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How to clean women’s shoes and boots

Men’s Shoe Care Guide

Keeping your shoes and boots clean can be the difference between tired, beaten boots and long-lasting looks that you can wear for years. Finding out how to clean shoes and boots properly will keep your kicks looking good for longer – saving you money in the long run.

Whether you’ve bought some new boots or a sleek pair of heels, you need to take care of them.

Our handy guide on how to clean women’s shoes and boots will help ensure you’re correctly maintaining your footwear.

In this guide:

  • Cleaning women’s shoes
  • Suede
  • Leather
  • Trainers
  • Patent Leather
  • Canvas
  • How to clean women's boots
  • How to dry your shoes
  • How to store your shoes
  • Cleaning Men's Shoes

    Cleaning women's shoes

    Avoiding a build-up of dirt is essential to prolonging the lifespan of your shoe material. However, the way you clean it is something that you need to consider. Different materials require different care, and our easy guide to cleaning your shoes will ensure that they stay in a great condition for longer.


    Dress Boots

    Suede is one of the more delicate materials to clean. And while they can be cleaned, it’s how you clean them that differs from other women’s styles.


    1. Spray the material with a suede protector liquid before wearing them.
    2. Try to not wear your suede shoes if you know there’s a chance they’ll get wet or rained on.

    Clean mud:

    1. Use a suede brush to remove dry mud or dirt.
    2. Brush in one direction – brushing back and forth will damage the material.

    Clean scuffs:

    If brushing doesn’t remove the marks, use a clean pencil rubber to remove them.


    Dress Boots

    Before cleaning women's leather shoes, you’ll need to check the inside label to find out what type of leather they’re made of – treated and untreated leather require different cleaning techniques.

    1. You’ll need a soft, clean toothbrush, a soft cloth and some shoe polish.
    2. Remove all large spots of mud and dirt with the clean, dry toothbrush.
    3. With a slightly damp cloth, buff the rest of the dirt off with your cloth.
    4. Polish your shoes with a cream polish in the same colour as your shoes. Apply it with a clean, soft cloth, working across the whole shoe in a circular motion. Remove with another clean, soft cloth.
    5. Once dry, buff your leather shoes with a cloth or brush.

    You might only need to clean them every few months, and condition them every year to protect the leather and keep the material soft and supple.


    Dress Boots

    There’s a simple solution to cleaning women's trainers - most can be run through the washing machine on a low setting. Check the label on your shoes just to make sure.

    If they can:

    1. Remove any excess dirt with an old toothbrush. Remove the laces.
    2. Place trainers and laces inside a mesh wash bag. If you don’t have one, an empty pillowcase is a good alternative.
    3. Place a few towels in to the washing machine drum to reduce noise.
    4. Adjust washing machine settings according to the label directions.

    If they can’t be washed in the machine, add washing powder or washing up liquid to a bowl and use a brush to scrub the solution into the trainers.

    Patent Leather

    Dress Boots

    Patent leather is much easier to clean than leather. You can buy patent leather cleaner, but a soft cloth and a little soapy water will work just as well.

    1. Put a small dab of petroleum jelly onto a soft cloth and buff shoes to give them a high shine.
    2. If you have scuff marks on them, use nail polish remover to wipe over the scuff mark and remove any black marks.


    Dress Boots

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

    1. Scrub off any dirt with a toothbrush or washing up sponge, rinsing with a little water as you go.
    2. Once mud is removed, you may be able to machine wash the shoes. Check the label before putting them in the washing machine. If you do wash them in your washing machine, add a few towels to the wash. This will reduce noisy banging while they spin.

    If they can’t be machine washed, it’s possible to use baking soda, washing up liquid or washing powder as a canvas shoe cleaner

    Cleaning Men's Shoes

    How to clean women’s boots

    Just like shoes, there’s no one cleaning method that suits all boots – it all depends on the material.

    How to clean leather boots

    Dress Boots

    To remove dirt, you can simply give them a wipe with a damp rag. If you need a bit more manpower, you can clean boots with saddle soap – a type of soap made specifically for cleaning and protecting leather.

    If using saddle soap:

    1. Rub a wet cloth into the soap until a lather forms.
    2. Then, rub the soap into the boot and wait a few minutes.
    3. Wipe off with a damp, clean cloth.

    To remove scuffs, dampen the corner of a soft cloth, dip it into some baking soda and gently rub the scuffs until they disappear.

    How to clean suede boots

    Dress Boots

    The longer you leave a stain on suede, the more chance there is of it staining permanently.

    1. Brush the stain(s) in both directions using a shoe brush.
    2. Dampen a clean cloth with a small amount of solution made up of two parts water and one part vinegar (the cloth should be damp, not wet).
    3. Gently wipe the boot.
    4. Ensure your boots are fully dry before storing or wearing.

    To remove scuffs, dampen the corner of a soft cloth, dip it into some baking soda and gently rub the scuffs until they disappear.

    Cleaning Men's Shoes

    How to dry your shoes

    It’s important that you dry your shoes to avoid them getting damaged and becoming misshapen. The best option is to let them dry naturally. If, however, you want to speed up the process, you can stuff them with tissue to help absorb some of the moisture. Check every hour and if still wet, replace the tissue - repeat until they are fully dry.

    Avoid direct heat, such as from a radiator, as this can damage the shoes and can cause them to become brittle and crack.

    Cleaning Men's Shoes

    How to store your shoes

    Store them in a cool, dry place and, storage permitting, keep them in boxes or dust bags.

    We recommend that you store your shoes by type and season. Keep summer and spring shoes such as sandals at the front during the warmer months and boots located at the back. When it’s autumn and winter, switch them around.

    It’s also a good idea to stuff the toe end of your shoes with acid-free paper. And, avoid airtight storage solutions, as this can cause some materials to go mouldy.

    For more information on how to take care of your shoes and other guides, visit shoezone guide hub.