Keeping Your Shoes Clean is Easier Than You Think

How to Clean Shoes

Our shoes help keep our feet protected from the elements and the ground beneath us, but they can also be a fashion statement for some people. The perfect pair of shoes can instantly complete any outfit. Shoes come in many different sizes, colors, and materials.

We walk a lot of miles in our shoes, so wear and tear is inevitable. However, by keeping our shoes clean and by taking good care of them, they will be able to protect our feet even longer.

If you’re wondering how to clean shoes, keep reading. We’ll go over tips for different materials so your shoes can always look squeaky clean.

Shoe Cleaners

In order to properly clean your shoes, you will need the right materials and supplies before you begin. There are professional shoe cleaning kits and products you can purchase to help make the task a bit easier. You will want to make sure you have a cleaning solution and a brush or a soft cloth. Depending on the material of the shoe, you may not need the brush.

You don’t always need to spend a lot of money on shoe cleaning kits. You probably already have some things sitting around your house that you can use to keep your shoes clean. Knowing how to clean your shoes at home can save you some money.

Some common household items that double as cleaning products for your shoes include toothpaste, baking soda, dish detergent, nail polish remover, erasers, and petroleum jelly. Make sure you test a small area before trying a new product on your shoe in a noticeable spot.

Tips Cleaning Different Materials

Shoes are all made from different materials that react differently to products and cleaning solutions. Common materials that are used to create shoes are leather, textiles, synthetics, rubber, and foam. Different materials will require different cleaning products and materials.


Leather is one of the most common materials used to create shoes. It's very popular because of its flexibility and durability. Leather shoes conform to the foot more so than any other shoe material. Because of these factors, leather is more expensive than other materials. Taking proper care of your leather shoes will help ensure that they last longer.

To clean your leather shoes, you’ll want to begin by removing the laces. Use a soft cloth or brush to remove any loose dirt from the shoe. The cleaning solution is simply a mixture of dish soap and warm water.

Dip your cloth into the cleaning mixture and wipe the outer surfaces of the shoe. Use a new dry cloth to wipe off the soap and dry the shoe. The last step is to condition the leather and then let the shoes dry in the open air.


The most common textiles and fabrics used to make shoes are cotton, polyester, wool, and nylon. One great cleaning solution you can use to clean fabrics on shoes is to mix equal parts baking soda and water in a bowl.

Dip an unused toothbrush into the mixture and scrub it on the stains on the fabric of the shoes. You can then run your shoes through the gentle cycle on your washing machine using cold water. Once the wash cycle is finished, let the shoes air dry.


You can clean the rubber parts of your shoes with a mixture of one cup of water and one teaspoon of laundry detergent.

Scrub the mixture onto the shoe with an unused toothbrush. After you get them clean, rinse them or wipe them down to remove the excess soap. Allow the shoes to air dry before wearing them again.


Suede shoes are different to take care of compared to other shoe materials. You don’t want to use water to clean suede. Water will stain and alter the appearance of the suede material.

You can purchase a suede shoe cleaning kit that will come with a cloth and a suede brush. Pour a small amount of white vinegar onto a clean cloth. Apply the vinegar to the stained area and let it dry. The final step is to rub the shoes down with a suede brush.

If you show your suede shoes some love and care after each time you wear them, they will stay looking great for much longer.

Other Materials

If you are unsure of what to use to clean your shoes, start by wiping them down with just a damp cloth. Don’t overdo it and don’t scratch the material with a brush that is too rough. You also don’t want to apply a solution that ends up staining your shoes.

Always test your cleaning solution on a small area of your shoe to make sure it works properly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Shoes?

You want to keep your shoes clean, but if you are just tossing them into the washing machine all the time, your shoes are going to get worn out more quickly. If you wipe your shoes down after you wear them, they should stay clean. When you notice a stain, work to remove it immediately.

Any time you notice an odor coming from your sneakers or running shoes, it’s probably time to wash them. Any time you run your shoes through the washing machine, make sure you remove the laces first. After the wash cycle, let them air dry. The dryer will beat them up and wear them out.

As long as you take care of your shoes, they will take care of your feet!

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