1. 1

    When cleaning, it's best to remove your shoelaces to prevent damage. To remove the laces from your leather shoes, you can do so gently. Laces are typically made of cloth, so leather cleaner and polish can leave a permanent stain if used without first removing them.

    • It's easy to clean dirty laces by placing them in a mesh bag and running them through the washing machine.
  2. 2

    Use a gentle bristle brush to sweep away dust and grime. Pick up each shoe with your non-dominant hand, and use the brush to gently rub the surface of each shoe to remove dirt. Brush carefully, taking your time, to avoid scratching the leather. For a thorough cleaning, use the brush to scrub the insides and bottoms of your shoes.

    • If your leather shoes are already relatively spotless, there's no need to clean them. However, if you just got home and there are still a few scuffs or bits of dirt stuck to your shoes, this is a good idea.
    • If you aren't careful, the leather may get scratched if you use something like a wire brush or something with hard bristles.


  3. WH_logo.svg


    Use a leather cleaner and a soft brush to get rid of tough scuffs and scratches. Put some leather cleaner on a soft bristle brush and use it to gently wipe the leather's surface. Use a back-and-forth motion, as if you were dusting your shoes, to work the cleaner into the leather. Keep at it with the brush until the stained leather is as good as new.

    • Cleaning leather shoes has never been easier than with leather cleaner, a product that is as novel as it is useful.
    • If you don't have a soft bristled brush, a microfiber cleaning cloth will do the trick.
    • To maintain the integrity of your leather shoes, you should never use water. Leather shoes that have been exposed to water may shrink and dry out over time, which can cause wrinkles and stiffness.
  4. WH_logo.svg


    Soak up oil and grease with talcum powder. Use an absorbent powder, like talcum or baby powder, to cover a stubborn oil or grease stain on leather shoes. The oil needs at least two to three hours to soak in. Use a soft brush to gently remove the powder. [3]

    • It's gratifying to see the greasy mark vanish after brushing off the powder. The powder absorbs the oil or grease's moisture, allowing the leather to dry out.
    • Cornstarch can also be used to remove oil stains, but it must be left on the stain for at least 7 to 8 hours for the starch to do its job.
  5. 5

    After cleaning, conditioning will further protect your leather shoes. You can reuse the shoe brush or cloth from before, or grab a clean one. Apply a thin layer of leather conditioner to the upper of your leather shoes and rub it in with the brush or cloth. After the conditioner has dried for a few minutes, you can remove any flakes that have formed by brushing or wiping them away. [4]

    • You should treat the leather with a conditioner that is the same shade as your shoes. Get a black leather conditioner, for instance, if you have black leather shoes.
  6. WH_logo.svg


    Polish your leather shoes until they glisten like new. A small amount of wax or cream leather polish, applied with a soft cloth, can bring back the shine to leather. Use the cloth to gently rub the surface of each shoe using circular motions. Use a clean cloth to remove any clumps of polish from your shoes until they are shiny and smooth all over. 2

    • Don't polish your shoes if they're made of a material other than leather.
    • Although not required, shoe polish will prolong the life of your footwear and make it look like it was just purchased.


  1. WH_logo.svg


    Use a suede brush on your suede footwear. Go to a shoe store or go online and buy a suede brush. The suede can be cleaned with these brushes without fear of scuffs or tears, as the bristles are made of a special nylon. Move your brush in a slow, even motion back and forth across the suede. Remove dirt and grime by brushing each shoe thoroughly. [1]

    • Although a suede brush might seem superfluous, it's essential if you want your suede shoes to last. You won't get the same results from using a regular, soft-bristled brush.
    • It may come as a surprise, but suede is made from genuine leather that has been sanded down to make it soft and give it texture.
  2. WH_logo.svg


    Scuff marks and pencil marks can be erased with a rubber eraser. The smudge or scratch can be removed by rubbing the eraser over the affected area. Avoid scuffing the suede by moving in a straight line. Use your suede brush to remove any traces of the eraser. [8]

    • The bristles of some suede brushes are rubberized on one side or the other. If your brush has a rubbery side, use it to clean up smudges and fingerprints instead of a pencil eraser.
  3. WH_logo.svg


    Put them in a bowl of cornstarch water to get rid of the grease. Apply some cornstarch to a cotton swab and rub the stains until they disappear. It's important to use enough cornstarch to coat the suede fibers entirely. For best results, let the powder sit for at least two to three hours. Then, use a suede brush to sweep away the powder and eliminate the oil stain. [9]

    • Surprisingly, cornstarch can also be used to remove grease stains that have long since set into the suede fibers. Don't just throw away those old suede shoes until you've tried this!
  4. WH_logo.svg


    For long-lasting protection against the elements, spray your suede footwear with a silicone-based product. If possible, you should spray your shoes with a shoe protectant spray as soon as you get them home. Now is the time to treat them if you haven't already. When you're done cleaning your shoes, spray them down. It's best to spray the protector from arm's length away, making sure to cover all of the fibers in the shoes. [11]

    • Waterproofing sprays for suede can be found at most sneaker and shoe shops.
    • Suede is a stunning material, but it is easily damaged by moisture and harsh conditions. If it starts raining on your way home from work, you can keep your shoes dry by weatherproofing them. Keep your footwear as dry as possible, though.


  1. WH_logo.svg


    Clean your footwear by wiping them down with a solution of mild soap and water. If your shoelaces are dirty or looking worn, take them off and wash them in a mesh bag. A drop of gentle liquid soap on a wet cloth will do the trick. Rub the insides and outsoles of your shoes together gently. Make sure to use a clean, wet cloth to wipe them down. [12]

    • To achieve its shiny appearance, traditional leather is coated with plastic to create patent leather. 3 These shoes, unlike those made of genuine leather or suede, can tolerate getting wet without suffering any shrinkage or damage thanks to the glossy coating.
  2. 2

    To get rid of scuff marks, simply use hand sanitizer and a cotton swab. Place a small amount of hand sanitizer on a cotton swab and rub your hands together. Gently rub the swab over the scuffs to remove them. After that, use a clean cloth to remove any remaining hand sanitizer. [14]

    • If you're out of shoe polish, petroleum jelly works in a pinch.
  3. 3

    Use mineral oil and a clean cloth to shine your footwear. There is no need to purchase a specialized patent leather cleaner because mineral oil is the main ingredient in most commercial shoe cleaners. Put about four or five drops of the mineral oil onto a clean cloth, and then rub it all over your shoes. If you want your shoes to shine, use a second clean cloth to buff them.

    • Use a cotton ball if you don't have a clean cloth handy.


Question New
  • Question

    The best way to restore the shine to white leather shoes

    Marc Sigal
    Mr. Marc Sigal
    Expert in the Care of Shoes
    ButlerBox, a Los Angeles–based dry cleaning and shoe care service, was founded by Marc Sigal. Lockers from ButlerBox are placed in high-end buildings such as apartment complexes and office towers as well as public spaces such as shopping malls and other public buildings so that customers have access to them around the clock, seven days a week. Marc attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned a bachelor's degree in international studies.
    Marc Sigal

    The first rule of cleaning leather shoes is to never use water. The leather will contract if exposed to water, so try to keep them out of the rain. Keep your leather shoes looking like new by regularly cleaning them with a soft bristle brush or microfiber towel and polishing them. Use a leather conditioner to soften the material and make it more manageable.

  • Question

    Does anyone know of a good way to clean muddy leather shoes?

    Community Answer

    Begin by wiping your shoes clean with a ragged cloth and, if necessary, a bit of water. After that, wash the saddle with saddle soap to get rid of any remaining grime.

  • Question

    If you have any advice on how to get water stains out of leather shoes, please let me know.

    Community Answer

    Vinegar or lemon juice can be used. Use diluted vinegar or lemon juice on a cloth or soft toothbrush to remove stains. Rub the shoe softly to get rid of any remaining stains. Get a dry towel and wipe the shoe down. This technique should not only be effective at removing water stains, but also at preserving the life and luster of your leather footwear.

Check out the FAQ for more info.

Post a Question


  • ⧼thumbs_response⧽
  • ⧼thumbs_response⧽


  • Synonyms: bristle-free brush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Preparing Leather for Use Again
  • Leather preservative
  • Boot and shoe shine for leather
  • Bristle suede
  • A squishy, rubbery eraser
  • Cornstarch
  • Spray silicone-based protector
  • Mild soap
  • Tidy washcloths
  • Swab of cotton
  • Sanitizer for the hands
  • Compressed natural gas

Marc Sigal

Marc Sigal and Eric McClure, writers on staff at wikiHow, collaborated to write this article. Marc Sigal started the Los Angeles-based dry cleaning and shoe care company ButlerBox. Pick up and drop off your items at any of the convenient locations where ButlerBox has installed their custom-designed, wrinkle-resistant lockers, which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Marc attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a degree in Global and International Studies. With 526,027 pageviews, this article must be pretty interesting!

Co-authors: 13

Updated: This date in 2021: September 16

Views:  526,027

Categories: Recent Articles | Shoe Shine

  • Write your favorite authors a letter of support!
We appreciate everyone who has contributed to this page.
  • Tamara Omondi

    I was skeptical at first, but the eraser did the trick on the suede and was a big help on the leather. "

The world needs to hear your tale.