How to Clean Cloth Shoes: Keep your Shoes Squeaky Clean with these 5 Steps

Cloth shoes are among the most comfortable footwear that you can use. Aside from being easy to wear the entire, most of these shoes are also durable. The problem is many are still unaware of how to clean cloth shoes.

If you own a pair of these cloth shoes, then you have to learn how to clean them to ensure that you can easily deal with stains and prevent them from being worn down. The steps indicated here are designed not only to keep your cloth shoes clean but also prolong their life.

What Do you Need to Follow this Tutorial?

  • Newspaper or waste basket
  • Damp cloth
  • Warm water
  • Brush
  • Mild detergent and water solution
  • Nylon pad
  • Water and baking soda solution
  • Non-bleaching soap
  • Washing machine
  • Leather cleaner
  • Heating vent
  • Paper towels

Step 1 – Let the Dirt and Mud Dry before Cleaning

If your cloth shoes accumulated too much mud or dirt, make sure to wait until they’re already dry before you use any of the cleaning methods introduced to you. You can remove loose dirt by smacking the shoes on the pavement. Alternatively, you can tap the soles together over a newspaper or waste basket. Use a damp cloth to wipe down any caked-on dirt that’s left. Remove the lace and let the shoes dry completely prior to cleaning.

Step 2 – Use a Brush

What you have to do is to prepare warm water first and use it rinse the inner and outer parts of the cloth shoes. Get a brush to scrub the outsides, liners, and insides. Do the process gently. The brush should be dipped in a mild detergent and water solution prior to using it to scrub the cloth shoes.

Once done, you can rinse the shoes using clean and cool water. If you notice that there are still remaining scuff marks, use a nylon pad to scrub them off gently. Rinse it again.

In case the liners retain foot odor, it’s advisable to use water and baking soda solution. Just prepare a paste out of these two ingredients then scrub it to the shoes. You should then wash the laces in the laundry.

Step 3 – Use a Non-Bleaching Soap

This step is recommended if you’re planning to clean colored cloth shoes. Despite using a non-bleaching soap, ensure that you still do a small spot test to ensure that it won’t bleach out or fade the color.

If your shoes have mesh inserts, then you can clean it up using the same steps indicated for plain cloth shoes. However, if the pair has some leather detailing, then it’s advisable to dampen and clean the cloth first.

Do so based on the directions for cleaning it up. You can then use a leather cleaner to clean any parts with leather details.

Step 4 – Use your Washing Machine

It’s also possible for you to use your washing machine if you want to learn how to clean cloth shoes. What you have to do first it to use a toothbrush to get rid of all debris, mud, and dirt from the cloth shoes.

If there are stains, make sure to remove them with the help of a laundry stain remover. Exercise caution, though, as this material is damaging to your shoes. Choose to use a stain remover without any bleach.

The next step is to form a paste in a bowl from baking soda and water. Dip a brush into the toothpaste and scrub it to the soles to clean them up. Once done, get a cloth and use it to wipe the soles.

Remove the laces. Put cold water into your washing machine and let it run on a gentle cycle. Add just the right amount of the laundry detergent. You can then put your cloth shoes into the machine to clean them up.

Step 5 – Let the Shoes Dry

Make sure to let your cloth shoes dry properly and completely right after cleaning. Don’t put them in the dryer, though, as doing such may damage not only the soles of the footwear but also the dryer, itself.

The best drying method for cloth shoes is to leave them under the sun naturally for several hours. If there’s no sun, especially during the winter, then you can use a heating vent to speed up the drying process.

Make sure, however, that you fill the insides of the shoes with paper towels or with a balled-up towel. This tip is useful in protecting the footwear’s shape and ensuring that it does not get deformed in any way.

Ensure that the shoes are fully dry prior to wearing them again. Keep in mind that wet shoes trigger the development of fungi, like athlete’s foot. Wet shoes can also cause discomfort if you wear it during the cold season.


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