Leather shoes are generally known for their durability and will last a good time so long you give them proper care regularly. In fact, you can keep your leather shoes looking just like new with some bit of tender loving care.
With that being said, you cannot put your leather shoes in the washer. Well, washing machines are typically suitable for most shoes made with synthetic materials. But on the flip side, they can damage your leather shoes, leaving them faded and cracked.
Instead, you might want to use certain items like cleaning rags, good shoe polish, and a shoe brush to keep your leather footwear in great shape and condition. Nonetheless, these remarks may not be precisely applicable in suede leather shoes- they kind of require some special care.
Read the label and Product Description
It is always important to check the label of your shoes before doing anything. This will help to determine if they are machine washable. Moreover, the label will probably illustrate the best way to clean the shoes based on the material they are made from.
Most shoes designed with animal-based fabric are not meant to be machine washable. As such, you might need to use some items like an old toothbrush to do the cleaning, or at least get rid of the obvious surface dirt. A damp cloth can also be used as an alternative to machine washing.
Should I Put My Leather Shoes in A Washing machine?
The answer to the question of whether or not to put your shoes in a washer highly depends on what the shoes are made for. Again, check whether the shoe is machine washable from the care label.
Unfortunately, there are almost no shortcuts, such as washing machines when it comes to leather shoes. The thumb rule is that you should avoid machine-washing any footwear crafted from animal-based fabrics like suede or leather.
Water is likely to damage these materials. That means you’ll have to use other cleaning products that are specially meant for these fabrics. You may also consider taking your leather shoes to a professional cleaner.
To emphasize a bit on the built material aspect, shoes made with delicate materials like silk and satin, or embellished ones should be washed with special care.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your leather shoes:
Prepare Your Shoes
Since leather shoes are not meant to be machine-washed, you need to make sure you have full access to the entire leather surfaces when cleaning with other alternatives. To do this, you will have to remove the lacing system.
If the laces are made of nylon or cotton, you can clan them in the washing or hand wash them using laundry detergent. But for leather laces, it’s best to clean them with the same instructions as those for cleaning the leather shoes.
After cleaning, keep the laces out to dry, and make sure they are completely dry before putting them in the shoes after cleaning and polishing them.
Get Rid of Dirt
You might have to use a toothbrush or such to eliminate the dust, dirt, and debris stuck on the outsole and the shoe’s entire exterior. Then, damp a microfiber rag or cotton and squeeze to get excess water out.
Wipe down the leather surfaces, skimping the outsole. For rigorous stains and dirt, you might have to use a solution of water and some bit of laundry cleaning stuff. Apply a small solution to the shoes’ surface.
Rub to remove the dirt and wipe the shoes with a fresh, clean cloth or rug. This will help alleviate persistent mud and grime. Once the hard part is over, eliminate as much moisture as possible from the leather surfaces and leave them to air dry.
Also Read: How to Dry Shoes After Washing Machine
Next, damp the rug again and squeeze the excess water out. Scrub the outsole until you’re satisfied it’s clean. In case of extremely dirty outsoles, you can use mild laundry detergent alongside the rug to enhance the cleaning process. Once done, use a dry clean rag to eliminate as much moisture as possible from the shoes.
The Shoes Interior
Most people will basically care about their shoes’ exterior but are often reluctant to put as much emphasis on the shoes’ interior. Don’t forget to clean the inside of your shoes. Detach the inserts and wipe them with a wet rag.
Leave them to air dry and make sure they are completely dry before putting them back. Back to the shoes, turn them upside down and shake to remove dust and debris. You might want to use a dampened rag or a vacuum to clean the insides, depending on the condition of the shoes.
Polishing Your Shoes
This step might not be necessary when cleaning leather sneakers. Once you’re satisfied, the shoes are completely dry, apply quality shoe polish that goes with the color of the leather surface. Use a controlled amount.
Using a shoe brush, spread the polish evenly and seamlessly across the entire leather surface and then fine-tune everything with a dry rug. Keep polishing until you achieve the shine of your preference.
The Bottom Line
When heading to your occupation or walking with family or friends, you want to feel comfortable with your best look. However, sometimes looking great from head to toe can be more of a challenge. This is particularly true if the shoes are somewhat worse to wear.
Nevertheless, cleaning shoes shouldn’t be such a hustle. If your shoes are machine washable, well and good, machine-wash them. But before you start cleaning, play it safe, and read through the tags and manufacturer’s website for appropriate cleaning steps.
Some shoes, leather shoes for that matter, aren’t simply designed for any automated cleaning efficiencies. Thus, throwing them in washers will just ruin them. Certain materials like animal-based fabric usually call for specific hand washing methods.
Hopefully, the above tips and recommended steps will help keep your favorite pair of leather shoes looking great and smelling fresh for months to come.