How to Clean Second Hand Shoes?

How to Clean Second Hand Shoes: A Complete Guide

Buying second-hand shoes can be a great way to save money and find unique styles, but ensuring they are clean and sanitary is essential. Whether you’ve thrifted a pair of vintage sneakers or found a gently-used pair of dress shoes, here is a complete guide on how to clean second-hand shoes effectively.

1. Gather Your Supplies
Before diving into the cleaning process, gather the necessary supplies. You will need a soft brush or toothbrush, mild soap or detergent, warm water, a clean cloth, baking soda, and a shoe deodorizer spray. Additionally, make sure to check the shoe material to choose the appropriate cleaning method.

2. Remove Dirt and Debris
Start by removing any visible dirt or debris from the shoes. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently brush away any loose dirt. Pay attention to crevices or textured areas where dirt might accumulate. This step will help prepare the shoes for a deeper cleaning.

3. Clean the Exterior
Next, clean the exterior of the shoes using a mild soap or detergent mixed with warm water. Dip the clean cloth into the soapy solution, wring out excess water, and gently wipe down the shoes. Be cautious not to saturate the shoes, especially if they are made of delicate materials such as suede or leather. For tougher stains, you may need to scrub gently with the soft brush or toothbrush.

See also  What Are Your Options if You Wear Prescription Glasses and Need to Wear Safety Glasses?

4. Sanitize the Interior
The interior of second-hand shoes may harbor bacteria and odors. To sanitize the inside, sprinkle some baking soda into the shoes and let it sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb any unpleasant odors. Once the shoes have been aired out, thoroughly remove the baking soda by shaking the shoes or using a vacuum cleaner.

5. Treat Stubborn Stains and Scuffs
If your second-hand shoes have stubborn stains or scuffs, there are specific treatments you can try. For leather shoes, applying a small amount of white vinegar on a clean cloth and gently rubbing the stained area can help. For suede shoes, use a suede brush or eraser specifically designed for suede to gently remove stains.

6. Dry Properly
After cleaning, ensure that your shoes are dried properly to prevent any potential damage. Avoid placing them near direct heat sources as it can cause shrinkage or warping. Instead, let the shoes air dry at room temperature. Stuffing the shoes with newspaper or paper towels can help preserve their shape while drying.

7. Freshen Up with a Deodorizer
To eliminate any lingering odors, use a shoe deodorizer spray. Spray the deodorizer evenly on the interior and exterior of the shoes, and let them air out for a few hours. This step will leave your second-hand shoes smelling fresh and clean.

See also  How to Tie a Silk Scarf for Sleep?


1. Can I clean second-hand shoes in a washing machine?
Cleaning methods vary depending on the shoe material. While some shoes, like canvas sneakers, can be successfully cleaned in a washing machine, it is not recommended for all types. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional for guidance.

2. How do I remove unpleasant odors from second-hand shoes?
Apart from using baking soda, placing dryer sheets or activated charcoal sachets in the shoes can help absorb odors. Additionally, regular airing out and using a shoe deodorizer spray will keep the shoes smelling fresh.

3. Are there any special considerations for cleaning vintage shoes?
Vintage shoes often require extra care due to their age and delicate materials. Before cleaning, research the appropriate cleaning methods for the specific shoe type or consult a professional to avoid damaging the shoes.

4. Can I use bleach to clean second-hand shoes?
Bleach is a potent cleaning agent that can damage many shoe materials. It is best to avoid using bleach unless the manufacturer explicitly recommends it.

5. How often should I clean second-hand shoes?
The frequency of cleaning depends on various factors, including how often you wear the shoes and the conditions they are exposed to. Generally, cleaning them every few months or as needed will help maintain their condition and extend their lifespan.

See also  What Do Soccer Players Wear to Protect Their Balls?

6. What should I do if the shoes still smell after cleaning?
If the shoes still have an unpleasant odor after cleaning, try repeating the cleaning process or consult a professional shoe cleaner for further assistance.

7. Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process?
Using a hairdryer on high heat can damage certain shoe materials, so it is best to avoid it. Patience is key when drying shoes, as allowing them to air dry naturally will ensure their longevity.

Cleaning second-hand shoes not only improves their appearance but also ensures they are hygienic to wear. By following these steps and considering the specific cleaning requirements of the shoe material, you can enjoy your thrifted finds with confidence and style.

Scroll to Top