How To Clean Your Footwear

Categories Fashion

Add life and longevity to sneakers, dress shoes and more by following these recommended maintenance steps.

Knit

The breathable fibres that make your Nike Flyknits so comfortable also make them vulnerable to damage, so wash them delicately. Soapy water — just the lather from a bar of Dove in a bowl of cold water — is much gentler on your trainers than washing detergent, which affects the dye in the material. Rub your shoes softly with a flannel cloth, remembering to not be too aggressive with the lightweight material.

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Suede

It’s worth investing in a suede protector spray but if your sneakers have already copped some dirt or water stains, purchase a suede eraser and brush instead, brushing vigorously back and forth in the same direction to remove scuffing. And don’t forget the golden rule of cleaning suede sneakers: do not get them wet.

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Canvas

Go ahead and chuck your Converse Chuck Taylors in the washing machine — canvas can withstand a cold rinse cycle that blasts the dirt away. Keep them out of the dryer, though, opting for the sun instead. Washing detergent breaks down grime, while if your white Chucks have yellowed a tad, scrub some toothpaste into the canvas.

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Leather

Vaseline and lube have plenty of uses (no, not that — get your mind out of the gutter!) and treating leather sneakers is one of them. Petroleum jelly softens the leather, protects it from damage, and conceals small scuffs and scratches — and WD-40 removes that layer of gunk that builds up over time.

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Sole

Scuffs on the midsole are the toughest to clean — but they’re nothing that tooth whitening gel and a bit of elbow grease can’t fix. Leave the gel on the sole for a few hours to bleach it back to its original white before scrubbing it away with a damp rag.

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Unless you want them to fray, laces also require special attention — toss them into a pillowcase or your partner’s mesh bra bag for a cold spin through the washing machine to have them looking good as new.

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