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Leather shoes are not just footwear; they are an investment in style and durability. Keeping them clean not only maintains their appearance but also prolongs their lifespan. We'll walk you through the steps to effectively clean your leather shoes, ensuring they look their best for years to come.

How to clean your leather shoes

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, gather the following supplies:

  1. Soft-bristled brush
  2. Mild leather cleaner or saddle soap
  3. Soft cloths or micro-fiber towels
  4. Leather conditioner
  5. Water repellent spray (optional)

Once you have everything you need, you're ready to start cleaning your leather shoes.

Step 2: Remove Surface Dirt

Using a soft-bristled brush, gently remove any surface dirt and debris from your leather shoes. Brush in a circular motion to loosen dirt from all crevices and seams. Be gentle to avoid scratching the leather.

Step 3: Clean with Leather Cleaner or Saddle Soap

Dampen a soft cloth or sponge with water and apply a small amount of mild leather cleaner or saddle soap. Work the cleaner into a lather and gently scrub your shoes, paying extra attention to stained or soiled areas. Avoid using excessive water, as leather can be damaged by prolonged exposure to moisture.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

After cleaning, dampen another cloth with clean water and wipe away any excess soap residue from your shoes. Then, pat them dry with a dry cloth or towel. Allow your shoes to air dry at room temperature, away from direct heat sources or sunlight, which can cause the leather to dry out and crack.

Step 5: Condition Your Leather

Once your shoes are completely dry, apply a small amount of leather conditioner (bubbin)  to a soft cloth. Gently massage the conditioner into the leather using circular motions, ensuring full coverage. Conditioning helps to restore moisture and suppleness to the leather, preventing it from becoming brittle and cracked.

Step 6: Apply Water Repellent (Optional)

To protect your leather shoes from water damage and stains, consider applying a water repellent spray. Be sure to choose a product specifically formulated for leather footwear and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

How to clean your suede leather shoes

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start cleaning your suede leather shoes, gather the following supplies:

  1. Soft-bristled suede brush or eraser
  2. White vinegar or specialised suede cleaner
  3. Clean, dry cloth
  4. Water and sponge (for certain stains)
  5. Suede protector spray (optional)

Having these items on hand will make the cleaning process more effective and help protect your suede shoes.

Step 2: Remove Surface Dirt and Stains

Begin by using a soft-bristled suede brush or eraser to gently remove any surface dirt or stains from your shoes. Brush or rub in one direction to maintain the suede's natural texture. For more stubborn stains, you can lightly dampen the brush or eraser.

Step 3: Address Water Stains

If your suede shoes have water stains, lightly dampen the entire shoe with a clean sponge. Be careful not to oversaturate the suede, as excessive moisture can damage it. Once damp, use the suede brush or eraser to restore the nap (the raised fibers) and even out the appearance.

Step 4: Clean with Vinegar or Suede Cleaner

For tougher stains or overall cleaning, apply a small amount of white vinegar or a specialised suede cleaner to a clean, dry cloth. Gently blot the stained areas or clean the entire surface, depending on your needs. Always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility.

Step 5: Let Your Shoes Dry Naturally

After cleaning, allow your suede shoes to air dry naturally. Keep them away from direct heat sources, as heat can cause the suede to shrink or become discoloured. Stuff the shoes with newspaper to help them retain their shape and absorb any excess moisture.

Step 6: Brush and Restore Texture

Once your suede shoes are dry, use the suede brush to restore the texture and raise the nap. Brush in one direction to maintain a consistent appearance. This step enhances the overall look and feel of the suede.

Step 7: Protect with Suede Protector Spray (Optional)

To safeguard your suede shoes from future stains and water damage, consider applying a suede protector spray. Ensure the shoes are clean and dry before applying the protector. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for preserving the beauty and longevity of your leather shoes. By following these simple steps, you can keep your footwear looking its best and enjoy years of stylish wear. Remember to clean and condition your shoes regularly to keep them in top condition and protect your investment.

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