You can clean leather shoes with the most common household items. All you need is baking soda, water, and a towel. Add to the mix dish soap, too. Use the dish soap and water to wipe dirt from the leather shoes. Baking soda should clear up debris in soles.
Most of the time, our leather shoes go through a lot.
It can be winter salt stains. Or it can be scuffs or simply just everyday wear.
No matter what it is, our leather shoes need some maintenance regularly. Cleaning up is certainly one of these.
If you are planning to clean up your leather shoes, you’re lucky.
Because right now, we will be letting you in on some cheaper methods.
As you know, leather cleaners are on the market today. But if you want them cheap, you can turn your heads into household items.
Now, these household items are so common. We are sure you have one or all of them right now.
So, let’s get started!
What You Need
What you need are the most common household items.
The first is dish soap. Then you would also need a microfiber towel and baking soda. Finally, you will also need a glass cleaning spray.
Cleaning your leather shoes at home using household items is easy.
In a bowl, you first mix a small amount of dish soap. You need to use this in wiping away any or all dirt or salt stains on your leather shoes.
Use a microfiber towel in cleaning in this step.
Next, combine baking soda with the dish soap and water mixture you made earlier.
Use a toothbrush to mix the baking soda. By using the same toothbrush, scrub the soles of your leather shoe.
This is effective in removing debris remains.
If there is extra soap and grime, wipe them away with a soft microfiber towel. Another option that you can take is by rinsing the sole of the shoe under running water.
And finally, use a glass window cleaner to enhance the shine.
Spray the glass cleaner into a fresh microfiber towel. Wipe it on the now cleaned leather shoe. And let it dry.
It is that simple.
And when you are finally done cleaning, make sure that you air dry your leather shoes. By this time, keep the leather shoes away from sunlight or sources of heat.
How do you fix scuffs and scratches on your leather shoes?
Scuffs are unavoidable. When your leather shoes get them, use toothpaste. When it comes to abrasiveness, toothpaste mixed with water is enough to remove scuffs.
Scuffs on shoes are major eyesores.
They, together with scratches, can literally ruin your day.
But they happen. And they happen to a lot of people, even to you.
This is if you wear your leather shoes day in and day out.
Most of the time, you can treat your leather shoes to get rid of these scuffs and scratches. Treatment can bring your shoes back to their old glory and shine.
Here, we tell you more about the differences between scuffs and scratches. Also, we let you in on some secrets. We’ll let you know how to get rid of them.
What is a material transfer scuff?
This happens when another object gets into contact with your leather shoes. In such a contact, some materials transfer to the leather surface.
Let’s give you an example.
If somebody accidentally steps on your foot. Let’s say that somebody is wearing shoes with rubber soles.
The tendency is that your leather shoes may get a black scuff mark from the rubber sole.
This type of scuff is the easiest to get rid of.
The black mark we talked about earlier is material from another object. In this case, it is the rubber sole.
When such happens, removing the scuff mark is easy. To remove material transfer scuffs, you only use the methods that are the least abrasive of the lot.
This is the most ideal of all.
The reason for this is because shoe brushes are actually made to remove grit from shoes.
If you got material transfer scuffs on your leather shoe, you might as well try this method first. This is the easiest.
When you have simple scuffs, a pencil eraser can help.
As you can see, an eraser is soft. In fact, it is soft enough that it will never damage the leather shoe.
When removing scuffs, apply moderate pressure.
Work your way across the scuff. This should be able to remove the transferred material.
The melamine foam has the capacity to get rid of stains on different types of surfaces.
Magic erasers are predominantly made of melamine foam. As such, you can use magic erasers to remove marks off your leather shoes.
But be gentle when using this.
Melamine foam is abrasive. When not done right, this can damage the leather.
First of all, wet the melamine foam. Then wipe the scuff gently with it.
Just like any other chemical, try this first on a discreet area of your leather shoe. This should let you know whether the foam is compatible with the type of leather or not.
Sometimes, scuffs can be stubborn.
During this time, baking soda can help you get rid of them.
Just mix it with water. This should create an abrasive type of paste.
On the other hand, toothpaste is also similar when it comes to its abrasiveness. When mixed with water, you can use toothpaste to remove scuffs.
Again, both of these options are abrasive. It would be best to be gentle when working with these.
Also, scuffs sometimes occur as a result of something making contact with your shoe.
The contact may not leave material on your leather shoe. But it can leave shallow damage on the leather surface.
This always looks like somebody just sandpapered your shoe. They are small scratches.
But no matter how small they are, these scuffs may not be nice to look at.
And since we know leather does not heal itself, it is up to you to fix them.
You can now fix abrasive scuffs in two steps.
The first is to minimize the scuffs. The next is to hide them.
When dealing with minor scuffs, you may want to apply a basic conditioner.
Conditioners are actually moisturizers. And just like any other moisturizer, leather will be able to absorb this when applied.
Once the leather can absorb the moisturizer, it will swell. Such a swelling will make the scuffs look minimized.
When conditioning, it is best to follow instructions.
And when drying, be patient. Wait for the shoes to be fully dry before wearing them again.
Sometimes, conditioning is not enough to get rid of the scuffs.
In such cases, polishing may be able to provide you with the solution.
Conditioning enhances the softness and texture of leather. On the other hand, polishing improves appearance.
When fixing scuffs, make sure to use colored polish. This should be able to help you cover up the scuff. Once applied, the polishing method will make the scuffs less visible.
Scratches and scuffs are quite similar.
The only difference is that scratches tend to be deeper. Scuffs are shallow. Scratches are deeper and are quite difficult to fix.
Some scratches are too deep that it even results in a cut in the leather.
It would be highly impossible to hide deep scratches.
Your goal now is to make it less visible.
You will never be able to hide them away completely.
At the end of the day, scratches provide the shoes with a certain level of character. So, if you cannot get rid of them, just accept them as they are.
Conditioning and polishing your shoes can help minimize the appearance of scratches. But they can never get rid of them.
Sometimes, glue or fillers can hide the scratches. Most of the time, this option is a band-aid fix. It is that temporary and is always not the best choice around.
The shoes would look fine for a while. But it would negatively affect the looks of your shoes in the long run.
This is because glue and fillers are ideal on stationary surfaces. They work well with those that don’t move a lot.
But if you think about it, most parts of your leather shoe move.
When using glue or fillers, they will eventually get loose. When this happens, they separate themselves from the leather.
Once this happens, it would be worse than the scratch you fixed. And when this happens, it would be harder to fix.
To repair cuts and maintain the shoe’s appearance is possible.
Most cuts result in the shoe’s outside layer being compromised. But fret not because there are always solutions to this.
You can glue the cut closed. Or you can sew it back together. But these fixes, however, will not bring back the shoe’s original appearance.
The repair may be functional, but there would always be something off.
Usually, cuts in leather shoes push the wearer to buy a new pair.
What household items can I use to condition my leather shoes?
Conditioning shoes at home is easy. You can condition your leather shoes by using either beeswax, essential oils, or even soap.
Just like the skin, when it gets dry and cracks the slightest, we moisturize. A bottle of lotion is always handy to keep the skin moisturized.
And just like the skin, leather shoes also need such care.
Leather shoes crack and deteriorate over many uses. To retain its original look, one should take care of the leather. One way is to clean. The other is to condition.
There are a lot of leather conditioners in the market. It can be daunting, but there are actually cheaper options.
All you have to do is to look at your pantry at home. You can use some of them in conditioning your leather shoes.
The Baby Soap Method
Now, this is not just any soap.
This has to be natural baby soap.
First, make sure to get one that has no stain-causing ingredients. Johnson’s is always a great option. And they’re available everywhere.
All you have to do is to mix a quart of warm water with a tablespoon of soap. Add in about two drops of vinegar.
Use a piece of clean cloth.
Dip it into the mixture you made. Make sure also to wring out the extra mixture. Your goal is for the cloth to be damp, not wet.
Wipe the leather shoes with a damp cloth.
Once finished, allow the leather shoes to air dry.
The Beeswax Recipe
This option can be at par with a liquid solution.
Truth be told, this option works really great. But the downfall is that this takes time.
First, you have to mix beeswax, cocoa butter, and sweet almond oil. Mix these ingredients in a saucepan using the 1:1:2 ratio.
Use medium heat.
When the fats are already melted, remove the pan from the heat. Wait for the mixture to cool. This should take about half an hour or so.
You would already have a thick balm that you can use on your leather shoe by this time.
When using, apply the balm to the leather shoe. Do this while massaging the conditioner.
Wipe away any excess balm on your shoe.
Once done, get a piece of fresh cloth. Buff the leather with it to enhance its appearance.
A word of caution, though.
When using this method, choose 100% beeswax. Anything less than that would not work well.
The Lemon Essential Oil
This is a bit controversial.
Some use a mixture of olive oil and vinegar. But some say olive oil damages leather in time.
To use this, start by dampening a piece of cloth.
Use about 10 to 15 drops of lemon essential oil. Once you have all these in a cloth, massage the leather shoe with the cloth.
The oil should make your leather shoe smell fresher.
It also works great at ridding your shoes of cracks.
This should also make your leather shoes last longer.