HOW TO: Footwear care

by Citlali Moreno

A shoe lover’s nightmare: someone stepping on their brand new, white kicks.

No matter how cautious one may be, getting shoes dirty is unavoidable. Before throwing away a pair of soiled shoes, there are a few common household items that can quickly help clean shoes and save money from having to buy a new pair. However, cleaning shoes mainly depends on the material.

Restoring the former glory of white shoes, according to, requires one tablespoon of baking soda, half a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, half a tablespoon of warm water and a small scrub brush or a toothbrush. Users mix the ingredients together and apply the paste with the brush, then gently scrub any stains or discoloration, and let the solution sit for 30 minutes. Finally, users rinse with water and the shoes should look brand new. Hydrogen peroxide is a non-chlorine bleach, so when it is combined with baking soda, bubbles form that can lift stains and clean fabrics.

Another seemingly challenging shoe material to clean is canvas, a plain-woven fabric. According to, one needs to fill a bucket with warm water and make a lather with one to two tablespoons of mild laundry detergent. The next step is to hold the shoes above the bucket and scrub the outside with a toothbrush, then gently dip the shoes in water to wash off the dirt. One can continue scrubbing, then rinse with warm water, and use a towel to squeeze excess water from the shoes. Finally, users leave the shoes to dry in the sun, since direct heat can weaken the glue used to hold this kind of shoe together, affecting the texture of the canvas.

Students can take precautionary measures, however, to prevent stains on shoes from occurring as easily. A simple solution, according to, is using a clear taper candle to create a waterproof shoe. First one should rub the candle on the outside material so that the wax residue is visible on the shoe fabric. The next step is to grab a hair dryer so that it is blowing hot air directly on the wax. This results in the wax coat transforming into a clear coat which acts as a protective barrier. It should be noted that this technique is not suited for leather or suede products.

As suited for the weather, leather has been a primary material for shoes that may seem challenging to clean. According to, removing spots or stains on leather shoes is most effective with alcohol. Just dip a cotton swab in alcohol and rub the affected area.

Suede is a type of leather sanded on the inner layer skin of the animal. According to,when cleaning suede, one can mix together two tablespoons of baking soda and warm water. Using a cloth, users apply a small amount of the paste to the mark and scrub, then add more paste as needed. Finally, one wipes the paste off with a clean damp cloth and dries the shoe.

The next time students consider throwing away dirty shoes, they can now instead give their shoes another shot to shine.

Leave a Reply