Hemp is a natural fiber that is slowly gaining wider acceptance as another strong natural material suitable for clothing, shoes and bags. Previously hemp was rough and stiff and mainly used for sacks and other items that do not need a finer finish. Experimentation and continued testing and improvements have made hemp a good fabric for canvas shoes and bags. Canvas shoes made from hemp are comfortable and breathable, making it ideal to wear during summer and for light treks. As such, hemp shoes can get very dirty easily. Below are some tips on how to clean hemp shoes.
- If your hemp shoes are caked with mud let the mud dry first as dried mud is easier to remove than wet mud which tends to spread more as you wipe. Scrape off as much of the dried mud as possible and remove those that have been embedded in the grooves of the rubber soles by tapping the soles of your hemp shoes together to loosen the soil. Place sheets of newspaper on the floor to make the clean up easier. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the rest of the caked mud on the rubber parts of your hemp shoes.
- If your hemp shoes have laces, remove them and wash them separately. You can soak them in warm, soapy water in a basin. If the laces are white you can add a few drops of bleach to the water to make your laces whiter.
- Place some warm water and fabric detergent in a basin big enough to hold the hemp shoes. Wash the inside and outside of the hemp shoes, including the lining. Use an old nylon toothbrush to scrub the dirty spots. After the shoes are cleaned, rinse them in cold water until the detergent has been washed off.
- Remove foot odor from your hemp shoes by mixing baking soda with some water to form a paste and use your fingers to rub the mixture on the insides of your hemp shoes. Allow the paste to absorb the odor for a several minutes before you rinse the shoes with cool water.
- Squeeze out most of the moisture from the inside and outside of the hemp shoes with a towel, pressing on the materials until the moisture is absorbed. Allow the hemp shoes to air dry in a warm spot in your yard or house. Do not place the hemp shoes directly under the sun as this can discolor dyed hemp and crack rubber sidings and soles.
- Crumple white sheets of paper into balls and insert them inside the damp hemp shoes. This will absorb some of the moisture as well as help retain the shape of your shoes as they dry. You can also use brown paper bags but not newspapers because the ink will bleed and transfer to the shoes.
While you can clean and wash your hemp shoes in the washing machine most manufacturers do not recommend this method since this weakens the glue that holds the shoe parts together. It also causes the rubber siding and soles to become quite brittle. Keep your hemp shoes smelling nice by dusting some baking soda on the insides of your shoes and letting it absorb the odor. Simply shake the baking soda off when you need to wear your hemp shoes again.