Clean Birkenstocks: How to Care for Them

How to Clean Birkenstocks

With the right amount of dedication, you can wear in your Birkenstock sandalsclean birkenstocks without wearing them out.  Maintaining clean Birkenstocks is challenging because a shoe of its kind is made of lesser used natural materials, such as recycled cork and untreated leather, but there is a straightforward way to clean Birkenstocks without damaging them: the company produces their own cleaning solutions.  Shield the cork footbed from the elements and prevent dried-out edges from manifesting by using Birkenstock Cork Sealer, eliminate odours and dirt with the Cleaner & Refresher, and protect leather straps with a coat of Water & Stain Repellent.

Alternatively, universal shoe-cleaning products suffice if you already have them on hand.  The more often you clean Birkenstock sandals, the more life you will get out of them.  Here are the cleaning procedures you should follow, according to Birkenstock:

Cleaning Birkenstock Footbeds

  1. If the cork looks like it’s drying out, apply a thin coat of sealant to the affected edges.
  2. Let sealant set completely before the shoes are worn.
  3. Spray the entire footbed with your cork-safe surface cleaner and wipe it down with a cloth to catch excess dirt.
  4. If your shoes have suede or nubuck footbeds, brush them to extract the dirt. Avoid using liquid to clean them.

Cleaning Upper Straps

  1. Apply repellent regularly to protect upper Leather, Suede and Nubuck from clean birkenstockswater and dirt. Birkenstock defines “regularly” as being on each day that you wear your sandals.
  2. Parts of the straps with suede or nubuck surfaces should be brushed to pull up dirt and dust.
  3. If your Birkenstocks have non-leather straps, wipe them clean with a cloth damp with water and a small amount of soap to treat stains.

Additional Care Tips

  • Anything you use to clean Birkenstocks can change the look and finish of the materials, so be careful to test cleaning products not endorsed by the company on a small section of the shoe that is not visible when worn.
  • Keep your sandals out of extreme heat, as prolonged heat exposure leads to irreversible damage. When you are at the beach removing your Birkenstocks to cushion your feet on sand of equal comfort, it is best to pack them away in your bag.  Birkenstock even recommends not leaving their shoes in parked cars on hot days!  If they become wet, you must wait patiently for them to air dry.
  • Birkenstock emphasizes the need for a frequent cleaning schedule, but if you want or only have the time to get by on the bare minimum, you should clean Birkenstock sandals at least once a season.

 

How to Clean Converse Sneakers

How to Clean Converse

Well-loved and clean Converse sneakers: these concepts go together like two left shoes.  Clean Converse sneakers, if used often, are naturally not kept as such by their wearers. Canvas is fabric, therefore, it is a dirt magnet.  Some agree that their Chucks look best when worn in rather than brand new, but if you consider yourself to be on the other side of the age-old debate, this article is for you.  Many Converse owners who prefer them clean make the mistake of only cleaning their collection when it gets too dirty to ignore. This makes cleaning them harder. Although they can (or should) never be thrown in the wash, having clean Converse is easy if you have the right materials.

Pre-Cleaning Your Converse

After they have been exposed to dirt, clean Converse sneakers as soon as possible.  Select a mild soap (one with a lower alkaline content, with a pH less than 8) to clean it.  In this case, dish soap diluted with water is a common cleaning solution.  You should dab your soap of choice on an area of the clean conversesneaker that is normally hidden when you are wearing it, such as the area underneath its laces or the outer edges of its tongue.  This is to test whether the soap alters the colour of your sneakers: if it does not at first, it is a good sign, but it is important to give it an hour or so before you start a complete clean, just in case a colour change does not immediately appear.  For extra unclean Converse, maximize the effectiveness of your cleaning by removing the laces from both shoes.  Follow these instructions to clean Converse of canvas, leather, and suede varieties, drawn from the Converse company website:

Canvas

  1. Remove excess dirt to clean the outsole (the part of the shoe that steps on the ground).clean converse
  2. Mix lukewarm water and a small amount of mild soap, as defined in the previous paragraph.
  3. Dampen a cloth with the soapy mixture and gently scrub affected areas. (You can use a microfiber cloth to maximize cleaning efficiency.)

Leather and Synthetic

  1. Remove excess dirt to clean the outsole.
  2. Mix lukewarm water and mild soap.
  3. Dampen a cloth with the soapy mixture and gently scrub affected areas.

Suede

  1. Brush dirt off with a suede brush.
  2. Do not use soap or water.

Drying your Converse

  1. Dry at room temperature.
  2. If the Converse are deflated from wetness, stuff them with paper to maintain their shape and prevent wrinkles.
  3. For prolonged sneaker life, avoid using direct heat – such as the blast from a hair dryer – to accelerate the drying process.

One final consideration: as Converse pleads with you four times in their cleaning guide: never, ever machine wash or dry your Converse.

How to Clean TOMS Shoes

How to Clean TOMS shoes:

There are a couple of ways to wash your TOMS which will keep them looking their best: handwashing or machine washing. Firstly, brush off all the dried on dirt from the shoes.

  • Handwashing – Soak the shoes in cold water and a small squirt of mild liquid dish soap. Using a small, soft bristle brush, gently brush the shoe material in a scrubbing motion. If your TOMS are the sparkly ones, be very careful to use the brush in the same direction as the sequins lay.
  • Machine washing – Use the most gentle cycle on your washing machine. Select cold water and use a small amount of gentle detergent. When the water level is high enough to fully cover the shoes, add the shoes.

It is best not to put your TOMS in the dryer. The dryer can tear the fabric. The most recommended way to dry them is to air dry. You can stuff a fabric softener sheet in each shoe while they dry. This will help to alleviate shoe odors. Some people use baking soda in a sachet to deodorize the shoes, however, do not pour baking soda directly into your TOMS as this can dry out the insole.

And that is how to clean TOMS shoes!

Red wine

For a fresh red wine stain sprinkle salt on it to absorb the stain.  Rinse in cool and try to rinse out the stain before laundering.  A good home remedy is to use 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed with an equal volume of Dawn liquid soap. A good home remedy is to use 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed with an equal volume of Dawn liquid soap. 

It’s important to note that hydrogen peroxide is a bleach and bleaches don’t actually remove stains, the stain is merely altered so that the color is less intense or invisible.  You should always test the colorfastness of you fabric before using any spot cleaning technique. Erado-sol is the name brand of a commercial stain remover sold in the medical industry that

Removing Ink and Crayon Stains from Clothing

After fighting your way through the back to school crowds to get all your school supplies for younger children, you’ll be getting the standard pen, pencil and crayon stains in clothes.  If you have older children or husbands the stains will be ink.  Leaving pens in laundry and having them burst, causes hours of extra work  to clean the ink stains from clothing and the dryer.  The best remedial action is to make the offender clean up the mess to be sure they are more careful checking pockets in the future.

Crayon is relatively easy to remove from fabrics. Your first instinct may be to scrape off the crayon, but please resist this urge! Instead, liberally coat the area with liquid detergent and let the garment sit overnight. Then, wash the item, following the care label instructions.

The simple and easy way  on how to remove crayon from walls is to use WD-40, it really works well on hard surfaces.

For dry cleanable items, regardless if it is a big mens clothing dress shirt or silk dress for a woman, it is best to leave the stain as is, and bring the item to a professional. The stain will be easier to remove if you don’t disturb it with a potentially damaging home remedy. If you’re finding pencil marks on your kids’ clothes, there’s a quick method of cleaning them up so they look as fresh as the first day of school. Believe it or not, you’re going to start by using the same method you used to get rid of pencil marks back in school … an eraser!  Use a clean white eraser carefully, rubbing lightly.  Then apply liquid soap or a tiny amount of ammonia, using one part ammonia with five parts water. (Remember, only use ammonia in a well-ventilated area and never mix it with bleach or vinegar.) Rinse and then launder.

Now for the dreaded ink stain. Using hairspray on an ink stain, which is sort of an “old wives tale”, was recommended in the past strictly for its alcohol content.  The alcohol or volatile solvent is just the way the goopy stuff is delivered to your hair, the solvent dissipates into the air leaving the “stuff” which makes your hair solid in hurricane force winds. So in a nutshell, hairspray is probably not the best idea for removing something like ink stains. I know the saying “Fight fire with fire” is popular, but “Fight ink stains with goopy hair varnish” is not likely to catch on any time soon.
To remove ink from clothes have terry towels or paper towels, dry-cleaning solvent or rubbing alcohol handy. Always read and follow the care instructions and any warnings on the garment label. First, sponge the area around the stain with the solvent or alcohol. Then apply the alcohol or solvent directly on the stain. Next, place the stain face down on clean white, cleaning towels. Apply alcohol or solvent to the back of the stain. Replace towels frequently.

Continue until no further ink is removed. Then rinse thoroughly.• Rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent and launder in hottest water safe for fabric, with bleach safe for fabric. Always check for color fastness first.  Some ink on white fabric may be removed with a dye stripper. You should be able to find this in areas where package dyes are sold. For stains on colored fabrics, check for dye stability in a hidden area before using.
Remember, heat sets ink stains. Act quickly as a precaution check your laundry before putting it in the dryer.

Antique Baby Gown

Here is a question submitted by Eva:
How do I clean a 100 year antique baby gown?

Cleaning and preserving a 100 year old gown is not something that should be attempted by the consumer due to the risk of destroying the gown. However, there are several options available to the consumer.

If the gown is to be worn again, it can be restored to its original condition by a professional, but this will negate the antique value of the gown. You will have an antique gown that now looks new.

The gown can be cleaned and preserved in its current antique state by a professional. The gown will be clean, but any yellowing and other characteristics of an antique will be preserved. The gown will be packaged in a viewing chest designed for that purpose.

The final option, and the only one open to the do-it-yourself consumer, is to purchase a Christening Gown Preservation box. The gown can be placed in the box in its current condition. The box has a clear window for display. This will greatly retard any further deterioration of the gown, but will not entirely prevent it. Take a look at examples of Gown preservation kits at The Gown Medic.

Answered by Forum Expert Ed from Suncoast Preservtion Labs. For more info check out Ed Bio on the Ask A Pro page.

Stickers on Clothes

To remove a sticky label that refuses to peel off a new piece of clothing, try this:

  • Spray the label with ordinary rubbing alcohol, or, if you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, use non-aerosol hairspray. Or use a dry cleaning fluild, which can be purchased at any janitorial supply store.
  • Blot with a thick (white) terry towel or gently scrape the label off the clothing with a paring knife, a butter knife or another straight edge, such as a credit card or a ruler.

Canvas Shoes

Canvas is made from hemp and is used for casual shoes and sneakers. Some “canvas” sneakers are made from cotton. Rubber is traditionally used for the sole. They are considered low-maintenance footwear.

Tools:

  • Nylon bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • Cleanser such as laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid or a “suede and fabric” shampoo
  • Nylon scrub pad
  • Baking soda
  • Plain paper
  • White cream shoe polish (for white canvas tennis shoes)

Manufacturers may suggest spraying the tops of new canvas sneakers with a fabric care spray before you wear them. Your best bet is to follow any care instructions included with your sneakers.

Technique:

  • If the sneakers are muddy, wait until they are dry before cleaning
  • Knock off any loose dirt by smacking the sneakers on the pavement or tapping the soles together over a waste basket or newspaper
  • Wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any remaining caked-on dirt
  • Remove laces
  • Rinse shoes with warm water inside and out
  • Scrub the canvas sneakers’ outsides, insides and liners gently with a toothbrush or nylon brush and a mixture of water and mild detergent
  • Rinse with clean cool water
  • If scuff marks remain, scrub gently with nylon pad. Rinse again
  • If the liners still retain foot odor, scrub them with a paste of baking soda and water
  • Wash laces in with a load of like-colored laundry
  • Stuff canvas sneakers with crumpled brown paper bags, paper towels or white office paper, not newspaper or colored paper as the ink can transfer onto the canvas
  • Let them air-dry along with the laces.  Do not dry them near a fireplace or heater. Direct heat breaks down canvas fabric and causes shoes to become dried out and brittle
  • When the shoes are thoroughly dry, replace inserts and laundered laces
  • Sneakers with mesh inserts can be cleaned the same way as plain canvas shoes
  • If stains persist on white canvas sneakers, lightly dab on white liquid shoe polish

Colored Canvas Sneakers and Special Detailing

When cleaning colored canvas sneakers, be sure to use a non-bleaching soap, and do a small spot test with your cleaning mixture to be sure it doesn’t fade or leach out color.

If your sneakers have leather detailing, dampen and clean the canvas as directed and use leather cleaner on any leather parts.

Washing Canvas Sneakers in a Washing Machine


I also have gotten good results by cleaning canvas sneakers in the washing machine, but most shoe manufacturers discourage machine washing sneakers since it can break down the adhesives used to glue the shoe together.

Antique Baby Gown

Here is a question submitted by Eva:
How do I clean a 100 year antique baby gown?

Cleaning and preserving a 100 year old gown is not something that should be attempted by the consumer due to the risk of destroying the gown. However, there are several options available to the consumer.

If the gown is to be worn again, it can be restored to its original condition by a professional, but this will negate the antique value of the gown. You will have an antique gown that now looks new.

The gown can be cleaned and preserved in its current antique state by a professional. The gown will be clean, but any yellowing and other characteristics of an antique will be preserved. The gown will be packaged in a viewing chest designed for that purpose.

The final option, and the only one open to the do-it-yourself consumer, is to purchase a Christening Gown Preservation box. The gown can be placed in the box in its current condition. The box has a clear window for display. This will greatly retard any further deterioration of the gown, but will not entirely prevent it. Take a look at examples of Gown preservation kits at The Gown Medic.

Answered by Forum Expert Ed from Suncoast Preservtion Labs. For more info check out Ed Bio on the Ask A Pro page.

Yellowing Clothes

I noticed that someone was asking about yellowing here is how I answered a similar question on yahoo answers recently…

Here are some ideas for you:

Yellowing – Always read and follow the care instructins and any warnings on the garment label. And, follow the General Rules for stain removal.

Some fabrics which are white or pastel colored contain optical brighteners or fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) which were applied during manufacturing. These agents can decompose when exposed to light and atmospheric conditions, or prolonged storage conditions. In some cases the entire fabric becomes dingy or develops a yellow cast. In other cases the yellowing develops only where exposed to light. The FWAs can also be damaged by the use of chlorine bleach.
Unfortunately, once the FWAs are damaged, the whitening agents can’t be reapplied to the fabric.

All fabric bleach or the use of speciality products available in grocery or drug stores, such as Rit’s “Whitener and Brightener” may help. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the product label, and check for colorfastness first.

another tip to look at :
Dinginess, Yellowing, Graying – Always read anbd foolow the care instruction and any warnings on the garment label. And, follow the General Rules for stain removal.
There are several reasons why fabrics gray, yellow, and become dingy, including not using the right amount of detergent (i.e., using too much or too little detergent), insufficient rinsing, and/or the wash water temperature is too low. To reburbish clothing from these discolorations:

Wash with a permanent press cycle in hot water, use a cool-down rinse on permanent press and use one cup of water conditioner instead of detergent.

If the discoloration remains, either repeat this procedure or wash with the correct amount of detergent and either all-fabric bleach or chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric. (always check for colorfastness first.)

If the fabric is white, consider speciality products available in grocery or drug stores, such as Rit’s “Whitener and Brightener” to whiten the fabric.Always separate and wash your whites separate from colors. And, don’t put heavily soil garments with lightly soiled items.