what vinegar and what to use for shoes cleaning 3
what vinegar and what to use for shoes cleaning 3

Have you ever wondered how to effectively clean your shoes without expensive cleaning products?

Look no further because vinegar might be the affordable and natural solution you’re looking for.

In this article, we’ll explore the various types of vinegar you can use to clean your shoes and which ones work best for different stains and materials.

Say goodbye to dirty shoes and hello to a fresh, clean pair – all with the help of vinegar!

What Vinegar And What To Use For Shoes Cleaning?

Different Types of Vinegar for Shoes Cleaning

Vinegar can be a highly effective and natural solution when cleaning your shoes. There are several different types of vinegar that you can use, each with its unique properties and benefits.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a versatile and affordable option for cleaning your shoes. It is a mild acid and is known for its disinfectant properties. White vinegar can effectively eliminate odor, remove stains, and clean and condition leather shoes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another popular choice for shoe cleaning. It is made from fermented apple juice and has a slightly sweet and fruity aroma. Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a dark, richly flavored vinegar often used in cooking. While it may not be the first choice for shoes cleaning, it can be effective in removing stains from certain types of shoes, such as fabric or canvas.

Distilled Vinegar

Distilled vinegar, also known as white distilled vinegar, is made from distilled alcohol. It is a clear, colorless liquid that is a popular choice for cleaning purposes. Distilled vinegar can be used to clean and deodorize shoes and remove stains.

Benefits of Using Vinegar for Shoes Cleaning

Now that we’ve explored the different types of vinegar let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using vinegar for shoe cleaning.

Natural Disinfectant

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, making it an excellent choice for cleaning your shoes. It can help to kill bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that may be present on your shoes. By using vinegar, you can ensure that your shoes are clean and free from potentially harmful pathogens.

Eliminates Odor

One of the most common issues with shoes is odor. Whether it’s caused by bacteria or simply the accumulation of sweat and dirt, vinegar can help to eliminate unwanted smells. The acidic nature of vinegar helps to neutralize odor-causing compounds, leaving your shoes smelling fresh and clean.

Removes Stains

Vinegar is also effective in removing stains from your shoes. Whether it’s grass stains on your canvas sneakers or scuff marks on your leather shoes, vinegar can help to break down and lift the stains. Simply apply a vinegar solution to the stained area and gently scrub with a brush or cloth.

Cleans and Conditions Leather

Vinegar can be a great natural cleaner and conditioner if you have leather shoes. It helps to remove dirt and grime, while also preserving and nourishing the leather. Vinegar can help to restore the natural shine and softness of your leather shoes, keeping them looking their best.

It kills Fungus and Bacteria

Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, can be a common problem. Luckily, vinegar can help to combat these issues. The antifungal properties of vinegar can help to kill fungus and bacteria that may be lurking on your shoes. Regularly cleaning your shoes with vinegar can help to prevent these infections and keep your feet healthy.

Step-by-Step Guide to Clean Shoes with Vinegar

Now that you know the benefits of using vinegar for shoe cleaning, let’s walk through a step-by-step guide to help you achieve clean and fresh-smelling shoes.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Gather all the necessary supplies before you begin cleaning your shoes with vinegar. This may include vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar), water, a soft brush or cloth, a spray bottle, and any specific cleaning solutions for certain types of shoes (e.g., dish soap or baking soda).

Remove Dirt and Debris

Start by removing any excess dirt and debris from your shoes. Use a soft brush or cloth to brush away any loose dirt gently. This will make cleaning more effective and prevent dirt from further staining your shoes.

Create a Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Next, create a vinegar-cleaning solution by mixing vinegar with water. The ratio of vinegar to water may vary depending on the type of shoes and the level of cleaning required. As a general guideline, you can start with equal vinegar and water and adjust as needed.

Spot Clean Stains

If your shoes have specific stains or areas that need extra attention, apply the vinegar cleaning solution directly to those spots. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the stained area in circular motions. Continue until the stain is lifted or significantly reduced.

Deodorize and Refresh Shoes

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water to deodorize and refresh your shoes. Lightly mist the inside of your shoes with vinegar spray, allowing them to air dry. The vinegar will help to eliminate odor-causing bacteria and leave your shoes smelling fresh.

Condition Leather Shoes

For leather shoes, it’s important to condition them after cleaning. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the solution onto a cloth and gently rub it into the leather in circular motions. This will help to moisturize and nourish the leather, keeping it soft and supple.

Precautions and Tips for Using Vinegar on Shoes

While vinegar can be a powerful cleaning agent for shoes, there are a few precautions and tips to keep in mind to ensure the best results and protect your shoes.

Patch Test

Before applying vinegar or any cleaning solution to your entire shoe, conducting a patch test is essential. Apply a small amount of the vinegar solution to an inconspicuous area of the shoe and observe any adverse reactions. If there are no negative effects, it should be safe to proceed with cleaning the entire shoe.

Avoid Using Sensitive Materials

While vinegar is generally safe to use on most types of shoes, there are some materials that may be sensitive to its acidic nature. Avoid using vinegar on materials such as silk, satin, or patent leather, as it may cause damage or discoloration. Always check the care instructions or manufacturer recommendations for your specific shoes before using vinegar.

Follow Specific Instructions for Different Shoe Types

Different types of shoes require different cleaning methods. Always follow specific cleaning instructions or recommendations provided by the manufacturer. If in doubt, you can also consult a professional shoe cleaner or cobbler for advice on how to clean your specific type of shoes.

Properly Ventilate the Area

When cleaning your shoes with vinegar, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area. The pungent smell of vinegar can be pretty potent, so it’s essential to have proper airflow. Open windows, turn on fans, or clean your shoes outdoors if possible.

Dry Shoes Properly

After cleaning your shoes, it’s crucial to let them dry properly. Avoid placing wet shoes near direct heat sources, as this can cause damage to certain materials. Instead, let them air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. This will help to prevent mold or mildew from forming and ensure that your shoes retain their shape.

What Vinegar And What To Use For Shoes Cleaning?

Alternatives to Vinegar for Shoes Cleaning

While vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner for shoes, there are a few alternative cleaning solutions that you can consider. These alternatives can be effective for different types of shoes or specific cleaning needs.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be a suitable alternative to vinegar for cleaning shoes. It has similar disinfectant properties and can effectively eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Mix rubbing alcohol with water in a spray bottle to clean and deodorize your shoes.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another option for cleaning your shoes. It can help to remove stains and kill bacteria. Mix hydrogen peroxide with water, and use a soft brush or cloth to clean your shoes. However, be cautious when using hydrogen peroxide on colored or dyed shoes, as it may cause discoloration.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile household ingredient used to clean and deodorize your shoes. Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes and let it sit overnight to absorb odors. You can also create a paste by mixing baking soda with water and use it to clean stains on certain types of shoes.

Specific Shoe Cleaning Remedies Using Vinegar

Now that you are familiar with the benefits and alternatives to using vinegar for shoes cleaning, let’s explore some specific shoe cleaning remedies that incorporate vinegar.

Vinegar and Water Solution

Create a simple vinegar and water solution by mixing equal parts vinegar and water. This solution can be used to clean a variety of shoe types, including canvas, fabric, and athletic shoes. Apply the solution to a soft cloth or brush and gently scrub your shoes, focusing on stained or dirty areas.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Paste

For particularly stubborn stains or odors, you can create a paste using vinegar and baking soda. Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stained areas of your shoes and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, scrub the paste into the stains using a soft brush or cloth. Rinse with water and allow your shoes to air dry.

Vinegar and Dish Soap Mixture

To create a more powerful cleaning solution, mix vinegar with a small amount of dish soap. Dish soap can help to break down grease and dirt on your shoes. Combine equal parts vinegar, water, and dish soap in a spray bottle. Shake well to mix the ingredients, then spray onto your shoes. Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub your shoes, focusing on any stained or dirty areas. Rinse with water and allow them to air dry.

Vinegar and Essential Oils Solution

You can incorporate essential oils if you want to add a pleasant scent to your shoes while cleaning them. Combine vinegar, water, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake well to mix the solution. Spray the mixture onto your shoes and scrub them with a soft brush or cloth. This solution not only cleans your shoes but also leaves them smelling fresh and fragrant.

What Vinegar And What To Use For Shoes Cleaning?

Cleaning Different Types of Shoes with Vinegar

Now that we’ve covered various shoe cleaning remedies, let’s explore how to clean different types of shoes using vinegar.

Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are a popular choice for casual wear. To clean canvas shoes with vinegar, create a vinegar and water solution and use a soft brush or cloth to scrub away dirt and stains. Rinse with water and let them air dry.

Leather Shoes

Leather shoes require special care to maintain their quality. Wipe down the surface of your leather shoes with a damp cloth and a vinegar and water solution to remove dirt and grime. Use a leather conditioner, vinegar, and water mixture to moisturize and protect the leather.

Suede Shoes

Suede shoes are delicate and can be easily damaged. To clean suede shoes with vinegar, apply a small amount of vinegar to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the suede. Use a suede brush to restore the nap and remove any remaining dirt or stains.

Fabric Shoes

To clean fabric shoes, create a vinegar and water solution and apply it to a soft brush or cloth. Gently scrub the fabric to remove dirt and stains. Rinse with water and let them air dry.

Athletic Shoes

Athletic shoes often accumulate dirt, sweat, and odor. To clean athletic shoes with vinegar, remove any dirt or debris, then create a vinegar and water solution. Apply the solution to a soft brush or cloth and scrub your shoes. Scrub the soles, seams, and any areas prone to odors. Rinse with water and let them air dry.

Using Vinegar to Remove Shoe Odor

Shoe odor can be a common problem, especially for active individuals or those who spend long hours in their shoes. Vinegar can be an effective solution to remove unwanted smells and keep your shoes fresh.

Soaking Shoes in Vinegar Solution

For shoes that have a strong odor, you can soak them in a vinegar solution. Fill a basin or sink with water and add a generous amount of vinegar. Place your shoes in the solution and let them soak for several hours or overnight. The vinegar will help to neutralize the odor-causing bacteria.

Applying Vinegar Spray

You can create a vinegar spray to apply directly to your shoes for a quick and convenient option. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and shake well. Lightly mist the inside of your shoes with the vinegar spray and let them air dry.

Using Vinegar Soaked Cotton Balls

For a targeted approach, you can use vinegar-soaked cotton balls to tackle shoe odor. Soak several cotton balls in vinegar, then place them inside your shoes. Let them sit for a few hours or overnight to absorb the odors. Remember to remove the cotton balls before wearing your shoes.

What Vinegar And What To Use For Shoes Cleaning?

Tips for Maintaining Clean Shoes

Now that you’ve successfully cleaned your shoes with vinegar, here are some tips to help you maintain clean, fresh-smelling shoes.

Regularly Clean and Condition Shoes

To prevent dirt and stains from building up on your shoes, make it a habit to regularly clean and condition them. This will help prolong your shoes’ lifespan and keep them looking their best.

Store Shoes Properly

Proper shoe storage is essential for maintaining clean and organized shoes. Avoid tossing your shoes into a heap in the closet, as this can lead to creasing, misshaping, and an increased risk of odor. Instead, invest in shoe racks, shoe boxes, or shoe bags to keep your shoes in good condition.

Use Shoe Trees

Shoe trees are a useful tool for maintaining the shape of your shoes and absorbing moisture. After cleaning your shoes with vinegar, insert shoe trees to help them retain their shape and prevent the formation of wrinkles or creases.

Rotate Shoes

Wearing the same pair of shoes every day can cause excess wear and tear, leading to faster deterioration. Try to alternate between different pairs of shoes to allow each pair to rest and air out properly.

Avoid Wearing Shoes in Rainy Conditions

Excessive exposure to rain or water can damage certain types of shoes. Whenever possible, avoid wearing your favorite shoes in rainy conditions. If your shoes do get wet, make sure to dry them properly to prevent mold or mildew.


Cleaning your shoes with vinegar can be an effective and natural way to keep them looking and smelling their best. Whether you’re cleaning canvas shoes, leather shoes, or athletic shoes, vinegar can help to eliminate odor, remove stains, and disinfect your footwear. Remember to follow the step-by-step guide, use appropriate precautions, and consider alternative cleaning solutions based on your specific shoe type. By incorporating vinegar into your shoe cleaning routine, you can ensure that your shoes stay clean, fresh, and in great condition for years to come.

What Vinegar And What To Use For Shoes Cleaning?

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Lucy Markk
Hi, I'm Lucy Markk, your go-to shoe cleaning expert at shoescleaning.net. 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 shoescleaning.net. 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