How to Clean Leather Shoes

How to Clean Leather Shoes

Buying a pair of leather shoes is one of the best investments you can make for your closet. These timeless shoes can become part of your signature style and a staple in your wardrobe. But as with all products, constant use leads to wear and tear, leaving you wondering how to clean your leather shoes.

At VellaPais, we pride ourselves on selling handmade calfskin leather shoes that can stand the test of time. We always recommend that our clients take the time to learn how and what to use to clean their leather shoes and keep them looking brand new for as long as possible. These tips will help you get the most out of your shoes and allow them to steal the show for years to come.

What to Avoid

Before you clean your shoes, it’s important to know a few things you should avoid while cleaning or wearing them. The three main things that work to ruin your shoes are: the sun, flipping between extreme temperatures, and using damaging cleaning products. As such, caring for your leather requires you to keep them in a room temperature environment and avoid constantly fluctuating temperatures.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can completely dry out your shoe, rendering your leather shoe cleaning relatively useless. Going from extreme heat to extreme cold (and back again) can cause moisture build-ups and form bacteria that invade your leather. If you’re wondering how to clean leather shoes, the one thing to remember is not to use harsh chemicals and cleaning agents. Detergents or bleach will dry out your shoe and lead to rough surfaces on the footwear.

Regularly Clean Your Shoes

The first step to a clean shoe is to know how often you should perform your leather shoe cleaning. As with all shoes, even when you try to be careful, they will inevitably come into contact with dirt and debris on the ground. For this reason, you want to get into a routine of regularly cleaning your leather shoes. 

What to use when cleaning leather shoes depends on a few factors. If your shoe has a patent leather finish, you want to use gentle soap with a damp cloth to clean the surface of your leather shoes. Always use a cloth instead of a sponge, as sponges can often contain additional chemicals. If your leather doesn’t have a finish, you can use saddle soap to create a lather and softly rub it into your shoes. 

Regardless of which cleaning method you choose, if it’s been a while since you got your leather shoes cleaned, it’s time to rub those hands together and get to work.

Spot Cleaning

You want to invest in a horsehair shoe brush to keep on hand to spot clean your shoes between wears. If you notice any dirt or imperfections on your shoes, you want to wipe them away before they can become ingrained in the leather. Don’t forget about the laces! If they demand a clean, you want to remove them from your shoes and hand wash them with laundry detergent and water. You want to ensure the laces are completely dry before threading them back through the eyelets.

Conditioning the Leather

When you buy your shoes, it’s good to invest in a leather conditioner because it will help prolong the life of your footwear. You can apply the conditioner to your leather shoes once or twice a year if you wear them regularly. The conditioner will help diminish the appearance of scratches and scuffs in the leather. Be sure to let your leather shoes air dry after conditioning before buffing them with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Polishing to Protect Your Shoes

One of the easiest ways to clean your shoes is with polish. You can do this before wearing your leather shoes for the first time to protect them from wear and tear. Use a wax polish with a horsehair brush or a cloth and work across the leather in circular motions. Let your shoes air dry before buffing the wax with a cloth or paper towel. If you want extra shine, you can repeat the steps.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Leather Shoes

While the exterior makes all the noise, shoe care pros will always recommend that you clean the inside of your shoes. Remove the insole, and use a soft cloth to gently wipe dirt and debris off the surface. Place the insole on a separate soft cloth or newspaper, clean it with a mild detergent or cleanser and scrub with a damp cloth. Use an anti-bacterial spray to clean leather shoe insoles, as a soft mist can kill any bacteria nesting inside. Let your shoe and insole dry overnight, and add a conditioner in the morning to moisturize it.

Never Use Heat

Heat is the worst enemy when getting a leather shoe cleaning. While running a hairdryer over your shoes might be tempting to help them dry, it’s one of the worst things you can do to your leather shoes. Always let them air dry in a cool area, and avoid as much direct sunlight as possible. Heat can melt and distort the shoe’s interior, loosen soles, and deform your shoe to where the fit is altered. Accidentally leave your leather shoe in the heat one day, and you might find yourself squeezing your feet into a much tighter space.

Other Stain Removal Tips

Remember, not all stains are the same. If you’re wondering how to clean leather shoes, odds are you have some stain damaging your shoe. Whether it’s grease, oil, ink, or small scuffs, you can use household items like toothpaste, nail polish remover, and baking soda to remove stains. 

Rubbing grease stains with a bit of baking soda or cornstarch is a great way to keep your leather shoe cleaned without damaging it. Blotting nail polish remover with a cotton swab can eliminate ink stains. Thinking of what to use to clean leather shoes with scuff marks? Scrubbing with toothpaste and a microfiber cloth can help remove the scuffs.

Looking to Purchase a New Shoe? Dive into the World of Leather Shoes With VellaPais!

In 20 minutes, you can have your leather shoes cleaned and looking good as new, so don’t fear getting your very own leather shoe. At VellaPais, our luxury handmade men’s shoes are second to none, giving you various looks and feels to customize your wardrobe. Dive into our comfort dress shoe collection and choose from our different selections of beautiful leather. Are you looking for a more relaxed shoe? Our casual wear collection offers plenty of luxury lifestyle options for you to explore!

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