can i use dish soap to clean my shoes 1
can i use dish soap to clean my shoes 1

So you’ve found yourself with a pair of dirty, grimy shoes that desperately need a good cleaning.

But before you go rummaging through your cleaning supplies, wondering what household item could do the trick, let’s address the burning question: Can you use dish soap to clean your beloved shoes?

Yes, you can! Dish soap can be a surprisingly effective cleaning agent for various types of shoes. Whether you have leather, suede, canvas, athletic, or synthetic shoes, dish soap can help remove dirt, stains, and odors, leaving your shoes fresh and clean.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the different types of shoes and their properties and provide step-by-step instructions on how to clean each type using dish soap.

We will also discuss precautions and alternative methods for shoe cleaning. So, let’s dive in and learn how to give your shoes the TLC they deserve!

1. Types of Shoes

Before we delve into the details of cleaning shoes with dish soap, let’s first familiarize ourselves with the different shoes we will discuss in this article.

1.1 Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are a timeless classic and require regular care to maintain beauty. They are known for their durability and versatility, making them popular for formal and casual occasions.

1.2 Suede or Nubuck Shoes

Suede or nubuck shoes have a velvety, textured surface that requires special attention when it comes to cleaning. These shoes are stylish and often chosen for their soft and luxurious feel.

1.3 Canvas or Fabric Shoes

Canvas or fabric shoes are lightweight and breathable, perfect for casual wear and outdoor activities. They are usually easier to clean compared to leather or suede shoes.

1.4 Athletic Shoes

Athletic shoes are designed for sports and physical activities. They have specialized features such as cushioning, stability, and support. Regular cleaning helps maintain their performance and prolong their lifespan.

1.5 Synthetic Shoes

Synthetic shoes are made from artificial materials, such as faux leather or plastics. They are often used as a vegan-friendly alternative to leather and can be found in various styles and colors.

Now that we better understand the different types of shoes, let’s explore the properties of dish soap and how it can be used to clean them effectively.

Can I Use Dish Soap To Clean My Shoes?

2. Properties of Dish Soap

Dish soap is formulated to remove grease, stains, and dirt from dishes and cookware. Its gentle yet effective cleansing properties make it suitable for various tasks, including shoe cleaning. Here are some fundamental properties of dish soap that make it an excellent choice for cleaning shoes:

2.1 Mild Cleansing Agents

Dish soap contains mild cleansing agents designed to break down and remove grease and grime. These agents help lift dirt and stains from the surface of your shoes without causing damage or fading colors.

2.2 Grease and Stain Removal

The powerful grease-cutting properties of dish soap effectively remove oil-based stains from your shoes. Whether you accidentally spilled cooking oil or stepped in a puddle of grease, dish soap can help eliminate those stubborn stains.

2.3 pH Level

Most dish soaps have a balanced pH level, which means they are neither too acidic nor too alkaline. This balanced pH ensures the soap is gentle on your shoes while effectively removing dirt and grime.

2.4 Moisturizing Effects

Some dish soaps contain moisturizing ingredients, such as leather, that can help nourish and condition certain shoes. These moisturizing effects can help prevent drying and cracking, keeping your shoes looking their best.

Now that we know why dish soap is a suitable cleaning agent for shoes let’s move on to the step-by-step instructions for cleaning different types of shoes using dish soap.

Can I Use Dish Soap To Clean My Shoes?

3. Cleaning Leather Shoes with Dish Soap

Leather shoes require special care to maintain their quality and longevity. Cleaning them with dish soap can be an effective method if done correctly. Here’s how:

3.1 Prepare Leather Shoes

Before cleaning your leather shoes, remove any detachable laces or inserts. This will ensure that you can clean every part of the shoe thoroughly.

3.2 Dilute the Dish Soap

In a bowl or sink, dilute a small dish soap with warm water. It’s essential not to use too much soap, which can leave residue on your shoes.

3.3 Apply the Solution to Shoes

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water and wring out any excess liquid. Gently wipe the entire surface of the leather shoes, paying extra attention to any visible dirt or stains.

3.4 Gently Scrub the Surface

For tougher stains or dirt buildup, use a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to gently scrub the affected areas. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, which can damage the leather.

3.5 Rinse and Dry the Shoes

After cleaning, rinse the cloth or sponge and wipe away the soapy residue from the shoes. Next, dampen a clean cloth with plain water and wipe down the shoes to remove any remaining soap. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Cleaning leather shoes with dish soap can help remove dirt and stains, but taking precautions and being gentle is essential. Let’s move on to cleaning suede or nubuck shoes and understand how they require a slightly different approach.

Can I Use Dish Soap To Clean My Shoes?

4. Cleaning Suede or Nubuck Shoes with Dish Soap

Suede or nubuck shoes have delicate surfaces that require specialized care to avoid damaging them. Cleaning them with dish soap can be a safe and effective method when following these steps:

4.1 Prepare Suede or Nubuck Shoes

Remove shoelaces and inserts from your suede or nubuck shoes to access all parts of the shoe for cleaning. This will ensure that the cleaning process is thorough.

4.2 Create a Cleaning Solution

Mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water in a small bowl. Stir the solution gently until it foams slightly. Avoid using too much soap, as this can leave visible residue on your shoes.

4.3 Apply the Solution to Shoes

Dip a soft brush, such as a suede or old toothbrush, into the soapy solution. Gently scrub the surface of the suede or nubuck shoes in circular motions, paying extra attention to stained or dirty areas.

4.4 Brush the Surface

After applying the soapy solution, use the soft brush to brush the entire surface of the shoes in one direction. This will help restore the Nap (the raised fibers on the surface) and remove any remaining dirt or residue.

4.5 Allow to Dry and Restore Nap

After cleaning, allow the shoes to air dry naturally. To restore the Nap, gently brush the surface of the shoes in the opposite direction using a suede brush or a clean, dry toothbrush. This will help maintain the soft and luxurious texture of your suede or nubuck shoes.

Cleaning suede or nubuck shoes with dish soap requires extra care, as these materials are more delicate than leather. Always test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of your shoes before applying it to the entire surface.

Can I Use Dish Soap To Clean My Shoes?

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Lucy Markk
Hi, I'm Lucy Markk, your go-to shoe cleaning expert at With years of experience in the industry, I have built a strong reputation as a reliable source for shoe cleaning tips and tricks. Throughout my career, I have received numerous prizes and rewards for my exceptional techniques and knowledge in keeping shoes looking brand new. I take immense pride in sharing my expertise with readers who are passionate about maintaining the longevity and aesthetics of their footwear. Whether you have a collection of high-end sneakers or need guidance on how to care for your favorite pair of leather boots, I am here to help. My writing philosophy revolves around providing practical, easy-to-follow advice that anyone can implement. I believe that with the right care and maintenance routine, you can extend the lifespan of your shoes and keep them looking their best. Besides being a shoe cleaning expert, I am also a dedicated enthusiast in the shoe industry. I understand the love and connection people have with their shoes, which is why I am committed to delivering content that not only educates but also inspires. Thank you for visiting I invite you to explore the site and discover valuable tips and techniques to make your shoes shine. Stay tuned for regular updates and remember, a little care goes a long way in preserving the beauty of your beloved footwear. Best regards, Lucy Markk