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How To Clean Shoes


How To Clean Shoes

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How To Clean Shoes

How to Clean Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide to Restore Your Footwear

Shoes, an essential part of our wardrobe, endure a lot of wear and tear, accumulating dirt, stains, and odors over time. Maintaining clean and well-kempt shoes not only enhances their appearance but also extends their lifespan. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed instructions on how to clean shoes effectively using appropriate methods and materials.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Shoe cleaning brush or toothbrush
  • Soft cloths or microfiber towels
  • Shoe cleaning solution or mild detergent
  • Water
  • Leather cleaner and conditioner (for leather shoes)
  • Suede cleaner and brush (for suede shoes)
  • Shoe polish (optional)
  • Baking soda (for odor removal)

Step-by-Step Cleaning Instructions:

1. Prepare the Shoes:

  • Remove any loose dirt or debris from the shoes using a brush or damp cloth.
  • Unlace or unbuckle the shoes to expose all surfaces.

2. Select the Cleaning Method:

a. Canvas and Fabric Shoes:

  • Wet a clean cloth or brush with a mild detergent solution.
  • Scrub the shoes gently, focusing on soiled areas.
  • Rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water and blot dry with a towel.

b. Leather Shoes:

  • Use a soft cloth or brush to remove surface dirt.
  • Apply a leather cleaner specifically designed for the type of leather (e.g., smooth, suede, nubuck). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Wipe off the cleaner using a clean cloth.
  • Apply a leather conditioner to nourish and protect the leather.

c. Suede Shoes:

  • Use a suede brush to gently brush away dirt and debris in the direction of the nap.
  • If there are stubborn stains, use a suede cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Allow the shoes to dry completely.

3. Clean the Outsoles:

  • Use a brush or old toothbrush to remove dirt from the outsoles.
  • For stubborn stains, use a cleaning solution or dish soap.
  • Rinse the outsoles thoroughly with water and blot dry.

4. Dry the Shoes:

  • Stuff the shoes with paper towels or newspaper to absorb moisture.
  • Allow the shoes to air dry at room temperature.
  • Do not place shoes in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as this can damage the material.

5. Remove Odors:

  • Sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes and let it sit overnight.
  • Vacuum or shake out the baking soda the next day.
  • This will help neutralize odors.

6. Polish the Shoes (Optional):

  • Once the shoes are clean and dry, you can apply shoe polish to enhance their appearance.
  • Choose a polish that matches the color of the shoes.
  • Apply the polish in a thin layer using a clean cloth and buff gently.

Tips for Specific Shoe Materials:

  • Leather: Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt and stains. Avoid using harsh detergents or abrasive brushes.
  • Suede: Avoid using water or leather cleaners. Instead, use a suede brush or eraser to remove dirt.
  • Canvas: Canvas shoes can be washed in a washing machine on a gentle cycle with cold water.
  • Mesh: Use a soft brush and mild detergent solution to clean mesh shoes.
  • Patent leather: Wipe clean with a damp cloth and polish. Avoid using harsh cleaning agents.


Q: How often should I clean my shoes?

A: The frequency of cleaning depends on the type of shoes and how often they are worn. As a general rule of thumb, clean shoes every few wears or as needed.

Q: Can I use bleach to clean my shoes?

A: Bleach can damage certain materials, such as leather and suede. Avoid using bleach on your shoes unless it is specifically recommended by the manufacturer.

Q: What are the best ways to prevent shoe odors?

A: Wear moisture-wicking socks, rotate shoes regularly, and sprinkle baking soda inside shoes to neutralize odors.

Q: How can I restore the color of faded shoes?

A: Use a shoe polish or paint that matches the original color of the shoes.

Q: My shoes are made of a rare or delicate material. How should I clean them?

A: Consult a professional shoe cleaner or refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning recommendations.


Maintaining clean and well-cared-for shoes is essential to their longevity and appearance. By following the step-by-step instructions and tips provided in this guide, you can effectively clean your shoes using appropriate methods and materials. Remember, regular cleaning and proper care will extend the lifespan of your footwear and keep them looking their best.