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How to Clean Birkenstock Oiled Leathers

Taking care of your Birkenstocks is essential for them to have a long life. One of the easier materials that Birkenstock has to keep in good shape is the oiled leather uppers. Whether they are on a sandal, a clog or a shoe you only have a few steps to keep them looking as new as possible.

There are a few colors that are popular right now. They have seasonal offerings in fun fashion colors, but these 4 are the core oiled leather colors. They come a variety of styles.

Oiled Leathers from Birkenstock are full grained leather that have been sanded and then an oiled finish or patina is applied. This gives them the softer appearance than hard finish leathers, but still allows cleaning to be relatively easy. Because they are a full grain leather, it also means that they don't stretch much and are very durable. This leather is easy to have for many years and can endure a couple recrafts if necessary. (Questions on Repairs click here)

Some people don't care how they look - and that's all good - but for those of you who want to try to keep the color looking good, we have some tips and tricks to share.

So after you've worn them for a while they will get dirty. There is no getting around it. You will need some supplies in order to take care of them. Many of these items you might already own, but rest assured you can also use most of these items for other things in your house so it's not going to be list of stuff you will never use again for anything else.


Suede/Nubuck Brush: Gets into the nook and crannies

180 - 220 grit seems to do the trick

use for conditioning leather

Birkenstock Kit: Has The stain guard and the brush

Rag: Can use a microfiber cloth or a torn up t-shirt

Weatherguard: spray to protect

Suede Kit: Cleaning Block and nylon brush

Leather Lotion: cleaner and


You don't need all these items, but some combination will help you get the stains and dirt out better.

Step 1:

Unbuckle and open up straps. You can clean with either the nubuck eraser or sand paper. You don't need to scrub super hard. Just trying to get as much of the dark areas to even out and restore to the original color. If using the double sided brush - do NOT use the side with the metal bristles, they will scratch the finish on your leathers.

After & Before Cleaning

The cleaning may or may not work well depending on how dirty your uppers are (and from what). Most people can get their uppers looking pretty good. I personally prefer the sand paper. A little less effort for more apparent results Do all of the upper. Needs to be even on all the upper - sandal straps or clog top.

Step 2:

Birkenstock Footbed Cleaning Tools

The next step will be to apply the leather lotion or vaseline to get the "oiled" look. I actually prefer the vaseline. I think you have a more control over the spread. There also is a product we now carry that is called Leather Balm. Mostly used on boots to seal them, but can also be used here. Just make sure to test on small area before doing the whole shoe. Using t-shirt material you can apply either type to the leather and spread accordingly.

**IMPORTANT** Please be aware that Tobacco Oiled Leather sometimes will do unusual color changes. We've found with the vaseline it tends to make the leather honey colored. Sometimes the leather lotion will make them too dark. Tobacco is the hardest color to treat because so much depends on the original base color of the leather. Treat a small area and see how it looks.

Step 3:

Sealing The Leather

Last step is sealing them with a water and stain protector. This will help keep them from getting as dirty as fast or staining from something falling on them. In the video (How to Clean your Oiled Birkenstocks) you can see that the Birkenstock protector made the straps slightly darker than the Four Seasons Weatherguard - but you can use either one. Again remember to spray in a well ventilated area - as the sprays really stinks.


You have now successfully cleaned your Oiled Leather Birkenstocks! Below we show the final product using the various combinations of products that we demonstrated in the video.

It all really depends on how you want them to look.

Iron Oiled Leather

Need a walk through?

Check out our Youtube video

to see all the steps live.

Not sure how it will work? If you have any questions bring your sandals or shoes into the store and we will take a look. We don't guarantee that your oiled leathers will be like new - but we will definitely help you figure out if you want to clean or if it's time for a new pair.

Hope this helps!

*By using our Affiliate links - it is no extra cost to you, but it gives us a small commission to help support our blog & Youtube channel😉👍 THANKS!

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Jul 01

how often can you treat your oiled leather sandals with the shoe balm? I like the way it looks, when I've just applied it, but I don't want to ruin them. I use this one: It was recommended to me in my local Birkenstock shop. (I live in Europe)

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