How To Clean Dog Poop Off Shoes – Easy Methods

Unlike humans, dogs don’t care whether they poop in a hidden spot in your yard or the middle of the street, unless properly housetrained. If you’re not paying attention, your shoes will be slathered with a stinky problem. Knowing how to clean dog poop off shoes is a gross task. You have to deal with the smelly poop and clean your precious kicks before it spread further.

Cleaning poop out of your shoes

I’ve stepped on dog poop many times in my life so I know the struggle when it comes to cleaning my shoes. I’ve experienced it too often that I already have a drill. I’ve tackled dog poop on the carpet before so I’m quite familiar with the frustration. Below are the methods I take whenever I step on “land mines” outdoors. See which works for you best.

Method 1: The Grass Method

If you stepped on dog poop empty-handed, your best bet in such situations are patches of grass. Crabgrass is the best choice since it’s bulky and will really scrape off the poop out of the soles. However, make sure that you’re not stomping on private property or areas with ‘Keep Off the Grass’ signages.

However, this method only works if the poo only got under the shoes. However, if the mess happened to spread all over the upper material, you have more work to do.

Method 2: The Toothbrush Method

For messier shoes, the best tool is an old toothbrush and soap. The drill is easy. Rinse the shoes first and try to remove as much fecal matter as possible.

After that, add some soap to the water and let it bubble. Pour this on your shoes and start scrubbing with your old toothbrush. Keep pouring the soapy water as you brush to remove the fecal matter you’re lifting from the shoes.

Once you’ve removed all the dog poop, rinse the shoes with flowing water. Let it air-dry away from direct sunlight.

Method 3: The Laundry Method

If there’s still dog poop left on your shoes after brushing them, your last resort is the washing machine. Just make sure that the material of your shoes can handle machine washing to prevent damages. Most of the time, sneakers can handle machine washing, which will remove all the dog poop left on the fabric.

Just make sure that there is no more solid poop matter left on the shoes. You wouldn’t want all those nasty stuff smearing all over your washing machine. Also, you should use detergent to flush out all the dirt. I suggest running your washing machine with an enzyme cleaner afterward to remove any trace of dog poop on it.

What if my shoes still stink after cleaning?

If your shoes still stink after cleaning the dog poop, you can do something to neutralize the smell. I suggest applying a small amount of enzyme cleaner. The live enzymes will digest any poop protein left to remove the odor. However, you should perform a patch test on a less conspicuous spot as some enzyme cleaners may react harshly on some materials, especially colored ones.

Another trick I use is a bag of baking soda. Seal the shoe inside a bag with baking soda and leave it overnight. Baking soda is an amazing deodorizer and cleaner. The best part is that it’s totally safe and unlikely to ruin your shoes.

If you’re not going to use the shoes in a few days, you can place a pack of activated charcoal inside it. For 2 to 3 days, your shoes will smell fresh after that.

While you can spray your shoes with air fresheners, it will not tackle the real source of the smell. These sprays only mask the scent so it will still be there and might unravel itself after the nice scent wears off.

How to prevent stepping on dog poop

You’ll never know what’s on the ground so you should always pay attention. If your neighborhood is notorious for irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets, you should walk carefully. I suggest keeping another pair of shoes on your car just in case you happen to step on dog poop.

You should also be careful on grassy areas as a mound of poop might be hiding behind the blades. This happens a lot in dog parks and I’m speaking based on experience.

Is it okay to leave dog poop in the yard?

If it’s your yard, leaving the poop is totally up to you. Just note that dog poop is considered a pollutant because of its smell and the bacteria it contains. Also, you stand the risk of stepping on it if you’re not paying attention. If not you, somebody else might have their shoes ruined because you decided not to clean up after your dog.

Very important note: if you’re mowing your lawn, it’s important to pick up dog poop. Just imagine all that mess getting into your lawnmower. I’d never want to deal with such stink if I were you.

Does vinegar clean up dog poop?

After scooping the dog poop out, you can use an equal solution of white vinegar and water. Spray it on the affected spot and wipe. This will neutralize the bacteria present on it. Aside from that, vinegar is an excellent deodorizer.

You can actually use the same solution for your shoes, but you should test it on a small area first. You wouldn’t want all that nice sneaker color bleeding because of the vinegar’s acidity.

Is stepping on dog poop considered good luck?

In some parts of the world, stepping on dog poop is considered good luck. For example, in France, they believe that stepping on dog poop with your left foot brings good luck. However, stepping on dog poop with the right foot will bring misfortunes.

Overall, I think that ‘good luck’ superstitions are just a way of people who stepped on poop to lighten up the situation. Stepping on dog poop is bad enough so why not just reverse the thinking by considering it good luck. This is much better than sulking and whining about the mess on your shoes.

Is dog poop worse than human poop?

Take note that both dog poop and human poop are waste matter. Both are considered pollutants and should be disposed of properly.

Nevertheless, it’s true that not all excrements are equal. You have to understand that dogs have a different digestive system than humans. This means that their poop may contain bacteria not found on human poop and vice versa.

A dog’s tummy can handle contaminants that will typically cause illnesses in humans. This is why a poop dropping from dogs can contain as many as 3 million fecal bacteria that are harmful to both wildlife and humans.

So if you step on dog poop, don’t ever try touching it with your bare hands. Wear a pair of disposable gloves before you start cleaning it. This is because dog poop contains parvovirus, giardia, and a slew of parasitic worms that could infect humans.


Knowing how to clean dog poop off shoes will come in handy at least once in your life. You should be prepared to deal with this mess so it wouldn’t ruin your shoes and eventually your day. A little patience and some household items will restore your shoes in no time.