How To Properly Clean Leather Shoes

Business suits are complemented by great shoes, and leather shoes look best when they are clean and shiny. To make your shoes shine, you need the proper tools and a little effort.

Here are the steps to properly clean leather shoes.

  • Things you'll need:
        • Dry and moist rags
        • Shoe polish
        • Shoe brush

  • Wipe your shoes clean. Dirt, mud and grime will cling to your shoes after an entire day of walking. Polishing your shoes with the dirt on will not only look unsightly, but will cause the dirt to accumulate and ruin the leather. Take a damp rag then wipe off all the crusts. Gently use a shoehorn to remove stubborn clumps.
  • Rub shoe polish all over the surface. Shoe polish will both protect the leather and make it shine. Rub the polish in circles. You may also use shoe cream, which is absorbed by the leather to cover up scratches and blemishes, not to mention protecting the shoe from moisture. Finally, a leather conditioner can bring back the suppleness of old, brittle leather shoes. Use it before applying the shoe polish.
  • Whisk a dry rag over the shoe surface. A shoe brush will also give an adequate shine, but nothing beats a quick buff using a rag. Hold both ends of the rag then use quick buffing movements to polish the surface. You may need to hold the shoe in place using a table leg or a second person. Buff both the top, front, and back of the shoe. Avoid using the same rag for different colored shoes; otherwise, the polish will rub off and discolor the surface.
  • Use a shoe brush for irregular surfaces. If your shoe has many stitches or a non-shiny texture, a shoe brush can polish the leather in places a rag will only be snagged.
  • Remove chewing gum by rubbing ice on it. The ice will turn the gum rigid, allowing you to scrape it off with a knife without stretching.
  • Remove salt stains with a cup of hot water mixed with a tablespoon of vinegar. Dip a rag in the solution then rub out the stain, allowing it to air dry afterwards.
  • Sprinkle baking soda inside the shoe to get rid of odor. You may also spray it with a disinfectant to kill odor-causing germs for a longer-lasting solution to odor.
  • Remove the shoelaces regularly for a thorough cleaning. The laces can interfere with the polishing and buffing, leaving the leather underneath unprotected from the elements.
  • Consider having your shoes cleaned professionally. A shoeshine is usually available in subways and malls. They have the experience to make your shoes shined and don't mind getting their hands dirty. If you need your shoes cleaned on a daily basis, a shoeshine is the way to go.

If you are going to store leather shoes for the long-term, insert a shoetree to maintain its shape, wrap it in paper and place in a box. This will prevent mold and dirt from accumulating on the surface, leaving it ready to wear the next time you bring them out.


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