How to Clean Cork Shoes: Step by Step Guide

How to Clean Cork Shoes

Cork shoes have gotten more popular. Many people are more open to wearing this trendy footwear material. The stability, durability, and stylishness are bound to get you. They’re also easy to clean and maintain, which is a huge plus.

So how do you clean cork shoes? Cork shoes can be cleaned with mild detergent and water. The cleaning procedure is not the usual, though. You can prolong the lifespan of cork shoes by paying special attention to them from time to time.

How is Cork Obtained?

For a long time now, cork has been mined to make shoes, soft boards, wine stoppers, and so on. The peculiar characteristics of cork make it such a versatile material, and we’re thankful to nature for the provision.

So where is cork gotten from? Cork comes from the bark of the Cork Oak tree. This tree is most common in Mediterranean countries such as Spain. The bark of the tree is stripped to obtain cork which is then taken to the factory for processing.

Cork Oak trees attain maturity when they are about 25 years old. Mining of cork occurs then and the tree is left alone for another nine years before the cork is harvested from it again.

Nine years is enough time for the tree to rejuvenate and produce more cork. The harvesters ensure to mark the tree so that it won’t be touched until nine years is complete.

This is how cork is obtained to produce those stable and attractive shoes that you can resist.

We have deliberately explained the source of cork. That’s because understanding its source and peculiar features will give you better insight into how it is to be cleaned and maintained. Let’s look at its features next.

Peculiarities of Cork Shoes to Understand their Maintenance

  1. Low density: Cork is soft, comfortable, and lightweight. It’s easy to carry around, making it relief from heavy boots and heels.
  1. Stability: Cork, ideally, does not expand or contract like some other materials used to make shoes. Your shoe size thus remains stable. You have no fear of purchasing shoes that will sag over time or lose their snug fitness.
  1. Environmentally friendly: Harvesting cork from the bark of Cork Oak trees is a pro-environmental act. The experts have said that the trees whose cork were mined every nine years live longer, sometimes even beyond 120 years.
  1. Fire Retardant: Cork does not support a burning fire. It’s a fire retardant and can keep your feet safe if there’s any heat hazard nearby.
  1. Impermeable: Cork is moisture-resistant. It’s the excellent footwear for cold climates and will keep your feet warm and cozy.
  1. Easy to Work with: Industries find cork easy to work with. Just as you will find it easy to clean and maintain too.

How Do I Clean My Cork Shoes?

Now that you understand what cork is, let’s talk about how to preserve its natural qualities for a long time after you’ve purchased it. Cork gets easily soiled but can also be cleaned easily.

Clean Cork Shoes Guide

Materials You’ll Need

Warm water, white vinegar, a bowl, a scrub brush (you can use a toothbrush instead), mild detergent.

Procedure & Preparation to Clean Your Cork Shoes

When you’ve gathered your materials, follow these steps to clean your cork shoes.

  • Prepare the cleaning liquid. This is done by pouring half a gallon of warm water into a bowl.
  • Add five drops of mild detergent (non-toxic) into the bowl of water.
  • Add in half a cup of white vinegar to complete the mixture.
  • Use a soft, dry piece of cloth to wipe down your cork shoes. Make sure to remove dust, grime, or any dirt that may have stuck to it.
  • Now, dip another clean soft cloth in the cleaning liquid.
  • Squeeze the cloth dry to ensure there’s no liquid in it.
  • Rub it down the cork shoes, capturing all dirt along your way.
  • If your shoe has stubborn stains that won’t go away, scrub gently with an old toothbrush.
  • Make small circular motions as you scrub along to avoid damaging the cork. Ensure that the brush does not contain water.
  • After the scrubbing, use a dry cloth to wipe away soap residue and remove moisture.
  • Air dry your shoes for at least a whole day.

There! Your cork shoes are as good as new!

How to Clean Smelly Cork Shoes

If your cork shoes have gotten smelly, don’t toss them aside. There’s a solution for every situation. Use any of the following methods to get the smell out of your cork shoes.

1. Baking Soda Method

The antibacterial properties in baking soda make it an excellent material in removing smell from shoes and preventing future smells. To make your baking soda more effective, you can mix it with tea tree oil.

Pour the mixture over your cork shoes and place the shoes in a box. Leave them inside for two to three days. By then, you should have a completely odor-free pair of cork shoes.

2. Freezing Method

Freezers can also help you cure your smelly cork shoes. Purchase a Ziploc bag that’s large enough to take your shoes.

Place the shoes inside and lock up, ensure that there are no holes as moisture can damage the cork. Freeze up the shoes for several hours before taking them out and air-drying. That’s all!

3. Vinegar Method

To use the vinegar method, moisten a paper towel with vinegar. Don’t soak it too much, just make the paper towel moist.

Spread them over shoes and leave aside for some hours. Vinegar has a deeply penetrating action that can help you get the smell out in no time.

Precautions When Cleaning Cork Shoes

The purpose of cleaning your shoes is to prolong its life span. Therefore, you must make sure you do it the right way. Take the following precautions during cleaning.

    1. Never apply bleach to your cork shoes. Bleach or any other strong acting material can damage the cork.
    2. Use warm, not hot water. In preparing the cleaning mixture for your cork shoes, use mildly warm water. Cork shoes and heat are not the best of friends.
    3. Don’t pour the liquid over your cork shoes. You’ll notice that we did not recommend dipping or rinsing with water in the cleaning procedure. Cork doesn’t do well with any of the elements, so keep your shoes away from them.
    4. Elongate the lifespan of your cork shoes by keeping its sealant on. Many cork shoes come with their own sealant but that can wear off over time. Replace the sealant from time to time as it helps keep your shoes shiny. Sealants also protect your shoes from the elements.
    5. Don’t wash your cork shoes in a machine. This is pretty obvious. Also, never put them in the dryer. Air-drying always works best.

Should I Let My Cork Shoes Get Wet?

No, you shouldn’t let your cork shoes get wet. They’re impermeable, yes, but in a lot of water, they will get wet and then eventually dry out. This will make the shoes crack easily.

Rock Your Cock Shoes!

Your cork shoes deserve the best. And let’s face it, shoes have greatly evolved. You can’t afford to be restricted to only one type of material in your shoe collection.

Keep up by making sure your shoes are always in good shape. Your feet will thank you for it!

Kamal Chandel

Kamal Chandel, the founder of and wanted to share his knowledge with other people and that's why he launched Best Shoes Advisor to provide the updated information so that everyone makes more approachable and scalable who are looking for best shoes according to their choice and problems.

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