You’ve just brought home your new puppy and so far it’s been super exciting. They’re a sweet little bundle of energy that can do no wrong—well, that is until you step right into their poo!
We’ve all been there, and it’s one of the worst parts of having a dog. The annoyance only multiplies if you’ve stepped in someone else’s dog’s poop.
Most shoes have ridges on the bottom that can seem impossible to clean thoroughly.
So, how do you get dog poop off your shoe without losing your mind with all the scrubbing? First, hose down your shoe or use a paper towel to get as much of the poop off as possible. Then, use an old toothbrush or other small scrub brush to get between the grooves. A hose on a “jet” setting or a handheld steamer also works for this.
Below, I’ll talk you step-by-step through a few ways of cleaning dog poop off of your shoe.
Method One: Use a Hose
If you step in poop outdoors, the easiest way to clean your shoe is to use the hose.
Unfortunately, this method isn’t available to everyone. If you don’t have a hose, it’s too cold outside, or your shoe will be damaged by getting wet, skip ahead to method number two.
Otherwise, follow the steps below:
- Take off your shoe. You don’t want to be cleaning it while it’s on your foot, or you’ll soak yourself and possibly fall over while you try to balance!
- Rinse as much of the poop off as possible using a gentle setting (or your hose without an attachment). Set the shoe on the ground and point the hose toward it. It’s important to use a gentle setting initially so that the poop doesn’t spray back at you. (Trust me, it’s no fun!) You may need to use a paper towel or brush to knock some of the poop off.
- Use a “jet” setting to get between the grooves. Remember that this setting will bounce off the shoe, so don’t get too close. If you need to hold your shoe, try to spray it with the hose facing sideways instead of directly away from you. This should get the shoe mostly, if not fully, clean.
- If your shoe isn’t completely clean, use a small brush to finish up. An old toothbrush is great for this job! Simply scrub the poop loose and use the hose to wash it away.
Method Two: Scrub it Clean
If you don’t have a hose, the process to clean your shoe is pretty simple—just a little more up-close and smelly!
Here’s how you get your shoe squeaky-clean:
- Remove most of the poop with a paper towel. I recommend starting with a dry one to remove clumps, then using a wet one to wash the rest off on any outer edges.
- Use a toothbrush or other small brush to clean the creases. Add some regular dish soap, point the sole of the shoe away from yourself, and scrub away to loosen all the poo. Do this outside or over a sink so that you don’t make a mess. If there’s any other dirt or debris on your shoe, it may be worth it to clean that up too.
- Rinse in the sink if possible. If you can, rinse your shoe in the sink to remove loosened poop more easily. I recommend using a bathroom or laundry room sink rather than the one in the kitchen. If you can’t or don’t want to use your sink, wipe the poop away with a wet paper towel.
- Repeat steps two and three as needed. You may wash away the loosened poop only to see some you’ve missed buried beneath. Keep going until your shoe is all clean.
- Clean and disinfect the sink once finished. Of course, if you use your sink it needs to be cleaned thoroughly after. Don’t forget to disinfect as well!
You can also complete this method using WD 40 in place of dish soap if you want to get a little creative.
Method Three: Wash in the Washing Machine
If your shoe is machine washable, you can try washing it in the washing machine instead of scrubbing.
But wait—don’t put it in there with a clump of poop attached!
- Remove most of the poop. You can do this with a paper towel or a hose as discussed in step one of each method above.
- Run it through a cycle in the washing machine. If your shoe comes with washing instructions, follow them to prevent any damage. Otherwise, place your shoes in a garment bag, add in a couple of old towels for balance, and run a delicate, cold cycle.
- Air dry your shoes. Don’t put them in the dryer, as this could wreck them. Instead, stuff them with paper towels to absorb moisture and place them in a dry location such as outside in the summer sun or near a heat vent.
Method Four: Use a Handheld Steamer
Handheld steamers like this one by Bissell (Amazon link) are rising in popularity as an easy way to clean various areas of your home.
It seems like every cleaning Youtuber has one these days. (Yes, I watch people clean their homes on Youtube. No, I have no idea why it’s so relaxing!)
If the videos are anything to go by, they break up dirt and grime extremely well. They’re also easy on the budget and great for hard-to-clean areas like the grooves on the bottom of your shoes.
I wouldn’t recommend buying one specifically for this purpose unless you’re frequently stepping in dog poop or have children who do. However, if you already have one or think it’d be useful in other areas of your house, here’s how to use it:
- Bring your shoe outside, to a sink, or lay it on a towel to avoid mess. You don’t want to be looking up how to clean dog poop off of other surfaces after reading this article!
- Remove most of the poop. Rub your shoe on the grass outside or scrape the poop into the trash can with a paper towel.
- Hold the shoe away from yourself and use the steamer to clean the nooks and crannies. The steamer will break up the poop between the cracks of your shoe and push it away, so be sure it’s not pointed toward you.
- Wipe with paper towels. As the steamer breaks down the poop and gets it out of the grooves of your shoe, wipe it away.
- Repeat steps 3-4 as needed. You may have to wipe away the broken-up poop a few times until it’s all off.
Method Five: Freeze your Shoe
This one may seem kind of wacky—and I admit I’ve never been desperate enough to put a poo-covered shoe in my freezer.
However, it’s a pretty straightforward method if you’re willing to try.
- Put your shoe in a plastic bag. Don’t place it in the freezer bare!
- Freeze your shoe. Wait until the poop has frozen completely to remove your shoe from the freezer.
- Chip off the frozen poop. Use a pen, wooden skewer, or another blunt object to get into the creases and chip the poo away. Hold it at arms-length, sole facing away from you, preferably outdoors.
- Use a toothbrush or scrub brush to clean the remaining poop. If any poop is left between the cracks, scrub with a toothbrush and some regular dish soap.
You can also try a similar method by allowing the poop to dry on your shoe rather than freezing it.
Method Six: Grass and Sticks
If you had a dog as a kid, there’s a good chance you’ve tried this method! It’s low-tech and back then, it allowed you to keep running around outside instead of going in to clean or change your shoes.
However, we’re going to take it a step further to make sure your shoe actually gets cleaned.
- Wipe your shoe on the grass. This will remove most of the dog poop, which you can pick up later with a pooper scooper. (Assuming it’s your own dog’s mess!)
- Use a stick to clean the creases. It won’t work perfectly, but it’ll get the bulk of the poop off out of there.
- Scrub or wash the remaining poop. It’s up to you whether you choose to scrub the remaining poop with a toothbrush and some dish soap or run it through the washer following the steps in method three. Just make sure they’re machine washable so that they don’t come out ruined!
Nothing’s worse than smelling like dog poop whenever you put on your favorite sneakers.
If your shoe still smells after cleaning, first ensure it’s entirely clean. Check every groove on the bottom of your shoe and the sides, front, and back where the poop may have landed as well.
The most likely reason your shoe still smells is that you’ve missed a spot.
It’s also possible that the poop soaked into the fabric of your shoe. In this case, try a pet enzyme cleaner to break down the cause of the odor. I swear by this enzymatic cleaner by Rocco & Roxie which eliminates just about every type of pet stain and odor you can think of. If cleaner dog poop is just one of the many pet “products” you find yourself cleaning, it’s worth checking out some of the reviews on Amazon by clicking here.
Just make sure to spray a small, less visible area for testing first to ensure the spray doesn’t bleach or stain your shoe, then use as directed on the label. Typically, the product will recommend thoroughly soaking the stain (or where the dog poop was) as well as the surrounding area.
Depending on the spray, you’ll either have to blot the area with a towel afterward or simply allow it to dry.
Careful Where you Step!
Of course, no one steps in dog poop on purpose. Sometimes we just aren’t watching where we step.
If you’re anything like me, maybe you avoid picking up poop in the yard during the wintertime and end up with a bit of a maze on your hands (and, well, a little poo on your shoe!).
No one wants to wash the poop off their shoes on the regular, though, so it’s best to be careful.
Dog poop can also be harmful to dogs and humans alike. It’s especially a risk to your furry friend if the poop you stepped in wasn’t theirs, as you never know what parasites or illnesses it may contain.
To avoid problems, remove your dirty shoe or shoes before entering the house and wash them thoroughly. If they still smell, they aren’t completely clean yet!
Clean up After your Pup
Lastly, remember that you’re not the only one at risk of stepping in your dog’s poo. Never leave dog poop in public areas or on sidewalks. Not only is it gross but it’s also a public health hazard for both humans and dogs, as discussed above.
Scoop poop from your yard at least once weekly, if not daily, so that it doesn’t pile up too badly. Too much poop will make your yard smell, especially when it rains. Yuck!