How To Clean Shoes

Guide: How to clean shoes


Keeping your shoes clean can instantly elevate your outfits and make your shoes last longer, but how do you effectively clean different types of shoes without ruining the material?


In this post, we’ll break down a few different methods for cleaning all kinds of shoe materials using everyday cleaning supplies you probably already have in your home.


How to clean shoes


Keeping your shoes clean is important not only so they look their best, but also to maintain them. Here are a few common cleaning routines you can use to get your shoes looking great.


How to clean running shoes

Running shoes can get dirty pretty fast, but luckily it’s easy to keep them clean using basic cleaning supplies.


What you’ll need:

  • An old toothbrush or scrubbing brush
  • Baking soda
  • Clean water
  • Cleaning cloth


Scrape off any dried dirt or mud from the shoes.


Dip a cleaning cloth in water and sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the cloth.


Rub the mixture on any dirty areas. For stubborn stains, use an old toothbrush to scrub.


Allow the shoes to air dry and wipe down with a clean cloth.


How to clean white leather shoes

A good pair of leather shoes can last for years if you take care of them properly. If your leather shoes are looking a little dingy, grab a few simple cleaning supplies and get to work.


What you’ll need:

  • Cool water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Leather shoe polish
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Glass cleaner


Use a clean cloth to wipe away any loose dirt.


Mix cool water and a half cup of distilled white vinegar in a small bowl. Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and wipe away any stains on your shoes. Allow them to air dry.


If your real leather shoes have scuffs, use a commercial leather shoe polish and follow the package instructions to buff out any stains or scuffs.


Patent leather or faux leather shoes shouldn’t be treated with shoe polish. Instead, dab a bit of petroleum jelly on the scuffs and wipe with a soft cleaning cloth. You can also use a bit of glass cleaner to shine your patent leather shoes so they look as good as new.


How to clean fabric shoes


Chances are you have a pair of fabric shoes in your closet. Some people believe that they can just toss their fabric shoes in the washing machine to get them clean, however, many shoes are made with glue that won’t hold up when it’s exposed to a lot of water.


It’s always better to wash your fabric shoes by hand.


What you’ll need:

  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • An old toothbrush or cleaning brush
  • Paper towels


How to do it:


Start by wiping your shoes down with a dry paper towel to knock off any loose dirt.


Mix about one teaspoon of dish soap and two cups of warm water in a bowl.


Dip your cleaning brush in the soapy water and scrub the fabric, working in small sections. Be sure to scrub in the same direction as the fabric to prevent fraying.


Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed your shoes, use a paper towel soaked in clean water to wipe away any excess soap.


Follow up with a dry paper towel to soak up any remaining water and let your shoes air dry in a well-ventilated area.


How to clean shoelaces


Shoelaces are typically made of fabric, which means that they can become stained more easily than the less porous materials on your shoes.


Luckily, cleaning shoelaces is relatively easy.


What you’ll need:

  • Warm water
  • 1/2 cup of bleach
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Laundry detergent



Combine the ingredients in a bucket and let your shoelaces soak in the mixture for at least one hour before rinsing the laces with clean water. Allow the laces to air dry before putting them back in your shoes.


How to clean shoe soles

The soles of your shoes will likely be the first thing to get dirty. Keep them clean with a few simple cleaning products.


What you’ll need:

  • An old toothbrush or scrubbing brush
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning cloth


How to do it:


Take your shoes outside and remove any dried dirt and mud from the soles and bottoms of the shoes. You may want to use a butter knife to scrape the shoes clean.


Use a dry scrubbing brush to remove any remaining loose dirt from the soles.


Create a mixture of one part baking soda and one part laundry detergent in a small bowl. Don’t use a laundry detergent that contains bleach, especially on dyed fabric.


Grab your scrubbing brush and dip it in the cleaning solution. Scrub the soles in a circular motion to remove set-in dirt and grime.


Use a clean cloth soaked in water to rinse away the cleaning solution.


Allow the shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated area.


How to clean insides of shoes

Don’t forget to clean the inside of your shoes to prevent any gross smells.


What you’ll need:

  • Dry paper towel
  • An old toothbrush or scrubbing brush
  • Warm water
  • Laundry detergent


How to do it:


Mix a few drops of laundry detergent in a small bowl of warm water.


Remove the insoles of your shoes and stuff dry paper towels inside your shoes to soak up any moisture.


Use an old toothbrush or a scrubbing brush soaked in your cleaning solution to scrub the insoles of your shoes.


Take the paper towels out of your shoes and scrub the insides of the shoes with the cleaning solution as well.


Put more dry paper towels inside your shoes to help speed up the drying process. Allow the shoes and insoles to air dry completely before replacing the insoles back insi