There’s a lovely German saying that shoes are like pack animals, and that’s why our closets are full of them. But what happens if we don’t look after our favorites properly? Correct – we can’t wear them anymore. That’s why we should take care of them as much as possible, starting with regular cleaning. But what do you need to bear in mind when you’re cleaning shoes, how do you clean leather shoes properly, and what equipment do you actually need? Our shoes-cleaning tips will help you get plenty of life out of your favorite shoes – promise.
Cleaning shoes properly – What do you need?
Before you start cleaning your shoes, there are a few things you’ll need to get hold of if you haven’t already have them at home:
- Shoe brush (for removing big pieces of dirt)
- Lint-free cloths
- Separate brush for nubuck and suede (if you have any nubuck or suede shoes)
- Polishing brush for patent leather (if you have any patent leather shoes)
- Colorless shoe care products (creams or lotions)
- Buffing brushes and cloths
- Waterproofing spray
Over time, you’ll get to know which of these items you really need. But now onto our tips for cleaning shoes.
When should you clean your shoes?
Many people wait until their shoes are really dirty before cleaning them, but that’s really not a good idea. The longer your shoes stay dirty, the more damage the dirt can do, which is why it’s always important to clean your shoes regularly- that’s the only way to make sure you can keep wearing them for a long time.
How often should you clean your shoes?
It’s best to clean your shoes every two to three weeks. It is particularly important in the autumn and winter months, when your shoes are exposed to a lot of dirt and water. It’s important to clean the insides of your shoes too, to prevent any unpleasant odors. You should do this two or three times a year.
How should you clean your shoes?
The first step when you’re cleaning your shoes is to remove any big bits of dirt. It’s best to do this with a shoe brush, but before you do, check whether the dirt has dried or is still wet. If it’s dry, use a shoe brush, rubbing it carefully over the dirty patches. If the dirt is still wet, you’re better of using a damp, lint-dree cloth.
Once you’ve got rid of any big bits of dirt, it’s time to give your favorite shoes some TLC. There is a wide range of creams, waxes, and lotions you can use, depending on the material. Whatever shoe care product you use, it should be applied using a cloth or a soft brush. It’s important to remember that wax can take a long time to absorb. With creams and lotions, on the other hand, make sure you wipe them off again after a few minutes.
Once you’ve applied the product, it’s time to buff your shoes. This is important as it helps work the product into the material and removes any excess cream or lotion so it isn’t left on the shoe. You can get special buffing brushes and cloths for this, but if you don’t have any at home you can just use some nylon pantyhose. Most women have a pair lying around at home with a hole in, right?
Don’t forget to waterproof them
Once you’ve finished cleaning your shoes, you‘ll need to protect them from the elements. You can do this with a waterproofing spray. Hold it a certain distance from your shoes and spray to protect them from dirt and moisture for a while. Do this regularly to top up the protection.
Whatever shoe care product you use, it’s important to test it on an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t leave any visible marks behind.
Clean the insides of your shoes too
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to clean the insides of your shoes at regular intervals, too. Unfortunately this is something most people forget, but it helps prevent any unpleasant odors. It’s best to use a shoe cleaner to clean the insides of your shoes properly. Mix one part shoe cleaner with one part water, then use a sponge saturated with this mixture to clean the insides of your shoes. Then stuff with newspaper and leave to air dry. Do this preferably two or three times a year and smelly shoes will be a thing of the past ?
Cleaning different types of shoes
Cleaning patent leather
With patent leather shoes, you need to be especially careful to waterproof them before you wear them for the first time and then repeat regularly. You should be very sparing with the products you use and only leave them on for a short time.
Cleaning nubuck and suede
Nubuck and suede shoes should always be waterproofed before you wear them for the first time. It is also recommended that you use a special liquid cleaner. It’s best to use one with an integrated brush, as this makes it easier to apply. Once the shoes are dry, use a suede conditioner and then finally brush the surface in order to roughen it up again.
With sneakers, it’s important to be mindful of the material. White soles and white fabric in particular need extra care. You can get special cleaners for this too. Because we like wearing sneakers without socks sometimes, we need to remember to clean them inside regularly as well.
Here’s a quick overview of our most important tips:
- Don’t wait until your shoes are completely filthy before you clean them.
- Clean your shoes every two to three weeks (especially in the autumn and winter months).
- To clean your shoes, follow these steps in this order: remove any big bits of dirt, rub shoe care products into your shoes, buff, and waterproof.
- Different types of shoes should be cleaned differently.
- You should also clean the insides of your shoes two or three times a year.
- Test any products in an inconspicuous area before using them.
- Waterproof your shoes regularly! This will protect them from the elements.
If you follow these tips for cleaning your shoes, you’ll get plenty of life out of your high heels, sneakers, and boots ?