How To Clean 4 Different Types of Shoes

How To Clean 4 Different Types of Shoes

Oct 18 , 2021


Tags - How to Clean Shoes

Go to your wardrobe or cupboard and take a look at all the different shoes you own.

Like most people, you probably notice there are a lot of different materials, colours and finishes.

And that’s because shoes are no longer just black or brown.

With many different types of shoes, they all need to be cleaned in different ways to keep them looking fresh and lasting a bit longer.

Luckily, with a few easy tricks and inexpensive supplies, you can clean every type of shoe.

Here is the right way to clean shoes made from 5 different materials.

1. Fabric Shoes

Fabric shoes, whether they are sandals, trainers, ballet pumps or anything else will get dirty after a while.

And in your efforts to get them looking brand new again, you may have seen some “hack” online to just toss them into the washing machine - don’t!

You should never put shoes in the washing machine (or dryer for that matter) because the glue that was used to assemble them will not be able to stand up to tall that water. The last thing you want is to wreck them even more and watch them fall apart.

Instead, fabric shoes can be cleaned with a little bit of dishwashing soap, warm water, an old toothbrush and some paper towels.

To begin, wipe down the shoe with a dry paper towel to get rid of any loose dirt on the surface.

Then, in a small bowl mix a little bit of washing up liquid in warm water.

Now, you can start working on a little section at a time, dipping the toothbrush into the soapy solution and lightly scrubbing the fabric.

It’s worth noting here, you do not want to over-wet the shoe - work with the fabric to keep the colour consistent and prevent any spotting.

Once you’re happy with how they look, remove any soapy residue with a wet paper towel - you may need to do this several times.

Finally, blot with a dry paper towel and then place them to air dry away from direct heat and sunlight.

Bonus tip: stuff the shoes with newspaper or dry paper towels until the shoe has completely dried to help keep its original shape.

2. Leather & Faux Leather Shoes

To clean leather, whether they’re genuine, patent or faux, you’ll want to start off by wiping off any dust and dirt whilst they’re still dry.

Then, you will want to make a solution with equal parts cold water and distilled white vinegar; this is particularly useful to remove any winter salt stains.

And like fabric shoes, once you’re happy with how you’ve cleaned them, place them somewhere to air dry thoroughly.

For deep scuffs, specifically on genuine leather, purchase a leather conditioning polish and simply follow the instructions.

For faux or patent leather, rubbing the marks with petroleum jelly and buffing the shoes with a soft cloth is an effective way to restore their shine.

For an in depth guide on how to clean leather shoes, check our previous blog here.

3. Suede Shoes

The secret to keeping suede shoes, or any type of napped material, looking its best is with regular care - it’s that simple.

Firstly, it’s wise to spray any new suede shoes with a protective spray so they don’t get damaged by outside elements.

Of course, they’re bound to get a little dirty but if you clean them properly, they will look brand new and last longer.

To clean, the uppers should be kept as dry as possible and with a soft-bristled brush, gently remove any dirt.

In most cases, this will be enough - especially if you do this after every wear.

However for stains, these need to be treated much more quickly. For small marks and scuffs, a pencil rubber can be brushed over to restore the nap.

For any oily stains, sprinkle the area with cornstarch or baby powder which will help absorb the oil - let this sit for at least an hour before you brush it away.

Check our previous blog for more detail on how to clean suede shoes without causing any damage.

4. Rope and Cork Wedges

Regardless of whether the uppers of your wedges are made from leather or fabric, clean these first using the tricks above.

Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to tackle the rope or cork sole.

For this, you will want to mix four cups of warm water with a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar and one teaspoon of dishwashing soap.

Similar to cleaning upper fabric, work with a small area at a time, using an old toothbrush to clean the surface.

For rope soles, you will need to work in one direction otherwise you may end up fraying the rope and they can start to look more tattered than when you started.

Once cleaned, wipe down with a wet cloth and to get rid of any residue and like any other shoe, allow them to air dry completely.

The Takeaway

Now that you know how to clean your shoes, follow these steps to ensure you don’t damage them in the process.

Although it seems like a bit of pain, we recommend spot checking your shoes after every wear and cleaning them immediately to prevent any staining.

Unfortunately, dirt and other debris can quickly build up, so even if it’s a quick wipe with a little soap - do it!

To find out more, contact us today.

In the meantime, take a look at our full range of comfortable shoes here.

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