How to wash different types of shoes: detailed instructions

Alina MilsentNews
How to wash shoes. Source: Created with the help of AI

Shoes need careful maintenance and regular washing. There are many ways to clean your favorite pair of sneakers or boots depending on the material of the model.

Regularly cleaning your shoes is a great way to extend their lifespan and minimize unpleasant odors. Experts tell us how to wash different types of shoes.

Initial stage

While there are many ways to clean your shoes, the first step is always the same:

  • remove dirt and debris before starting the process
  • tap the shoes over a garbage can or in the open air to make sure any stuck-on dirt falls off the soles
  • remove any other dirt that is stuck to the outside of the shoe

Machine washable shoes

  1. As a rule, sneakers and canvas shoes can be machine-washed, but you should check the manufacturer's instructions and follow them first.
  2. While it may be tempting to just throw your shoes in the machine, it's best to remove the insoles, any inserts, and laces first.
  3. Place everything you have removed, as well as the shoes themselves, in a mesh laundry bag. This way, you can throw everything in the machine with the cold cycle along with your other clothes, saving time and water.
  4. Do not put your shoes in the tumble dryer. For extra care, fill your shoes with crumpled paper or plastic bags to make sure they keep their shape while drying.

Leather shoes

You will need:

  • dishwashing detergent
  • warm water
  • toothbrush or soft-bristled cloth
  • leather conditioner
  • clean, dry cloth or towel

Step 1. Add a few drops of dishwashing detergent to a cup of warm water and stir until foamy.

Step 2. Using a soft-bristled brush or cloth, scrub the leather in small clockwise circles over the entire surface until all surface dirt is removed.

Step 3. Use a second dry cloth or towel to dry the leather as much as possible and then leave the shoe to dry in the fresh air. Never put leather shoes in a tumble dryer as the strong heat will cause the leather to deform and permanently change the shape of the shoe. At this point, if you have a leather conditioner, you can gently apply it to the surface to extend the life of your shoes.

White shoes

Remove the laces from your shoes and soak them in a solution of 1 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of bleach.

Moisten a soft-bristled brush with hydrogen peroxide and use small circular motions to remove stains from the shoes. This method is especially effective for white canvas sneakers.

You can also use hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing detergent to clean the soles. As with sneakers, you can fill your shoes to help them keep their shape.

Suede shoes

Suede shoes can be cleaned at home, but it is a risky process. Excessive stain remover can cause permanent marks, and excessive moisture damages suede. It is best to choose a professional cleaner. However, if you do decide to clean your suede at home, experts advise you to try an effective method.

You will need:

  • soft-bristled brush
  • suede brush
  • suede cleaner
  • suede waterproofing agent

To remove stains, both new and old, it is better to purchase a cleaner designed specifically for suede. Follow the instructions on the bottle of the cleaner.

After removing stains, use a suede brush to clean the shoes in the direction of the pile. Do not clean the suede in a circular motion as this will damage the material.

If you have a suede protector or waterproofing agent, apply it to the shoe at the last stage of cleaning. Moisture is the enemy of suede, so an additional level of protection will help your favorite pair of shoes last even longer.

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