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I took my sandals out of storage in the basement today because it's two-hobbits-just-threw-a-ring-into-my-room kind of hot in here and outside, too.

The problem is that they have mold on them. How do I get rid of the mold? I am trying to clean them by hand right now and am wondering if that's enough. After all the fungus is in the material.

Can I put them into a washing machine? What temperature in °C should I use?

They are Teva sandals, FI 2 was the model name if I remember correctly.

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    Use bleach. Put a cup of bleach in a gallon of water and just let them soak. That'll kill everything. If it was me though I'd just throw them away and buy a new pair. – ShemSeger Jul 3 '15 at 20:09
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Start by wetting them so you don't get mold into the air. With a weak Lysol solution, scrub them with a toothbrush. Let them dry, and spray them with MiraZyme.

Or as ShemSeger says, just get new ones :)

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I solved the problem with a combination approach.

Given that throwing them away was one option, I didn't see the point in trying anything weak. We all know the phrase "kill the mold on your shoes or destroy them trying". These are tough sandals and have seen quite a bit of abuse during the years. I'm a bit emotionally attached, which means that I don't really want to throw them away. Here's what I did exactly:

  1. wet cleaning with a brush and a regular general purpose cleaning agent. As suggested by @Russel (+1 for that), this keeps the mold from getting into the air and thus into me. The downside is that it also destroys the custom fit footbed out of dirt and sweat, which took me almost a decade to build up. What a bummer!
  2. Then I got myself some cleaning agent that's specifically made for (against) mold. The purpose is to clean bathrooms, not shoes. But as they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. When shopping for this stuff, go for the most ridiculous name that you can find. Mine was labelled "mold annihilator". If you can find one with an image of Vlad the Impaler or Hitler, even better, go for those! Otherwise, buy the one with longest list of warnings. They usually contain bleach. As @Shem suggested: let them soak.
  3. I then put them into the washing machine to get rid of the Chernobyl cocktail. The slowest setting (400rpm) and 40°C worked great. If you have, put them in a bag and add some additional load to the machine.
  4. Then I dried them in the sun quickly.

The shoes look clean. Of course I cannot tell if the fungus is gone entirely. I'm happy with the results and will continue wearing them.

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First of all, mold is a problem of humidity and high temperature. Minor spores are present almost everywhere and are carried through the air. But for the development of mold it is necessary to create hothouse conditions.

We usually keep our shoes in a dry house or apartment. Rarely will anyone decide to send their favorite pair of boots to the basement or sandals to the balcony. However, even with the general dryness in the room, you can find the most unpleasant surprise at the beginning of the new season. This happens because the shoes are not dried.

Otherwise it will happen if:

  • the shoes were in a cellophane bag
  • there is no free air circulation in the box with shoes
  • the apartment is wet

Before trying to remove the mold from the shoes you need to estimate the size of the lesion. Single spots on the outer surface - this is not a problem. Worse if the mold has occupied completely visible internal parts. It will be very difficult to get rid of it.

It is necessary to remember that mold is a living organism. The colony, which settled on the shoes, quickly leads them into disrepair.

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It might be a bit brutal solution though, but the dermatologist once told me to use formaldehyde to disinfect shoes after infections - it might be an option for mold too. Wiki confirms here. The procedure was: put the shoes in a plastic bag, soak a huge cotton ball in the formaldehyde, tie the bag tight so the air would not circulate, leave it like that for 2 days. The solution should not touch the leather parts.

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