How to Clean Rainbow Sandals Effectively

The summer months are finally here and what better way to celebrate than to unearth your long-lost pair of Rainbow sandals. But when they’ve been in the back of a cupboard for months, or have gotten a little dirty in the sea, mud, or grass, what do you do?

how to clean rainbow sandals

In this article on how to clean Rainbow sandals, we’ll be breaking down the different materials you may come across. Then we will be looking at some cleaning methods you can use for removing dirt and odor.

Prevention of odor is also key, and we help out in this department too. All the information you need is awaiting you…


The Rainbow Sandal Legacy

Rainbow sandals were first brought to fruition by Jay “Sparky” Longley, in his Laguna Beach garage in 1972. After noticing many old, discarded sandals and flip-flops lying around the beach, he had a bright idea. Creating something long-wearing was the answer—something that could be used again, and again, and be repaired if not.

Starting off small, he hand-crafted comfortable sandals for the masses, introducing his company in 1974. Due to the quality, long-wear, and comfort of these shoes, the company grew rapidly.

If you want to know a little more about Sparky’s journey, this video should give you all the answers.


What Are Rainbow Sandals Made From?

Made using quality materials, including leather, rubber, and hemp, Rainbow sandals are the perfect way to combat the warmer weather.

Their “memory” rubber soles make them ideal for long-wear use. So, over time, they’ll mold to your feet, fitting like a glove.

Before I dive into the bit you’ve all been waiting for—cleaning Rainbows—it’s best that we first talk about the sandal materials.


Why Is Leather Tricky?

Leather is made using tanned animal hides and skins and has been used in the fashion business for hundreds of years. Considering the delicate nature of animal skin, it’s no wonder that leather has some guidelines for use.

Firstly, it’s important to protect leather from sunlight, as UV light draws out moisture from it. This can shrink it, which is not ideal when your feet aren’t shrinking too.

In the opposite vein, too much water on a leather product can cause the material to warp, as it takes in this extra moisture. So, ensure to keep your sandals as dry as possible, and leave them out of the sun.


What Is Hemp?

What about hemp? Hemp is one of the most useful materials known to mankind. It’s made using the cannabis plant and can be used in food, fuel, clothing, and more.

Due to its highly recyclable properties and sustainability, it’s a dream for anyone conscious about the environment.

Hemp can usually be cleaned in the washing machine in cold or warm water.


Cleaning the Outside of Rainbow Sandals

Now that we’ve dived into the history of Rainbow sandals, and why it’s important to look after them, it’s time we taught you how to wash them to keep them clean and protected. Rainbow sandals are made to last, and we want to do everything we can to prolong their lifetime.


Cleaning Away Dirt

Cleaning your Rainbow sandals is actually a lot easier than you might think. There are two main ways we would do this.

Dry Method

Before you start adding unnecessary water to your sandals, brushing away dirt may be the best option.

What You Need
  • A small brush.
The Method
  1. Ensure any dirt is dried out, and if it is damp, let it dry before brushing.
  2. Using the brush, gently scrub away any dry dirt from your sandals.


Pro Tips

Take care not to brush your Rainbow sandals too hard—we don’t want to cause any unnecessary damage.


Soapy Water

If brushing away clumps of dirt doesn’t work, then the next option is to use warm, soapy water to combat the dirt.

What You Need
  • Bucket
  • Lukewarm water.
  • Dish soap.
  • Cloth
  • Paper towel.
  • Small brush (may not be necessary).
The Method
  1. Fill your bucket with lukewarm water.
  2. Pour one or two drops of dish soap into the warm water, and mix until suds form.
  3. Dip one of the cloths into the water, and squeeze out so it’s not sopping wet.
  4. Gently wipe away any dirty marks from your Rainbow sandals.
  5. If the dirt persists, make the cloth a little wetter and try again.
  6. If the dirt really won’t budge, using a small brush may help. Just be warned not to scrub too hard, as it may damage the leather.
  7. Once the dirt has shifted, use the paper towel to dab away any excess water.
  8. Leave them to dry, but preferably not in the sun. Perhaps take them into a warm room with a dehumidifier.


Pro Tips

It’s important to remember to clean the dirtiest part of the shoe, like the sole, last when using water. We don’t want to be smearing dirt all over the rest of the sandal!


Getting Rid of Odor

Sometimes, the dirt on your Rainbow sandals may not necessarily be visible. In fact, an odor may be present, which can make your shoes pretty unpleasant to wear. That said, there are ways around this.


Cleaning Your Feet

Firstly, it’s important to wash your feet ready to wear your Rainbow sandals. This shouldn’t be too difficult, particularly if you tend to have your daily shower in the mornings.

Simply wash your feet with soap, thoroughly in the shower, and dry them off well. If you’re on a beach, or elsewhere, ensuring to wash your feet in a nearby water outlet will be ideal.

If you’re prone to getting smelly or sweaty feet, using foot antiperspirant may also help out. Otherwise, just expose your feet to the sun as often as possible, as this is a natural bacteria remover.


Removing Odor from Your Sandals

Sometimes, shoe odor can be unavoidable, but there are some ways to remove this odor once the Rainbow sandals have been worn.

We’ve already seen how UV rays are perfect for removing bacteria. Therefore, it would seem only natural to leave your Rainbow sandals in the sunshine to soak up those rays. That said, we’ve also discussed how leather can be affected by the sun, which is why other methods may help.

Rubbing Alcohol

What You Need
  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • Clean paper towels.
The Method
  1. Wet some paper towels so they’re damp with the rubbing alcohol.
  2. Drape them over your Rainbow sandals for a few hours, where your feet sit, to remove any odors.


Vodka Spritz

What You Need
  • A spare bottle with a spray top.
  • Vodka
The Method
  1. Fill your small bottle with vodka and screw on a spray lid.
  2. Spray the vodka all over your Rainbow sandals, where your feet sit on the shoe.
  3. Leave them to air dry.



Can I Get My Rainbow Sandals Wet?

Yes, but only a little. As we’ve already noted, leather can become warped through too much water. Therefore, it’s best to use minimal water when cleaning Rainbows.


Can You Dry Rainbow Sandals?

Yes, but air-drying them, or using a dry cloth, is the best way. As we’ve already seen, direct sunlight may damage them.


Can You Return Rainbow Sandals?

Yes, although there are some factors to note. Although Sparky is happy to repair used sandals, water damage may not be on his list of amenities. This is why you should be sparing with your water usage when it comes to cleaning your sandals—use as little as necessary.


Rounding It Up

Caring for your Rainbow sandals is part and parcel of ensuring they remain long-wearing. You can’t expect them to do all the hard work for you! This is why making sure your Rainbow sandals remain clean and odor-free is super important.

We hope we’ve answered any of your burning questions about how to clean Rainbow flip-flops. If you have anything else to add, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and please share if you fancy it. We don’t want to keep all this information to ourselves!


Leave a Comment