How to Clean Cloth Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

Photo of author

By Steven Hal

Cloth shoes are popular for their comfort, style, and versatility, but they can quickly accumulate dirt, stains, and odors with regular wear. Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep your cloth shoes looking fresh and prolong their lifespan. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best practices for cleaning cloth shoes to restore their appearance and keep them in top condition.

How to Clean Cloth Shoes

Understanding Cloth Shoes

Cloth shoes, including sneakers, canvas shoes, and espadrilles, are typically made from fabric materials such as cotton, canvas, or synthetic blends. While these materials are durable and breathable, they are also prone to absorbing dirt, stains, and odors. Proper cleaning techniques are crucial to preserve the appearance and integrity of cloth shoes.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Cloth Shoes

Before you begin cleaning your cloth shoes, gather the following materials:

  1. Mild Detergent: Choose a gentle detergent suitable for fabric materials.
  2. Soft-Bristled Brush: For scrubbing and loosening dirt and stains.
  3. Old Toothbrush: To clean hard-to-reach areas and details such as shoelace eyelets.
  4. White Vinegar: A natural cleaning agent that helps to brighten fabrics and neutralize odors.
  5. Baking Soda: Effective for absorbing odors and freshening up shoe interiors.
  6. Microfiber Cloth: For blotting and wiping away excess moisture and cleaner.
  7. Water: Use lukewarm water for diluting the detergent and rinsing the shoes.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Follow these steps to effectively clean your cloth shoes:

Step 1: Remove Laces and Insoles

Start by removing the shoelaces and insoles from your cloth shoes. This will allow you to clean these components separately and thoroughly clean the shoe surface.

Step 2: Brush Off Loose Dirt

Use a soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush to gently brush off any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the shoe surface. Pay attention to seams, crevices, and textured areas where dirt tends to accumulate.

Step 3: Prepare Cleaning Solution

In a small bowl or container, mix a small amount of mild detergent with lukewarm water to create a cleaning solution. Alternatively, you can use a specialized shoe cleaner formulated for fabric materials.

Step 4: Spot Clean Stains

Dip the soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush into the cleaning solution and gently scrub any visible stains or spots on the shoe surface. Use circular motions to lift the stains without scrubbing too aggressively, which could damage the fabric.

Step 5: Clean Shoelaces and Insoles

Immerse the removed shoelaces and insoles in the cleaning solution and agitate them gently to loosen dirt and stains. Use the soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush to scrub stubborn stains on the shoelaces and insoles.

Step 6: Rinse Thoroughly

Once you’ve cleaned the shoe surface, rinse off the cleaning solution by wiping the shoes with a damp microfiber cloth or rinsing them under running water. Make sure to remove all traces of detergent to prevent residue buildup.

Step 7: Air Dry

Allow your cloth shoes, shoelaces, and insoles to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Stuff the shoes with crumpled paper towels or dry cloth to help them retain their shape as they dry.

Step 8: Optional: Deodorize and Brighten

If your cloth shoes still have lingering odors or require brightening, you can use natural ingredients such as white vinegar and baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes to absorb odors, and dab white vinegar onto stains or yellowed areas to brighten the fabric. Allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them again.

Tips for Maintaining Cloth Shoes

  • Clean Regularly: Clean your cloth shoes regularly to prevent dirt and stains from becoming deeply embedded in the fabric.
  • Spot Treat Stains Promptly: Address stains as soon as they occur to prevent them from setting into the fabric.
  • Air Out After Wear: Allow your shoes to air out after each wear to prevent moisture buildup and odor development.
  • Rotate Shoes: Rotate between multiple pairs of shoes to allow each pair to air out and rest between wears.
  • Store Properly: Store your cloth shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent discoloration and fading.

By following these simple steps and tips, you can effectively clean your cloth shoes and keep them looking fresh and well-maintained for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, your cloth shoes will continue to be comfortable and stylish footwear options for any occasion.

Also read: the Art of Pairing: what colours go with green clothes?

Leave a comment