A pair of shoes can update an outfit and boost your confidence.
But over time, your beloved pair of shoes become worn, dirty, and stained. Rather than throwing them away or settling for worn down shoes, we’re showing you how to clean shoes easily from your own home. The best part? -- you probably already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen cupboards.
What You Need To Learn How To Clean Shoes
To give your worn shoes a makeover, we’ve categorized them by material to ensure the result is the absolute best you can achieve. For the best results, have these items handy:
- Microfiber cloth
- Soapy water
- White vinegar
- Laundry detergent
With these items at your disposal, you'll be ready to conquer even the worst stains and scuffs on your favourite shoes, no matter the material.
Quick Tips on How to Clean Shoes
Before we delve in, here are some quick tips for on-the-go:
- For leather shoes, rub petroleum jelly into the scuffed area. This will remove unsightly marks easily, but we recommend using a cotton swab for a streak-free result. If they’re lacking a shine, spritz on some glass cleaner and wipe in a circular motion with a microfiber cloth.
- If you’re out and about and notice a scuff on your suede shoes, a white eraser works wonders at removing stains. Scrub hard for stubborn marks. But, if you haven’t left the house yet, use rubbing alcohol to attack the stained area. This will brighten the suede without leaving water marks.
- When in doubt for your running shoes, remove loose dirt with a toothbrush. Wash under a tap and dip it into a solution of part warm water and laundry detergent. Remove the laces and add to the washing machine in a washing bag. Even just washing the laces can make the world of difference to their overall appearance.
How To Clean Shoes of Different Materials
Taking care of your shoes has never been easier. Let’s take a look at sprucing up your shoes, no matter if they’re leather, suede, canvas or rubber. Ensure you read any instructions on your shoes clearly before attempting any of these cleaning hacks.
Revert Aging on Leather Shoes
Every person has at least one pair of leather shoes and they’re a staple in the fashion industry. Leather shoes require much care and attention to ensure they remain in excellent quality. If you have a pair of leather shoes which look worse for wear, we’ve got some tips and tricks on how to clean shoes before you throw them away. Invest in your leather shoes by cleaning them once a week to increase their life span.
Lay an old sheet or papers on the floor and remove the laces from your shoes before placing them on the sheets. For dirty leather shoes, fill a bowl with soapy, warm water and use a soft, microfiber cloth to remove dirt gathered on the surface. Repeat the process with a small scrubbing brush for shoes which just need some added TLC, purchase a leather shoe polish dedicated to reversing leather aging.
Alternatively, you can make your own cleaning solution. Mix white vinegar and water in a bowl and dab a small cloth into the liquid. Blot onto stains, or gently apply some pressure to stubborn areas. Leave your shoes to dry for around 20 minutes before finishing with a polish.
Spruce Up Suede Shoes
It’s important you know how to clean shoes made from suede. Doing it wrong could ruin your beloved shoes, but doing it right can keep them in pristine condition – even if you wear them daily. Before you reach for any cleaning solutions, invest in a suede-cleaning brush for the best results. This will also protect the delicate suede from harsh chemicals and you don’t need to use too much pressure. Always brush in the direction of the fibres to avoid damaging the surface.
Keep the shoes in their natural shape by adding some tissue paper to the inside of the shoes before you start cleaning. Use the suede brush to gently rub the shoes and remove excess dirt. You don’t need any wipes or sprays at this point. Wipe your shoes with a soft towel afterwards to remove any dust particles.
For stubborn stains, invest in a suede eraser to gently rub off any water, dirt, stains or oil. For tougher stains, pour a splash of vinegar onto a clean cloth and wipe the affected areas. Allow the shoes to dry naturally overnight. Repeat the cleaning process once a week to keep your shoes in tip-top condition. Avoid wearing suede shoes when it’s raining to not damage the delicate material.
Remove Stains From Canvas Shoes
Before you clean your canvas shoes, analyze what other materials are on the shoes, because there can often be suede or cotton detailing. If so, you’ll need to clean these sections differently to the main part of the shoe.
For a homemade cleaning solution, fill a bucket with warm water and 30ml of laundry detergent suitable for delicate materials. Swirl the mixture around until it’s fully dissolved. Dip a toothbrush into the water and scrub the surface of the shoes on areas which need cleaning. Gently submerge the shoes into the water and continue scrubbing with the toothbrush. Repeat using a soft sponge to wipe away any debris.
When the water looks dirty, rinse your shoes with warm, clean water. Use a towel to wipe away any excess water from the shoes. Before leaving them to dry, add newspaper or tissue to the inside of the shoes to keep their shape and quality as they dry. If possible, place them in a warm, dry area indoors, or preferably, in the sun – though away from direct heat.
On the other hand, you can clean canvas shoes in the washing machine. Change your settings to a gentle cycle at a low temperature and use half the dose of a mild detergent. Add old towels to the dryer to prevent the shoes from weakening as they’re bashed around. Once finished, stuff the shoes with paper again and allow to dry naturally.
Cleaning Rubber Shoes
If you’re wondering how to clean shoes made from rubber, it’s really not that complicated. Squeeze toothpaste onto a new toothbrush and wet it. Gently scrub the dirty parts of your rubber shoe and wipe away dirt with a damp cloth. This also works great for rubber details on suede/leather/canvas shoes.
Alternatively, you can use a power detergent with a small amount of warm water. Mix together for a paste mixture. Dip a toothbrush into the mixture and gently scrub on your rubber shoes. Use a circular motion to avoid damaging the shoes with harsh drags. Continue on the entire shoe to even out the texture and colour.
Once you’ve concentrated on the areas with the most stains, use warm water to rinse off the mixture. If you don’t use power detergent, baking soda works equally as good for this method, although ensure it doesn’t contain any bleach which can fade rubber’s colour.
After you’ve finished, wipe the shoes with a wet sponge in soap and warm water. If applicable, remove any laces and/or buckles on the shoes to prevent them twisting. Wipe the areas you couldn’t reach with a toothbrush, or any places you missed earlier. Allow to dry naturally away from direct heat, but preferably outdoors.
What Tips Do You Have on How To Clean Shoes?
We hope you enjoyed our tips on how to clean shoes no matter the material or problem. If you look after your footwear, you can wear them for years. For your favourite pair, ensure you stuff newspaper or tissue paper inside of them to keep them in shape. Also, avoid throwing them on top of each other as they can become scuffed and misshaped.
Do you have any tips on how to clean shoes? If so, share your advice in the comments to keep this conversation going.
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