How to Clean Natural Cork Soles in Shoes

By Jennifer Hench

Cork-soled shoes provide a natural foot bed which allows the foot to breath and allows air flow to help keep feet cool. Caring for and maintaining natural cork is required as bare feet resting on the cork can result in dirt, oil and debris building up over time. Making sure to routinely clean the cork soles of shoes helps to prolong the life of the shoes and the cork.

Cork-soled shoes need to be cleaned regularly.

Step 1

Wipe down the natural cork soles of the shoes using a dry cloth. Lightly wipe away loose dirt and debris from the cork. Use a light touch to avoid ripping the cork.

Step 2

Wet a cloth in water and wring the excess water out, leaving the cloth damp. Wipe down the inside of the shoes using a circular motion. Clean all areas of the cork with the damp cloth until no more dirt, oil and debris comes off onto the cloth. Rinse out and wring the cloth after every few passes to avoid redistributing dirt.

Step 3

Wet the end of a soft-bristle toothbrush with water. Lightly scrub stubborn patches of dirt and oil found along the cork sole. Repeat the process until you have loosened all dirt and debris. Go back over the cork sole with a damp cloth again.

Step 4

Allow the cork-soled shoes to air-dry. Apply a thin layer of cork sealer, which can be found at shoe repair or craft supply stores.