We all have our favorite pair of shoes, be it for comfort or appearance. Of course, over time and with frequent wear, even our favorites can accumulate unpleasant scuffs, stains, and smells. One of the only ways to keep your kicks pristine is to never wear them at all, but obviously that’s not always possible.
Most shoes can be cleaned using only a solution of mild dish soap and water, but certain other types of shoes will require special care to avoid damaging the material. If that sounds a little complicated, don’t worry, we’ll show you how to use simple household products and tools to remove grime and discoloration from your footwear. Keep reading to find out how to keep your favorite pairs of shoes looking their best and smelling fresh.
How to Clean Shoes & What You’ll Need
The first step in cleaning shoes of any material is to insert shoe trees or stuff the interiors with newspaper to help the shoes maintain their shape and create a barrier against any moisture that seeps through while cleaning. You should avoid cleaning shoes in the washing machine, as prolonged soaking and agitation can loosen the glue that binds them together and cause other permanent damage.
You will find specific instructions below, but each method will require different materials depending on the material you will be cleaning. In order to keep things easy, here is a list of some of the products and tools that you may need:
- Soft-bristled brush
- Melamine sponge
- Microfiber cloth
- Suede brush
- Toothbrush (optional)
- Clean block eraser
- Bleach pen
- Liquid laundry detergent
- Bleach (optional)
- Liquid soap
- Leather soap (optional)
- Baking Soda
How to Clean Canvas Shoes
- Start by removing the laces if your shoes have them and brushing away any excess dirt from the surface using an old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush.
- Wash the shoes by hand with a small amount of gentle liquid laundry detergent mixed with room-temperature water. Clean the entire shoe by gently scrubbing with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth dipped in the detergent solution.
- You can pre-treat any stains by applying a bit of detergent directly to the stain and allowing it to sit for a few minutes.
- Use a melamine sponge like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove any scuff marks from the sole. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of the shoes and blot away any remaining soapy residue, then let the shoes dry completely.
- If your shoes have laces, you can soak them in your detergent solution or in a diluted bleach solution if they are white. Remember to rinse and let them dry completely before re-lacing your shoes.
How to Clean Leather Shoes
Many of the most popular brands like Nike, Clarks, Adidas, Oliver Cabell, and Tory Burch make leather shoes, or incorporate a good a mount of leather in their styles. Remember that leather and faux leather shoes stain easily and are particularly prone to damage if you scrub them too hard. Here is how to properly clean and care for leather shoe styles:
- To start, mix a few drops of a mild liquid dish soap into a cup of warm water. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush into the mixture and gently scrub the surface of the shoes.
- Do your best to avoid getting the shoes too wet as excess moisture can damage and stain the leather.
- For scuffs that won’t budge, gently scrub with a melamine sponge or use a soap like Kiwi Saddle Soap, which is specially designed for cleaning and protecting leather.
How to Clean Suede Shoes
- For these, you’ll want to avoid using water, which can cause discoloration or damage the velvety texture. Simply brush away any loose dirt using a suede brush or toothbrush.
- A clean block eraser will buff out small scuffs and marks, but for larger stains, use a microfiber cloth dipped in a small amount of white vinegar to gently lift the stain.
- Allow the shoes to completely air-dry away from direct heat or sunlight, and then brush the surface to restore its original texture.
How to Clean White Shoes
White shoes are especially prone to stains and scuffs, so you might need some extra cleaning power for this type of shoe.
- Check for specific cleaning instructions for the shoe’s material before cleaning your shoe with any of the methods above.
- If there are any stains or grime, mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste, apply it to the shoe, scrub gently, and let it dry. Remove as much residue as possible, then wipe the shoe with a damp cloth.
- For white shoes made of canvas or mesh, you can use a bleach pen to spot-treat stains.
How to Clean Tennis Shoes
- Remove the laces and brush off any excess dirt with a soft-bristled brush.
- You can soak the laces in a small amount of liquid laundry detergent mixed with warm water while you clean the shoe.
- Apply a gentle detergent solution to the shoes with a soft cloth and rub it around the surface of the fabric in gentle circular motions. You can remove the insoles and scrub those as well if necessary.
- Remove soapy residue from the insoles and exterior by wiping with a clean damp cloth, and remember to rinse out the cloth as often as needed.
- Remove the laces from the detergent solution and run them under warm water to rinse. Let everything dry before re-lacing the shoes.
How about your sneakers? Check out Adidas guide on how you can deep clean your shoes
For more of the right cleaning techniques for a variety of clothing, surfaces, and spaces around the house, check out our blog. Contact us today to find out how we can help you and your home.