The Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Rainbow Sandals

The sun is shining, it’s time to hit the beach, have you dug out your Rainbow sandals and find they need a freshen up? Maybe you have just bought a new pair and are unsure how you keep them looking pristine? Don’t worry, we will show you how to clean Rainbow sandals.

While tempting, a walk in the sea or along a stream is not the answer. These flip-flop style sandals need as much care as you would give your best dress shoes.

Let’s show you how to clean both the uppers and soles of these iconic summer sandals.


What Are Rainbow Sandals?

What is Clean Rainbow Sandals

These sandals have been about for over 40 years and have gained such popularity that over 2 million pairs are now sold worldwide each year. Their humble beginnings were the brainchild of Jay “Sparky” Longley and you can watch the full history of Rainbow sandals in this video.

For those of you not familiar with this type of shoe, they are essentially a flip flop with a leather and rubber sole which is designed to mold to your feet. They have a thong-style upper made from either leather, hemp, nylon or rubber, or a combination of these materials. The footbed is generally made from leather.

Time to look at cleaning Rainbows and give you some tips and tricks to keep them fresh.


Cleaning Rainbow Flip Flops

Learning how to wash rainbow sandals will keep them looking good and prolong their life.

cleaning rainbow flip flops

Although the uppers of these sandals can be made from different materials, there is one method that will clean them all effectively.


What You Need

  • Small soft bristle brush or soft toothbrush.
  • Bowl.
  • Lukewarm water.
  • Mild dish soap.
  • A few clean soft cloths.
  • Paper towel.


The Method

  1. Gently brush any dirt or debris from the footbed and upper of the sandals.
  2. Dampen one clean cloth.
  3. Wipe the sandals down with a damp cloth to remove surface dirt.
  4. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water. Make sure it’s not hot, this can damage leather footbeds.
  5. Add a couple of drops of the soap to the water.
  6. Mix well to combine soap and water.
  7. Dip a small part of another clean cloth into the soapy water and wring it out to remove excess water.
  8. Use the dampened soapy cloth in small circular motions over all of the uppers.
  9. Start with the thong first and then move to the footbed.
  10. If the cloth gets dirty, use a clean area or fresh cloth. You don’t want to transfer dirt around the sandal.
  11. For stubborn marks or dirt, gently scrub with the soft bristled brush. One with nylon bristles like this suede brush from Shacke would be good.
  12. Move to the soles of the sandals and repeat steps 7 to 11.
  13. Using some paper towels, dry your sandals.
  14. Air dry your sandals out of direct sunlight.


Pro Tips

  • When using a bristle brush to remove dirt, don’t scrub too hard. This could damage the leather or other materials.
  • Only use a damp cloth, do not soak your sandals.
  • Make sure you wipe off all soap residue. If left on the surface, again, this could damage the leather.
  • Always air dry your rainbows away from direct sunlight. Not only will this dry out the leather making it brittle, but it can also cause the footbeds to curl and crack.


A Cautionary Note

Rainbow offers a guarantee on their sandals which can be voided for a few reasons. Two of these include the use of leather oils and conditioners or cracked leather due to water damage. The company advises against using any oil or petroleum-based products on their sandals as this can delaminate the layers in the sole.


Deodorizing Rainbow Sandals

Now that you know how to clean Rainbow flip flops, you might want to know how you can help keep them smelling fresh. After all, your feet can sweat even wearing open sandals.

One way you can help keep them fresh is to give them a few days break from wear, leaving them in a well-aired place to dry out. If that doesn’t work then you can try one of these three methods to dispel nasty odors.


Rubbing Alcohol

What You Need


The Method

  1. Dampen but don’t soak a few sheets of paper towel with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Drape them over the footbed of your sandals (the parts that make contact with your feet).
  3. Leave them to sit on the sandals for a few hours or until the paper towel is dry.


Pro Tip

Take care not to saturate the paper towel or your sandals. This might damage them.



Clean Rainbow Sandals with Vodka

What You Need

  • Spray bottle with a fine mist nozzle. One like this from Beautify Beauties would be a good option.
  • Vodka.


The Method

  1. Put a small amount of vodka in your spray bottle.
  2. Gently mist the alcohol over the footbed of your sandals.
  3. Leave them to air dry out of direct sunlight.


Pro Tip

Make sure your sandals have dried completely before wearing them again. The evaporating alcohol can help remove bad smells.


Baking Soda

This cleaning staple has many uses, one of which is removing the unwanted odor from shoes. You could choose one like this from Arm & Hammer. This video shows it in use.


What You Need

  • Baking soda.
  • A Ziplock bag that’s big enough for your sandals (about 1-gallon size).


The Method

  1. Open the bag and place your sandals inside.
  2. Pour in half a cup of baking soda.
  3. Seal the bag.
  4. Shake the bag vigorously so all the sandals are coated in the powder.
  5. Leave the bag, with the sandals and powder inside, for about two days.
  6. After this time, open the bag and remove the sandals.
  7. Shake off the baking soda.


Pro Tip


Banging the shoes together should remove the baking soda. If any remains, you can wipe them over with a clean cloth or use a soft bristle brush. Just remember when using a brush to be gentle.


This video gives you tips on how to use baking soda to remove odors from sandals and shoes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Get Rainbow Sandals Wet?

You can, but you need to make sure they don’t get saturated. This can cause the leather to warp or crack when it dries as the natural oils evaporate with the water. For this reason, make sure you only dampen them when you clean them.


The Heels and Toes of My Sandals Curl When I Clean Them. Is this Normal?

Yes, this is something many people experience when Rainbow flip flops have been dampened in any way. Once you wear your sandals again they will flatten out.


Will Cleaning My Feet Help Prevent My Rainbows Smelling?

Yes, it will certainly help. The reason shoes smell is because bacteria on our feet feed on sweat. The bacteria transfer to your shoes giving them an unpleasant odor.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent this from happening. Make sure you always dry your feet well after showering or bathing. Use a foot antiperspirant if you have exceptionally sweaty feet or foot powder. This will help keep your feet, and your sandals, dry and fresh.


The Rainbows End

Knowing how to clean Rainbow sandals and keep them smelling fresh will help prolong their life and keep them looking good. At the end of the day, you have invested money in your flip flops; investing some time cleaning them makes sense.

We hope you have found some useful tips and tricks in this tutorial and enjoyed reading it. Please leave us a comment with your own experiences or pass on any tips you might have, and don’t forget to share.


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