Tuesday Tip: Put Your Best Foot Forward, and Keep Your Shoes Sparkling Clean

Tuesday Tip: Put Your Best Foot Forward, and Keep Your Shoes Sparkling Clean

By Yehudit Garmaise

Nothing feels better than wearing new shoes that fit well, but keeping shoes looking great in a not-so-clean city is not the easiest task.

To keep your favorite shoes looking like new, take some time to follow the steps below.

Local shoe repair shops, drugstores, and online stores sell the few inexpensive supplies  needed to give your shoes “the royal treatment.”

1. To get sneakers clean: first, wipe dirt off with a brush, such as a small horsehair brush specially made for cleaning shoes. Then, take out shoelaces,  to clean by washing them while they are out of the shoes. Replace shoelaces more often than shoes to keep shoelaces looking clean and intact. Along with the shoelaces, throw sneakers into the washing machine without any other clothing, add detergent, and then run on the highest and hottest cleaning setting.

Let shoes air dry, but don’t put drying shoes too close to a radiator or a space heater, which can crack, melt, or otherwise harm shoes.

2. To remove bacteria from the outsides of shoes, soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rub it in circular motions over the shoes to de-germ them. Let them dry completely before wearing them again. (Leather shoes should not be rubbed with alcohol, as this can ruin them.)

3. Clean leather and imitation leather shoes by hand. First, use a soft brush specifically made for shoes to gently wipe away any dirt and dust. Add a small amount of water to a few tablespoons of baking soda in a disposable bowl to make a cleaning paste. Then, use a rag to rub the baking soda paste onto leather shoes. Let the paste sit on your shoes for five to ten minutes, and then use a clean, damp cloth to remove scuffs and ground in dirt. Sprinkle a little baking soda onto your shoes to continue to remove any grease or oil marks.

4. To kill bacteria that can cause shoe odors, repurpose an empty spray bottle and mix equal amounts of rubbing alcohol, which ranges in strength from 70 to 90%, and water to make a powerful antiseptic. Use the spray bottle to lightly mist the insides of shoes before letting them dry overnight before wearing them. To avoid the bacteria, dirt, and germs shoes pick up from the outside world, remind everyone to remove their shoes right when they enter the door.

5. Polish shoes regularly with shoe polish. First, put packing tape on the soles to prevent them from getting stained with polish. Lay down some newspaper to prevent shoe polish from staining floors. To hide scuffs, stains, and faded color, use a clean towel to apply a small amount of polish to shoes. The polish should then be quickly brushed to even out the polish before buffing with a lint-free cloth or a microfiber towel. Remove packing tape.

6. To protect leather shoes from salt, snow, rain, and dirt, use a soft, clean towel to apply good, quality shoe oil, balm, and/or a protective spray every two to three months.

7. In a pinch, use other household items to shine your shoes. For instance, after first wiping off any loose dirt, try the following hacks:

Put a few drops of olive oil or vinegar on a cloth and rub it on shoes in small circular motions. Then, use a paper towel to wipe off excess oil, vinegar, and dirt. Finish by using a shoe brush.

Rub the inside of a banana peel in small circular motions over leather shoes before wiping with a soft, clean cloth. Buff the shoes with a lint-free cloth or a microfiber towel.

Spread petroleum jelly, coconut oil, aloe vera gel, hair gel, or plain lip balm over shoes. Let shoes sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Use a clean cloth to remove excess. 

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