How to Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean & Disinfect Shoes

How to Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean & Disinfect Shoes
How to Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean & Disinfect Shoes

Our shoes need to be constantly cleaned to get rid of bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms interact with our dead skin cells and foot sweat to create a breeding ground for even more bacteria and fungi that can smell yucky.

Now one of the easiest things people have been using to help this situation is rubbing alcohol. 

Can Rubbing Alcohol Clean & Disinfect Shoes

Yes. Any rubbing alcohol that is 70% or more concentrated can disinfect and clean your shoes. 

It may not get out stains, but it will definitely remove dirt and grime. It will also kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 

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How Does Rubbing Alcohol Work to Disinfect Shoes

According to the CDC, 70% isopropyl alcohol kills organisms by denaturing their proteins and dissolving their lipid. 

It is effective against most bacteria, fungi, and many viruses, but is ineffective against bacterial spores. 

On the other hand, you can use 90-99% alcohol if you are targeting bacterial spores. However, the CDC suggests that concentrations that are 70-90% are more than adequate to disinfect and clean most household surfaces, including your shoes.

Other great ways to disinfect your shoes are:

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How To Use Rubbing Alcohol To Clean & Disinfect Shoes 

The best way to use rubbing alcohol to clean and disinfect your shoes is as a spray. 

What you will need:

  • Rubbing Alcohol that is 70% concentrated or higher
  • A spray bottle (your alcohol may have come in one already)
  • A clean cloth

What To Do:

  1. When you take off your shoes, make sure they are as dry as possible. 
  1. If they are damp, let them air dry for as long as you can, or you can blow dry them.
  1. Take your rubbing alcohol and spray it directly onto the areas of the shoes that you need to disinfect or clean. 
  1. If you are spraying the insides of your shoes, take out the soles, spray them (you can saturate them) and use a clean cloth to wipe them. Then let them sit to dry in the open. 
  1. Spray the alcohol all around the inside of your shoes, then use a clean cloth to wipe around and rub it into the material. You may saturate the material. Then leave your shoes open to dry normally or out in the sun.
  1. This can be repeated as many times as you feel is necessary. Alcohol evaporates quickly so your shoes will dry relatively fast. 

Did you know that freezing your shoes can actually help them to smell better, click here to learn more.Opens in a new tab.

Video – 10 Amazing Rubbing Alcohol Hacks!

Clean my space tells us how they use rubbing alcohol to clean shoes and many other things around the house. 

Precautions When Using Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Shoes

  • Some materials may be damaged by alcohol, so be careful about what kind of shoes you are cleaning with it, especially on the outside. If you can avoid cleaning the outside of your shoes with alcohol, that would be better.
  • You may dilute your alcohol with water to make it easier on the material but this will affect its germ-killing properties.
  • Avoid standing too close or for too long around your shoes while you are cleaning them with alcohol. The fumes might be too strong for your nose and eyes. 
  • Even though alcohol is a great disinfectant, we recommend that you clean your shoes first before using them to sanitize them. The overall germ-killing ability of alcohol will be enhanced. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can rubbing alcohol get rid of odor from shoes?

Rubbing alcohol can help to lessen and prevent odor from shoes. However, though it may get rid of some of the already present odor, it may not get rid of all.

Odor is caused when bacteria and fungi interact with sweat, dead skin cells, and dirt in our shoes. The alcohol will clean some of this away and kill the bacteria and fungi, but some of the stubborn odor may be left behind. 

You can either wash your shoes or use a deodorizing spray to help with any remaining odor. 

To get help get rid of residual odor after using alcohol you can use: Tea Bags For Smelly Shoes & Feet – Easy Home RemedyOpens in a new tab.

Can rubbing alcohol kill fungus in shoes?

Yes. Any rubbing alcohol that is 70% concentrated or higher can kill fungi growing in your shoes. 

You should also be sure to clean your shoes often and keep them dry. This will prevent the regrowth of more fungi. 

Related Article: How to Clean Shoes with OxiClean – What You Need to KnowOpens in a new tab.

Does isopropyl alcohol kill Athlete’s foot in shoes?

Yes, isopropyl alcohol will help to kill Athlete’s foot in shoes. 

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that grows on the surface of the skin. You can use isopropyl alcohol to clean your feet and your shoes to get rid of the fungus. 

Related Article – Sunlight to Clean Smelly Shoes – What You Need to Know

What does rubbing alcohol do to shoes?

This will depend on where on the shoes you use it. However, in most cases, rubbing alcohol will disinfect your shoes and get rid of most of the surface dirt and grime. 

The material of your shoes may be affected depending on the type and quality of the material they are made of. Some may fade, damage or some may not be changed at all. 

Can you use Alcohol on leather shoes?

You can use alcohol to clean the insides of leather shoes, but only on the insides. 

Alcohol will strip the natural oils from the exterior leather of your shoes. This will cause it to become dull, dry, and cracked.

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Does alcohol ruin or stain your shoes?

Alcohol can ruin or stain certain kinds of shoes. For example, alcohol may damage the exterior of leather shoes.

It may fade the color in some shoes that have been dyed with weak dyes. It may also spread around the color causing stains on different parts of the shoes. Some shoe companies like Adidas advise against using alcohol to clean the soles of their shoes as they can dry them out and cause them to crack. 

It all depends on the make and quality of your shoes. Pay attention and stick to the cleaning instructions for your shoes. Different types and qualities of material will hold up differently to this cleaning method.

 Related Article: How to Clean Shoes with a Magic Eraser – Ultimate GuideOpens in a new tab.

Is rubbing alcohol good to clean white shoes?

If your shoes are white, rubbing alcohol will not change their color. So, it is safe to use it on white shoes that can withstand this cleaning method. 

Related Article: Cleaning Shoes with Toothpaste: All that You Need to KnowOpens in a new tab.

Can you clean your shoes with alcohol wipes?

Yes, you can clean your shoes with alcohol wipes. 

The alcohol will transfer from the wipes to your shoes and you can use the wipes as you would use a cleaning cloth. It is an efficient option. 


Why 70% Isopropyl Alcohol Is a Better Disinfectant Than 99% Isopropyl Alcohol – Mun Global 

Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot: How to Relieve Symptoms 

How to Clean Basketball ShoesOpens in a new tab. 

6 Ways to Disinfect Your Sneakers. Nike INOpens in a new tab. 

Saskiya Inshanally

Saskiya Inshanally is the editor-in-chief at The HomeKeeperHub. She has years of experience researching and experimenting in a wide array of topics. Saskiya has also co-founded which is dedicated to helping individuals have better skin.

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