A proper cleaning routine for your best shoes is really the only way to make sure they last long enough to really be worth what you paid for them. From a swanky pair of leather loafers to a new pair of heals, proper shoe care is the way to make them last. Doing it regularly means that it will never be a big job, and it will have your shoes looking nearly as good as new for significantly longer than they otherwise would.
The only thing that could complicate matters is, unfortunately, that different types of shoes require different cleaning regimens. This is simply because different shoes are made of different materials. While there are some techniques that apply in all cases – scrubbing off loose dirt, airing out your shoes, using a shoe deodorizer, and so on – you would need to follow a different method depending on whether you are cleaning fabric shoes, leather, suede, nubuck, or other materials.
Do This in All Cases
There are certainly things you should be sure to do to all kinds of shoes. Among these things is deodorizing your shoes properly. By using a top shoe deodorizer, like ShoeFresh for example, you can safely deodorize any type of shoe. Moreover, you will only have to do it once every couple of months or so. Going with a lower quality deodorizer could require you do it more often, which could lead to quicker degradation. Remember also that deodorization is a great finishing touch to be applied after cleaning is completed.
How to Clean Different Materials
Without giving a full run down of the cleaning method for every different shoe, here are the most important things to remember when cleaning shoes composed of different materials:
When cleaning fabric – or canvas – shoes, the most important thing to remember is that, while you might have heard that fabric shoes can simply be tossed in the washer, this is actually a bad idea if you want them to last. Fabric shoes can indeed withstand getting wet and getting applied with detergent or soap, but the aggressive motion of a washer can warp or tear the fabric. Instead, the best way to go is to wash your fabric shoes by hand with a scrubber and a basin of warm water and detergent.
Most people are aware that caring for leather takes a little extra diligence. Indeed, leather will not react well to any kind of soap solution. Instead, you should clean them by hand with a cold solution of water and white vinegar before allowing them to completely air-dry. This method is for cleaning off dirt – to deal with scuffs, shoe polish is safe to use. Just be sure to follow the brand instructions.
Suede, Nubuck, and Sheepskin
For these kinds of shoes, regular care is essential. The reason it’s important to clean these shoes often is that they do not react well to any kind of intensive cleaning methods. You should use a soft-bristled brush and clean the shoes dry by simply knocking off any dirt. For wet stains, you need to act fast; blot with a dry paper towel to absorb the moisture before cleaning them dry again.
We’ll finish with the simplest shoes to clean. The great thing about athletic or tennis shoes is that, yes, you really can just toss them into the washer. However, be sure to use a gentle setting when you do so in order to minimize the agitation they undergo.
Caring for shoes undoubtedly takes diligence, but the extra life you will get out of them more than makes this worth it.