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How To Clean School Shoes:
A Step By Step Guide To Cleaning And Polishing

Cleaning School Shoes

Buying practical school shoes for your little one can be quite a challenge, especially when there are strict dress codes to work to. Some types of school shoes can be easier to care for than others. With so many different styles and types to choose from, it’s easy to get confused when it comes to choosing the most practical school footwear for your little one.

Keeping school shoes clean and fresh can help maximise their life as well maintain healthy feet. Apart from making school shoes look unsightly, a buildup of muck can also age them much more quickly due to the acidity and salt in dirt. The same goes for damp shoes. A warm, moist environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth, causing that all too distinctive odour that we’re certain all shoes can do without.

Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the best ways to keep school shoes clean with some useful step by step shoe cleaning guides, as well as how to ensure your little one get’s as much life out of them as possible.

How To Wash School Shoes

How To Wash School Shoes

Knowing how to clean school shoes can be a real life saver, having to keep buying shoes as part of an already expensive uniform isn’t something you want to be doing unless absolutely necessary. So, let's take a look at what can be done to effectively wash different types of school shoes:

How To Clean Black School Shoes — Black is the most common colour for school shoes, however they can be one of the hardest colours to keep clean. There are however a few things that can be done to help make life easier. If the shoes are leather, use a damp cloth (not dripping!) to remove any excess dirt and then let them air dry away from a heat source. A good quality leather oil can then be worked into the shoes, this will protect against water damage and will prevent the leather from cracking.

If the shoes are suede, use a soft bristle brush to remove any excess dirt, avoid using water on suede as this will cause stains and can cause the colour to run.

How To Wash Canvas Shoes — Canvas shoes are perfect during the summer time as they allow feet to breathe, however they can become dirty quite quickly. One of the easiest ways to clean canvas shoes is to put them in the washing machine, however this can age the shoes more quickly. Alternatively, a simple soap and water bath using a soft bristle brush to remove the dirt can also do the trick. As with leather, always air dry to maintain the integrity of the shoe.

How To Clean White Canvas Shoes — White canvas shoes can be a problem, even after washing they can still seem a little off colour. One sure fire way to make them look like new is with a simple solution of baking soda mixed with water, using a toothbrush to work it into the shoe. Once this is done, it can be left for a few minutes before washing as you would before.

How To Keep School Shoes Clean — The best way to help prevent school shoes getting dirty is by applying a protective spray. These are particularly useful for leather and suede shoes as they also create a waterproof layer, preventing water marks and particularly salt stains during the winter months.

To help keep canvas shoes clean and to create a waterproof barrier, simply use a clear/white candle to coat the shoes and then melt the wax into the canvas using a hair dryer. Always be sure to check that the canvas is cotton not synthetic before heating.

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How To Polish School Shoes

How To Polish School Shoes

A nicely polished pair of shoes can stand out a mile but not all polishing techniques get the best result. We think that the old ways are the best so let us talk you through how to polish your school shoes or boots like a soldier:

Step 1 — Firstly, always protect the area where you plan to work, shoe polish on your carpet is a stress you can probably do without, so always use a towel or old newspaper to protect your work area.

Step 2 — Using a soft brush or damp cloth, remove any excess dirt and debris. If using a damp cloth, allow the shoes to fully dry before moving onto the next step.

Step 3 — With a shoe polish brush, cover the entire shoe with a generous helping of a good quality, oil based polish, working it evenly into every part of the shoe. Once done, leave for approximately 15 minutes for the polish to dry… Make sure you pick the right colour polish for your shoes!

Step 4 — Using a smaller, softer shine brush, brush the entire shoe vigorously to remove any excess polish. This should leave a thin coating.

Step 5 — Now, take some cotton wool and lightly dampen, next get a small amount of polish on the cotton wool and work it into the heel and toe of the shoes using small circular motions. This process can take a few minutes to get to the desired level of shine. Don’t be afraid to get a new piece of cotton and start the process again if you’d like super shiny school shoes.

Quick Tips For Making School Shoes Look Like New

Quick Tips For Making School Shoes Look Like New

As a busy parent, any time saving tips for making things easy are usually a welcomed treat. With that in mind, we have a few tips and tricks that will not only save your little ones shoes, but time and money too:

Old Newspapers — Newspaper can be extremely useful when it comes to shoe care, in more ways than one. Firstly, you can use scrunched up balls of newspaper to maintain the shape of shoes when not in use, this is particularly useful for preventing creases in winter boots. You can also stuff damp shoes with newspaper to help draw out the moisture… though this isn’t recommended with white shoes due to potential ink stains!

Keep Away From Heat — Even if the shoes aren’t wet, storing them near a heat source such as a radiator can have a detrimental effect on how long they last as it can cause cracking and dry out the soles. Avoid this as much as possible.

Always Wear Socks — Ensuring your little one always wears socks (cotton) with their shoes, will not only help maintain the freshness of shoes, it will help prevent sweating which can lead to sores and blisters.



School shoes are an inevitable part of your children growing up and sometimes keeping them clean and fresh can seem like an impossibility. We hope that our handy step by step shoe cleaning guide makes putting their best foot forward that little bit easier!

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