Updated April 27, 2024

How to clean shoes: Tips and supplies to shape up your footwear

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How to clean leather shoes

Leather is a popular material for footwear, but it’s not the most durable material. Regularly cleaning your leather shoes can help keep them in good shape.

Kara Mac, founder and CEO of Kara Mac Shoes, is an expert on leather footwear. She recommends the following steps for cleaning leather shoes.

Step 1: Remove surface dirt
Before you apply any cleaners, take some time to remove surface soil from the shoe. Start by removing the shoelaces, when applicable, and then use a soft-bristled brush like the Nutrianeous Interior Cleaning Brush to remove any debris lodged in the leather grains. “If there is a specific stain, lightly scrub at the mark using a circular motion until it fades,” says Mac.

Step 2: Spray and wipe the surface.
Mac recommends a mixture of white vinegar and water for cleaning leather. You’ll mix one part vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray the shoe’s exterior surface, immediately wiping it with a cloth or soft shoe brush. “Also use it to remove dirt between grooves,” Mac says. “Be careful not to get the leather too wet — it’s better to repeat the process with less water and soap instead of using too much at once.”

Step 3: Remove tough stainsIn some cases, a light cleaning won’t do the trick.
If stubborn stains remain, Mac recommends dabbing into them rather than rubbing. “This is especially effective on salt stains,” she adds. “If they’re still not removed, start to gently rub the stain with a bit of pressure. Once you’re finished cleaning your shoes, Mac recommends holding onto the spray bottle with the mixture inside so you’ll have it handy for future leather cleaning.

Step 4: Dry your shoes
Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your leather shoes, it’s time to let them dry. Mac recommends starting the process by wiping down the surface with a dry cloth or towel. Then you should set the shoes aside to air dry. “Don't try speeding up the drying process by putting the boots near a heat source, as this can make them brittle and crack,” Mac emphasizes.

Step 5: ProtectAfter your shoes have dried completely
Mac suggests applying a protective product to prevent future damage. A commercial leather cleaner like the Bee Natural Leathercare - Leather Amore can help slow water spotting and prevent soiling without using harmful chemicals. But Mac adds that a homemade formula mixing one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil will work too. “Apply it to leather, let it sit for about 15 minutes and buff with a soft cloth until the leather shines,” Mac instructs.

Read the Full Article  on AP News