A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Leather Shoes

How to clean leather shoes



Okay, so we’re all guilty of doing this. We’re so excited about our purchase of a beautiful pair of new leather shoes (leather mules were huge this year) that we instantly start wearing them before we get the chance to protect them. While that first step is crucial to making sure your leather shoes last, there’s little escaping the inevitability of acquiring scuff marks, nicks, and general dirt through multiple wears over time. When it’s time to sit down and clean your leather shoes, you’ll know. Luckily, it couldn’t be any easier to do yourself at home. We broke down each step (and what you’ll need) to make your leather shoes look fresh-out-of-the-box new again.

Go on to learn how to clean your leather shoes with this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Use a soft brush

How to clean leather shoes



Brush off dirt, dust, and any random debris before you do anything else. We recommend using a brush specifically made for cleaning leather shoes. Brush gently along the seam and sole of your shoes careful not to scratch the leather accidentally.

Shop It: Jason Markk Premium Hog Bristle Wood Block Brush ($11)

Step 2: Remove the laces

How to clean leather shoes



Remove the laces (if your shoes have them) before wiping the shoes down with anything!

Step 3: Wipe with a damp cloth

How to clean leather shoes



Take a clean cloth, dip in water, and wring it out. Add a bit of liquid soap or leather cleaner and wipe down your shoes. Follow up by wiping them with a damp cloth again to remove any leftover soap. Leave them out to dry in a cool, dry place.

To remove salt stains, in particular, repeat the above step but swap in a mixture of one-half white vinegar and one-half water instead of soap and water.

Spot Cleaning

How to clean leather shoes



Traveling or on the go and need to quickly clean off a stain? Pick up a package of baby wipes. They’re pre-moistening and mild enough to be safe on leather.

Now that you know exactly how to clean your leather shoes, feel free to shop away! We’ve chosen our favorite leather pairs here.

The sculptural heel gives this such a sleek silhouette.

The perfect slip-on sandals for summer.

The details give a little edge to this sophisticated loafer.

We're having a hard time choosing between the black and the brown.

The asymmetrical heel is such a cool detail.

White sneakers are a must as the weather warms up.

A minimalist take on chunky platforms.

Up next, this is how to clean suede shoes.

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.