How to Clean Dog Poop Off Shoes

Tools used to clean up dog waste
Featured Post How-To Guides

We all know the feeling. The squelching sound it makes as your shoe makes contact. The soft, gooey texture as it fills every crevice of your shoe’s undersole. You don’t need to look down to know what’s happened…. you’ve stepped in dog poop.

The worst is over, now it’s time to act. So how do you get the dog poop off your shoes? Whether you’re at home, on your way to work, or hiking with friends, you need to learn to use the tools at your disposal. This short guide will ensure you’re prepared to act when disaster strikes.

There are a number of tricks and techniques to getting dog poop off your shoes. Everyone claims to know the best way to tackle this dilemma. I’m here to separate fact from fiction, dispel the myths, and ensure your shoes are so squeaky clean you could eat off them (not actually recommended).

There are three techniques to clean dog poop off shoes:

  1. Freezing: Put your shoe in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer. Use a small brush and dip it in soapy water every now and then and brush until it’s all removed.
  2. Dry method: Leave your shoe in the sun to dry out the poop. When dry bend the sole of shoe to loosen poop then whack shoe against a hard surface followed with brushing with soapy water.
  3. Old school: Scrape your shoe on grass, then use a stick to get remainder off.

The freeze technique

Scrubbing the bad stuff off your shoe with a brush is many people’s first instinct. STOP. Ignore your first instinct. This is not only tedious but won’t get rid off all the poop (and will ruin a perfectly good brush). If anything, you’re going to spread the poop further into the treads of your shoe. What we’re going to do is freeze the poop.

You read that right. Ice that sucker. Put your shoe in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer.

When the poop has turned to a chocolate looking popsicle it’s time to get going. Use a knife or a pencil and pick the frozen poop out of your shoe’s treads. It’s no longer soft and mushy so should come off easily!

Now it’s time to grab a scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush (your siblings’ will do just nicely). The small brush bristles will help remove any leftover surprises trying to hideout. Dip the brush in some soapy water and scrub away. Place your siblings’ toothbrush back where you found it and move on, none the wiser.

Finally, give the soles of your shoe a once over with some water and leave them to dry. Voila! Poop free shoes.

Note: This method is recommended for trainers and casual shoes. I would not recommend putting leather or suede shoes in the freezer as it could irreversibly damage the material. Read on for techniques that are ideal for leather or suede.

woman walking dogs in the park

The dry method

Just like my sense of humour, sometimes dry is best. Similar to the freeze technique the key here is not to panic. Don’t make any rash decisions and start prodding the poop with whatever tool you find. What we’re going to do this time is…absolutely nothing…

That’s right, nothing. Take off the victimized shoe and leave it in the sun. You’re going to leave it there all day and not touch it. Go and watch TV, read a book, have some YOU time, it’s well deserved after the traumatic events that have led you here.

After the shoe has had a good stint in the sun, the poop should have developed a nice tan and crusted over, making it easier for you to do your thing. Here’s what you do:

  1. Bend the soles of the shoe until the poop cracks. Any loose poop should fall off.

  2. Next, whack the shoe sole against a hard surface to loosen up any stubborn bits and knock them out. If there’s poop on both shoes (no shame in this, it happens to the best of us) then hit the soles together. 2 birds 1 stone.

  3. Next get the tool box out. I only recommend using tools or brushes when using the dry method. If the poop is wet you’ll ruin a perfectly good tool, so only use this when the poop is dry. Get an old screwdriver or a wire brush to get right into the groves of the shoe sole. Scrub like your life depends on it.

There you have it. The dry method, no freezer needed.

Keep it old school

The above suggestions work great if you’re close to home. But what if you’re on a picnic? Hiking? Or camping with the family? There is no freezer in close proximity and you don’t have time to let the poop dry out.

In times of emergency it’s time to revert to the age old classics of stick and grass. These classic techniques have been passed down from our cavemen ancestors who would scrape woolly mammoth dung from the soles of their feet (let’s all be thankful we have shoes).

With this method it’s important that you get the order correct. Grass FIRST; stick SECOND.

Find a good patch of grass, not too long, not too short. Just long enough to capture the fresh doggy doo sticking to your shoe (it rhymes so it must be true). Now this is important so pay attention. Technique is crucial here.

Once you’ve chosen your patch of grass I need you to firmly place your foot on the ground and drag it back and forth in a repetitive motion. After a few movements, find a new patch of grass, otherwise you’ll smudge the poop you’ve just wiped off back onto your shoe.

If the poop is on the side of your shoe don’t stress. Tilt your shoe to a 90 degree angle and do the same as above. The key here is to get as much excess poop off the shoe as we can before we bring out the big gun…the stick.

You’d be pretty hard fetched not to be able to find a good stick you can use when times are tough. The key here is finding the right one. It needs to be strong enough so it doesn’t break mid-scrape and also long enough so your hand doesn’t make contact with the poop (vomit). Dig the stick into the grooves and scrape away. If you have access to some water this can help loosen it up a bit however the stick should be able to do the job. If you can’t find a good stick, then a sharp rock will suffice.

picture of a single dog

On the way to the office catastrophe

Imagine this. You’ve just picked up your morning coffee. You take that first amazing sip as you walk down the sidewalk, mentally preparing for that 9am meeting with your boss. Then it happens. Caught up in a caffeine ecstasy you failed to notice the juicy surprise someone’s pet has left in the middle of the pavement.

Don’t laugh – it could happen to you. Actually, it did happen to me. I was walking along with coworkers, chatting away and having a great time, and SQUISH. Stepped right into it.

So what do you do? You’re in the middle of the city, no grass in sight, significant lack of sticks, and definitely no freezer to bail you out. It’s time to improvise. In times like this you need to act fast. Find the closest concrete step and get to work. Scrape, scrape and scrape again. Rub your foot back and forth against the concrete step to get AS MUCH of the poop off your shoe as you can. You won’t be able to get it all off, but you need to get enough off so that you don’t leave poop footprints in your office foyer.

Once you get to the office, duck into the restroom and give the shoe a good old fashion scrub with water and paper towels. It won’t clean the shoe completely but will get you through the day managing to avoid any unwanted nicknames (dog poop boy).

My coworkers were great about it. I think they could tell how embarrassed I was by the situation (and maybe a bit guilty that I was the one in the group that took the hit). So no poopy nicknames for me.

woman walking dog down the street

How do I get dog poop smell off my shoes?

As well as cleaning your shoes you also want to ensure they don’t smell. The stench can linger if not dealt with effectively. For all types of shoes, I recommend scrubbing the soles with a mix of vinegar and water. Try not to get the vinegar on any part of the shoe but the sole to ensure you don’t stain the material. Let it sit for a while and then wash the vinegar off with more water.

How to know which method is right for you?

The above tips and tricks are a guide only. I encourage you to experiment with the different options to see what works best for you. Some of us are the freezing type, some like to dry it out, while others prefer going old school. It’s down to personal preference. The type of shoe you’re wearing will also impact your decision so be sure to keep that in mind. Regardless of what technique you choose, just be thankful you weren’t barefoot.