOT recommend putting TOMS in the dryer under any circumstances.

Washing Toms Shoes by Hand

Let’s start with a step by step tutorial for handwashing them –

Step 1– First comes the pre-wash step. Use a brush or dry cloth to brush off the dirt and mud off the shoes.

Step 2– Then take a bucket and fill it with 250ml of COLD water. DON’T use hot water as it can warp your shoes and even make their color fade out.

Step 3– Then mix a mild, liquid detergent in the water, just squirt a few drops. I was lazy so I just used the dish soap and hoped for the best. And it worked well!

Step 4– Then use a brush to apply the solution onto the Toms and scrub delicately.

PRO TIP: For firmer grip, grab it from inside using the other hand.

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Step 5- After the whole ordeal, you can let the Toms air-dry in the sun. Now the second and easier option is using a washing machine for the same!

Washing Toms Shoes in a Washing Machine

Now the company does not advertise using a machine to wash Toms as it will shorten their lifespan but this works just the same. Using a machine is a comparatively hassle-free option and the pre-wash step is the same.

Step 1– After removing the dust and dirt, just run a gentle cycle (the one marked with the delicates/lingerie option) with cold water in the machine.

Step 2– Add gentle detergent (about half of what you would normally use) to the cycle when it’s about halfway filled with water.

Step 3– Once the machine is about three-fourths the way full, add in the shoes.

Step 4– When the cycle is finished, take out the shoes and leave them to AIR DRY, we don’t want shriveled raisins for shoes, now, do we?

If you use the dryer, the direct heat from the dryer can adversely affect the glue that holds the soles on the shoes, making the sole peel away from the shoe and greatly reducing the lifespan of your Toms.

How to Make Your Toms Shoes Smell Good

Now we have a bonus recommendation for clearing out the smell—deodorizing the insoles of the shoes –

Step 1– You primarily need to make a deodorizing powder: Add 240g of cornstarch, 120g baking soda, and 120g baking powder to a resealable plastic bag.

Seal the bag and shake it to mix the 3 powders together well. You can also use a shoe powder that is moisture and odor-absorbing.

PRO-TIP: Make sure you put the baking soda in a Ziploc bag and not straight into the shoes because direct contact with just baking soda can even crack and ruin the insoles.

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Step 2– You can even add your favorite essential oil just to scent the deodorizing powder. Lavender and sage oils have antibacterial properties, so they’ll make good additions.

Add 5 drops of your preferred essential oil to your mixed deodorizing powder, reseal the bag, and shake it well to mix.

PRO TIP: Additionally, applying small amounts of tea tree oil to the insole on a regular basis can help reduce and even prevent odors, and even help prevent fungus formation.

Step 3– Put the mixture onto the shoes’ insoles and let them sit for at least eight hours, and if the shoes are really stinky/dirty then leave them for a little while longer.

Step 4– Dust the excess off after the duration is completed and VOILA! You have pleasant-smelling shoes.


Q1) Do Toms shoes loosen up after wearing or washing them?

Answer: Wearing them on a regular basis or washing them once should make them more comfortable and easier to walk in. You can avoid blisters or shoe bites this way.

Q2) Should you wear socks with Toms?

Answer: Yes, you should ideally wear socks with them. Toms are made of hemp and cotton to create a canvas with a suede insole, which tends to get sweaty foot stains quickly, especially in the heat.

Q3) What insoles can I use to prevent stink?

Answer: You can use Zederna Cedarwood insoles to avoid funky smells, sweat, and even prevent foot-fungus.

Although Toms are really comfortable and appealing, don’t make the mistake of wearing them barefoot because they will start stinking soon and ultimately your feet will start smelling funky as well.

Do yourself a favor and get a pair of no-show socks while buying Toms! And good luck cleaning your Toms!

Written by Pulkit D

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