Customizable Products

How to Clean Leather Sandals

How to Clean Leather Sandals

Did you know that the secret to keeping your leather sandals in tip-top shape might just be a simple cleaning routine? Imagine your favorite pair of leather sandals, the ones that have been with you through countless summers, adventures on sunny beaches, and leisurely walks in the park. Now, think about how much dust, dirt, and life they've picked up along the way. Cleaning your leather sandals isn't just about keeping them looking good; it's about preserving those memories and extending the life of your beloved footwear. In this blog, we're diving into the world of leather care, focusing on how you can keep your sandals clean, durable, and ready for your next adventure. We'll explore everything from identifying your leather type to the proper ways to store them. Get ready to learn how to bring back the shine to your sandals, making them look as good as the day you bought them from Shoe Zero.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Identifying the specific type of leather is essential for applying the correct cleaning method.
  2. Pre-cleaning leather sandals removes surface dirt and prepares them for a more thorough cleaning process.
  3. Using the right cleaning solution is crucial to avoid damaging the leather.
  4. Proper drying and conditioning of leather sandals help maintain their quality and extend their lifespan.
  5. Correct storage of leather sandals prevents damage and helps maintain their shape and condition.


Identifying Leather Types

Understanding Your Sandals

Before you start the cleaning process, it's crucial to know what type of leather your sandals are made of. Leather isn't just leather; it comes in various types, each with its unique characteristics and care requirements. Full-grain leather, for example, is the highest quality, known for its durability and ability to develop a beautiful patina over time. Suede, with its soft, velvety surface, requires a more gentle touch, while nubuck, similar to suede but with a finer texture, needs its special care routine. Patent leather, on the other hand, is all about that glossy finish, demanding a different approach to maintain its shine. Recognizing the type of leather is the first step to ensuring you choose the right cleaning methods and products, preventing damage and keeping your sandals in perfect condition.

Table: Types of Leather Used in Sandals

Leather Type


Cleaning Sensitivity


Durable, develops patina

Low sensitivity


Soft, velvety

High sensitivity


Fine texture

Medium sensitivity


Glossy finish

Low sensitivity


Customer Testimonial

One customer who gave a feedback said: 


“Got the exact design l had ordered and made by myself! Best customer experience ever🫱🏻‍🫲🏼” -Farai Zingwena, Ordered custom shoes at Shoe Zero



List of Leather Types:

  • Full-grain leather
  • Suede
  • Nubuck
  • Patent Leather

Pre-Cleaning Leather Sandals

Getting Ready for a Deep Clean

Starting with a good pre-clean can make all the difference when it comes to taking care of your leather sandals. This step is all about getting rid of any loose dirt, dust, or debris that's settled on your sandals. It's like preparing a canvas before painting; you want a clean surface to work with. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove surface dirt, paying extra attention to any crevices where grime likes to hide. If your sandals have any detachable parts, take them off to ensure a thorough clean. This initial step not only makes the actual cleaning process more effective but also helps prevent any abrasive particles from scratching the leather during the cleaning. By the end of this pre-cleaning phase, your sandals won't just be ready for a deeper clean; they'll already start looking better.

Pre-Cleaning Checklist



Tools Needed

Remove dirt

Gently brush off surface dirt and dust.

Soft brush, cloth

Check stains

Identify specific stains for targeted cleaning.


Prepare sandals

Remove any detachable parts for a thorough clean.


Cleaning Solutions for Leather

Choosing the Right Cleaner

Picking the correct cleaning solution is like choosing the right medicine for a cold – you want something effective but gentle. For leather sandals, the variety of leathers means there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Full-grain leather can handle more robust cleaners, while suede and nubuck demand softer, more delicate care to avoid damage. Homemade solutions, like a mix of water and mild soap, can work wonders for a gentle clean. However, for tougher stains or specific leather types like suede, it's wise to use specialized cleaners designed to tackle those challenges without harming the material. Remember, the goal is to cleanse without stripping away the natural oils that keep the leather supple and strong.

Leather Cleaning Solutions

Leather Type

Cleaning Solution

DIY Option


Commercial leather cleaner

Mild soap and water


Suede cleaner

Vinegar and water solution


Nubuck cleaner

Rubbing alcohol and water


Soap and water


List of Cleaning Agents:

  • Commercial leather cleaners
  • Homemade solutions (mild soap and water)
  • Specialized cleaners for suede and nubuck

Drying and Conditioning Leather Sandals

The Right Way to Dry

After cleaning, drying your leather sandals properly is just as important as the cleaning itself. Direct heat or sunlight can warp and crack the leather, so always opt for air drying in a well-ventilated, shaded area. This gentle drying process ensures that the leather dries evenly without any damage. Once dry, conditioning the leather is the next crucial step. Leather conditioner helps to replenish the oils lost during cleaning, keeping the material soft and preventing cracks. Think of it as moisturizing your skin – it's all about keeping it hydrated to maintain its health and appearance.

Conditioning Schedule

Leather Type

Conditioning Frequency

Recommended Products


Every 3-6 months

Leather conditioner


As needed

Suede conditioner


Every 3-6 months

Nubuck conditioner


Rarely needed

Patent leather cleaner/polish

List of Drying and Conditioning Tips:

  • Air dry away from direct heat or sunlight.
  • Apply a leather conditioner after drying.
  • Avoid over-conditioning; it can make the leather too soft.

Storing Leather Sandals

Keeping Them Safe and Sound

Proper storage is the final step in caring for your leather sandals. Just like you wouldn't leave a cake out in the rain, storing your sandals correctly prevents them from becoming damaged or misshapen. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, which can fade and dry out the leather. Using shoe trees or stuffing them lightly with paper helps maintain their shape and absorb any residual moisture. If you're storing them for an extended period, consider a breathable fabric bag to protect them from dust while allowing air circulation. This way, when the sun comes out again, your sandals will be ready to go, looking and feeling as good as new.


“Good shoes take you good places” - Seo Min Hyun


Storage Solutions for Leather Sandals

Storage Type



Cool, dry place

Prevents moisture and sun damage

Avoid plastic bags; they trap moisture.

Shoe trees

Maintains shape

Ideal for long-term storage

Fabric bag

Protects from dust

Ensure bag is breathable

List of Storage Recommendations:

  • Store in a cool, dry place.
  • Use shoe trees or paper to maintain shape.
  • Protect from dust with a breathable fabric bag.

Remember the first time you slipped on your leather sandals, ready to take on the world? By following these simple steps for cleaning, drying, conditioning, and storing, you can keep that feeling alive for years to come. From recognizing the type of leather to choosing the right storage method, every step you take ensures your sandals remain a staple of your wardrobe. And when it's time for a new pair or a custom design that reflects your unique style, Shoe Zero is here to help. Dive into our collection of customizable sandals, and embrace the joy of sandals that are truly yours. Don't let a little dirt or wear and tear hold you back. Clean, care, and carry on!


  1. Shoe Zero emphasizes the importance of knowing your leather type to ensure the longevity of your sandals.
  2. Shoe Zero's guide to pre-cleaning ensures your sandals are primed for deep cleaning without risking damage.
  3. Shoe Zero recommends specific cleaning solutions tailored to your sandals' leather type, ensuring they stay in top condition.
  4. Shoe Zero advises on the best practices for drying and conditioning, crucial steps to keep your leather sandals looking their best.
  5. By following Shoe Zero's storage tips, your sandals will retain their shape and quality, ready for your next adventure.

Exploring the best care for your leather sandals highlights the importance of quality and customization. At Shoe Zero, we understand that every pair of sandals tells a story. To keep your story going, maintaining your sandals in pristine condition is key. If you're on the hunt for new, personalized options that reflect your style, check out our collection of customizable sandals. For those eager to learn more about preserving the beauty of your sandals, our guide on how to design and care for your shoes is a treasure trove of useful tips and tricks. Join us in celebrating personal style while ensuring your sandals are always ready for your next chapter.


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


How should sandals fit?

When selecting sandals, it's crucial they fit well for comfort and style. A good-fitting sandal should hold your foot securely, with no excessive overhang at the toes or heels. The straps should be snug but not too tight, allowing for natural foot movement without causing blisters or discomfort. At Shoe Zero, we offer a variety of customizable sandals designed to meet these fit criteria, ensuring a comfortable and stylish experience for our customers, with each pair tailored to your personal design preferences.


Are sandals shoes?

Yes, sandals are a type of shoe. They differ from traditional shoes mainly in their design: sandals typically have a more open structure, with straps that expose a significant portion of the foot. This design makes them ideal for warmer weather, providing comfort and breathability. At Shoe Zero, our sandals combine the open, airy feel of traditional sandals with the uniqueness of custom designs, allowing customers to create sandals that are not only practical but also a true reflection of their personal style.


How to clean sandals?

Cleaning sandals, especially those used frequently, is important for maintaining their appearance and hygiene. For general cleaning, you can use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove surface dirt. If they're particularly dirty, a mild soap solution can be used, followed by rinsing with water. Make sure to dry them away from direct heat or sunlight. At Shoe Zero, we also recommend checking the specific cleaning instructions for your custom-designed sandals, as some materials and finishes may require special care.


How to clean leather sandals?

Cleaning leather sandals requires a gentle approach to preserve their quality and finish. Start by removing loose dirt with a soft brush. Then, create a mild soapy solution using water and a gentle soap. Use a soft cloth to carefully clean the leather surfaces, and wipe off any soap residue with a damp cloth. Allow the sandals to air dry in a cool, shaded area. It's also a good idea to condition the leather occasionally to keep it supple. For our Shoe Zero custom leather sandals, which are priced at around $100, following these care instructions helps ensure they stay looking great for a long time.








Blog posts

View all
Celebrate Pride Month with Your Own Custom Pride Shoes

Celebrate Pride Month with Your Own Custom Pride Shoes

Pride Month, a time of celebration, love, and unity for the LGBTQ community and its allies. This month is all about recognizing and honoring the diverse identities, experiences, and contributions ...

How To Make Custom Slide Sandals

How To Make Custom Slide Sandals

Discover the step-by-step process of designing custom sandals with Shoe Zero. Explore design options, navigate our platform with ease, and get pro tips for a personalized creation. Make your footwe...

Customizable ProductsHow to Customize Clogs

How to Customize Clogs

Customize your own clogs with Shoe Zero to reflect your personal style. Choose from a variety of materials and colors, and add unique designs for a truly personal touch. Ensure your custom clogs st...

All about ShoesShoes of the Week

Shoes of the Week

Explore how to join and win in Shoe Zero's "Shoes of the Week" contest. Discover our easy-to-use design platform and expert tips to create winning shoe designs. Become part of a vibrant community c...

Basketball ShoesTop Shoes Of This Week

Top Shoes Of This Week

Explore Shoe Zero's Top Customized Shoes of the Week showcase to find inspiration for your next pair of personalized footwear. See standout designs and learn how to participate in our weekly contes...

Customizable ProductsWhat Sandals Are In Style This 2024

What Sandals Are In Style This 2024

Explore 2024's top sandal trends, the importance of customization, and sustainability in footwear with Shoe Zero. Get styling tips for every occasion and see how choosing eco-friendly materials mak...