All about Shoes

Clean Like a Pro: Homemade Shoe Cleaner DIY Guide

a lady with homemade shoe cleaner

When it comes to keeping your favorite pair of shoes in tip-top condition, a quality shoe cleaner is your best friend. While there are numerous commercial options available, making your own shoe cleaner can be both cost-effective and customizable. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the world of DIY homemade shoe cleaners, providing you with 5 easy-to-make formulas that will leave your shoes looking as good as new. Whether you're dealing with leather, suede, canvas, rubber, mesh, or satin shoes, we've got you covered!


Why Make Your Own Shoe Cleaner?

Making your own shoe cleaner offers a plethora of benefits, from cost-effectiveness to customization possibilities. Here are some of the advantages of opting for a DIY shoe cleaner:

  • Cost-effective: Homemade shoe cleaners are usually much cheaper than store-bought options, as they are made with simple and inexpensive ingredients that you can purchase at any grocery or hardware store.
  • Control over ingredients: When making your own shoe cleaner, you have complete control over the type and quality of ingredients used. This means that you can avoid harsh chemicals and opt for natural alternatives that are gentler on your footwear and the environment.
  • Customization: Homemade shoe cleaners can be easily customized to suit different types of footwear. For instance, you can add different essential oils to create scents that complement specific types of shoes or use a milder recipe for delicate materials such as suede or leather.

By making your own shoe cleaner, you not only save money but also have the satisfaction of creating a product tailored to your preferences.


Create Your Own Shoe Cleaner with These Simple Hacks:

1. Water And Mild Dish Soap

A basic yet effective formula involves mixing water and mild dish soap. This gentle concoction is suitable for a wide range of shoe materials. Begin by mixing a tablespoon of mild dish soap with warm water. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the solution, wring out excess moisture, and gently scrub your shoes in circular motions. Wipe off any soap residue with a clean damp cloth and allow your shoes to air dry.

2. Water And Laundry Detergent

For a slightly stronger cleaning solution, water combined with laundry detergent works wonders. Mix water and a teaspoon of laundry detergent until it forms a soapy solution. Apply the mixture to your shoes using a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Scrub away dirt and grime, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

3. Baking Soda And Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar, two household staples, can be combined to create a potent shoe cleaner. Make a paste by mixing baking soda and white vinegar. Apply the paste to a brush or cloth and gently scrub your shoes. This mixture is particularly effective at removing stubborn stains and odors. After cleaning, wipe down your shoes with a damp cloth.

4. Lemon Juice And Olive Oil

For a natural and nourishing shoe cleaner, lemon juice and olive oil come to the rescue. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil to create a conditioning cleaner. Apply the mixture with a soft cloth, gently massaging it into the material. This formula not only cleans but also moisturizes, leaving your shoes looking revitalized.

5. Baking Soda And Detergent

The combination of baking soda and liquid detergent is excellent for deep cleaning. Mix these two ingredients to form a paste, and apply it to your shoes using a brush or cloth. The gentle abrasiveness of baking soda, combined with the cleaning power of detergent, can tackle even the toughest grime.

6. Vinegar and Detergent

Vinegar, known for its natural cleaning properties, can be paired with liquid detergent. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and detergent, and use a cloth or sponge to apply the solution to your shoes. This mixture is particularly useful for eliminating unpleasant odors.

a bucket of homemade cleaners


Cleaning Most Types Of Shoes With A Homemade Shoe Cleaner:

1. Cleaning Leather Shoes

Leather shoes require special care to maintain their luster. Gently wipe off any loose dirt or dust with a soft cloth. Then, use a dedicated leather cleaner made by mixing water and a small amount of mild soap. Dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe down your leather shoes. Be sure to condition them afterward to keep the leather supple.

2. Cleaning Suede Shoes

Suede shoes are notorious for attracting dirt and scuffs. Begin by using a suede brush or soft cloth to gently remove surface dirt. To tackle stubborn stains, create a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Dampen a cloth with the solution and blot the stains. Allow your shoes to air dry, then restore the suede texture using a suede brush.

3. Cleaning Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are relatively easy to clean. Remove the laces and gently scrub away dirt using a toothbrush and a mixture of mild detergent and water. Rinse with clean water and let them air dry. For stubborn stains, a paste made from baking soda and water can work wonders.

4. Cleaning Rubber Shoes

Rubber shoes can be washed with ease. Create a soapy solution using mild detergent and water. Use a cloth or brush to clean the rubber surfaces. Rinse thoroughly and let them air dry. Avoid using harsh chemicals that might damage the rubber material.

5. Cleaning Mesh Shoes

Mesh shoes are lightweight and breathable, but they can accumulate dirt and sweat. To clean them, remove the laces and insoles, then use a soft brush to remove loose dirt. Mix water and mild detergent, and scrub the mesh gently. Rinse and allow them to dry completely before reassembling.

6. Cleaning Satin Shoes

Satin shoes are delicate and require gentle care. Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water to create a soapy solution. Dampen a soft cloth and gently wipe the satin surface. Avoid excessive moisture, as satin can be sensitive to water. Blot with a dry cloth and let them air dry. 

How to Wash Shoes: Cleaning Shoes by Material


Why Cleaning Your Shoes With Shoe Cleaners Is Important?

Regularly cleaning your shoes isn't just about appearances; it's also about prolonging their lifespan. Dirt, grime, and moisture can degrade the materials over time, leading to discoloration, odors, and even structural damage. By using homemade shoe cleaners, you're investing in the longevity and aesthetics of your footwear collection.


Storing and Shelf Life of Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Proper storage is important for maintaining the effectiveness of your homemade shoe cleaner. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and be sure to label the container with the recipe and date it was made.

The shelf life of homemade shoe cleaner can vary depending on the ingredients used. Generally, a mixture of water and vinegar or water and baking soda can last up to three months if stored properly. However, solutions that contain oils or other perishable ingredients may spoil more quickly.

To extend the shelf life of your homemade shoe cleaner, consider using distilled water instead of tap water. This can reduce the risk of bacterial growth and prolong the effectiveness of the cleaner.

If you notice any changes in color or odor, it may be a sign that your shoe cleaner has expired and should be discarded.


Other Uses for Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Homemade shoe cleaner is a versatile solution that can be used to clean and protect various items aside from shoes. Here are some alternative uses for your DIY shoe cleaner:

Item to Clean How to Use Homemade Shoe Cleaner
Handbags and Purses Apply a small amount of shoe cleaner to a clean cloth and gently rub onto the surface of the bag. Wipe away any excess cleaner with a clean cloth and allow the bag or your backpack to air dry.
Leather Furniture Mix equal parts of vinegar and olive oil in a bowl, and apply a small amount to a clean cloth. Rub the solution gently onto the surface of the leather furniture. Wipe any excess solution with a clean cloth and leave the furniture to dry.
Car Seats Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a bowl, and apply a small amount to a clean cloth. Gently rub the solution onto the car seats. Wipe away any excess liquid with a clean cloth and allow the seats to air dry.

With homemade shoe cleaner, you can enjoy a versatile and effective cleaning solution for various items that require gentle and thorough care. Experiment with different recipes, and see what works best for your needs.



Key Takeaways

Crafting your own homemade shoe cleaner empowers you to take care of your footwear collection while avoiding harsh chemicals. These simple yet effective formulas cater to various shoe materials, ensuring your shoes remain pristine and stylish. By embracing DIY shoe cleaning, you're not only contributing to the environment but also enhancing the lifespan of your beloved shoes. So, go ahead and give these easy-to-make shoe cleaners a try – your shoes will thank you!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use these homemade shoe cleaners on all types of shoes?
Absolutely! These homemade cleaners are designed to work on a variety of shoe materials, including leather, suede, canvas, rubber, mesh, and satin.

2. Are there any materials I should avoid using these cleaners on?
While these cleaners are safe for most materials, it's wise to perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area before applying them to the entire shoe.

3. How often should I clean my shoes with these homemade cleaners?
The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you wear your shoes. As a general rule, aim to clean them every few weeks or whenever they appear dirty.

4. Can I store the homemade shoe cleaner solutions for later use?
It's recommended to prepare these solutions fresh each time you clean your shoes for optimal effectiveness. However, you can store them in airtight containers for a short period if needed.

5. Will these homemade cleaners remove tough stains and odors?
Yes, these homemade cleaners are formulated to tackle tough stains and eliminate odors. For exceptionally stubborn stains, you may need to repeat the cleaning process or seek professional help.

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