How to Clean 4 Types of Shoes: A Step-by-Step Guide


How to Clean 4 Types of Shoes

How to Clean 4 Types of Shoes

Table of Contents

Let’s face it, shoes take a beating. They brave rain, mud, and the general grime of daily life. But just like any cherished possession, proper care can extend their lifespan, maintain their good looks, and keep odor-causing bacteria at bay. The good news? You don’t need fancy equipment or harsh chemicals to achieve shoe nirvana. You can transform your tired treads into shining stars with a few simple steps and the right know-how.

Fabric Fantastic: Bringing Fabric Uppers Back to Life

cleaning the Fabric shoes
cleaning the Fabric shoes

Fabric shoes are versatile and comfy, but they can also be dirt magnets. Fear not, fabric warriors! Here’s how to banish the grime:

  1. Prep Party: Remove laces and shake off loose dirt. If heavily soiled, brush with a soft cloth.
  2. Sudsy Salvation: Mix a gentle dish soap with lukewarm water. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently scrub the shoes, focusing on stained areas.
  3. Stain Slayer: For stubborn stains, pre-treat with a baking soda paste (mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste). Leave for 15 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
  4. Rinse and Repeat: Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue. Repeat if necessary.
  5. Drying Delights: Stuff the shoes with clean cloths or newspaper to absorb moisture. Air-dry in a cool, well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Avoid using heat sources as they can damage the fabric.

Pro Tip: Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to your cleaning solution for extra stain-fighting power.

Leather Luxe: Pampering Your Precious Patinas

cleaning the Leather shoes
cleaning the Leather shoes

Leather shoes add a touch of sophistication to any outfit, but they require special attention. Here’s the recipe for leather longevity:

  1. Dust It Off: Gently wipe away dust and dirt with a soft, damp cloth.
  2. Vinegar Magic: Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the shoes and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. This removes surface dirt and grime.
  3. Baking Soda Buff: For tougher stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to the stain, leave for 10 minutes, then gently brush off.
  4. Shine On: Once the shoes are clean and dry, apply a leather conditioner to nourish and protect them. Buff with a soft cloth to bring back the shine.

Bonus Tip: For scuffed leather, rub a pencil eraser gently over the affected area. It works wonders!

Suede Sensations: Taming the Fuzzy Fury

cleaning the Suede shoes
cleaning the Suede shoes

Suede shoes are undeniably stylish, but their delicate nature demands special care. Here’s how to keep them looking their best:

  1. Brushing Basics: Regularly brush the suede with a suede brush to remove dust and dirt. Brush in the direction of the nap (the fibers) to avoid matting.
  2. Eraser Emergency: For small marks, use a pencil eraser to gently rub away the stain.
  3. Talcum Powder Power: For oil stains, sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the affected area. Leave for a few hours, then brush off. Repeat if necessary.
  4. Water Woes: If your suede shoes get wet, allow them to air-dry naturally, away from direct heat. Once dry, brush the nap back into place.

Remember: Never use water or cleaning solutions on suede, as they can damage the material.

Rope and Cork Cuties: Keeping the Wedges Sparkling

cleaning the Rope and Cork shoes
cleaning the Rope and Cork shoes

Rope and cork wedges add a touch of summery fun to any outfit. Here’s how to keep them looking fresh:

  1. Vinegar Power: Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a bowl. Dip a clean toothbrush and gently scrub the rope and cork surfaces.
  2. Sudsy Scrub: For stubborn dirt, add a few drops of dish soap to the cleaning solution. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  3. Drying Dilemmas: Allow the wedges to air-dry completely before wearing them again. Avoid using direct heat, as it can damage the rope and cork.

Pro Tip: To prevent fraying, apply a clear sealant to the rope areas after cleaning.


How can I prevent my shoes from losing their color? Minimize exposure to direct sunlight and use color-appropriate protectant sprays to shield against fading.

Is there a way to waterproof non-waterproof shoes? Waterproofing sprays can offer a degree of water resistance, but effectiveness varies by material. Always test on a small area first.

How do I choose the right protector spray for my shoes? Select a spray specifically designed for the material of your shoes, whether leather, suede, canvas, or athletic materials.

Can heel grips and insoles extend the life of my shoes? Yes, they can reduce wear on the interior, provide better fit, and enhance comfort, thereby potentially extending the lifespan of your shoes.

What’s the best way to tackle salt stains on winter boots? Mix a solution of water and vinegar and gently apply it to the stain with a soft cloth. This can help dissolve and remove salt residues.

By embracing these comprehensive care strategies, your shoes will not only carry you through various life moments but also reflect a commitment to quality and sustainability. Remember, every shoe tells a story; with proper care, yours can narrate a tale of enduring style and conscientious upkeep.

Conclusion: Stepping Out in Style with Sparkling Shoes

In essence, the art of shoe maintenance is a testament to the adage, “Take care of your shoes, and they’ll take care of you.” With the right knowledge and a bit of effort, you can ensure your footwear remains a cornerstone of your personal style for years to come. From the daily ritual of cleaning to the strategic rotation and thoughtful storage, every step taken towards caring for your shoes is a step towards sustainable fashion.

After all, in a world that moves at a breakneck pace, the value of a well-maintained, reliable pair of shoes cannot be overstated. They are not just footwear; they are the silent witnesses to the roads we’ve traveled and the journeys yet to come.