How to Keep Your Sneakers Fresh: How to Restore Your Vintage Kicks
- by Sergio Stephano
- June 12, 2020
How to Keep Your Sneakers Clean
Have you ever gotten a new pair of shoes just for them to get dirty the next day? We’ve all been there before. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to clean shoes, whether they are vintage sneakers or straight off the rack. From canvas to leather to everything in between, we’ve got you covered on learning how to care for your sneakers.
Most canvas shoes are a cotton blend, so it is easy to ruin them accidentally if they are cleaned incorrectly. Some people put canvas shoes like Converse or Vans in the washing machine and dryer, but this is not ideal for the fabric type. If this is done, you could potentially ruin the rubber soles and toe caps with the dryer’s heat. The best way to clean canvas shoes is by getting a few ingredients: a bowl, water, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and an unused toothbrush.
- First you will need a bowl. Put about half a cup of water in the bowl.
- Then, get the baking soda and pour a generous amount into the bowl.
- Add about 3/4 of a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the mixture.
- Mix up the ingredients with the unused toothbrush. Some of the baking soda will settle at the bottom, so mix it up often.
- Get your dry canvas shoes and use the toothbrush to massage the mixture into the fabric in a circular motion.
- Regularly rinse off the mixture in the sink and continue to massage it, using the toothbrush.
- Make sure to get the rubber parts of the shoes as well, since they get quite dirty. Yes, this mixture is safe for the rubber, too!
- Let the shoes sit for two or more hours.
- Rinse out the mixture fully and let dry again.
- Once your shoes are dry, they should be clean as new!
This can be done as a spot treatment or an all-out cleaning session. This process is also usable for other street shoes like basketball shoes. The baking soda works to disinfect and clean the fabric, meaning that the stinky smell coming from your shoes is long gone when you use this process!
Suede and Sheepskin Shoes
In other sneaker news, suede and sheepskin shoes are prone to dirt and grime and water damage. To keep these sneakers looking new, it is important to take preventative measures to make sure they do not get damaged. If they do, well, we have tips for that, too!
A great way to prevent suede shoes from becoming dirty or damaged is to brush them with a soft-bristled brush after every use to be sure the dirt and grime from the day is removed. If there is any damage, follow these steps to clean them.
For marks and scuffs, rub very gently with a pencil eraser and then brush the shoes to repair the damage.
If your shoes get oily stains on them, sprinkle loose baby powder all over the stained area. Let it sit for about an hour to soak up all of the oil and then brush off the powder. If there are still oily spots, repeat the process until there is none anymore. Then, brush the shoes to make them look good as new!
Some suede shoes get wet stains on them from moisture. A way to fix this is to get a paper towel and press on the area that has been affected. Let the paper towel soak up the moisture and repeat the process. Let the shoes air dry, and then brush them.
Thankfully, athletic shoes are the easiest of them all. To clean them, you can simply put them in the washer! But first, you will need to remove the laces and the inner soles from the shoes to ensure they do not get ruined or tangled in the process. When washing the shoes, be sure to use strong detergent to get rid of any odors or stains in the shoes. We recommend allowing the shoes to air dry, but if you are in a pinch, it is acceptable to put the shoes in the dryer as long as there are other items like towels in the dryer, and the dryer heat is not on a high setting. If the setting is too high, the shoe fabric can either shrink or the rubber can melt. Air drying is the best method to ensure the shoes stay in good condition, but drying them in the dryer is sufficient if necessary as long as the precautions previously mentioned are considered.
Leather, Patent Leather, and Faux Leather Shoes
Leather is a tricky shoe fabric to clean, as it is very sensitive to chemicals. To clean these shoes, you will want to first wipe them off and make sure there is no dirt or residue left on the fabric. You can wipe them off with just water or use a 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar to clean them. This can remove salt stains many of us get in the winter. For scuffs, you will want to use a polish and follow the directions on the packaging. For patent leather and faux leather shoes, scuffs can be fixed by using petroleum jelly. You will want to use a small dab of the jelly and buff it into the shoes with a microfiber cloth.
Now you have learned how to care for your sneakers effectively without ruining the fabric. You can wear your brand new or vintage sneakers anywhere without the fear of causing any damage, and even if you do, these are the steps on how to clean nearly any type of shoe fabric successfully. Check out our other posts for more information on today’s sneaker news.