5 Tips for How to Clean Shoes

Photo: bee32 (Getty Images)

It doesn’t matter what type of shoes you wear, you just need to know how to maintain them properly. Here are some tips on how to clean shoes that will undoubtedly help you with this arduous task. That being said, some shoes are easier to clean than others. For example, leather shoes demand extra care and special products that won’t damage the material. White sneakers, for example, you need to clean daily in order to maintain that white color. Rubber soles tend to be great for winter but they also attract dirt that can be a nightmare to clean. Anyways, take a look at these shoe cleaning tips.


We’ll start things off with one element people tend to forget – shoelaces. Although it does not seem like it, shoelaces can also get quite dirty considering how they’re often dragged along the road. On the other hand, if you’re one of those people who tuck in their shoelaces in their shoes, there’s no doubt that they’ll absorb some of the sweat and smell inside. How do you clean them? Just toss them in a washing machine and it will be fine. Alternatively, you can just soak them in a baking soda dissolution, to absorb that odor.


One of the most troublesome parts of a shoe for cleaning is definitely the outsole. That is the part that is in direct contact with the ground and can carry mud, pebbles, and all other types of debris. The best way to clean it is to find an old toothbrush and gently scrape the mud and pebbles off it. You don’t need to get everything super clean as this is just a starting point. After that, you need to make a water and soap mix to apply to the sole. You can use a spray bottle, but you certainly don’t have to. Use a brush and scrub it clean.


Some shoes have detachable insoles, some don’t, so you need to figure out which type is yours. If they are detachable, take them out, and wash them in a washing machine together with the shoelaces. Most of the time, however, they just need to be aired out so you can hang them on a clothing line and wait. If the insole is not detachable, you can simply put some baking soda in your shoe and leave it overnight. It will absorb most, if not all the odors. All you need to do in the morning is vacuum all the baking soda and throw it away. In fact, baking soda can help with most odors in your home.


Now, when it comes to removing paint stains or pieces of gum, you might need to use a somewhat different approach. You can either try to put the shoe in your freezer (in a bag, of course) and later scrape it off. This will only work if your shoe is made up of a strong material. If now, you can try your luck with the lighter fluid. Apparently, it can remove any stains or unfortunate gum problems. You just need to be extremely careful with it and make sure you wash the shoe afterward.

Tips on How to Clean Shoes

  • Protective sprays are easy to use and can extend your shoes’ life by a lot.
  • One of the greatest problems in the winter is not the snow but the salt that is poured on the road to keep people from sliding. Salt can damage your shoes if you don’t remove it as soon as you reach your destination.
  • If you decide to wash your shoes in the washing machine, make sure you wrap them in some clothes to stop them from damaging your machine.
  • Vinegar also works great as a stain remover. Dilute it with some water to prevent damage.

Do you have your own ideas on how to clean shoes properly? Share them in the comment section below.