Cleaning your shoes can be a hassle, but did you know you can clean them naturally without harsh chemicals?
In this article, we will explore some simple and eco-friendly methods to keep your shoes looking fresh and clean.
Whether they are made of leather, canvas, or suede, you’ll find easy and effective ways to remove dirt and stains.
Say goodbye to expensive cleaners, and hello to a greener way of shoe cleaning!
How to Clean Shoes Naturally?
Keeping your shoes clean and well-maintained is not only crucial for their appearance but also for their longevity. Regular cleaning helps remove dirt, stains, and odor and ensures that your shoes stay fresh and comfortable.
While many commercial shoe cleaning products are available, you can also clean your shoes naturally using simple household materials. In this article, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning different types of shoes using natural ingredients.
1. Materials Needed
Before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s gather the materials you’ll need to clean your shoes naturally. These materials can be easily found in most households:
- Natural Soap or Detergent: Choose a mild soap or detergent without harsh chemicals that can damage the shoe material.
- Water: Clean water is essential for rinsing off the cleaning solution.
- Soft Brush: Use a brush with soft bristles to avoid scratching or damaging the shoe surface.
- White Vinegar: Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that removes stains and odors.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda is known for its odor-absorbing properties and can help eliminate funky smells from your shoes.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent that can help lighten stains on certain shoe materials.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil can condition and moisturize leather shoes.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is effective in absorbing grease stains from suede shoes.
- Toothpaste: Non-gel toothpaste can treat scuffs and stains on shoes.
Now that you have all the necessary materials, let’s move on to cleaning.
2. Preparing the Shoes
Before you start cleaning your shoes, preparing them properly is important. Follow these steps to ensure a thorough and efficient cleaning process:
– Remove the Laces
Start by removing the laces from your shoes. This will allow you to clean the entire shoe surface without any obstructions.
– Brush Off Loose Dirt
Take a soft brush and gently brush off any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the shoes. This will make cleaning more accessible and prevent dirt from spreading or getting trapped in the shoe material.
– Check for Stains or Spills
Inspect your shoes for any visible stains or spills. Identifying these spots beforehand will help you choose the correct cleaning method for your specific shoes.
– Identify Shoe Material
Different shoe materials require different cleaning techniques. Determine the type of material your shoes are made from, whether it’s leather, suede, canvas, mesh, rubber, or plastic. This will help you choose the appropriate cleaning method and avoid damaging the shoes.
– Read Manufacturer’s Instructions
If your shoes come with specific care instructions from the manufacturer, it’s essential to read and follow them accordingly. This will ensure that you clean your shoes most effectively and safely.
Now that your shoes are ready for cleaning, let’s move on to the specific cleaning methods for different shoes.
3. Cleaning Leather Shoes
– Mix Soap or Detergent with Water
Mix a few drops of natural soap or detergent in a small bowl or bucket with water to create a cleaning solution. Ensure the solution is well-diluted to avoid leaving any residue on the shoes.
– Dip a Soft Brush into the Solution
Dip a soft brush into the cleaning solution and gently scrub the leather surface in circular motions. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid scratching or damaging the leather.
– Gently Scrub the Leather Surface
Continue scrubbing the leather surface until all dirt and stains are removed. Pay extra attention to areas with visible stains or spills.
– Wipe Away Excess Soap
Wipe away any excess soap or detergent from the shoe surface using a clean, damp cloth or sponge. Make sure to remove all residue to prevent any damage to the leather.
– Rinse with Clean Water
Once the soap residue is wiped away, rinse the shoes with clean water to remove any remaining traces of soap.
– Remove Soap Residue
Gently blot the shoes with a clean towel or cloth to remove excess water and ensure no soap residue is left behind.
– Allow Shoes to Air Dry
Place your leather shoes in a well-ventilated area, allowing them to air dry naturally. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources, which can cause the leather to crack or fade.
– Condition the Leather
After your leather shoes are completely dry, apply a small amount of olive oil to a soft cloth and gently rub it onto the surface of the shoes. This will help condition and moisturize the leather, keeping it soft and supple.
Cleaning your leather shoes regularly using this natural method will help maintain their appearance and quality, ensuring they last long.
4. Cleaning Suede Shoes
Suede shoes require special care to avoid damaging their delicate texture. Here’s how you can clean suede shoes naturally:
– Remove Stains with a Brush or Eraser
Using a suede brush or eraser, gently rub the stains in a circular motion. This will help lift and remove surface dirt or stains without damaging the suede.
– Use Cornstarch to Absorb Grease Stains
If your suede shoes have grease stains, sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch on the affected area. Let it sit for a few hours, allowing the cornstarch to absorb the grease. Once the stain is dry, gently brush off the cornstarch with a suede brush.
– Remove Odors with Baking Soda
To eliminate unpleasant odors from your suede shoes, sprinkle some baking soda inside them and let them sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb any lingering smells. In the morning, brush off the baking soda with a suede brush.
– Revive the Suede with a Toothbrush
To restore the texture of your suede shoes, use a soft toothbrush to brush the suede in one direction. This will help lift the fibers and restore their softness and appearance.
– Brush the Suede to Restore Texture
After you’ve brushed the suede in one direction, use the suede brush to gently brush the suede back and forth to restore its texture further.
– Spray with Vinegar Solution
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the suede surface, being careful not to saturate it. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally. The vinegar will help remove any remaining stains and odors from the suede.
Cleaning your suede shoes using these natural methods will help maintain their texture and keep them looking fresh and clean.
5. Cleaning Canvas Shoes
Canvas shoes are famous for their casual and comfortable style. Here’s how you can clean canvas shoes naturally:
– Make a Baking Soda Paste
Mix baking soda with a small amount of water in a small bowl to create a paste-like consistency.
– Apply the Paste to Stains
Use a sponge or cloth to apply the baking soda paste directly to any stains or dirty areas on your canvas shoes. Gently rub the paste onto the surface, focusing on the stained areas.
– Scrub with a Toothbrush
Scrub the baking soda paste into the canvas material using a toothbrush, working in circular motions. This will help lift the stains and dirt from the fabric.
– Rinse with Clean Water
Once you’ve scrubbed the stains, rinse your canvas shoes with clean water to remove any remaining baking soda.
– Air Dry the Shoes
Place your canvas shoes in a well-ventilated area, allowing them to air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat sources, as they can damage the fabric.
– Remove Lingering Odors
If your canvas shoes have any lingering odors, sprinkle baking soda inside them and let them sit overnight. In the morning, shake out the baking soda or use a vacuum cleaner to remove it.
– Spot Clean Specific Areas
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for any stubborn stains that didn’t come off with the baking soda paste. Lightly mist the stain and gently scrub it with a toothbrush. Rinse with clean water and allow the shoes to air dry.
Cleaning your canvas shoes regularly using these natural methods will help keep them looking fresh and ready to wear.
6. Cleaning Mesh Shoes
Mesh shoes are lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for athletic activities. Here’s how you can clean mesh shoes naturally:
– Remove Dirt and Dust
Start by removing any loose dirt or dust from the surface of your mesh shoes. Gently tap the shoes together to remove any debris.
– Create a Vinegar Solution
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl or bucket to create a gentle cleaning solution.
– Dip a Cloth in the Solution
Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the vinegar solution and wring out any excess liquid. You want the cloth to be slightly damp, not dripping wet.
– Wipe the Mesh Surface
Using the damp cloth, gently wipe the mesh surface of your shoes, paying extra attention to any dirty or stained areas. Avoid applying too much pressure to prevent damaging the delicate mesh fabric.
– Spot Clean Stubborn Stains
Create a paste using baking soda and water for stubborn stains that don’t come off with the vinegar solution. Apply the paste to the stained areas and gently scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse with clean water and wipe dry.
– Let the Shoes Dry Naturally
Place your mesh shoes in a well-ventilated area, allowing them to air dry naturally. Avoid direct heat sources, which can warp or shrink the mesh fabric.
Cleaning your mesh shoes using these natural methods will help maintain their breathability and keep them looking clean and fresh.
7. Cleaning Rubber or Plastic Shoes
Rubber or plastic shoes, such as rain boots or flip-flops, are durable and easy to clean. Here’s how you can clean them naturally:
– Wipe Away Surface Dirt
Wipe away any surface dirt or debris from your rubber or plastic shoes using a damp cloth or sponge. This will help prepare them for deeper cleaning.
– Prepare a Soapy Solution
Fill a bucket or basin with warm water and add a few drops of natural soap or detergent. Mix until the solution becomes foamy.
– Scrub the Shoes with a Brush
Dip a brush with soft bristles into the soapy solution and gently scrub your rubber or plastic shoes. Pay attention to any stained or dirty areas, and be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it can scratch the surface of your shoes.
– Remove Soap Residue
Remove excess soap or detergent from your shoes using a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse the shoes with clean water to remove any remaining residue.
– Dry the Shoes Completely
Wipe the shoes dry with a clean towel or cloth and let them air dry completely. Ensure that they thoroughly dry before storing them to prevent mold or mildew growth.
Following these natural cleaning methods, you can keep your rubber or plastic shoes looking clean and ready for any outdoor adventure.
8. Deodorizing Shoes
Along with cleaning your shoes, keeping them smelling fresh and odor-free is essential. Here are some natural methods to deodorize your shoes:
– Sprinkle Baking Soda Inside the Shoes
Baking soda is known for its odor-absorbing properties. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside your shoes and let it sit overnight to absorb unpleasant smells.
– Let the Baking Soda Sit
Allow the baking soda to sit in your shoes overnight or for at least a few hours to absorb the odors effectively.
– Remove the Baking Soda
In the morning, shake the baking soda from your shoes or use a vacuum cleaner to remove it. Remove all traces of the baking soda before wearing your shoes.
– Use Dryer Sheets
Place a scented dryer sheet inside each shoe to keep them smelling fresh. The fragrance from the dryer sheet will mask any unpleasant odors.
– Apply Essential Oils
Dab a few drops of your favorite essential oil onto a cotton ball and place it inside your shoes. This will leave a pleasant aroma and help eliminate any lingering odors.
– Freeze the Funky Odors
Place shoes with stubborn or persistent odors in a sealable plastic bag and keep them in the freezer overnight. The freezing temperature will kill off odor-causing bacteria.
– Sun-Dry Your Shoes
Place your shoes in direct sunlight on a sunny day for a few hours. The sun’s rays will help kill bacteria and eliminate odors naturally.
By following these deodorizing methods, you can ensure that your shoes look clean and smell fresh and pleasant.
9. Storing Clean Shoes
Once you have cleaned and deodorized your shoes, storing them properly is important to maintain their condition. Here are some tips for storing your clean shoes:
– Allow the Shoes to Fully Dry
Before storing your shoes, make sure they are scorched. Moisture can lead to mold or mildew growth, causing damage to the shoes.
– Stuff the Shoes with Newspaper
To help maintain the shape of your shoes, stuff them with crumpled newspaper. This will help absorb any lingering moisture and keep the shoes in good condition.
– Protect with Fabric Bags or Shoe Boxes
Place your clean shoes in fabric shoe bags or boxes to protect them from dust, dirt, and potential damage. This will also help keep them organized.
– Store in a Cool, Dry Place
Find a cool, dry place to store your shoes, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Extreme temperatures can damage the shoe material over time.
By storing your clean shoes properly, you can extend their lifespan and keep them in excellent condition for future use.
10. Additional Tips and Warnings
Here are some additional tips and warnings to keep in mind while cleaning your shoes naturally:
– Test Cleaning Solutions on a Small Area First
Always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of your shoes before applying it to the entire surface. This will help ensure that the solution doesn’t damage or discolor the material.
– Avoid Submerging Shoes in Water
Unless specifically mentioned by the manufacturer, avoid submerging your shoes fully in water. Excess water can damage certain shoe materials and weaken the glue that holds the shoes together.
– Do Not Use Harsh Chemicals on Shoes
Natural cleaning methods are generally safe for most shoe materials. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can cause irreversible shoe damage.
– Follow the Manufacturer’s Care Instructions
If your shoes come with specific care instructions from the manufacturer, it’s essential to follow them. These instructions are tailored to the specific shoe material and will help you clean and maintain your shoes correctly.
– Consider Consulting a Professional
If you have expensive or delicate shoes that require special care, consider consulting a professional shoe cleaner. They have the expertise and specialized tools to clean and restore shoes without causing any damage.
Cleaning your shoes naturally helps maintain their appearance and condition and reduces exposure to harmful chemicals found in many commercial cleaning products. Following the step-by-step methods mentioned in this article, you can keep your shoes clean, fresh, and ready to accompany you on your daily adventures.