shiny leather shoes

How to Clean Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are a fantastic investment. They’re stylish, durable and can last you for years.

But here’s the thing: if you don’t take care of them, they can quickly lose their charm.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to clean your leather shoes like a pro.

It’s not as complicated as you might think. With a little bit of preparation and the right tools, you’ll have your leather shoes looking brand new in no time.

Whether you’re dealing with a pesky stain, scuff marks or just general dirt and grime, we’ve got you covered.

So, grab your favourite leather shoes and let’s get started!


Getting Things Ready

materials for cleaning leather shoes

Before we dive in and start cleaning those beautiful leather shoes of yours, we need to make sure we have all the right stuff! Here’s what you’ll need:

Soft-bristled brush

Grab a gentle-bristled brush to clear away any dust or dirt that’s sitting on top of your shoes.

It’s important to use a soft brush to avoid scratching the leather.

Leather cleaner

You’ll want to have a top-notch leather cleaner to get your shoes looking their best.

Make sure you pick one that’s specifically designed for leather shoes, as other cleaners might do more harm than good.


A clean, soft cloth is essential for applying the leather cleaner.

Whatever you do, don’t use rough materials like paper towels, or you’ll risk damaging the leather.

Leather conditioner

After cleaning your shoes, you’ll want to keep them looking fresh and feeling soft.

So, grab some leather conditioner. There are plenty of options available that are specially formulated for leather shoes.

Inserts and laces

Don’t forget to take out any inserts or laces before you start cleaning. It’s easier to clean your shoes when they’re not in the way!

Once you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get started. You’ll be amazed at how much better your leather shoes will look after you’ve given them a little TLC!


How to Clean Leather Shoes

how to clean leather shoes

Alright, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – it’s time to clean those leather shoes!

Follow these simple steps to get your kicks looking spick and span:

1. Brush off any dirt or dust

Use your soft-bristled brush to gently remove any loose dirt or dust from your shoes.

Be careful not to rub too hard or you might scratch the leather.

2. Apply leather cleaner

Now it’s time to apply your leather cleaner.

Use a clean, soft cloth to apply the cleaner to the surface of your shoes, working it in gently.

Make sure you cover all areas of the shoe, including the seams and any hard-to-reach spots.

3. Let the cleaner do its thing

Once you’ve applied the cleaner, leave it to do its thing for a few minutes.

Don’t let it dry out completely – just give it a chance to work its magic.

4. Wipe off the cleaner

Take a clean, damp cloth and wipe off the excess cleaner from your shoes.

Make sure you get all the cleaner off, as leaving any residue can damage the leather.

That’s the cleaning process!

If you want your treasured leather shoes to look even more wonderful, then you’ll want to consider conditioning your shoes as well.


Conditioning Leather Shoes

wiping leather shoes

Conditioning your leather shoes is an important step in the cleaning process.

It not only helps to keep the leather soft and supple but also prevents it from cracking over time.

Here’s how you can condition your leather shoes:

1. Choose a good-quality leather conditioner

There are plenty of leather conditioners available on the market.

Look for a product that is designed specifically for leather shoes and has good reviews.

2. Apply the conditioner

Take a soft cloth and apply a small amount of conditioner to it.

Gently rub the conditioner onto the leather, making sure to cover all areas of the shoe.

You don’t need to use too much: a little goes a long way.

3. Let the conditioner soak in

Leave the conditioner to soak in for a few minutes, allowing it to penetrate the leather.

This will help to keep the leather soft and supple.

4. Wipe off any excess

After a few minutes, use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess conditioner.

You don’t want to leave any residue on the leather, as this can attract dirt and grime.

5. Buff your shoes

Once you’ve wiped off the excess conditioner, take a clean, dry cloth and buff your shoes.

This will help to bring out the shine in the leather and give your shoes a polished finish.

That’s it! Conditioning your leather shoes is easy, and it’s a great way to keep them looking their best.

Just remember to do it regularly to keep the leather in good condition!


Using Household Items to Clean Leather Shoes

vinegar baking soda olive oil and toothpaste

If you don’t have access to specialised leather cleaning products, there are still some household items you can use to clean your leather shoes.

Here are a few:

White vinegar

Mix equal parts water and white vinegar and dip a soft cloth into the solution.

Use the cloth to gently clean the leather, making sure to cover all areas of the shoe.

Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent and can help to remove stains and dirt from leather.

Bicarbonate of soda

Mix a small amount of bicarbonate of soda with water to form a paste.

Apply the paste to the leather and gently rub it in with a soft cloth. Leave it on for a few minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth.

Bicarbonate of soda is great for removing stubborn stains and odours.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a natural conditioner and can help to keep leather soft and supple.

Dip a soft cloth into a small amount of olive oil and rub it onto the leather, making sure to cover all areas of the shoe.

Leave it on for a few minutes before wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.


Toothpaste can be used to clean scuffs and marks from leather shoes.

Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the affected area and rub it in with a soft cloth. Wipe off any excess toothpaste with a clean cloth.

While these household items can be effective in cleaning leather shoes, it’s important to test them on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure they don’t cause any damage.

And always remember to be gentle when cleaning leather, as it is a delicate material.


Finishing Touches

leather shoe and shoe tree

After you’ve cleaned and conditioned your leather shoes, there are a few finishing touches you can do to make them look even better:

Polish your shoes

Use a soft cloth and some shoe polish to give your shoes a final polish.

This will help to bring out the shine and make your shoes look like new.

Replace the laces

If your shoelaces are looking a little worse for wear, consider replacing them with a fresh pair.

This will help to give your shoes a new lease of life.

Use shoe trees

Shoe trees are a great way to keep your shoes in shape and prevent them from developing creases.

They also help to absorb any excess moisture, which can prevent the leather from cracking.

Store your shoes properly

When you’re not wearing your leather shoes, make sure you store them properly.

Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and avoid stacking them on top of each other.

By following these simple finishing touches, you can help to keep your leather shoes looking great for years to come.

And remember, the more you care for your shoes, the longer they will last!

organized leather shoes



Cleaning your leather shoes doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and with the right techniques and products, you can keep them looking their best for years to come.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your leather shoes remain soft, supple, and free from dirt and grime.

Remember to always start by preparing your shoes for cleaning, by removing any dirt or debris and checking for stains.

Then, choose the right cleaning products based on the type of leather and the severity of the stains.

Whether you opt for specialised leather cleaning products or common household items, always be gentle when cleaning leather, as it is a delicate material.

After cleaning your shoes, it’s important to condition and polish them to restore their shine and protect them from future damage.

And don’t forget to let them dry thoroughly before wearing them again.

By taking care of your leather shoes, you’re not only ensuring they look great, but also prolonging their lifespan.

Leather shoes can be a big investment, so it’s worth putting in the effort to keep them in top condition.

So next time your leather shoes need a little love, don’t hesitate to give them a good clean and some love.