How To Clean Leather Shoes Easily & Make Them Shine Like New?

 In Sneakerhead, Sneakers

Ever splurged on a pair of leather shoes, only to watch them become scuffed and stained? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? But before you rush back to the store, remember: you can restore them to their former glory! Learning how to clean leather shoes is easier than you think, and we’re here to guide you all the way. And if you’re a Jordan fan, don’t worry, we’ve got tips for that too right here! Now, let’s start and bring your shoes back to life!Clean leather shoes

First Step: What You Need To Clean Your Leather Shoes

Before you start, ensure you have all the essentials (or a cleaning Kit) for a thorough clean. Here’s what you’ll need:

kit for cleaning shoes leather

  • Soft shoe cleaning brush
  • Liquid dish soap or any other shoe serum
  • Paper towel
  • Water
  • Shoe polish
  • Shoe protector spray
  • Dry, clean cloth
  • Leather conditioner

How To Clean Your Leather Shoes: Step-by-StepClean leather shoes

Before you begin, lay down sheets of newspaper or a towel to protect your workspace and make cleanup easier.

1. Remove the laces: 

Take them out to prevent them from getting wet or stained. If they’re dirty, wash or replace them.

2. Brush off dirt: 

Use a soft shoe brush to gently remove any loose dirt, mud, or salt from the surface of your shoes. Pay attention to scuffs and scrapes, but avoid damaging the leather.

3. Remove tough stains: 

Dampen a cloth or soft brush with water and a bit of soap. Gently rub the stained areas, or use a specialized cleaner like Combi Foam for deeper cleaning. Be careful not to soak the leather.

4. Wipe off soap: 

Once stains are removed, wipe away any remaining soap with a dry cloth. The, allow the shoes to dry completely before proceeding.

5. Condition leather: 

Apply a leather conditioner to nourish and protect the leather. Basically, this step helps prevent stains and adds shine to your shoes.

6. Apply polish: 

Use a clear or matching polish to protect and enhance the color of your shoes. Apply in a circular motion with a soft cloth, avoiding colored stitching.

7. Shine the shoes: 

After allowing the polish to set, buff the shoes with a clean, soft cloth or buffing brush to bring out the shine.

8. Let dry: 

Allow the shoes to air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

Common Types of Stains On Leather Shoesstain on leather shoes

Dealing with stains on leather shoes doesn’t have to be a hassle. So, here’s how to tackle common types of stains:

For Grease or Oil Stains On Leather Shoes :

  • Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain and gently rub it in with a damp cloth.
  • Let it sit for a few hours or overnight to absorb the oil.
  • Wipe off the powder with a soft cloth.

For Ink Stains On Leather Shoes:

  • Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and lightly blot the stain.
  • Avoid rubbing to prevent spreading the ink.
  • Blot gently until the stain disappears, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a towel.


Use non-gel toothpaste on the scuffed area and rub with a soft cloth.

Other Stains:

  • Make a paste with equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar.
  • Apply to the stained area and let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Use a damp cloth to remove the paste.

Note: Lemon juice and cream of tartar have a mild bleaching effect, so use this method only on light-colored leather.

More Leather Shoe Care Tips You Should Know

With your leather shoes clean and shining, here are a couple of extra steps you can take to protect your pair even further.

How to Waterproof Your Leather Shoes?waterproof spray for shoes

Waterproofing your leather shoes and boots is a quick one-step process with the right product. Therefore, apply a waterproofing shoe spray for quick and effective protection. Allow the shoes to dry for 30 minutes, and they’ll be shielded for weeks.

How to Protect the Leather Soles of Your Shoes?

Here you can use a vegetable oil-based liquid to waterproof and protect the soles. Apply with a cotton chamois, let it absorb, and rest for at least 30 minutes.

Don’t Forget Using The Shoe Horn

It’s always best practice to use as hoe horn when putting a pair on. Basically, a shoe horn prevents damaging the leather heel counter. Indeed, this simple step preserves the shoe’s structure and longevity.

How Often Should The Leather Shoes Be Cleaned?

The easiest answer is to clean when your shoes look like they need it, but here are some general guidelines.

  • Remove dirt with a horsehair brush after each wear.
  • Apply cream polish monthly or every 5 wears.
  • Condition monthly before polishing.
  • Use saddle soap annually or for heavy soiling.

How to Dry Off Wet Leather Shoes?

When drying wet leather shoes, air dry them without added heat to prevent cracking and damage. So, remove laces, wipe away moisture, stuff them with newspaper, and let them air dry naturally.

P.S. Timing is key. Clean your leather shoes immediately when soiled to prevent lasting dirt and stains.

leather shoe careLast Tip: Storing Your Leather Shoes Properly Is A Must!

Though we’ve covered sneaker storage, a few reminders won’t hurt! So, always keep your leather kicks cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight. Also, insure to store them properly in original boxes or plastic crates. And remember, caring for your sneakers ensures their value. Especially for deadstock pairs collectors plan to resell. In the end, sneakers in good condition always hold value for resale!! Until next time, fam!

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