Shoe cleaning is a delicate process, and the right tools can make all the difference. Here’s our top 10 shoe cleaning tips to help keep your shoes looking great. For more shoe care guides and tips, check out our Sneaker Cleaner Blog!
Multiple pairs of shoes.
If you’re someone who loves their shoes, then you probably own more than one pair. This is good because you can alternate between your shoes to help them last longer.
But with added shoe ownership comes added responsibility. Your footwear should be in good condition – clean, dry, and stored with care. Each pair should be stored separately in a cool, dry place, ideally a shoe bag. Additionally, the soles should be facing down, so they don’t remove an unwanted smell or grow mold. To learn more, read our guide on how to store your shoes in different seasons.
It’s also prudent to store your clean shoes away from others that are still to be cleaned. This allows you to track which ones have been through the wash cycle and which ones haven’t.
Wear socks with your shoes.
If you’re like me, you might not always wear socks with your shoes. But wearing socks can actually help keep your shoes clean and prevent damage to their leather.
Socks absorb perspiration from your feet, allowing them to go back into the shoe instead of onto the floor. This keeps them from collecting dirt and dust. They also help maintain the shape of a shoe and keep its leather from drying out over time.
Clean your shoes regularly.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your shoes is to keep them clean. That’s why it’s essential to use a shoe brush regularly to ensure that any dirt is removed.
Occasionally, you can also use a leather cleaner to remove stains and restore the appearance of your shoes. Cleaning your shoes regularly helps prevent them from drying out, making them more comfortable to wear over time. Want to learn more about how to keep your shoes clean? See our guide on how to clean shoelaces.
Treat stains right away.
Stains on your shoes can be difficult to remove. Many are caused by dry soil and mud, which lead to cracks and crevices that allow stains to set in. If you’ve got a stain that keeps reappearing, it’s likely time to get out your cleaning supplies.
Stain removal products are available at any store or online shopping site, but there are natural options too! You can use cornmeal or talcum powder for coloured shoes. Just rub the powder over the stain until it disappears! It’ll absorb moisture from the leather that’s holding onto dirt particles.
For heavier stains such as water damage or mud, use a cleaning solution made up of white vinegar and water. Soak a cloth or rag with the solution before dabbing the dirt from shoes surface. If necessary, repeat until all stains disappear.
Know when to re-apply.
There’s no need to wait for your shoes to get dirty before you clean them. In fact, some people prefer a glossy finish on their leather shoes. For an extra glossy look, apply polish more often than once every two weeks. Your choice will depend on how often you wear your shoes. It’s recommended to not wait too long before polishing again after the first time.
Use newspaper to dry wet leather shoes.
Newspaper is a good absorbent material for drying wet leather shoes, but don’t use paper towels or a hair dryer to do it. Use a soft cloth instead; you’ll want something that’s lint-free and will not scratch the leather.
If possible, avoid putting your leather shoes in direct sunlight to dry them out—the UV rays can damage the material over time and cause discoloration.
Make sure they’re totally dry before you wear them again.
Once the shoes are clean and dry, it’s best to let them air for at least 24 hours before wearing them again. If you have a shoe dryer, that can be used to speed up the process. If not, place newspapers in between your shoes and leave them outside on a sunny day for about 6 hours.
Use a shoe brush or rag to clean your shoes.
You should use a brush or rag to properly clean your shoes to rub out the dirt and debris. For best results, let them air dry before wearing them again. You don’t want to do this step with a blow dryer—it can damage the leather. Also, avoid using water on suede shoes; it can cause mold or discoloration.
Use saddle soap for leather shoes and a suede brush for suede shoes.
Saddle soap is the best way to clean leather shoes, and a suede brush is the best way to clean suede shoes. The main thing you want to do when cleaning your leather or suede shoe is to use something that will remove dirt and stains without damaging your shoe’s material. A good shoe cleaner should be able to do this while also leaving behind a nice shine on both types of footwear.
Buy a protective spray fit for the fabric of your shoe.
If you have leather shoes, avoid using regular shoe polish. This can cause the leather to crack. Instead, use a protective spray fit for the fabric of your shoe.
For a suede or nubuck shoe, use a soft brush and remove any dirt before giving it a good brushing with water. Then apply some water-based shoe cream over the surface of your suede item with a sponge or cloth until it is fully covered in cream, and then leave to dry naturally overnight before wearing again.
It’s not hard to care for your shoes—just follow these top 10 shoe cleaning tips and keep them in good shape. And if you still can’t get that stain out? We don’t blame you! Just reach out to us, and a professional will be happy to help.
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