How to Clean Cloth Shoes that Look New Again: Fabric Shoes Guide

Last Updated: January 01, 2024 | Author: James Leigh

How to Clean Cloth Shoes

Fabric shoes are a staple in many wardrobes, but they can get dirty quickly. This guide will walk you through how to clean all types of fabric shoes, from canvas to suede, and make them look new again. Keep reading to discover the best methods for stain removal, hand washing, and even machine cleaning.

Key Takeaways:

  • Canvas shoes can be cleaned with a simple mixture of warm water and dish soap.
  • Leather shoes benefit from a mixture of water and white vinegar.
  • Suede shoes require a delicate touch and specialized cleaning solutions.
  • White shoes may require bleach for tough stains but use it cautiously.
  • Hand washing is generally safer, but some shoes can be machine washed if you follow the care instructions.

Comparison Table: How to Clean Different Types of Cloth Shoes

Criteria/Types of Shoes Canvas Shoes Leather Shoes Suede Shoes White Shoes Faux Leather Shoes Patent Leather Shoes
Cleaning Solution Soapy water White vinegar Suede cleaner Soapy water Soapy water Patent leather cleaner
Tools Needed Soft cloth, toothbrush Soft cloth, eraser Suede brush, absorbent cloth Toothbrush, paper towel Soft cloth, toothbrush Soft cloth, eraser
Stain Removal Baking soda Petroleum jelly White vinegar Baking soda, bleach Melamine eraser Petroleum jelly
Hand/Machine Wash Both Hand wash only Hand wash only Both Hand wash only Hand wash only
Drying Method Air dry Air dry away from direct heat Air dry Air dry, avoid direct heat Air dry Air dry
Additional Steps Remove laces, clean the insoles Wipe away scuffs with eraser Use absorbent cloth for wet stains Remove stains with bleach cautiously Wipe with damp cloth Wipe with damp cloth
Odor Removal Sprinkle baking soda inside Use odor-fighting insoles Use baking soda to absorb odor Use baking soda Use odor-fighting insoles Use odor-fighting insoles
Tough Stains Scrub with toothbrush Use a soft cloth dipped in vinegar Gently scrub with suede brush Use bleach cautiously Use melamine eraser Use petroleum jelly
Water Temperature Warm water Cold water Cold water Cold or warm water Cold water Cold water
Look After Cleaning Look new Restored shine Revitalized Pristine Like new Glossy

Cleaning Canvas Shoes

Prepping the Shoes

Before you start, remove the laces and insoles from your canvas shoes. This allows you to clean all parts of the shoe more thoroughly. Use a soft-bristled brush to brush away dirt and debris.

The Cleaning Process

Dip a cloth into a cleaning solution made of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Gently scrub the shoe, focusing on tough stains. For stubborn stains, sprinkle baking soda on the wet cloth and scrub again. Rinse the shoes with cold water to remove any soapy residue.

Reviving Leather Shoes

Leather Care Basics

Leather shoes require a different approach. Start by wiping away dust and dirt with a damp cloth. For scuff marks, you can use an eraser or a bit of petroleum jelly.

Deep Cleaning

For a deeper clean, use a soft cloth dipped in a mixture of water and white vinegar. Make sure to let the shoes air dry away from direct sunlight, as heat can cause leather to crack.

Suede Shoes: A Delicate Touch

Initial Steps

Suede is a delicate material that needs special care. Use a suede brush to gently scrub away dirt. For wet stains, use an absorbent cloth to absorb as much moisture as possible.

Stain Removal

For stubborn stains, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and water. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and gently dab the stain. Let the shoes dry completely before wearing them again.

White Shoes: Keeping Them Pristine

Basic Cleaning

White shoes get dirty easily. Use a toothbrush or cloth dipped in soapy water to scrub away stains. For stains on white parts, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water.

Advanced Techniques

For persistent stains, you can use bleach, but be cautious. Dilute it with water and use a toothpick to apply it precisely on the stain. Always rinse thoroughly.

Hand Wash vs. Washing Machine

Hand Washing

Hand washing is generally safer for most types of shoes. Follow these steps to hand wash canvas shoes or any fabric shoes.

Washing Machine

If you prefer to use a washing machine, make sure to read the care instructions on your shoes. Place them in a mesh bag and use a gentle cycle.

List of Best Cloth Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How Do I Clean Suede Shoes?

To clean suede shoes, use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub away dirt or dust. For tough stains, you can use a microfiber cloth dipped in a cleaning solution specifically designed for suede. Always let the shoes air dry after cleaning.

2. Can I Wash My Sneakers in the Washing Machine?

Yes, you can wash certain types of sneakers in the washing machine. However, it's essential to remove the insoles and laces first. Use a gentle cycle and cold water. Make sure to let the shoes air dry after washing.

3. What's the Best Way to Clean Leather Shoes?

For leather shoes, use a clean cloth or sponge dipped in a mixture of water and mild soap. Wipe away dirt and stains gently. You can also use a toothpick to remove debris from crevices. Always let the shoes dry naturally, away from direct heat.

4. How Can I Remove Stains from White Shoes?

To remove stains from white shoes, create a paste using two tablespoons of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stain and scrub using a toothbrush. Rinse with cold or warm water and let the shoes air dry.

5. Can I Hand Wash Canvas Shoes?

Yes, you can hand wash canvas shoes. Use a brush or cloth dipped in soapy water to scrub the shoes. Pay attention to the insoles and remove them for a separate wash if needed. Rinse off the soap and excess water, then let the shoes dry naturally.

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James Leigh

James Leigh

James Leigh is a certified health professional, physiotherapist, and a seasoned runner who wins Boston Marathon, with a wealth of experience under his belt. Passionate about sharing his expertise with fellow runners. James is your go-to expert for your health, wellness and running tips.