How to Clean Dog Poop Off Shoes

By John Martin - June 3, 2020

Shoe stepping in dog poopThere are many wonderful things to be said about having these loyal canines as pets. They give unconditional love and are a joy to have around. The challenge starts when they need to be taken out to answer nature’s call, which means someone has to clean up after them! Some find it so tedious, that they actually do not scoop up the poop. Maybe some belong to the older generation when it was not the norm and believe it will decompose naturally.

Be that as it may, if you are unfortunate enough to step on one, your thoughts are hardly going to be kindly towards these loving creatures. Not only can the poop be smelly but it can also be hard to remove. You may feel satisfied with your initial attempts and think you have gotten rid of it. But there are three reasons why we must make sure the shoes are completely free of the poop:

  • Since we walk inside our homes with the shoes on, even a small bit sticking to it is going to travel with us
  • It is just too gross
  • And not to mention smelly

But that’s not all.

The Poop Scoop

The sooner you get it off, the better for dog waste is found to contain bacteria, parasites, and pathogens that pose a health risk for humans. Cleaning it can be difficult, but it should be removed completely as microorganisms such as roundworms, E. coli and giardia may still be sticking to the shoe and may take much wear and tear to become ineffective.

In fact, the presence of dog poo on streets in urban areas is a public health risk as they contain pathogens that are resistant to several types of antibiotics. It is best not to step on them due to the zoonotic infections that they can pass on. These pathogenic bacteria infect the intestinal tract causing diarrhea.

Okay, all this does not mean that the one time you stepped on the poop you are going to curl up with a tummy ache and suffer from loose bowel. This is just to tell you that you cannot be too careless about the inevitable dog poop that is so abundantly found lying around. In fact, a study shows that in the United States, 21.2 billion pounds of poop is produced by pet dogs each year and many dog owners are not picking up after their pets. In fact, just one gram of dog poop can house up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, and it is polluting water sources in the urban areas and the backcountry.

Therefore, it is inevitable that you will at least once in your lifetime step on some, and it may be when you are wearing your best shoes too!

Taking the Poo Off

You may be able to wash the most obvious parts off or scrub some off with dried leaves and paper towels, which can be pretty tedious, slow and ineffective. It may not clean thoroughly either as small particles may be sticking still to the base, especially in the grooves of the sole. And worse, the smell may linger still, reminding you of that embarrassing accident for some time to come.

We suggest some way to clean the shoe thoroughly and remove all traces of the smell clinging to the shoe.

7 Ways to Clean the Poop from the Shoes

You don’t need costly or complicated cleaning methods. It can be done at home, and easily. Just try one of the methods mentioned below to get your shoes back to being clean and reusable:

The Tried and Tested Way

Guess what, this is not a new problem. Our parents faced it, our grandparents faced it and even far back, our ancestors must have faced having poop stick to whatever footwear they used! And how did they get it off? By simply rubbing it nicely against the grass and then using a stout twig to scrape the remaining off. Just wash it off after that, and you will be good to go.

With a Cleaning Brush

Find an all-purpose, disposable cleaning brush, most commonly found in the bathroom. An old toothbrush will also serve the purpose. Rinse your shoes with a garden hose or soapy water and then use the cleaning brush to scrub the affected area. Remember, this may not be the best method as there may be some poop still clinging to the grooves, though it will not be visible. So give it a good scrub and send some high-pressure jet spray its way.

Spray Some WD 40

As you know, WD 40 is a multi-purpose solution that is pretty handy to have around the house. And guess what, it is just as handy for cleaning dog poop as well! Take off your shoes, clean the poop with a paper towel and then spray the WD 40. Scrub it well using an old toothbrush or the all-purpose brush to free your shoe of the poo completely.

Drying the Poop

When it’s soft, the poop is pretty clingy and persistent. If where you live you get plenty of sunlight, just keep it out under the sun downside up such that the soles are facing up. Once the side is completely dry, you can use a sharp object like a skewer or even a strong, pointed twig to scrape the poop off.

Freeze the Dog Poop

Conversely, freezing will also work just as well. Clear your freezer, for you don’t want your food to lie with dirty shoes in the freezer! Wrap the shoe in plastic bags and place it in the freezer. Once the poop turns into a popsicle, remove the shoe and use a sharp object to pry it off the grooves.

Give it a Good Wash

Spray it down the toilet to remove the top crust and then wrap it in a cloth bag and put it into the washing machine with a laundry cleaner.

Visit the Greens

If you are a member of a golf course or if there is one nearby, you can check with them for they are likely to have shoe cleaners and compressed air cleaners meant to remove the muck that gets stuck to the soles and grooves of shoes.

To Make It Smell Right

Some of these methods can effectively clean the shoes and remove the smell too. But if you are not satisfied, you can further do the following to have shoes that smell better than new:

  • Apply a natural odor remover to the sole of the shoe and let it rest while the enzymes work on it to make it smell good.
  • Seal the shoe in a bag with baking soda, a popular ingredient to absorb any smelly odor in the house. It can work wonders with smelly shoes too.
  • Pack it with activated charcoal, another known odor remover, and see your shoes smelling good again in a couple of days.

Handle with Care

If this happens when you are going to office, then it can be pretty difficult. For one, you are likely to be wearing leather or suedes, in which case you will have to be careful. Though the best option may be to leave it to the professionals, you won’t have the luxury of time and there may be none near where the accident happens.

So the only choice you have is to first get as much off as you can on the concrete. Then head straight to the restroom and clean it as best as you can with paper towels. Hose the underside of the shoes by holding it over the toilet and remember to flush it all off. On the top side, use a wet rag cloth to gently brush the leftover poop off and let it dry naturally.

If the smell is a problem, wipe a little handwash to counter the stink and pray for the best.

If you are at home, don’t think you can just freeze the shoes like you did for trainers. The better option is to let it out in the sun. Once the poop is dry and brittle, bend the sole till the poop cracks and falls off. Beat the shoe against a hard surface to loosen up stubborn dried poop. If both shoes have poop on them, you can clap them together for the same result. And now, and only now, get some screwdriver kind of object to pry the remaining muck out. Make sure it is dry to protect your tool.

Last Two Cents

So, it happens to the best of us, there is nothing to be embarrassed about if there is some poop sticking to your shoes. Just make sure you understand the type of shoe you are wearing and the method that works best for it, depending also, of course, on where you are at the time this happens.

On another note, we cannot help how others behave. But if you have stepped on poop and are cursing your luck, remember two things:

  1. Watch where you step. Prevention is better than cure and avoiding stepping on poop is far better than trying to clean it after you have. It leaves you feeling pretty messy.
  2. If you have a dog, remember to clear up after your darling has pooped so that no one else steps on it.

So take care, watch out and enjoy your walk or jog without further accidents. And if you have your loyal friend with you, make sure you don’t let others suffer.