How to Clean Leather Shoes step by step Guide

As part of the “How to clean your shoes” series, today we’ll be focusing on leather shoes. We will go through the different techniques you can use to remove dirt, dust, and stains from these kinds of footwear.

If you’ve got any more advice or know some great tips that are not mentioned below don’t hesitate to share it with us by leaving a comment!

Let’s get started:

Attack stubborn stains with toothpaste

You may have tried this method yourself even if it wasn’t for your shoes. Toothpaste is definitely one of the most used household products when it comes to fighting tough stains on different surfaces. This fact won’t surprise anyone since its active ingredient which is generally called triclosan has strong antibacterial properties.

If you remember, we’ve already told you to use toothpaste for other purposes like improving headphone sound quality, removing water stains from wood, and fixing scratched plastic surfaces.

Here’s how it works:

  • First of all, make sure that the leather is not wet (water may leave stains behind).     
  • Put some toothpaste on a clean cloth or cotton bud (Q-tip) and gently rub it into the stain.   
  • Allow the paste to work its magic for about 10 minutes then wipe off any excess with a damp cloth.        
  • Don’t scrub as strong movements may damage the surface of your shoes! Also don’t allow products containing bleach near your footwear since they will remove the color from certain elements.

Sometimes you can even use toothpaste to clean leather shoes that are made from various types of materials, like nubuck.

Smooth your rough textures with pumice stone (for suede)

Suede leather is great for winter footwear because it provides warmth and absorb moisture keeping our feet dry. Unfortunately, this type of material tends to become rough over time due to aging, environmental factors or simply by rubbing against surfaces like cotton t-shirts. This often makes the texture feel coarse and unpleasant (try wearing them without socks).

One great way to fix this issue is by using a fine grain pumice stone . Make sure that the shoe surface has been wiped clean first then rub gently following the direction of the fibers.

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Be careful not to apply too much pressure as rough strokes may create unwanted scratches on the surface. In addition, don’t use this tool on leather that has been treated with water or wax since it can absorb moisture from the pumice stone!

Treat scuffs and scratches by hand

Sometimes when your shoes have been used for a long time, you might notice some light scuffing in the leather. If this is accompanied by a subtle color change you can easily restore its original look just by using a cotton swab and a bit of moisturizing lotion . Make sure that your hands are clean before putting product on them then gently rub applying small circular movements until all marks have been removed.        A little tip: if your shoes are made from suede leather you can use the same method but this time, don’t use moisturizing lotion.

Clean with white spirit (for nubuck)

This type of material is often overlooked by shoe care experts because it’s not as popular as other types like full-grain or smooth leather. Fortunately there are great ways to keep it looking pristine even if you wear them for a long time every day. One great tool is white spirit which can be safely applied on many kinds of nubuck surfaces. Make sure that the upper surface has been completely dried first then use a clean cloth to rub gently following the structure of the grains. This will strengthen their appearance and help repel water making sure that no liquids get trapped.

Clean up with a toothbrush (for suede)

If your shoes have been made from smooth or nubuck leather you can definitely use a toothbrush for this purpose. You’ll need one that has soft bristles and it’s best if you use the kind of brush that has small rounded tips to make this job easier. In addition, avoid products containing bleach since they may alter the color of certain materials!

This tool is particularly useful when you want to get rid of dust from crevices or remove dead skin cells from tough to reach surfaces like underneath the soles . Simply put some toothpaste on it then gently rub following the structure of suede fields making circular movements. This will prevent water stains from forming so you can leave it overnight to give it time to work its magic then wipe away any remaining toothpaste.

One great way to clean leather is by using a cloth with soap and water: this ensures that no residual product is left after rinsing and prevents hard stains from forming on the surface. Just soak your cloth in warm water making sure that there isn’t any soap present, apply it on the stained areas for about five seconds then rinse with cold water until all of the soap has been removed.

You should know that some types of leather may need special treatment – for example nubuck or suede can become stiff if too much wax or silicone is applied while products containing acids shouldn’t be used surfaces that have been treated with water or wax.

Clean leather shoes by removing stains with toothpaste

First of all, you’ll need to use a toothbrush that has soft bristles and it’s best if you choose the kind which uses rounded ends so that it can be applied directly on the stained area.   Another great tip is not to use abrasive cleaning products because they may alter the color of your shoe!

Step 1

Make sure that both surfaces are free from dust before starting this process – simply wipe them clean using a damp cotton cloth. Also note that some types of material need special attention so avoid using water or wax treatments before applying any product.

Step 2   

Apply some toothpaste on the stain then gently brush in circular motions until it disappears completely. Keep in mind that you should never scrub too hard because this may damage the surface or alter its color!

Step 3

Rinse thoroughly with water using a clean cloth until all of the product has been removed – for best results, use cold water to prevent altering the material. Finally, leave them to dry naturally so that they don’t lose their shape.                         

How to choose the right polish

Surfaces like nubuck and suede are often ignored by shoe care experts but thanks to advancements in technology there are lots of products designed specifically for these kinds of surfaces. They are much easier to apply than standard polishes because their firm texture holds small particles which form an abrasive layer on top of your shoes preventing liquids from penetrating the material.

One great feature of this type of product is that they are usually designed to be used on both dry and wet surfaces – in fact, some brands use water or sweat to form a protective barrier against liquids!  Thus, you shouldn’t hesitate about using these products because their solvent properties allow them to remove dirt particles easily without altering the shoe’s appearance. Just remember that applying too much product may damage your shoes so try not to overdo it!

How often should you clean your shoes?

This part is quite easy since most manufacturers provide guidelines about how often people should perform this task. Usually it ranges from once every six months to at least twice in one year although in some cases wearing in-depth treatments can help you reduce this time to once every six weeks. If you want to be sure then the best thing that you can do is ask your friends or family members about how often they clean their shoes and go for a similar schedule.

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