How to Wash Orthaheel Slippers

A few months ago, I was sent a pair of Orthaheel slippers to try out. (Side note: they are now known as Vionic with Orthaheel technology.) It took some time to break them in, since you need to wear them for a few hours a day until the orthotics conform to the shape of your foot, but I’ve been practically living in them ever since. You may have seen me photograph them on Instagram (and Facebook and Twitter) or wear them at holiday parties and family gatherings. (Sensory issues – I don’t mind taking my shoes off at the door, but I hate the feel of the floor through just socks!) Anyone who’s seen them in person has expressed surprise that they were slippers and not regular shoes. They’re nice and sturdy, and they really have made a difference in my foot and leg pain. (Affiliate link incoming, in case you want to buy them…)

Orthaheel Alta Mary Jane Slipper

So I’ve been wearing them pretty much all day long, working from home as I do…and they stank. I’ve been begging Tom to take out the garbage, run a load of dishes, do whatever he could to see if we could get rid of the bad smell I kept smelling. It wasn’t until our first nice, spring day this week, when I’d opened the windows and sprayed some Oust around the house that I realized I was carrying the bad smell with me.

How to Wash Vionic Slippers

As it turns out, the official word on keeping any Vionic with Orthaheel technology footwear clean is to wipe them with a damp cloth and air dry in indirect sunlight. I was way past the point where this method of cleaning was going to be of any use. To get gross for a minute, I had the beginnings of mildew inside my slippers. (I can’t help it if my feet get sweaty a lot!) So I did a quick Web search and found that many people had the same question. If you’re not supposed to toss them in the washing machine or otherwise submerge your slippers in water, how in the world do you get them clean? After all, these aren’t cheap slippers.

Heed this advice at your own risk.

Though not condoned by the brand itself, I read an old forum post that suggested putting your slippers in the dishwasher, but not putting them through the heated dry cycle. I gave it a try, and it worked! Here are the instructions for how I did it:

  • Place your Vionic slippers in the dishwasher by themselves. Make sure none of the points of the dishwasher rack are poking into the orthotics; I placed mine on their sides in the largest row on the bottom rack.
  • If you want to use dishwasher detergent, make sure it is mild. Remember that the official cleaning instructions recommend against any type of solvent.
  • Run your slippers through the normal setting of your dishwasher, avoiding the highest temperatures.
  • Do not dry your slippers in the dishwasher. (Burning rubber smells bad.)
  • Allow your slippers to air dry outdoors in indirect sunlight. Depending on the wind and weather, it could take 24 hours or longer for them to dry. Mine required about 18 hours to dry when I set them outside before bed at night.

My slippers did not get perfectly clean using this method, but I don’t mind having a few scuff marks on the outsides. The important part is that they don’t smell anymore! The orthotics still “remember” my feet properly, and it doesn’t feel like there was any shrinking. Which is good, because I’m not sure how I could go back to regular slippers at this point. My old slippers never did this:

Orthaheel Orthotics

Thanks again to Vionic/Orthaheel for sending me the slippers to wear in the first place. I’d be happy to test out any other footwear for them any time!

Christina Gleason (973 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


Comments

  1. I love my orthaheel slippers too! I have plantar fasciitis as well as a phobia of walking on floors with bare feet and/or socks. I’ve tried wiping them down like they suggest and that works until I wear them again and dry tea bags do an awesome job of absorbing odors, but don’t actually clean them. So I googled cleaning them and found your post! I will attempt your dishwasher method. You mention to use a mild dish detergent, I don’t know if mine is or not, they’re Finish Powerball tabs. Did you not use detergent? And how are they holding up?

    BTW I love your profile description and how honest and unashamed you are. I agree that seeing a psychiatrist makes you more well adjusted and I think it’s actually becoming the norm.

    • I think we used Diamond Brite dishwasher detergent from Melaleuca. My slippers are still going strong, and it’s probably time to wash them again. 🙂

      • I have read to spray alcohol in shoes to kill odor. Maybe this could help.

      • I would like to try the dishwasher method for my slip on vionic slippers but I have only regular dishwasher tabs. If I don’t want to risk washing them with that, can I use a bit of regular dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher? Will that hurt the dishwasher or create any kind of other problem? How much would I use?
        My slippers really need to be cleaned and handwashing won’t do it. Has anyone put their slippers in a front loading washing machine, in a mesh bag and washed them on the gentle cycle?
        Thank you.

  2. I know they don’t recommend it but I toss mine in the washer. I have done it twice now and they are holding up great. I’ve had them for a year….I’m sure they could used washed more than once every 6 months but I hate being without them for a day or two!

  3. Georgia Brown says

    For drying slippers after washing with whatever method you choose: drying time is shorter if you place them on their side (may have to prop up with other things) in front of the vent at the bottom of your refrigerator. Most runners know this trick. If you put the shoes in front of frig vent at night, they are usually dry by morning. Slippers may take a little longer with density of foam and fake fur design. Note: this method does not work if you have free range labs or retriever dogs in your house!!!

  4. Dear Christina
    I found your answer to washing bionic slippers. Thank you. Then I read yor short blurb about your life. Except for gaming we could be twins. Oh yeah and I’m 60 years old. At first I chuckled then I was sad that you are so young and hurting. I have no advice. Sometimes I try to laugh every day but the world butts in. But my greatest joy these days are my two granddaughters. Keep up the good work and smile!!!!

  5. Slippermiss says

    I have two pairs of Vionic Gemma slippers that I wear every minute I’m in the house, and they greatly relieve my lower back pain. I’ve had them for years, and I put them in the washing machine (with Tide) AND the dryer, along with my towels, using hot water and hot dryer setting. When the towels are dry, the slippers are usually a tiny bit damp on the inside, so I set them on their toes, heels up, leaning against the wall, so the toe box can fully dry – just a few hours. They have held up perfectly, and any odor is gone. I don’t know if you can do this with their regular shoes, but this is fine for the slippers.

  6. I have many pairs of vionics. From 2 Lisbon sandals, 4 pairs of everyday tide flips flops (one which I only wear outside to walk the dogs since they are so old) and now the suade slipper boot. The boot is going to be a concern of cleaning since I can not wear socks with them. Would anyone have input for the suade footbed of the Lisbon (tan footbed was not the best idea) and the slipper boots with the fake fur? I’d greatly appreciate any advice!

  7. What about the Scholl Orthaheel slip on shoes? Mine are grey and get very stained as I like to wear them for walking so they get dirty. how should i clean them and also the inset orthotics Thanks

    • The dishwasher might be worth a try, although I’m not familiar with that particular type of shoe. The dishwasher saves your shoes from being tumbled about in the washing machine, but I can’t be sure if this would be best for your shoes.

  8. So glad I found this! I will definitely try this as my vionic slippers stink to high heaven! The material on the inside footbed is testing up, too. 🙁

    His
    Mrs. U

  9. Diana Fitzgerald says

    Thank you so much–I am so glad to have just found your post since my Vionic/Orthaheel slippers really need a good cleaning and deodorizing: I think I will try your dishwasher method. Thanks also for your honesty and I, too, suffer from anxiety and occasional depression (and, in my case, a history of abuse) and am grateful to have found a good therapist locally. I love music and I also enjoy knitting and find it very therapeutic–the result being that I also produce some colorful and useful pieces. I’m also, often woefully, a stickler for grammar and good word usage (sigh) and was an English major and a librarian for decades before retiring. Thanks again about the deodorizing tip–I have two pairs of slippers, black and beige, and will do the beige ones first (as the worse offenders) and happily still will have the black ones to use in the interim.

  10. I just cleaned my Bella style sandal insole with Thieves (from Young Living) dishwashing liquid and they came amazingly clean! I just diluted a small amount of the dishwashing liquid with some water and scrubbed the sole with a small brush. I air-dried them and they look great. Plus.. I won’t be absorbing any chemical cleaner residue through the soles of my feet. This product uses the power of essential oils, which BTW also work great at killing odors.. I put a drop of Purification oil blend in my boots and athletic Shoes overnight and odors are gone!

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