Three Simple Steps for Cleaning Any Type of Leather Shoe
The leather industry in Bangladesh produces some of nature’s most beautiful and durable materials. It is used to craft some of the finest shoes around, ensuring longevity in usage. It has the potential to last for years and offers a wealth of benefits – from protection and style to comfort and versatility. However, leather comes with one minor catch — if you want your leather shoes to take care of you, you must take care of your leather shoes.
Leather is a robust material. However, if you want it to serve you for the long haul, all you need is a little bit of time and energy to provide it with the TLC it needs to flourish. Furthermore, different types of leather require slightly different approaches. Rest assured, you don’t need a chemistry degree or 500 concoctions to keep your collection of leather shoes looking great. A few homemade remedies and strategically purchased products can go a long way.
So, let’s break it down according to leather types and go over the necessary steps for each one. Slip off your shoes, relax, and get ready for your lesson in leather care 101.
How to take care of regular smooth leather (shoes)
There are essentially three steps in the shoe cleaning and maintenance process (which may not all be required depending on the leather you’re dealing with)—cleaning, conditioning, and polishing/protecting.
Brush and clean
For regular leather shoes, you want to begin by brushing off any dirt and debris using a gentle brush or lightly damp cloth. If there are spots or stains that require a little more elbow grease, then apply a specified leather cleaner, let it sit for the recommended amount of time and wipe it off.
Alternatively, you can lather with saddle soap using a damp paper towel or cloth, and wipe off any excess lather before allowing the shoes to air dry.
- Apply a specified leather cleaner
- Let it sit for the recommended amount of time
- Wipe it off carefully with a damp cloth or towel
- Wipe off the excess lather with a damp cloth
- Let the clean shoe air dry themselves.
Condition and polish
You could opt for a neutral conditioning cream which will implement zero to no damage on your leather shoes. We recommend an all-purpose conditioner that will help your shoes last longer in addition to covering up small scratches, scrapes, and scuffs. Allow the product to air dry and then carefully buff using a clean cloth or gentle brush.
Finally, it is time to get your shoes looking their best with a touch of wax. A neutral shoe wax such as Bata Natural Wax works wonders because they give your shoes a perennial sheen and covers up scruffs like a pro. Allow to air dry (no sun exposure!) and buff up as you did following any conditioning product you used.
- Gently lather a dot of the conditioner
- Carefully buff using a clean cloth or brush
- Allow the product to air dry thoroughly
- Apply a thin layer of Bata Natural Wax
- Allow the treated shoes to dry completely
- Gently buff up the shoes without damage
Pro Tip 1* Avoid silicone sprays or liquid shoe polish for your regular leather shoes. It can damage full-grain leathers.
Pro Tip 2* If your laces require cleaning, remove them before cleaning the shoes and hand wash them in a small container using laundry detergent and warm water. Remember—laces should be completely dry before lacing up the shoes again!
How to keep patent leather shining
Characterized by its high-gloss finish, patent leather is easy to look after but can lose its sleek varnished finish over time if not cared for properly.
Clean and gloss
To maintain that shine, you can go ahead and skip the dry cloth cleaning and go straight to gently rubbing the shoes with a soft, damp cloth containing a drop of mild soap. Be firm but not too rough—the idea here is to remove as much haze from your shoes as possible.
Afterwards, your pair of footwear should be treated with leather cleaner and conditioner formulated for patent leather. Unlike natural leather, you want this formula to specifically contain silicone, which will go a long way to restoring that initial high gloss look.
- Gently rub the leather with a damp cloth and mild soap
- Treat the leather with a good cleaner and conditioner
How to clean suede shoes
The reverse side of smooth calfskin, suede, is wonderful and often under-appreciated material for shoes. Perfect for a more casual and everyday look, suede is durable, resistant to scuffing, and easy to clean with the right approach.
Dry, brush, and spray
Fundamental to the ongoing upkeep of suede shoes is regular brushing using a proper suede brush. It is useful to think of suede shoes like a short-trimmed carpet. You have to brush out and remove any embedded dirt to keep the surface looking fluffed and fresh. If you have noticeable smudges or engrained dirt, you can also take a rubber eraser to your suede leather shoes and gently scrub them off. For stains, you can simply use your everyday sneaker cleaner!
Finally, it is essential to remember that this material’s unique properties require a special touch and that you should only brush in the same direction of the grain or circular motions, instead of back-and-forth. Avoid using polish or wax on suede as well. Cleanup of your suede shoes should be limited to wipes and cleaner, without any added water. You can also follow this up with a silicone spray to help them resist stains and moisture.
- Brush out any dirt or debris on the suede shoes
- Brush in one direction or in circular motions
- Spritz with a silicone spray to prevent stains and moisture
- Avoid using polish or wax to protect the nap
How to make PU (faux) leather last longer
Synthetic leather is typically made from petroleum-based plastics or polyvinyl chloride. It is an excellent choice if you don’t use animal products or are looking for a more affordable option than natural leather. Although it doesn’t take on quite the same rugged look over time that aged leather does, with proper care, you can still keep it looking good for the long term.
Soap and polish
To remove stains from PU leather shoes, use a mixture of dish or hand soap and warm water applied with a soft-bristled brush. Always let PU leather shoes and boots dry thoroughly before wearing them again.
Many products made to protect genuine leather also work just fine on PU leather items. The trick is to use them sparingly. Leather stain removers and water repellent products are safe for PU leather. If you don’t have leather care products, though (because you don’t believe in wearing leather, duh), then a little baby oil can also keep PU leather shoes looking like new as it forms a protective barrier.
- Use a soft brush to flick off dirt using hand soap and warm water.
- Let the shoes dry thoroughly before putting them on again.
- Leather cleaning kits can be used for PU leather as well.
Using baby oil instead of a leather cleaning kit works as well.
Comparison Between Regular, Patent, Suede, and PU Leather:
Brush, clean, condition, and polish
Clean and gloss
Dry, brush, and spray
Soap and polish
The final word on leather shoe care
Engaging in regular, low-maintenance care is the best way to keep your leather shoes looking and feeling great. Depending on how often you wear them and under what conditions, you should aim to do a quick cleaning every couple of months.
Remember, you don’t need a cupboard full of products to take excellent care of your shoes! A simple leather cleaner and wax are really all you need to keep your shoes looking as spiffy as the rest of you. To get yourself your very own leather shoe cleaning kit, visit the BataBD Shoe Care section today!