How to clean leather shoes


My teenage son was so excited when his new leather sneakers arrived, his first question was one most of us have - how do I clean leather shoes? How do I get rid of stains and dirt on them?

Leather is one of the best shoe materials available, known for durability and flexibility, as long as it is properly maintained, I told him.

But the first step is the most important - protect them from stains before you wear them. And this is true whether the leather shoes in question are sneakers, pumps or boots.

Before you start wearing them, apply a leather water repellent and protector. While this crucial first step will help ensure your leather shoes last, there's little escaping the inevitability of acquiring scuff marks and general dirt through multiple wears over time.

Luckily, it couldn't be any easier to clean leather shoes yourself at home. Here's how to your clean your leather shoes and bring back that fresh out-of-the-box new look again.

Here's What You'll Need to Clean Your Leather Shoes

  • Tarp or newspaper. This will be used to create a cleaning area that will prevent cleaners from staining the floor or table.
  • A shoe brush. You'll need this a couple of times in the process. 
  • Dishwashing detergent. 
  • An eraser. For cleaning rubber soles and sides.
  • Paper towel, cotton balls or clean cloth. You'll use this to apply the cleaner. 
  • White vinegar. You'll use this for spot cleaning stains.
  • Leather conditioner. This will help keep your shoes in great condition in the future.
  • Soft cloth.  For buffing dry. This can be any clean and dry cloth such as a t-shirt or towel.

How to Clean Leather Shoes: Start by Setting Up a Safe Cleaning Work Area

Use the tarp or newspaper to protect your floor or surface during the cleaning process. Gather your cleaning materials, a bucket, and measuring cups. Create a leather stain removal solution that'a one part white vinegar and two parts water.

Now, to make cleaning your leather shoes easier, remove the shoe laces so they won't be blocking parts of the surface of your shoes. If your laces could use a good cleaning too, you can wash them in a container with warm water and laundry detergent.


Brush off Surface Dirt and Debris on Your Leather Shoes

Brush surface debris and dirt from your leather shoes with a shoe brush with 100% horsehair bristles. Gently brush in a single direction to loosen the dirt and brush it off. That way you're cleaning the leather material itself and not rubbing in any dirt when you add soap or cleaner.

Apply Dishwashing Detergent and Water Solution to Stained and Scuffed Areas

Apply either the water and vinegar solution, or create a stain-solution of water and mild dishwashing detergent. Create a rich lather using as little water as possible. Lather on both shoes using a damp paper towel or cloth, without using too much water. 

Use a soft, slightly damp cloth to remove the excess soap from the shoes before conditioning and drying them. 

For marks that are more resistant, dab with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, then wipe with an absorbent cloth.

How to Clean Leather Shoes: White Shoes

To clean white leather sneakers, make a paste of three tablespoons baking soda and two tablespoons of water, and use a toothbrush to scrub the shoes clean. 

Then, for rubber soles and sides, clean them with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Condition the Leather to Keep Shoes Looking Their Best

After you've cleaned your leather shoes, you'll want to condition the leather for added moisture, waterproofing, and protection from the elements. 

Now that my son has learned how to clean leather shoes, he's kept his white leather Adidas sneakers looking pristine. We should all be so diligent with our shoe cleaning routine!

Apply the leather protectant - we recommend Kiwi Protect All Rain and Stain Repellant, while your leather shoes are still damp. Gently rub the conditioner on your shoes; now allow the shoes to air dry.
Let your leather shoes dry in the open air. Avoid heat and direct sunlight, which can cause damage and cracking in leather.




Share Your Ideas and Thoughts on the Topic Here:


› How to Clean Leather Shoes