Shoes with Various Materials and How to Best Clean Them

When you venture outside, your brand-new shoes quickly accumulate dirt, scuffs, stains, and unpleasant odors.

While it may seem impossible to keep your shoes in pristine condition, regular maintenance and proper cleaning techniques can help them stay fresh for longer.

The approach to cleaning shoes depends on the material they are made of.

In most cases, a mixture of mild Dish Soap and water can be used to clean footwear effectively. However, it’s important to note that specific shoe types, like mesh sneakers or suede shoes, require specialized care to avoid damaging the material.

In the following sections, we will guide you through the process of using common household items like baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and a toothbrush to remove dirt and discoloration from your shoes.

Before you embark on cleaning your shoes, it’s recommended to insert shoe trees or stuff the interiors with newspaper.

This helps the shoes maintain their shape and provides a protective barrier against moisture during the cleaning process. It’s crucial to avoid washing shoes in a washing machine as it can lead to prolonged soaking and agitation, potentially causing damage to the shoes such as loosening the glue that holds them together.

For heavily stained shoes or those made of delicate materials, it’s important to understand that achieving a completely pristine look may not be possible. However, by following the steps below, you can significantly improve their cleanliness.

How to Clean Shoes with Various Materials

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Photo: How to Clean Shoes with Various Materials

Cleaning canvas shoes requires a few simple steps to restore their freshness.

Begin by removing the laces and brushing away any loose dirt using a dry toothbrush or soft-bristled brush. To wash the shoes, create a solution by mixing a small amount of liquid laundry detergent with water.

Treat Stains by directly applying detergent to the affected areas and letting them sit for at least 15 minutes. Use a sponge or cloth dipped in the detergent solution to scrub the entire shoe.

For scuff marks on the sole, use a melamine sponge to gently remove them. Afterward, wipe down the shoes with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soapy residue and allow them to air dry completely.

For the laces, soak them in the detergent solution or a diluted bleach solution, rinse, and let them dry before re-lacing the shoes.

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Photo: How to Clean Shoes with Various Materials

When it comes to cleaning leather shoes, it’s important to be cautious to avoid damage.

Create a cleaning solution by mixing a few drops of liquid dish soap into warm water. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush into the mixture and gently scrub the shoes.

For tough scuff marks, use a melamine sponge or a soap specifically designed for leather. Take care not to scrub too hard to prevent any potential damage to the leather.

Cleaning Suede shoes requires a different approach due to the delicate nature of the material.

Wait for the wet suede to dry completely before attempting to clean it. Use a suede brush or toothbrush to brush away loose dirt.

For small scuffs and marks, buff the affected areas with a clean block eraser. For larger spots, dip a microfiber cloth in white vinegar and gently lift the stains.

Allow the shoes to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight, and once dry, brush the surface again to restore the velvety texture.

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Photo: How to Clean Shoes with Various Materials

For athletic or tennis shoes, which are often made of mesh or knit fabrics, a gentle touch is required during the cleaning process.

Begin by removing the laces and brushing off excess dirt with a soft-bristled brush. Apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent mixed with warm water to a soft cloth and gently work it into the fabric using circular motions.

If necessary, remove the insoles and clean them as well. Wipe away any soapy residue from the insoles and exterior using a clean, damp cloth.

Allow all components to dry before reattaching the laces.

Cleaning white shoes can be a bit more challenging due to their susceptibility to stains and scuffs.

Start by following the specific cleaning instructions for the material of the shoes. If stains or grime persist, create a thick paste by mixing baking soda with water and applying it to the shoes.

Gently scrub the shoes, let them dry, and brush off any residue. For white canvas or mesh shoes, a bleach pen can be used to spot-treat stubborn stains.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively clean and maintain the various types of shoes to keep them looking fresh and presentable.

*The information is for reference only.