How to Clean Your Shoes: A Guide for Women



 The average woman owns 20 pairs of shoes. How does your closet compare? 

Whether you hoard footwear or keep your selection down to a handful of must-haves, one thing's for sure: it's vital to know how to clean your shoes properly. 

And cleaning shoes all comes down to the material with which the footwear was made. Here's what you need to know.

How to Clean Your Shoes

Luckily, there's plenty of help out there when it comes to cleaning your shoes. You'll find shoe cleaner tailored to the material from which your footwear was made. Plus, you can get cloths and brushes to gently wipe shoes and remove dirt. 

Specifically, though, different fabrics need slightly different care — and some will do well with homemade shoe cleaner, too. Keep in mind that your handiwork won't be enough to stand in for a broken buckle or holey sole. In that case, you'll need to find someone who can do shoe repair

Fabric Shoes

It's easy to wash fabric shoes — think sneakers, Toms, flats and pumps — with a little bit of dish soap and water. 

First, though, wipe down your shoes with a towel to remove any loose dirt and debris. Then, mix a teaspoon of dish soap with two cups of warm water. Swirl it around, then dip a toothbrush into the suds. 

Use that toothbrush to gently scour your shoes. When you're finished, use a few more moistened paper towels to wipe away the soap and dirt, revealing clean fabric. Air dry your shoes to finish. 

This method works on most fabrics, except for velvet. Skip the soapy water with velvet — use a dry cleaning method instead. 

And, if you have athletic shoes to clean, skip the handwashing. Instead, check the label to ensure they're machine washable. Then, toss them in for deep cleaning — no elbow grease required. 

Suede Shoes

Next up, you might have suede shoes in your closet. You can maintain their good looks by brushing them after each wear to remove dirt. Avoid wearing them in the rain, too. 

You can remove scuffs with a pencil eraser, believe it or not. And you can wick away oil stains by sprinkling them with baby powder or cornstarch ASAP. The same goes for water stains: blot them up with a paper towel quickly and gently. 

If you have suede shoes with sheepskin insides, disinfect the latter so they don't smell. You can do this with a cloth dipped in Lysol and water. Then, let the shoe dry for a day. 

Leather Shoes

You'll clean leather and faux leather the same way. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar to create a cleaner. Wipe down the leather, then let it air dry. 

For scuffs, try a shoe polish — they're designed to clean shoes made of leather. If you can't find a polish that matches your shoes, use a warm, wet cloth dipped in baking soda. Rub the affected area, then wipe away any residue, repeating as many times as necessary. 

Clean Your Shoes With Ease

These are only three possible solutions when it comes to how to clean your shoes. Seek out specialized instructions if your footwear isn't made of leather, suede or fabric. And, when you finish, enjoy your sparkling pair of shoes. 

What's your best shoe-cleaning advice? Share it in the comments section below!


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