How to Clean Different Shoe Materials

2 Dec


Not all shoes can be cleaned in the same method as cleaning your sneakers. Shoes are made from different types of materials and need specific cleaning procedures. Protect your investment by taking proper care of your shoe collection.


Here is a list of common shoe materials and how to clean them.



There are different types of leather. Determine the material first before you use a leather cream. There is a specific cream for patent leather, cordovan and reptile skin. First, remove dirt by using damp cloth. Don’t soak the cloth because too much moisture can change the color of the leather. Next, apply leather cream in a circular motion using clean cloth, preferably chamois. When the cream is dry, polish your shoes using a brush. Patent leather is not brushed. Use cloth instead.



Suede is a type of leather. First, brush dirt off then spray with a formula made specifically for suede. There are suede shampoo products available for stains that are difficult to remove. Don’t let the water soak through however because water can leave stains. When this is done, let the shoes dry before brushing. Waterproof spray is also available in the market. Another leather, nubuck, is cleaned the same way.



Remove dirt by wiping the satin shoes with a soft, dry cloth. Then remove dried dirt using a brush. Be gentle when doing this so you don’t damage the fabric. Next, use damp cloth to press down gently on stains and dirt. Do not wipe the damp cloth on the shoes. Finally, let the shoes dry.



Canvas shoes, like some sneakers, should be hand-washed. Some brands claim that sneakers can be machine washed but always go the safer route. Use soft-bristled brush, water and mild detergent to clean the stains. The insoles and shoelaces are washed separately. Don’t dry your shoes in a clothes dryer or expose them to direct sunlight.



Rubber is easy to clean. Use cloth to wipe dirt off its surface. If you want to wash the shoes, use soap, brush, water and mild detergent to clean the dirt and stains. Remove the shoelaces and insoles (if any). Do not use detergents that are too harsh especially if the rubber is painted on. Brush in a circular motion. You can use your old toothbrush to clean hard to reach places.



Jelly is a plastic footwear that has grown popular in recent years. There are scented jellies available too. Cleaning jellies is similar to cleaning rubber. You can soak the shoes in water and detergent then brush lightly in circular motion. Do not expose them to direct sunlight when drying.



Mesh is easy to clean like rubber. Take off the insoles and shoelaces if there are any. Use soap, water, brush and mild detergent to clean mesh. You can also soak your mesh shoes in water and detergent to remove stubborn stains. Brush until they are clean. Then finally, air dry the shoes.


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