Easy ways to clean your shoes

Easy ways to clean your shoes

By Juhan Loorits

Easy ways to clean your shoes

Buying shoes is not a one-time purchase, contrary to popular belief. Although many people do not properly care for their shoes, it is essential to do so if you want them to last as long as possible. Take a glance at your shoes, which are either lying around on the floor or packed away in your closet. To be totally honest most of these shoes probably have not been properly cleaned. How can you keep them looking attractive while also extending their existence? You can clean any sort of shoes, including slippers, with only a few ingredients and a few simple procedures.

The importance of shoe cleaning

Cleaning your shoes, saves you money.

Cleaning your shoes on a regular basis might help you save a lot of money. You don't need to buy new sneakers because their quality remains the same. According to a survey performed in the United States, the average man has 12 pairs of shoes, while the average woman owns 19. What usually happens is after a season, shoes get left aside and not cleaned properly. Thus the next season when you want to grab your favorite pair they don't look that good anymore, so you go ahead and buy a new pair. Consider how much money can be saved, if the cleaning process would have been done properly. 

Save your money

Effect on the environment

According to the US Department of the Interior, Americans discard at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year. What happens with those shoes?

They wind up in landfills, where they take 30 to 40 years to degrade. Taking care of your shoes can help to reduce the vast quantity and relieve stress on our environment.


Save the nature

Influence on your appearance

Shoes that are clean make a nice first impression. What would you think if you met someone and noticed that he or she was wearing dirty shoes? Did he go on a hike? Is it possible that he stepped in mud? Is he a lazy slob? I'm sure you'll agree that dirty shoes will raise some questions. Keeping your sneakers clean can definitely spare you some extra points on the first appearance.

Clean shoes always win


Fungus. Yep, nobody wants it. But at the same time, a lot of people don't put effort into avoiding it. You have to clean your shoes inside as well. Think about how long you wear your shoes during a day and how much your feet sweat. Now consider that the temperature inside your shoes is more than your body temperature. That gives you a perfect breeding ground for different types of pathogens. And remember, to get rid of an infection is a lot harder than taking care of your shoes in the first place.

Different types of shoes

Keep in mind that cleaning techniques can vary on the material of the shoes. For example having some ketchup fall on leather shoes definitely leaves a different mark than having a fabric shoe absorb the beautiful ketchup color.

Fabric shoes come in a variety of styles, including strappy sandals, sneakers, pumps, and flats. However, regardless of the style, the fabric will ultimately become soiled. Tossing cloth shoes in the washer is a trick that you could find online. Keep in mind that this is a horrible idea when the shoes contain leather linings. What could happen is the glue that the sneakers are put together with  won't hold up to the water. Thus shortening the lifespan of the pair. Overall using the washing machine is great for bringing the shoes back to life but also bad for the durability of the materials itself.

Leather shoes on the other hand tend to absorb less dirt and stay cleaner a longer time. Cleaning leather shoes is different than cleaning a fabric shoe. With fabric you are looking for solutions to get the dust out of the material. With leather shoes you are focusing on the surface of the leather. 

That said here are some easy steps to follow when cleaning you shoes:

Different shoes

Cleaning streetwear shoes

Cleaning your shoes (Nike Air Force 1, Vans Old Skools, Converse, etc.) can be carried out in various ways.

  1. To begin, combine warm water and a tiny amount of mild laundry detergent in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Remove the shoelaces and add a small amount of the cleaning solution to the shoe. Try massaging them, then rinsing and drying them with a cloth.
  3. Clean both the outsole and the midsole with the mild solution and a soft brush.
  4. Clean both the outsole and the midsole with the mild solution and a soft brush. After that, use a soft cloth to dry it.
  5. To clean the uppers, use a mild solution and a brush or a cloth. After that, blot and lift as much moisture and dirt as possible.
  6. Leave your shoes to air dry at room temperature.

Cleaning leather and faux leather shoes

Take a look inside and check at the tag or label if you're not sure if your shoes are made of leather. You can be certain it's real leather if it says "Full/top grain leather," "Genuine leather," or "100% real leather." Here are some cleaning tips for both leather and faux leather shoes.

  1. To clean leather, faux leather shoes, or patent leather, wipe off any soil with a cloth dipped in a solution of 50-50 parts cool water and distilled white vinegar.
  2. Use a commercial polish for scuffs on real leather shoes and simply follow the guidelines. Wet a soft towel with water and dip it in baking soda if you don't have a polish that complements white athletic shoes or colored sneakers.
  3. Allow to dry before buffing with a clean cloth.
  4. Scuffs on patent leather and imitation leather shoes should be rubbed with petroleum jelly and then polished with a soft cloth.

Can I wash my shoes in a washing machine?

Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals such as bleach or washing your streetwear or professional shoes in the washing machine. If your shoes have become a little soiled, don't put it off; wash them straight away! The longer you wait, the harder it is to get those clean. Finally, they might be too ruined already.

Athletic and tennis shoes are the only sneakers that can be laundered in a washing machine. Even with Persil or Tide laundry detergent. If these are regular sneakers, remove the inner soles and laces, as they should be washed separately. Before adding heavy stains to a load of towels, always brush away excess filth and pretreat them with a stain remover. Please do not put athletic shoes in the dryer at a high temperature since they will be destroyed. Always let your sneakers air dry.

However, if you have customized these sneakers, please contact the artist who created them and ask if it is fine to wash them. Because each pair of training sneakers is unique in terms of material and artwork space, the artist is always the best judge of whether or not to wash them in the washing machine.

Washing machine and shoes

Cleaning kit for shoes

Consider obtaining a cleaning kit that includes all of the necessary equipment for the best results. We recommend you to choose a kit which is optimal for all the materials (fabric, canvas, leather, suede, nubuck, etc)

The kit includes all the necessary products for an easy & hassle-free shoe cleaning at home:

1 x TARRAGO Sneakers Cleaner, enough to clean up to a 100 pairs

1 x CLEANSTEP Premium shoe brush

1 x CLEANSTEP microfiber cloth

1 x CLEANSTEP shoe tree (stretcher)

Cleanstep kit

How to use cleaning kit:

  1. Pour half a small bowl of lukewarm water and make the brush wet (no need to make the whole shoe wet!)
  2. Spray the cleaner on to the brush ( 2-3 sprays max)
  3. Brush the shoe so that it gets nicely soapy and clean
  4. Remove the foam and dirt with microfiber cloth so that the rest of the cleaning product and moist will be sucked by the cloth
  5. Put the shoes to dry inserting the shoe stretchers to keep the form.
  6. Dry the shoes in a well ventilated room, avoid direct sunlight.

NB! Shoelaces can be cleaned with the Tarrago cleaner as well. Spray the product on the laces and brush them with the brush between your hands. Rinse them with lukewarm water and dry the laces with microfiber cloth.


Taking care of your shoes, as we now know, has a significant impact on the environment as well as your wallet. Nike Air Force 1s and Vans Old Skools are wonderful sneakers, but they will quickly wear out if not properly cared for. Then you're nothing more than a muddy-shoed man. Be the person that wears the same pair of shoes every day, and they still look great. That isn't baby-boomer thinking; it is logical thinking. We hope that after reading this blog, you would take small steps to help conserve the environment, such as not buying 12 pairs of shoes per year.

 Be the change, be woke.


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