When it’s time to slip into your flip-flops to hit the beach, think again before putting your tootsies into the shoes. A study by the University of Miami found over 18,000 bacteria on one ordinary pair of flip-flops. This doesn’t mean you have to forego your germ-laden shoes altogether; after all, most people don’t want their feet covered in socks and sneakers all summer long. Instead of kicking your flip-flops to the curb, disinfect them every so often with a bleach solution to kill the germs and keep them clean.

Bleachable Flip-Flops

Step 1

Fill a bucket with 9 cups warm water, and mix in 1 cup chlorine bleach.

Step 2

Place the flip-flops into the bleach solution so they’re completely submerged. Let them soak for 10 to 20 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the flip-flops and rinse them under clean water. Place them outside in the sun to dry, or let them air-dry indoors.

Non-Bleachable Flip-Flops

Step 1

Fill a clean, empty spray bottle with 2 cups of water. Add 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil.

Step 2

Put the lid on the bottle. Shake the bottle well to combine the ingredients.

Step 3

Place the flip-flops in the sink or bathtub, or take them outside. Spray all sides of the shoes generously with the tea tree solution.

Step 4

Let the flip-flops air-dry completely without rinsing off the tea tree oil. If possible, let them dry outside in the sun.