Most people have at least one pair of leather shoes in the closet at any given time, sometimes more. As some of the most expensive shoes around, though, they don’t really get the care and maintenance that they deserve to keep them looking good.
Whether you just don’t have the know how or think it’s not important, there’s no real reason you should put off cleaning your leather shoes any longer.
The Must Have Tools For Cleaning Leather Shoes
Although you don’t have to spend a fortune on them, you should know what to clean leather shoes with so you can have the right tools at your disposal for the next time they’re needed. These are the items that no leather lover should be without:
- Shoe trees – these are used to hold your shoes in the right shape and ensure you can get into the creases and cracks of your footwear.
- Scrubbing brush – this should be a firm scrubbing brush as you’ll need it to get rid of any dirt and debris.
- Vinegar – this simple product can be found at home and is ideal for getting out tough stains.
- Cream polish – a quality leather polish intended for this very purpose is best.
- Soft cloth – for applying the polish, an aged cloth works better on leather though.
Once you have your tools ready, you might even want to store them in a leather cleaning kit for the next time you want to bring your shoes back to life. This means they’re ready to go for emergencies, or sitting there for a regular polish as required.
How To Clean Leather Shoes
The best way to clean leather shoes is a fairly standard process that involves cleaning them first and then applying polish to keep them supple. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to restore your shoes back to their original finish and even learn how to clean mud off leather shoes with ease.
- Lay down some newspaper on the ground and insert the shoe trees into your footwear. Take the laces out and lay them separately, replacing them if they have begun to look tattered.
- With a mix of soap and water, dip your scrubbing brush into the solution and make your way gently around the shoe scrubbing to remove dirt, oil, and any other build up you might find. Work in small circular motions and change the water as required, but be patient as it can take time to work the dirt away gently.
- Once completely clean of dirt, leave your shoes to sit for around 20 minutes so that they can dry out. If you find there are still hard stains on your shoes, use a mix of vinegar and water and dab this onto the stains, rubbing gently if required.
- When the shoes have dried completely and are free from stains, use your cloth and cream polish and work in a circular motion on the shoes. The aim is to get into all of the cracks and creases without over moisturizing the shoe, ensuring you have made them just supple enough.
- Finish with a leather protecting spray of your choice and allow them to dry overnight before wearing them again.
Once you see just how impressive your leather shoes look after a good clean and polish, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Depending on how often you wear them, you should be cleaning your leather shoes weekly or monthly as required.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Cleaning Leather Shoes
No matter who you ask, it’s likely you’ll be given a varied list of do’s and don’ts for taking care of leather shoes. However, there are a few things to remember about caring for this sensitive material, and things which have been passed down from many generations ago which still ring true today.
- Do be patient with your supplies and remember that the older a leather shoe, cloth, and polish are, the better they will work. Don’t expect miraculous results the first time you’re cleaning a shoe, or working with a new rag, or opening a tin of polish. All of these take time to work down to their best condition so you have to be patient.
- Don’t leave your shoes lying around if they’re wet, as this can be the easiest way to damage them. When you get home, dab your shoes with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture and save them from drying out and cracking.
- Do let your shoes breathe from time to time. Even if they’re your favorite pair, it’s essential to let shoes get some air and have a break from being worn every day.
- Don’t apply polish over dirt. Although it might be tempting to give them a quick spot polish, you should never polish your leather shoes unless they’ve been thoroughly cleaned first.
A Little Care Goes A Long Way
When you consider how much we spend on footwear over our lives, and in particular expensive leather shoes, it makes sense to put in the time and effort to take care of them. Our shoes are one of the first things that people notice when they see us, so it’s essential to have them looking their best at all times.
There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive leather cleaning products just to get your shoes clean, and you’ll find with most of these items that less is more and just one tub of polish should last for years.
Taking the time now to care for your shoes means they’ll last for years to come, and you’ll end up saving yourself thousands of dollars from not having to replace them every few months.