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How to Clean Leather Shoes and Keep Them Always Shining

A pair of leather shoes protects us from dust, debris and mud.

But after a certain period of protection, they became dusted and worn out. Shouldn’t we take care of them too?

Undoubtedly, leather shoes are popular to any age group of people for their look and performance. They are comfortable, breathable and durable. Moreover, a fresh pair of shoes makes us feel fresh and confident around the day.

Though leather shoes get dusted after a few uses, the good news is they are super easy to clean. And the cleaning takes only a couple of minutes. To help the leather shoes users, we are going to give you a detailed guide on cleaning processes and polishing tips.

How to Clean Your Leather Shoes

how to clean leather shoes

Leather Shoes

Leather made shoes are not like other types of shoes and are not machine washable. A user has to clean his shoes keeping the sensitiveness of the shoe surface in mind. So, before moving to the cleaning phase, it is important for a cleaner to choose the right cleaning option for his shoes.

In the following sections, we covered both the cleaning processes of normal leather shoes and special types of leather shoes. And finally, we have given four actionable polishing tips for the users.

Section-1: How to Clean Normal Leather Shoes

The following cleaning process is for shoes that are manufactured with regular leather materials. But before following the process, you have to be sure that the process is compatible with your shoes’ materials.

Preparation: Before starting cleaning, you have to collect a few tools to do your cleaning effectively.  Here is the list…

tools for leather shoes


  1. A brush
  2. A bowl
  3. Soap solution
  4. Clean cloth

Step-1: Unlace Your Shoes

unlace leather shoes

Shoe Unlace

You can’t clean your shoes laced because lacing will not allow you to reach every corner of the shoes conveniently. So, unlace the shoes and keep them aside. You can also send them for machine wash as laces are machine washable.

Step-2: Brush Up the Shoes

leather shoes brush up

Brush Up

Dust, debris and mud stores on the surface as well as along the seam and soles of the shoes. So, your first task is gently rubbing the shoes with a brush to remove all the marks. Rub the shoes keeping the hardness of the brush and softness of your shoe surface in mind.

Step-3: Wipe with A Dampened Cloth

shoes wipe with dampened cloth

Shoe Wipe

You already have clean cloth and the soap mixture. Now wet the clean cloth with the soap solution and wring it out so that the cloth is in dampen state and not fully wet. Gently wipe the entire surface of the shoes with this dampened cloth.

After wiping the surface, wipe in-between part of the sole and surface. If the cloth gets dirty during the wiping, wet it again with the solution. Continue the cleaning until all the stains are removed.

Step-4: Drying

drying leather shoes

Shoes Drying

After initial wiping, now again wipe with the dampened cloth to soak the water and soap from the surface, and finally wait for a few minutes and let the shoes dry. Keep the shoes in a healthy temperature to dry. Never try to dry them using heat or placing under the sunlight. Heating or sun may cause discoloration or cracking of the shoes.

Section-2: How You Clean Special Types of Leather Shoes

  1. Cleaning Suede Leather Shoes

suede leather shoes

Cleaning Suede Leather Shoes

Suede Shoes are another form of leather shoe, but these shoes are incredibly vulnerable to scratches, scuffs and stains. The reason behind this vulnerability is the suede material contains tiny fibers.

Cleaning the shoes is a challenge for the user, but with us, you can conquer the challenge. Because we are going to provide 3 different cleaning solutions for solving 3 different common cleaning problems of a suede leather shoe user.

a) Cleaning Dirt and Scuff Marks

dirt and scuff marks cleaning

Cleaning Dirt and Scuff Marks

Step-1: Preparation

To remove scuff and dirt from the suede shoes, you need a unique suede brush because the suedes materials are extremely sensitive to water. Before you begin, make sure that the shoes are dry to avoid spreading the existing stains and damaging the material.

Step-2: Dirt Removing

To remove the dirt, gently start brushing on the dirt area. Brush repeatedly following a certain direction, don’t brush back and forth.

Step-3: Scuff Removing

The scuffs are a result of the suede grain getting pressed down in one particular direction. By brushing vigorously with a suede cleaning brush, you can lift the grain and remove scuff marks from your shoes.

However, if the scuffs are stubborn, you can use a pencil eraser to remove the marks. Firstly, apply soft pressure to moderate, then hard pressure if needed.

b) Removing the Water Stain

Removing the water stain

Water Stain

Step-1: Preparation

Water is a regular enemy of suede. Even just a few drops of water can end up leaving a visible mark on the suede shoes. However, you can remove these marks by the help of following tools.

  1. A hairdryer
  2. A suede brush
  3. A suede eraser

Step-2: Removing

When you notice any water stain on your shoes, the first thing you should do is let it dry. At best, you can use a hairdryer to dry quickly. Then apply a light coat of water over the entire surface of the shoes using the suede brush. For your reference, while water discolors suede, when you use it properly, it can also remove the stains.

Now using a paper towel or sponge, soak up the excess water from the surface, then gently dab the entire surface area until it is equally wet. After this, hopefully, you will not see any stains on the shoes. You can use dry paper to absorb excess water from the inside of the shoes, but avoid using newspaper because the ink of the paper may be soaked by the suede itself.

Step-3: Drying

Leave the shoes in a well-ventilated room overnight for the drying. Once the shoes are completely dry, brush up the nap of the suede and release the grain back to its original stage.

Step-4: Re-removing

After step 3, if the stains still remain visible, use the suede eraser to rub out the marks.

c) Removing the Oil Stains

Remove Oil Stain

Remove Oil Stain

Step-1: Preparation

Oil and grease stains are particularly challenging to remove. Nevertheless, one can do this challenging job with the help of a unique suede brush and nail brush.

Step-2: General Removing

Start the removing process by scrubbing the stains with the unique suede brush like you would do for a scrape. After that, use a nail brush and warm water to vanish the stubborn stains.

Step-3: Removing of New Stains

Cornstarch can be your way of removing the oil stains when the stains are fresh. Apply cornstarch to the stain and leave the shoes for overnight. On the subsequent day, erase the cornstarch using the brush, and finally, mist the stain with an iron.

  1. Cleaning Patent Leather Shoes

Cleaning Patent Leather Shoes

Cleaning Patent Leather Shoes

Patent leather shoes are manufactured with a type of coated leather that has a high-gloss finishing. Sometimes the shoes have a plastic coating. A user has to follow different steps of cleaning that won’t harm the shoe coating. Two actionable cleaning processes for patent leather shoes are given beneath.

a) Cleaning with A Solution of Soap and Water

cleaning with soap and water

cleaning with soap and water

At first, unlace the shoes and make a mixture of soap and water. Now, dip a piece of clean cloth into the soap solution. Rub all the surface area of the shoes using the dampened cloth. Lastly, wipe out the shoes with another clean dampen cloth.

b) Removing the Scuff of Patent Leather Shoes

You can wipe out the scuff marks of your shoes by hand sanitizer. Dip a cotton swab in hand sanitizer, then gently rub onto the scuff area. And finally, wipe off the left-over hand sanitizer with a piece of clean cloth.

Section-3:  How to Keep Your Shoes Always Shining

After finishing the cleaning, you have to polish the shoes for a fresh look. Let’s know four different types of shining technique. You can choose any one that goes with your type of leather shoes.

  1. Shining with Shoe Polish

shining with shoe polish

shining with shoe polish

This is the most widely use shinning process. To do that, wrap up a clean cloth around your fingers, then take a small amount of polish every time and keep applying evenly all over the shoes. Do the rubbing in a small circular motion. You can use a toothbrush for nook and crannies rubbing.

After the polish dry, start buffing using a shoe brush. For extra shining, later you can wipe the shoes lightly with a dampened cloth.

  1. Shining with Mineral Oil

leather shoes shining with mineral oil

leather shoes shining with mineral oil

The mineral oil is the core ingredient in most commercial patent leather shoe cleaners, you can use it by yourself too. Pour 4 to 5 drop of oil on a clean cloth and start rubbing it all over the shoe surfaces. If you need, go for the second clean cloth to make your shoes shining.

  1. Shining with Baby Wipes

shining with baby wipes

shining with baby wipes

Baby wipes can help you to clean and moisturize your shoes. If you are on the road and your leather shoes get scuffed or dirty, you can use a baby wipe to clean them. The moisturizing properties of baby wipes will help condition your shoe surface.

  1. Shining by Talcum Powder

shining by talcum powder

shining by talcum powder

Talcum powder is a good way to make the shoes shining. If you have grease or tough oil stain on your shoes and you want to remove them to make your shoes fresh and shining, you can pick talcum powder for your task.

Sprinkle some absorbent powder like talcum powder on the affected portion. Now let the powder sit for 2 to 3 hours and absorb the oil. Finally, remove the powder using a soft brush.

Final Words

A pair of leather shoes is good in terms of both comfortability and performance, but at the same time, it costs you a handsome amount of bucks. So, taking care of your leather shoes means you are caring for your shoes and your wallet at the same time.

We hope now you can clean your shoes following above-mentioned processes understanding your shoe materials and keep them always shining.

  1. This one is a complete guide of leather shoe care and cleaning. Leather shoe cleaning is kind of tricky. After following those step it will be easy.

    • Thanks Alce, we have made lots of research for it, and try to made easiest and time saving guide. It also help your shoes log lasting and clean.

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