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How to Clean Birkenstock Synthetic Uppers

Thank you for joining us for our final video in the "How to Clean Your Birkenstocks" series. This time we will be tackling the synthetic or Birko-Flor material. As a local small business we go to great lengths to help you take care of your Birkenstocks. We have product in the store and online that we can show you how to use to make sure that your Birkenstocks can last as long as possible. There are also repairs available that we offer as well.

Birko-Flor is a manmade material that has a vinyl top layer with a felt under layer. Birko-Flor simulates leather and can look really close. Birkenstock also does many cool color and patterns in this material. They are vivid and pop. This material is very easy to clean.

Birki-Buc is another man-made material that Birkenstock uses that simulates nubuck. It will have a softer look than the Birko-Flor but just as durable. You clean this the same way as the Birko-Flor - again being a little more careful not to get too aggressive when scrubbing off any stains. Another material in this family will be the Microfiber Uppers. I would treat them the same as the Birki-Buc.

**VEGAN** Just so everybody is on the same page. Vegan Birkenstocks will have uppers made from one of the synthetic upper options - what makes a Birkenstock "Vegan" is that the liner is also man-made. This means that the liner is a microfiber liner - not suede. For some people not having the leather is a big deal but severely limits what you can get. For many years there was no "Vegan" option - but many of the uppers have been synthetic over the years. We cannot recraft a Vegan Birkenstocks as they do not make that footbed available to us. We can always replace with the classic bed or soft footbed - but they will have suede liners.


Suede/Nubuck Brush: Gets into the nook and crannies

180 - 220 grit seems to do the trick

use for straps and cork cleaning

Birkenstock Kit: Has the seal and the brush

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

Small Scissors: use to trim off fuzzy pieces

Cork Renew: Alternative to Birkenstock Cork Seal - has brush applicator

Cuticle Trimmer: Can be used for the hard to get areas - cleaning up your footbed

You don't need all these items, but some combination will help you get the stains and dirt out better than just having one. You can also use some sort of rag - generally old t-shirt material is best.

Step One:

Open your straps so that you can get to the whole strap. Also

allows you to access under the buckle. Lay flat so you can get a good surface to work on. May want to lay down a rag or old t-shirt to work on so you don't ruin your table.

Step Two:

You will need some sort of household cleaner - can spray on material or spray onto a rag and scrub. Really easy to clean. For either the Birko-flor or the Birkibuc you can do the same action. Make sure to get all of the uppers as well as under the buckle. At times getting the buckle marks off the straps can

be a little more challenging, sometimes a toothbrush will get into that a little

better. Many of the straps have texture - making it look more like a real leather

-make sure you don't scrub too hard. Also upper with prints stamped on - you

will want to be a little more careful with - so as to not scrub the pattern off.

Step Three:

Now you can clean your footbeds. Sandpaper can be used to scrub this the easiest. You can also employ the eraser and suede nubuck brush to get in the nooks and crannies. (Need a more detailed description go to

Step Four:

The next step - while not necessary - seems to be a good practice just to be thorough. Take a small pair of scissors and clean up the little fuzzies on the edges. Sometimes they may also be underneath. This will not hurt the material - remember that the underside of the synthetics are felt, so it has a

tendency to do this.

Step Five:

Another step you can take is to get any dried jute, excess cork or sealant off the edges of the footbed. Again this is not a necessary step - but can greatly improve the look. Cuticle trimmers seem to be the best tool of choice - but

you can use the small scissors to accomplish this as well.

Step Six:

Next step will be to clean the outside of the cork just so that you are not sealing the dirt back onto the cork. Use a lint free type of cloth and your household cleaner to wipe off the dirt. Can use a toothbrush if you feel its not getting in there enough. The trick is not touse any sort of water or use

too much cleaning solution. After everything has dried and you're done

cleaning, we need to reseal the cork. Again if you need a more detailed

description for this see:

Need a visual? Check out our Youtube video How to Clean Synthetic Birkenstocks Like a Pro to see all the steps live.

Don't get your shoes wet ! We hear this all the time - "I got in the tub with my sandals and then I wore them - that's how you break them in." Please never do this. The Birkenstock footbed is made of cork and latex. Cork will expand when saturated with water. It loosens the bond with the latex and cork will start to shred out of your shoes.

Avoid Heat ! Being in Las Vegas we have a problem with this. When it's 100* outside it can be 180* in your car. Leaving your Birkenstocks anywhere that they will receive prolonged heat will shrink your soles off. The material is a lightweight but durable EVA - but excessive heat will cause it to separate from your shoe and change the density of the material. (looks like a shrinky dink - remember those?) Other culprits can be setting them on top of radiators (if your in cold country), leaving shoes in the garage or by the back door, putting your feet up to the campfire and hot work environments. We bake the soles off when we fix them - same principle.

Need an in store consult?

Stop by with your shoes and we'll make sure you get exactly what you need to take care of your shoes.

See you soon!

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