Does Chacos Get Smelly? How to Prevent Odor?

If you are a true Chaco lover, I am sure you must wear these comfortable sandals in all disciplines of your life. But, relentless use of these sandals for a long time can leave a funky and stinky smell in them. In this situation, a lot of “Chaconians” become worried, and don’t know what to do with their sandals now.

If you are facing this same issue, do know that there is a solution.

Chacos can get smelly over time, but you can prevent or cure odor by different methods. These methods include washing the sandals in the washing machine, flossing the straps, using baking soda, air drying them, or using a specialized sandal wash.

If you want to learn How to prevent odor, How to treat odor, and How to clean Chacos in detail, then this ultimate guide is for you, as I have discussed everything here.

If you want to know about these methods in detail, do read this article till the end.

Does Chacos Get Smelly?

Chacos can get smelly because of reasons like materials and lifestyle choice. Let’s take a look:

The Material’s Tale

Chacos are crafted with a footbed designed for comfort and durability. But this same resilient material is a welcoming host for bacteria. The sweat from our feet can be absorbed by the sandal. This sets the stage for bacteria to flourish. This microbial activity is a primary contributor to the odorous situation that can arise with Chacos over time.

Lifestyle and Environment

Chacos are the footwear of choice for many outdoor enthusiasts. The exposure to the elements—moisture, dirt, and the varied microorganisms found in nature— can make the sandals smelly.

How to Prevent Odor in Chacos Sandal?

Does Chacos Get Smelly

I have seen that a lot of people take great care of their sandals, and prevent them from becoming stinky at all costs. They use different methods such as washing their sandals, air drying, and flossing the straps to prevent odor in the shoes.

So, I am going to discuss these methods in detail for you now.

Washing in MachineUse a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Air dry after washing.Every two weeks
Air DryingKeep sandals in an open area away from direct sunlight.Occasionally
Flossing StrapsUse warm water and fabric conditioner to remove grime.Monthly

Method #01: Washing Sandals in Machine

Chacos’ website recommends washing sandals in the washing machine. You can wash every type of Chacos sandal in it except for leather sandals. I will discuss the method of cleaning leather sandals later in the article.

For now, the method of washing other types of sandals are:

  1. Put the shoes in the washing machine.
  2. I recommend you set the washing machine to a mild cycle, and add cold water to it.
  3. Add mild detergent, and start the machine.
  4. After it, you should only air dry your shoes.

While washing these sandals, you should take care of certain precautions. What are these? I am going to jot down them here:

  • You should never add any bleach to the washing machine. It will damage your straps.
  • You should never put shoes in the dryer. Its heat will damage your shoes.

You must remember these points while washing Chaco sandals in the washing machine. I will also suggest you wash your sandals once in two weeks. It will prevent the smell in the sandals.

Method #03: Air Drying

Air-drying sandals is another method to prevent smell in these shoes. This will also treat bacteria that can cause smell in these sandals.

While air-drying, you should remember one precaution.

Never put sandals in the sun directly.

So, whenever your shoes are a bit damp, you should put shoes in the open area. I will also recommend you air-dry your sandals occasionally to keep them fresh.

Method#03: Flossing the Straps

You may know about the Z-strap fastening system of Chacos. In it, you can adjust straps to customize the fit. This system is great but it can make your sandals stinky too.

Now, you may ask how.

Well, the slots where straps enter and exit can catch dirt and sand in them. This dirt can make sandals stinky and makes your straps harder to adjust. Now, how to clean this dirt?

The answer is “Flossing”. How can you do the flossing? Well, I am going to answer it in steps:

  1. Wet the straps with warm water.
  2. Add some fabric conditioner into the slots.
  3. Pull the straps back and forth.

This will floss the grime from sandals and will prevent odor from it. You should do this method once a month, or whenever you use your sandals in sandy areas.

Now, what will happen if your sandals become stinky? How to cure them? You must have these questions, so I am going to discuss them now.

How to Treat Smelly Chacos?

Does Chacos Get Smelly

I am going to discuss two methods that can take care of the stubborn odor in your shoes. Do apply these methods to make your feet happy.

MethodDescriptionSpecial Instructions
Using Baking SodaScrub a baking soda paste into the footbed with a brush. Air dry.None
Specialized Sandal WashUse “Nikwax Sandal Wash” to thoroughly clean and deodorize the footbed. Rinse and air dry.Shake well before use

Using Baking Soda

Does Chacos Get Smelly

Chacos’ website has recommended a method of using baking soda to treat smelly Chacos. Let’s discuss it.

  1. Take baking soda and water. Mix them to make a paste.
  2. Take a bristle brush.
  3. Scrub the paste with a brush on the footbed.
  4. Air-dry your shoes.

I bet after applying this method, you will have odorless shoes. But, if you are not satisfied with this method, there is another one too.

Using a Specialized Sandal Wash

Does Chacos Get Smelly

You can use a specialized sandal wash if you are not satisfied with the baking soda method. Chacos’ website has recommended “Nikwax Sandal Wash” for a thorough cleaning.

Here, you may want to know the method of applying this sandal wash. So, I am going to discuss it here:

  1. Rinse the sandal to dampen it.
  2. Shake the sandal wash before using it.
  3. Apply generously over the footbed.
  4. If there are stains, you can use a nail brush to scrub it.
  5. Rinse the sandals.
  6. Air dry them.

This sandal wash will not only deodorize your shoes but will also clean them.

You can apply these all methods to every type of Chacos sandal, except for leather shoes. To clean or deodorize these shoes, you have to use a different method.

So, let’s discuss it now.

Related: Are Chacos Any Good? Read Before Buying!

How to Clean Leather Chacos?

Hand WashUse a damp cloth for spot cleaning. Air dry.Do not machine wash
Leather ConditionerApply “Nikwax Leather Conditioner” for deodorizing.None

Leather is a natural element so you should treat it delicately. You must be careful with leather chacos if you want their long life.

The method of cleaning leather chacos are:

  • Wash by hand with a damp cloth. You can tap the cloth on the areas where there is a stain. After it, air dry them.
  • For deodorizing, you can use a special leather conditioner or cleaner. For it, I will suggest you use “Nikwax Leather Conditioner“.

Here, you should remember to never put these shoes in the washing machine or dryer as its heat can damage them. I will suggest that you stick to these two methods only to clean your leather shoes.

Related: Can You Wear Chacos In The Rain? Let’s Find Out


In conclusion, I want to say that your sandals will get stinky and dirty with time. But, you shouldn’t worry about this aspect. By cleaning them and using different methods, you can have clean and odorless shoes.

Cleaning and deodorizing leather shoes is different from other types of sandals. So, you should be careful and remember the methods we have discussed in this article.

I hope this article will help you and your “Chaconians” friends and family to have odorless and clean shoes.

Pete Oliveri

I am Pete Oliveri, the creative force and driving visionary behind A New Jersey native, Pete is an accomplished American artist. You'll find expert reviews, guides, How-To Tips, and reviews about the top shoe-selling websites. Whether you're looking for info about shoes or reviews for top-selling shoe websites, my how-to guides and top website reviews will help you improve your shoe game.

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