Pictured: Audrey Avenue Reggie
White leather, suede, patent, canvas, coloured, no-colour, cork, nubuck. One million types of shoes, one question - how the hell do I clean them all?
For most of us, when we look in our closet, we’re faced with a collection of shoes of different sizes, heights, styles, finishes and materials.
And let’s face it, shoes aren’t cheap! When we spend money on a pair of shoes we want them to last and keep looking good. But how do you keep them shiny and clean when not every shoe is as easy to clean as black leather? And do you really want to use toxic shoe cleaners and bleach?
With just a few easy supplies and some really easy steps, you can clean your shoes safely and effectively at home. Here’s our best tips and tricks to keep all your shoes sparkling clean - with ingredients that are lean!
Leather, patent leather & faux leather
Leather shoes are the least scary to clean because they’re the most common. For a simple clean start by wiping the shoes with a cloth dipped in a solution of equal parts cool water and distilled white vinegar. Allow the shoes to air dry completely!
If the shoes are real leather, you’ll notice they can easily scuff. For a black leather shoe, simply use commercial polish.
Still, that’s easier said than done now that there are a plethora of dyed leathers out there! An organic and cheap alternative to remove scuffs from those awesome red leather loafers is to wet a soft cloth with water and dip it into baking soda. Then just rub the scuffed area gently and allow to dry. Once dried, buff again carefully with a clean cloth.
For patent leather and faux leather, simply rub any scuffs with some petroleum jelly and buff gently with a soft cloth. This may leave the surface of your shoe looking murky, so to restore the shine add a spritz of glass cleaner!
Clean your leather Neo TM-SYR 1904’s with the method above.
Fabric and Canvas
I think we can all agree that fabric and canvas shoes are… to put it nicely… not the easiest to clean. If white canvas shoes get dirty, it feels like it takes a village of supplies and a lot of manpower to get those stains out.
In reality, fabric shoes can actually be surprisingly easy to clean. You’ll need some dishwashing detergent, lukewarm water, a toothbrush and some paper towels.
Wipe down the fabric shoe with a dry paper towel first. This is to remove any loose surface soil. In another small bowl, mix one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in two cups of water. Dip your toothbrush in the solution and lightly scrub over each individual stain, one at a time. Pro-tips: do not over-wet the toothbrush, and move with the grain of the fabric to prevent spotting.
To remove the solution, simply wet a paper towel lightly and wipe the entire shoe. Then it’s drying time! Blot with a dry towel and place your shoes in a sunny spot where they can air dry. That’s another pro-tip: sunshine is the secret! Nothing like some good old sunshine to fix your shoe soles - and treat your own soul while you’re at it.
Rope and Cork Wedges/Espadrilles
Do you have a pair of gorgeous rope espadrilles or heels you look at and think ‘how on earth do I clean you?” Here’s how you tackle those tricky ones.
After you’ve cleaned the upper fabric or leather part of the shoe, mix a solution of four cups warm water, a quarter of a cup of distilled white vinegar and one teaspoon dishwashing detergent to deal with the cork or rope sole.
Using an old toothbrush that’s been dipped in the solution, work in small areas at a time to buff away the marks and stains. Use in conjunction with a slightly damp cloth. Note: when you’re working with rope soles, only brush in one direction to stop the rope from fraying.
When everything is clean, wipe down with a cloth dipped in plain water to rinse away soapy residue and allow the shoes to air dry.
Suede and Nubuck
Unlike leather shoes, suede and their similar types need regular care and attention. To keep these babies clean, you need to try and keep their surfaces as dry as possible.
The best way to do that is to invest in a proper waterproofer and shoe brush. Spray your shoes with waterproofer before every wear and use your soft-bristled brush afterwards to remove any loose dust, soil and buff out moisture.
Gently rubbing a pencil along the blemishes then brushing over it gently is a great way to remove marks and scuffs. To remove oily stains, you will need to use an absorbent. A small amount of baby powder will do. Allow the powder to sit on the stain for at least an hour before brushing away.
Voila! These are our easy ways to clean your different types shoes with ingredients that should be somewhere in your home, and are also wholesome, organic, and kid-friendly… and they actually work.