A Guide to Women's Shoe Care & Cleaning

Cleaning your Shoes Cleaning your Shoes

It's important that once you've invested in a pair of women's shoes you look after them properly, this will prolong the life of your shoes and ultimately save you money.

Small tricks can make the world of difference to the life of your shoes, from looking after them when you first get them, to how you store them can all add a good amount of time to how long your shoes willl ast you.

Cleaning
Your Shoes
The first and most important step to looking after your shoes is keeping them clean. Avoiding a build-up of dirt and dust will keep your shoes in great condition for longer.
How you clean your shoes will depend on the material they are made from:
Leather Leather Mobile Image
Treated and untreated leather needs to be cleaned with different products, most leather shoes are treated. You can check this by checking the label in your shoes, it is rare you'll find leather shoes that are untreated, but it's always best to check.
The better you look after leather shoes, the longer they will last. You need a soft, clean toothbrush, a clean soft cloth and some shoe polish to clean them properly. You might only need to clean them every few months, and condition them every year to keep the leather soft and supple.
Remove all large spots of mud and dirt with the clean, dry toothbrush. After this, with a slightly damp cloth, buff the rest of any dirt off with your cloth, when this step is complete you're ready to polish your shoes.
Polish with a cream polish in the colour of your shoes. Apply it with a clean, soft cloth working across the whole shoe in a circular motion. Remove with another clean, soft cloth. Once dry, buff your leather shoes with a cloth or brush.
Patent Leather Patent Leather mobile
Patent leather is easier to clean than leather. You can buy patent leather cleaner, but a soft cloth and a little soapy water will work perfectly.
Put a small dab of petroleum jelly onto a soft cloth and buff shoes to give them a high shine. If you have ugly scuff marks on them, use nail polish remover to wipe over the scuff mark and it remove the black marks.
Suede Suede mobile image
Preparation is key when it comes to looking after suede shoes. Make sure you spray suede shoes with suede protector before wearing them, a small spray coating your shoes will significantly reduce the amount of damage you do to your shoes when out and about. Try to not wear your suede shoes if you know they have a chance of getting wet or rained on… suede is sensitive to water and you wouldn't want to ruin them for the sake of a few puddles.
Invest in a proper suede brush, they only cost a few pounds. It's best to brush any mud or dirt off of them when they are dry. Brush dirt off using motions of the same direction - don't brush the shoes back and forth, use a consistent sweeping motion.
For scuffs that can't be removed with a more vigorous brushing motion, use a pencil rubber to remove them.
Canvas Canvas mobile

Canvas is a fabric, which in some respects makes cleaning canvas shoes easier than cleaning leather or suede.

There are a number of different way to go about cleaning your canvas shoes and they all use things that you'll probably have around your house.

You may be able to machine wash them, check the label before putting them in the washing machine though. If you do wash them in your washing machine, add a few towels to the wash. This will reduce noisy banging whilst they spin.

To clean dirt marks off them without running them through the wash, it's possible to use baking soda, washing up liquid or washing powder.

Use 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of hot water. Mix this into a paste and with a toothbrush, apply to the stains in a circular motion. Rinse the patches you've cleaned with warm water and leave to dry naturally.
Repeat as above but use washing powder to mix into a paste instead of baking soda and vinegar.

Washing Up Liquid

You can use washing up liquid by putting a blob of washing up liquid into a small amount of warm water and mixing until the water is foamy. Use a toothbrush in circular motion to scrub any stains of the canvas and leave to air dry.

Trainers Trainers

Most trainers can be run through the washing machine, but again, check the label of your shoes just to make sure.

If they can't be washed in the machine, follow the steps above with washing powder or washing up liquid.

How to dry your shoes How to dry your shoes
How To Dry Your Shoes

If your shoes get wet, it can be difficult to know what to do for the best. It's important to dry your shoes properly to make sure you don't cause any damage or end up with misshapen shoes.

The best option is to let your shoes dry naturally, but if you want to speed up the process, stuff them with

tissue or newspaper to absorb the moisture. If you're using newspaper,

try to avoid sheets with lots of dark ink or pictures, this will help avoid the ink bleeding on to your shoes.

Check on them in an hour, and if necessary, remove the paper and replace it with fresh, dry pieces. Repeat this process until your shoes have dried off.

How to store your shoes How to store your shoes
How To Store Your Shoes

It's important to keep them in a dry area, especially if they're made of suede or leather. If you have space, keep them in the boxes or in dust bags as dust can accumulate and leave grey marks - especially on suede.

It's also very important to make sure that your shoes are clean before you put them away for storage - the longer you leave dirt the harder it is to get out.

It's a good idea to store your shoes by type and season - it will save time if your summer shoes are at the front of your storage space when it's summer, the same for Winter, Spring and Autumn.

The best place to store your shoes is somewhere cool and dry - make sure they won't get too hot during the summer or freezing cold during the Winter. The fluctuations in temperature will make the fibres of leather and suede break down, and it's not ideal for any trimmings that may be made of plastic either.

When you've found a place to keep your shoes and you've made sure they are clean, there are things you can do to make them even more protected whilst they aren't being worn.

Make sure you stuff the toe end of your shoes with balled paper - ensure its acid free as well, just to be on the safe side. Avoid using newspaper as it could colour stain your shoes. Cut up toilet rolls also work well!! Avoid storing suede or leather in plastic, airtight bags… the material needs to breathe or it will become mouldy.

How to dry your shoes - Stilleto image How to dry your shoes - Mobile Stilleto image
Repairs and Re-Heeling

Before you throw away on pair of tired shoes, there are many repairs and fixes you might want to consider.

You can re-heel stilettoes when they get to that inevitable stage of the caps falling off, and you can re- sole a good quality pair of shoes. If the inner sole of your shoes has slipped due to heavy wear, these can be replaced, as can laces and zips.

You'll find shops and chains that can mend all types of shoes and boots on every high street and it might not cost as much as much as you think to get things repaired or replaced.

Re-heeling stilettos can cost as little as around £7-8 from well-known high street brands, this can give new life to a pair of shoes you love, so it-s well worth taking the time to drop them off with a cobbler.

You can even have a go at trying to re-heel your own stilettos, which will cost you just the heel tip. These can be picked up online for less than £2.