Give worn shoes a makeover with these simple cleaning tricks. Here’s how to clean shoes—without buying expensive products.
How to clean shoes mostly depends on their material. For leather shoes, clean off debris by wiping a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar over the stains. Once your shoes are dry, rub them with a soft cloth. Buff scuffs away with a wet cloth dipped into baking soda. Wipe your shoes off, then buff them once more after they’ve dried.
Patent leather shoes
If your patent leather flats or heels have unsightly marks, rub some petroleum jelly into the scuff using a cotton swab. If all they need is a little shining, spritz on some glass cleaner for a like-new sheen.
Working in one direction, use a nailbrush or scrub brush to gently buff stains away. Once you’ve gotten the surface dirt off, add pressure and go back and forth with the brush to work at the deep stains. If necessary, follow up by scrubbing hard with a white eraser. You can also use a nail file. For truly stubborn stains, use a white washcloth to rub white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to attack the spot, or use it all over to brighten the suede. (Don’t worry—they won’t leave water marks.) Don’t miss these genius tricks to make your shoes last longer.
Using a nailbrush or scrub brush, gently wipe off debris from the outside of your boot. Then grab a white eraser to rub away more stubborn stains. Now, wipe the outside of the shoe with a damp cloth—if it’s too wet, you could ruin the material. Using a solution of equal parts cold water and distilled vinegar, gently work at the areas in need of spot cleaning. Finish by wiping the solution off with a damp cloth, then stuffing your boots with newspaper so they keep their shape while drying.