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Your little one is likely to go through dozens of pairs of shoes before they even reach school age and as most parents will quickly find out, little girl's shoes don’t necessarily come with a small price tag!
Unfortunately, puddles, mud, water and food are all very attractive play things to toddlers and children and are pretty much guaranteed to turn shoes into an atrocious mess. The good news is, we have some tried and tested methods of cleaning girls shoes to keep them in tip top condition.
Cleaning kids shoes is not a one-treatment-fits-all affair, it’s important the right kind of cleaning technique is used for each type of fabric. The main types of material for kids shoes tend to be as follows:
Suedue or Nubuck
The best thing to do would be to look at the tag or insert to ascertain which cleaning method would be suitable. What works for fabric isn’t necessarily going to work for leather and vice versa.
Here we’re going to take a look at how best to keep your kids shoes in great condition with a few simple yet effective cleaning and care tips.
Your little miss probably doesn’t wear leather shoes every day, but she may have a pair of girl’s school shoes or something for dressier occasions. To keep leather looking its best, you need to keep it as far away from water as possible, which definitely means no going in the washing machine. Water will cause leather to crack as it dries so only use water to clean them if absolutely necessary, for example after a potty training accident when a proper wash is needed.
For the rest, just wipe down with a clean, damp cloth or baby wipe. Once clean, use a suitable oil based shoe polish to extend the life of the leather, it will also make any scuff marks or scratches disappear.
Suede or nubuck leather shoes are made from leather that has a soft, napped finish. These shoes can’t be polished, but you can clean them using special brushes. Alternatively, a pencil eraser works just as well when removing marks and scuffs. It’s also recommended that suede or nubuck shoes are sprayed with a weatherproofing spray to help waterproof shoes and prevent water marks.
Although girl’s canvas shoes can be washed in the washing machine, not all fabric girls’ shoes can be machine washed. Those that can’t need to be cleaned by hand using a damp cloth or a baby wipe. Should the shoes get extremely dirty and damp cloth just won’t do, use a soft bristle brush and every day soap to lift the dirt. Use a towel to remove as much excess moisture as possible before leaving to air dry. Fabric shoes can also be weatherproofed, either using a protective spray or wax.
Quite possibly the easiest type of shoes to take care of are those that are machine washable. Most fabric shoes can be washed in the washing machine and some faux leather styles can be too, however it’s always worth checking the label or insert first. When your girls shoes are looking a little grubby, all you need to do is throw them in the washing machine! However, be conscious of just how many times you do this as each time they go through the wash, it will eat up just a little more of the shoe’s life. Sometimes, dirt and marks are easy to remove without the use of a washing machine, so always opt for this first if possible.
TOP TIP: If when cleaning your tot’s shoes, if you notice they’re a little stinky and you need some extra odour control, simply add a pinch of baking soda to the wash cycle or sprinkle on the damp shoes. This can also work on the inside of shoes should they need freshening up. Wearing cotton socks will also help reduce sweating and prevent smell.
After washing, remove as much excess water from the shoes as possible with a towel or some kitchen roll. Next, leave the shoes to air dry. Putting them on or next to a heat source can damage the integrity of the shoes causing them to become misshapen. Under extreme heat materials such as faux leather and rubber soles may crack as they dry.
Another useful way to dry shoes quickly is to use scrunched up newspaper, just put it inside each shoe and it will soak the moisture right up. The idea is to draw out as much moisture as possible so be sure to replace any damp paper every hour. Newspaper can also be wrapped around the shoes, however, you should avoid doing this with light coloured shoes due to the possibility of ink transferring from the paper.
If you’re drying leather shoes after a soaking, always use a protective leather balm afterwards. This will nourish the dry leather and keep it soft and pliable ready for your little girl to wear them again.
Make sure the shoes are completely dry before your little one wears them again. Wearing damp shoes can cause sores and increase the chances of bacteria build up and Athletes Foot.
Due to the small size of children’s shoes and especially toddler shoes, you can be quite creative when it comes to storage and organisation. You should always try to maintain the shape of the shoe however you choose to store them, so using things like balls of newspaper can help with this. For younger children, you want to make storage as accessible as possible for them. Below are a couple of ideas that could work for your little one:
Using an old picture frame attached to a board, on the underside, attach a castor to each corner and spray paint in whatever colour your girl desires. Shoes can then be accessed and stored away easily with minimal fuss. This could also work with an old wooden drawer.
Another super easy and effective storage method would be to take some square or rectangular wicker baskets and attached them through the base to the wall. These can then be arranged at the perfect height for your little one, shoes can be placed in them ready to grab whenever needed.
It may be that your toddler is just a little too young to be putting their own shoes on but you want to make sure you’re organised as possible. Rather than storing all of your tots shoes in a box or in the bottom of the wardrobe, why not hang them up instead? Simply attach some curtain rings to a pole that is long enough to fit in a bookshelf or wardrobe. On those curtain rings add some clothes pegs, these are perfect for attaching any form of footwear and it means that they’re easy to grab and go too.
Keeping your tots footwear clean and tidy is the best way to maximise the life of your girls shoes without going to much effort at all, using our simple guide you’ll also save money too.