is it ok to clean shoes with baking soda 4
is it ok to clean shoes with baking soda 4

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at your dirty, smelly shoes and wondered how to restore them to their former glory, you’re not alone.

Many shoe enthusiasts and everyday individuals alike are constantly on the lookout for effective and affordable cleaning solutions.

Enter baking soda – the versatile kitchen staple with endless uses. But is it okay to clean your shoes with baking soda?

In this article, we’ll explore whether this household ingredient is a viable option for refreshing your footwear and the potential benefits it may offer.

The Benefits of Cleaning Shoes with Baking Soda

Effectiveness of Baking Soda in Cleaning Shoes

When cleaning your shoes, baking soda is an excellent and effective option. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has natural properties that make it a powerful cleaning agent.

It’s okay; abrasive texture helps to remove dirt, stains, and odours from various shoe materials. Whether you have leather, suede, canvas, or fabric shoes, baking soda can effectively clean them without causing any damage.

Neutralizing Odors

One of the most common problems with shoes is unpleasant odors. Smelly shoes can be embarrassing and off-putting, whether it’s the result of sweat, bacteria, or everyday wear. Luckily, baking soda is a fantastic odor-neutralizer. It works by absorbing and eliminating odors, leaving your shoes smelling fresh and clean. So, if you have been dealing with stinky shoes, baking soda can be a cost-effective and natural solution.

Gentle on Different Shoe Materials

Another great advantage of using baking soda to clean your shoes is its gentle use of different shoe materials. Unlike harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, baking soda won’t damage or discolour your shoes.

It is a safe and versatile option for leather, suede, canvas, and fabric shoes. So, whether you have expensive leather heels or a pair of comfortable canvas sneakers, you can rely on baking soda to clean them effectively without causing harm.

How to Clean Shoes with Baking Soda


Before you begin cleaning your shoes with baking soda, gathering the necessary supplies is essential. You will need a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush, a clean cloth, baking soda, and warm water. Additionally, if you’re dealing with tough stains or scuff marks, you may also want to have some vinegar on hand.

Removing Dirt and Debris

Remove any loose dirt and debris from your shoes to ensure effective cleaning. Use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to remove any visible dirt on the surface and in the crevices of your shoes. This step will make the overall cleaning process easier and more efficient.

Mixing Baking Soda Solution

Next, prepare a baking soda solution to clean your shoes. Mix equal parts baking soda and warm water in a small bowl or container to create a paste-like consistency. Stir the mixture well until the baking soda is completely dissolved.

Applying Baking Soda Solution

Once you have your baking soda solution ready, use a clean cloth or sponge to apply it to the surface of your shoes. Make sure to cover all areas that need cleaning, including stains, scuffs, and areas with noticeable odor. Gently rub the baking soda solution into the fabric or material using circular motions, ensuring an even application.

Scrubbing the Shoes

After applying the baking soda solution, it’s time to scrub your shoes. Use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub the surface of your shoes, focusing on areas with stains or dirt buildup. Be gentle yet thorough, ensuring you cover all areas of your shoes to achieve a deep clean.

Rinsing and Drying

Once you have scrubbed your shoes, it’s crucial to rinse off the baking soda solution thoroughly. Use a clean, damp cloth or sponge to remove any residue from the shoe’s surface.

Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently to ensure complete removal of the baking soda. After rinsing, allow your shoes to air dry naturally. Avoid direct heat sources, which can warp or damage certain shoe materials. Once dry, your shoes will be clean, fresh, and ready to wear.

Is It OK To Clean Shoes With Baking Soda?

Tips and Precautions for Cleaning Shoes with Baking Soda

Testing on a Small Area

Before applying baking soda to your entire shoe, it’s advisable to test it on a small, inconspicuous area. This step is essential, especially for delicate or sensitive shoe materials. Apply a small amount of the baking soda solution to a less visible area and monitor for any adverse reactions. If no damage or discolouration occurs, you can proceed with confidence.

Avoiding Excessive Moisture

While regular cleaning is essential, excessive moisture can harm certain shoe materials. Baking soda solution should be used sparingly, and you should avoid soaking your shoes or leaving them in a wet environment for too long. Excessive moisture can cause warping, stretching, or even mold growth. It’s crucial to strike a balance between achieving a thorough cleaning and protecting the integrity of your shoes.

Using Baking Soda Alternatives

In rare cases where baking soda is unavailable or unsuitable for your shoes, alternative cleaning options exist. For example, cornstarch or talcum powder can absorb moisture and neutralize odours.

You can apply them to your shoes, leave them overnight, and then remove the powder in the morning. While not as versatile as baking soda, these alternatives can effectively solve specific shoe-cleaning needs.

Considering Professional Cleaning

If you have valuable or antique shoes or are unsure about cleaning them yourself, it’s always wise to consider professional shoe cleaning services.

Professional cleaners have the expertise and knowledge to handle different shoes and materials. They can ensure your shoes are cleaned correctly and safely, providing you with peace of mind and prolonging the lifespan of your beloved footwear.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using Too Much Baking Soda

While baking soda is an effective cleaning agent, using too much can have adverse effects. Excessive baking soda can leave a white residue on your shoes, making them dull or discoloured. Remember to use baking soda sparingly and ensure thorough rinsing to avoid residue buildup.

Ignoring Manufacturer’s Instructions

Each shoe is unique, and various shoe materials have specific cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.

It’s essential to read and follow these instructions carefully. Ignoring the manufacturer’s instructions can lead to unintentional damage to your shoes, compromising their appearance and durability. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines before using baking soda or any cleaning agent on your shoes.

Not Letting Shoes Dry Completely

After cleaning your shoes, proper drying is crucial. Failing to let your shoes dry completely can result in mould or mildew growth, leading to unpleasant odours and deterioration of the shoe material. Allow your shoes to air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources, until they are scorched before wearing or storing them.

Not Removing Residual Baking Soda

While rinsing your shoes after cleaning is essential, ensuring the complete removal of any residual baking soda is equally important.

The leftover baking soda can lead to an uncomfortable and gritty sensation when wearing your shoes. Ensure to thoroughly rinse and wipe your shoes to remove any remaining baking soda particles.

Is It OK To Clean Shoes With Baking Soda?

Different Methods for Cleaning Different Types of Shoes

Cleaning Leather Shoes

To clean leather shoes with baking soda, follow the abovementioned general cleaning process. However, take extra care to avoid excess moisture or vigorous scrubbing, as it can damage the natural oils and finish of the leather. After cleaning, consider conditioning the leather with a leather conditioner to keep it soft, supple, and well-maintained.

Cleaning Suede or Nubuck Shoes

Cleaning suede or nubuck shoes requires special attention, as these materials are more delicate. Start by using a suede brush or suede eraser to remove any surface dirt or stains gently.

Then, create a baking soda solution by mixing baking soda with water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the stains or dirty areas using a clean cloth or sponge. Allow it to sit for a few hours or overnight, then use a suede brush to brush off the dried paste and restore the suede’s texture.

Cleaning Canvas or Fabric Shoes

Canvas shoes, such as sneakers or espadrilles, can be easily cleaned using baking soda. Follow the general cleaning process outlined above, applying the baking soda solution to the canvas surface.

Use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub away dirt and stains. Make sure to rinse off any baking soda residue thoroughly. To speed up the drying process, stuff the shoes with crumpled newspaper or fabric and leave them in a well-ventilated area.

Removing Stubborn Stains and Scuff Marks

Spot Cleaning with Baking Soda Paste

A baking soda paste can work wonders for stubborn stains or scuff marks. Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a thick paste. Apply the paste directly to the stain or scuff mark and let it sit for a few minutes.

Gently scrub the area with a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush, working the paste into the stain. Rinse off the baking soda residue, and repeat if necessary until the stain or scuff mark is removed.

Using Vinegar for Tough Stains

If your shoes have adamant stains, vinegar can be a helpful addition to your cleaning process. After applying the baking soda paste, sprinkle a few drops of vinegar onto the stained area.

The vinegar will react with the baking soda, creating a mild bubbling effect. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before gently scrubbing the stain with a brush. Finally, rinse off the residue and assess the stain’s removal. Repeat the process if needed.

Erasing Scuff Marks with Baking Soda

Scuff marks can be unsightly, but they can be easily erased with baking soda. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda directly onto the scuff mark. Use a damp cloth or sponge to gently rub the baking soda into the mark using circular motions.

Continue until the scuff mark is no longer visible. Wipe away any residue and rinse the area to reveal your scuff-free shoes.

Is It OK To Clean Shoes With Baking Soda?

Extending the Lifespan of Your Shoes

Regular Cleaning Routine

Cleaning your shoes with baking soda regularly can help extend their lifespan. By removing dirt, stains, and odors promptly, you prevent them from settling deep into the material and causing further damage. Implement a cleaning routine, especially for frequently worn shoes, to keep them in excellent condition for longer.

Proper Storage

Proper storage plays a vital role in preserving your shoes. Store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use.

Avoid overcrowding your shoe storage area, as this can lead to misshaping or creasing. Use shoe trees or stuffers to help retain the shoes’ shape and absorb excess moisture.

Protective Measures

Using protective measures can significantly reduce the potential for damage to your shoes. Consider applying a water-repellent spray or protective coating to your shoes to guard against spills, stains, and moisture.

Additionally, invest in appropriate shoe maintenance products, such as leather conditioners or suede protectors, to nourish and protect the specific material of your shoes. By taking these precautions, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your favorite footwear.

Other Uses of Baking Soda for Shoe Care

Deodorizing Shoes

Baking soda is renowned for its deodorizing properties, making it an excellent solution for smelly shoes. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda directly into your shoes and let it sit overnight.

The baking soda will absorb odors, leaving your shoes fresh and odor-free. Simply shake out the excess baking soda in the morning, and your shoes will be ready to wear.

Absorbing Moisture

Moisture buildup can lead to unpleasant smells and mould growth in your shoes. Baking soda can effectively absorb moisture and prevent these issues.

Stuff a small muslin bag filled with baking soda or sprinkle some directly into your shoes when unused. The baking soda will absorb excess moisture, keeping your shoes dry and free from unpleasant odors.

Cleaning Shoe Insoles

Shoe insoles can accumulate dirt and odour over time, making them uncomfortable and unhygienic. Baking soda can be a simple yet effective solution for cleaning shoe insoles. Remove the insoles from your shoes and sprinkle baking soda directly onto them.

Let the baking soda sit overnight or overnight to absorb odours and moisture. Shake off the excess baking soda and give the insoles a gentle wipe with a damp cloth before placing them back in the shoes.

Is It OK To Clean Shoes With Baking Soda?

Considerations for Allergies and Sensitivities

Testing for Allergic Reactions

While baking soda is generally safe for most people, testing for any potential allergic reactions before using it extensively on your shoes is essential.

Apply a small amount of the baking soda solution to a small area on your skin, such as the inside of your wrist. Monitor the area for any signs of irritation, redness, or discomfort. If any adverse reactions occur, discontinue use and seek alternatives.

Seeking Medical Advice

If you have known allergies or sensitivities to baking soda or its components, consult a healthcare professional before using it on your shoes. They can provide personalized advice and recommend alternative cleaning methods or products that are safe for you.

Exploring Alternatives

If you have allergies or sensitivities to baking soda, alternative shoe-cleaning methods are available.

Look for natural or hypoallergenic shoe-cleaning products specifically formulated for sensitive individuals. These alternatives can provide effective cleaning without triggering any allergic reactions.


Cleaning your shoes with baking soda is a practical and, budget-friendly, and natural solution. With its ability to tackle dirt, stains, and odours, baking soda is a versatile cleaning agent for a wide range of shoe materials.

By following the proper cleaning techniques, you can maintain the cleanliness and freshness of your shoes while extending their lifespan.

Remember to consider the specific needs of different shoe materials and take precautions to avoid common mistakes. Whether you’re dealing with stubborn stains, scuff marks, or unpleasant odours, baking soda can help restore your shoes to their former glory.

So give your shoes the TLC they deserve using the power of baking soda!

Is It OK To Clean Shoes With Baking Soda?

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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