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How to Clean Your Jelly Shoes and Keep Them Looking Fab

We’ll always tell you that no outfit is complete without a clean pair of jelly shoes…and also that they can get dirty and dull over time. But if you’re asking, “can I wash jelly shoes?,” the answer is yes—and doing so is easy. Read on to learn how to clean jelly shoes, keep them in good condition, and store them so they stay good as new.

How To Clean Jelly Shoes

How to Clean Your Jelly Shoes and Make Them Shiny Again

Jelly shoes, made popular in the 80s and 90s, are made of a soft and flexible plastic material that is easy to clean. Whether you have clear jelly sandals, bright platform jelly heels, or other trendy jelly shoe styles, with some technique, the right supplies, and a gentle hand, you can get your dirty jelly shoes cleaned up and looking spotless in no time.

Step 1: Get Your Supplies

Before you start cleaning, gather a few simple supplies.

  • A soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
  • A mild soap or detergent
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • A bowl
  • A clean cloth or sponge
Soft-Bristled Brush for Cleaning Jelly Shoes

    Step 2: Remove Loose Dirt and Debris

    Use the soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the surface of your shoes. Your goal is to get any visible grime off, while taking care not to scrub too hard—you don’t want to apply too much pressure at the risk of causing cracks or scratches in the plastic of your jelly sandals. Pay special attention to any stained or dirty areas. You can use a small amount of soap or detergent to help loosen any stubborn dirt.

    Step 3: Clean Your Shoes

    Now it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Fill a bowl with warm water and a small amount of mild soap or detergent. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the soapy water and use it to gently scrub the surface of your opaque or clear jelly shoes —make sure to clean even the hard-to-get areas. Just note you don’t want to saturate the shoes with water, because this can cause warping or discoloration. We recommend cleaning one shoe at a time to avoid extra time in the water. 

    Step 4: Remove Stubborn Stains 

    If you notice some spots that are not easily removed with soap and water, try using a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar to remove stains from your jelly shoes. Mix equal parts of each in a bowl, and use a cloth or sponge to apply the mixture to the stained areas. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, then use a clean cloth to gently scrub the stain until it’s gone.

    Step 5: Rinse Your Shoes 

    Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your shoes, rinse them to remove any soapy residue or cleaning mixture. Dip a clean cloth or sponge in plain water and gently wipe down the surface.

    Step 6: Dry Your Shoes 

    Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area and let them air dry. Don’t dry them with a cloth or towel—this can cause the material to become misshapen or develop water marks. Also make sure not to expose the shoes to direct sunlight or heat, because high temperatures can cause warping, shrinkage, or discoloration.

    Step 7: Apply Petroleum Jelly to Make Your Shoes Shiny

    If after you’ve cleaned your shoes and let them dry, they seem to lack their original luster, use a soft, clean cloth to apply a teeny amount of petroleum jelly to your shoes. This will restore their shine as well as protect the material from becoming brittle and cracking. Allow the petroleum jelly to soak into the shoes for a few minutes, then wipe away any excess with a new clean, soft cloth. Whether you have pink, white, black, clear or another fun color of jelly heels or shoes, this easy trick will restore their sheen in no time.

    Step 8: Get Any Smells Out

    Did you know that baking soda is a natural deodorizer? To help remove any funky smells from your newly cleaned jelly shoes, sprinkle some baking soda into the shoes and let it sit for several hours or overnight. When you’re ready, shake the shoes out to remove the baking soda and reveal a fresh and clean scent.

    Baking Soda to Clean Jelly Shoes

    Extra Tips for Cleaning Your Jelly Shoes

    Follow the steps above to get your shoes looking nice and clean. And keep the following tips in mind to make sure it’s effective.

  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Stick to soapy water, baking soda and vinegar and vinegar only. Avoid using harsh chemicals, alcohol-based detergents, abrasive cleaners, or bleach because these types of chemicals can damage the material. Only use soft bristled brushes and towels—no other fancy tools. Gentler is better when it comes to cleaning your jelly shoes.
  • Clean them every few weeks: Don’t let too much time go in between cleanings. If you notice dirt or staining, you want to get any spots cleaned up right away so they don’t cause lasting discoloration.
  • Air dry only: Make sure not to use any heat like a blow dryer. Avoid placing them in the sun to avoid light and heat damage as well. Just place them in a cool, well-ventilated area—consider keeping a fan a few feet away to accelerate your dry time if you’re in a hurry.
  • Clean before making them shiny: Before you apply petroleum jelly,, make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned your shoes to ensure any debris or dirt that might be dulling them is gone.

  • How To Clean Jelly Shoes

    How to Maintain Your Jelly Shoes so They Stay in Good Condition

    While cleaning your jelly shoes is always an option, you can take some easy preventative measures to protect your jelly shoes from damage. When you treat your shoes well, they’ll stay looking good as new longer.

  • Avoid extreme temps: Extremely high temperatures can cause the jelly material to warp or melt, so take care not to put your shoes in a hot car or in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, like at the beach or pool. This will prevent your shoes from yellowing, especially if you have clear jelly shoes.
  • Avoid rough surfaces: Walking on jagged concrete or gravel can scratch and damage the material of the shoe. If you need to walk on rough surfaces like these, consider wearing a different pair of shoes and then swapping to your jelly shoes or rolling out a mat to walk on as placing a protective layer between the ground and your feet.
  • Avoid chemicals: When you’re doing things that involve exposure to chemicals, like swimming in a chlorinated pool, opt for a different pair of shoes. If the jelly material comes into contact with harsh chemicals, it may break down and lose its shape. 

  • How To Clean Jelly Shoes

    How to Store Your Jelly Shoes When You’re Not Wearing Them

    Even when you’re not wearing your jelly shoes, there are still ways to treat them well so they can stay in good condition.

  • Wipe them down: After each wear, use a damp towel or wipe to remove any dirt and debris from the bottom of your shoes and any other area that might have gotten dirty. You don’t want to be putting them away dirty.
  • Dry them: If you wear them on a rainy day, take care to dry your shoes before putting them away.
  • Store then thoughtfully: Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will prevent them from warping, melting, or developing any kind of discoloration. Keep them away from other shoes to avoid stains.
  • Keep their shape intact: Make sure not to store them in a way that will cause them to lose their shape, like stacking them, hanging them by their straps, or creating tension or pressure points in the material. We recommend storing your jelly shoes in a shoe box or hung on tucked into a shoe rack.

  • How to Clean Your Jelly Shoes

    Final Tips

    By following all these washing, care, maintenance, and storage tips, you can help extend the life of your Melissa jelly shoes for kids or adults and keep them looking their best wear after wear. Always be gentle, take care to treat them well, clean them frequently, and keep them out of the sun and heat. If you keep all these in mind, you’ll be able to wear your jelly shoes for years.

    How to Clean Clear Jelly Shoes

    August 15, 2023


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