As we all know, a nice pair of shoes can improve and change an entire outfit. Sneakers, Brogues or High Heels; we love how they not only get us from A to B, but also define our sense of style. We’d rather invest our hard-earned money in a perfectly fitted pair of shoes before anything else and after we’ve found this perfectly versatile pair we just can’t stop wearing them with everything. But here comes the downside of this great love: our shoes will look worn out pretty quickly. One unexpected shower of rain or a careless passenger on the train and your shoes look like you’ve had them for years. You can ignore that for a while, but after some time even the biggest procrastinator knows that it’s time to finally clean your shoes.
Now, while the especially careful amongst us wipe down their shoes after every wear in order to reduce time spent on cleaning; for the rest of us who just want the job done quickly and effectively, we’ve rounded up a complete guide on how to clean your shoes to restore them to their former glory. All you need are a few bits of cloth (aka old shirt rags), a soft brush (such as a toothbrush), a slightly harder brush, a mixture of water and gentle soap and some elbow grease.
Cleaning made easy: the washing machine
First things first, this method is only advisable for textile shoes such as Converse or some sport shoes, other fabrics however might get misshaped. Although this is the easiest and most convenient way of cleaning your shoes, there are still some steps that should be followed:
Start by taking out the laces of your shoes and put them into a small washing bag. Take out the insoles but don’t wash them in the machine as they will soak up too much water. See below how to clean them. Next, place you shoes into a shoe wash bag to protect your shoes as well as your machine from damage. Alternatively you can put them in a pillow case and wash them with a few towels.
Sneakers are the biggest trend at the moment and it isn’t going anywhere. A fashionable pair of sneakers can cost a small fortune and it would be a shame not to take proper care of them, that is if you actually decide to wear them (some just collect them).
Start by taking out the laces and the insoles. Soak the laces in some water-soap mixture to clean them. If they’re especially dirty you will have to scrub them a bit with a toothbrush. Use the water-soap mixture and the brush to clean the insoles, too. Soak up excess water with a sponge or rag, after rubbing them clean.
Use some nail polish remover to easily clean the outsides of the soles to make them shine again. Now brush off any loose dirt before cleaning any spots with a soft brush or rag and the water-soap mixture. Make sure you take off any excess water with a cloth!
Some tips for white sneakers: rub some whitening toothpaste on your shoes with a toothbrush to brighten them up. White nail polish will cover up any scratches.
A last hint to all the poor souls out there with smelly shoes, here’s the remedy: put some baking soda into your shoes, shake them well, leave overnight and the smell is gone!
A pair of good leather shoes will last you a lifetime. But it needs some love and maintenance, if you still want to wear your favourite pair in 20 years.
Clean your shoe with a brush and/ or a damp cloth to remove any dirt. Now you need that elbow grease that we’ve mentioned before: put some shoe polish (or alternatively some lotion) onto a clean cloth and rub into leather in circular motions. Brush off any excess polish, rub down with another cloth and see your face reflected in your shoe.
Don’t be afraid of cleaning suede – there’s one little item that does the job for you: the suede brush. It comes with a brush side and a rubber on the other side and can be found in nearly any shoe shop.
Run the brush over the entirely dry shoe in one direction to remove loose dirt. Then use the rubber and rub over any imperfections. Don’t worry that you’ll damage the material, just keep going until the spot is gone. In case of watermarks on the shoe there is really only one solution: fight fire with fire. Wet the entire shoe with a damp cloth, fill in with newspaper and let it dry completely. When dry, brush in one direction to flatten the fine hairs.
How to properly dry your shoes
Once your shoes are free from any unsightly spots, they need a while to dry. Don’t worry if they look a bit darker than usual, they will dry into their normal colour.
To dry them properly, fill them with newspaper to keep them in shape and to absorb moisture. Leave them in a warm and airy place but make sure they’re not exposed to direct heat or sun!
Once they have dried, they will look brand new and you can enjoy wearing them until it’s time to clean them again. Maybe try out the tip to the wipe after every wear if you don’t ever want to spend too much time cleaning your shoes!