Crocs are a staple in many peoples’ wardrobe because of their comfort and practicality. However, what do you do when they get dirty?
You should not put Crocs of any style in the washing machine, because the material Crocs are made of, while comfortable, is prone to shrinkage.
Common safe cleaning techniques for Crocs include washing with soapy water and a sponge, scrubbing with a shoe brush, spraying them off with a hose, and deodorizing with baking soda. The technique that is right for you will depend on which style of Croc you have.
What are Crocs Made of?
Crocs are made of a patented blend known as Croslite. Because Croslite is a blend, it is several compounds together. The primary material in the Croslite blend is PEVA (a.k.a. EVA) which stands for polyethylene vinyl acetate. This is what material scientists call a polymer.
Official sources in the company often say that Croslite is a type of rubber, foam, or resin. Material scientists however classify Croslite as a type of plastic in the most general of terms – meaning it is a polymer derived from fossil fuels. Technically all these labels are correct because the definitions of what is rubber or plastic, or resin are very vague. For the purposes of this article, it is best to think of Crocs as being made of plastic.
Can Your Machine Wash Crocs?
Like most plastics, Crocs cannot be machine washed. They are very heat sensitive. The manufacturer has gone on record advising against all machine washing or drying of their product. Even Crocs made from other materials such as canvas are not machine washable, as the glue and sole are still sensitive to heat.
What Happens if you put your Crocs in the Washing Machine?
When even moderate heat is applied to Croslite, it becomes malleable. This could cause it to lose its’ shape. Higher temperatures can even cause the material to shrink, effectively ruining your shoes. In the case of fuzzy Crocs, the lining is also going to lose its soft texture in the washing machine. Some other styles containing traditional soles can fall apart because the glue melts. All-around, machine-washing Crocs is just not a great idea.
How Can You Clean Your Crocs?
If you cannot machine wash Crocs, what should you do? Well, the best way to wash Crocs depends on whether they are the original hard style, a fancier material such as leather or suede, or the fuzzy style.
Cleaning Original Style Crocs:
Original Style Crocs are beloved by gardeners for one simple reason – they are easy to clean. Other than being sensitive to heat, they are exceptionally durable. Here are techniques to deal with mud, stains, and stink.
Mud and Other Fresh Messes
In most cases you will be dealing with a fresh mess of some kind. If you have spilled something or stepped in something, you can simply hose the Crocs off with a garden hose. Let them air dry after, and they are good as new.
If the mess has set and dried on the shoes, a sponge and some dish soap will get it off. For tougher stains you can use a magic eraser. Simply rub the stain gently until it disappears from the material.
The last type of dirty is less common with hard crocs than fuzzy ones but may still be a problem. First, give them a good scrub with soap and a sponge. Then let them dry. After they have dried, apply a commercial deodorizing spray inside the crocs. Finally, let them air out for a couple of days before wearing them again.
Cleaning Fuzzy Crocs:
Fuzzy Crocs are new on the market, taking advantage of the fad of daily Croc wearing. These Crocs are almost as cozy as slippers, but they are also trickier to clean. You cannot just hose off Fuzzy Crocs. Instead, here are techniques for most common messes.
In the case of mud, the best thing you can do is to let them dry completely, and then scrub it off with a dry scrub brush. This will remove the dirt without exposing the lining to water, which you ideally should do as little as possible. Additionally, dry mud usually comes off easily from smooth surfaces and napped fabric.
Stains and Spills
For Stains and Spills you will want to act quickly. Using a scrub brush and soapy water, scrub the mess out of the crocs. Then allow to airdry. Tougher stains may require pretreatment.
Because the lining is not removeable in Fuzzy Crocs, you will need to deodorize them as is. First, sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes, and leave them overnight. Then, vacuum out the baking soda. If they still stink, you may need to turn to a commercial spray.
Cleaning Suede or Wool Crocs:
Suede and wool Crocs should be treated very delicately, and cleaned only with a toothbrush, suede brush, or eraser. For more information about cleaning suede see this article (link to article on cleaning suede slippers). Make sure to keep a coating of waterproofing spray on them to help prevent stains!
Cleaning Leather Crocs:
The exterior of Leather Crocs should only be spot cleaned with a cloth and cold water. To prevent staining, I highly recommend a waterproofing spray on treatment every three to six months. To clean the inside, sprinkling with baking soda, leaving them overnight, and then vacuuming up the baking soda should keep the stink at bay.
The popular Croc shoes come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and finishes. However, none of them are machine washable. Most Crocs are made of a plastic known as Croslite, which can shrink or warp in the washer. Other styles such as suede, leather, or heeled crocs might fall apart at the seams if washed. Instead, you should follow material specific cleaning instructions for your Crocs. The most common styles, standard and fuzzy, can both be cleaned with water and a shoe brush before being airdried.
Read my related articles:
- Can You Wash Suede Slippers in the Washing Machine?
- Can You Wash Converse in the Washing Machine?
- Can You Wash Throw Pillows in the Washing Machine?
- Can you Wash Car Mats in the Washing Machine?
- Can You Wash Bissell Crosswave Brush in the Washing Machine?
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.