How To Clean Used Shoes

How To Clean Used Shoes

Buying old shoes benefits you in more ways than one. It allows you to wear old shoes that aren’t available on store shelves. Plus, shoes that have already been broken in are less likely to cause blisters or rub away your skin.

One disadvantage of purchasing old shoes at thrift stores is that they may contain dirt, grime, or scuff marks. Even if they’re in perfect shape, disinfecting them before wearing them is a good idea. You have no idea where they’ve gone previously.

Here are some cleaning suggestions for thrift store shoes so they look and feel like they’ve always belonged to you.

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How Do You Clean an Old Pair of Shoes

For a deep cleaning that removes stains and filth and to prevent any fungal infections, try the following methods below for your type of shoe.

Hand Washing

Hand-washing delicate materials like plastic, suede, or leather are usually required. Vintage shoes should be hand washed as well.

Soak the insole for 30 minutes in a soapy mixture (which can be made with dish soap or laundry soap). Then use a gentle damp cloth or soft bristle brush to remove it. Finally, give it a thorough rinse with cold water. Of course, you’ll have to dry it out before using it again.

The easiest way to clean the outside part is with a cleaning solution of clean warm water and laundry detergent. To remove dirt, stains, or germs, use a clean rag or toothbrush. The process should be finished with a light scrape with the solution. You should, however, keep rubbing the shoes until they are completely clean. Finally, carefully clean them with clean water. Avoid using hot water with delicate types of shoes.

Washing Machine

An electric washing machine can be used to wash most textile shoes, including sneakers, canvas footwear, fabric flats, and running shoes. If your shoes are machine washable, use a concentrated laundry detergent and spin them on the warm cycle.

However, you might not want to put them in the dryer. Any unpleasant odors could be trapped by the heat. It may also cause the shoes to shrink, the adhesive to melt, and the soles to distort.

Allow the shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated place. You might pack them with white washcloths to absorb any extra moisture. Several times a day, change the clean cloth.

The majority of leather shoes should not be washed. Running shoes consisting of a blend of cotton and leather, on the other hand, can be washed. When in doubt, see the manufacturer’s website for cleaning recommendations.

If you have a top-loading washer, toss some towels in there to help balance out the weight of the sneakers. With a high-efficiency washer, though, this isn’t always necessary.

Vacuum your shoes with the hose attachment before placing them in the washer. You’ll remove any dirt, stones, or debris that could harm the shoes or the washer by doing so. You’ll also avoid getting grime stuck in your shoes.

Other suggestions for cleaning worn shoes in the washing machine are:

  • Remove the laces
  • Take out the insoles and wash them separately
  • Use heavy-duty detergent
  • Wash them on the warm cycle
  • Put the shoes in a mesh laundry bag
  • Use a low spin speed to prevent the washer from getting unbalanced

How to Disinfect Used Shoes

After obtaining a pair of old shoes, spend some time properly cleaning the inside of the shoes to make sure they are clean and do not have a bad smell. Otherwise, the leftover virus or bacteria would spread to your feet, causing dangerous infectious disorders.

Remove the inner sole first. You can wash it by hand in a soapy solution. You can also use chemicals like rubbing alcohol, small amount of bleach and water, hand sanitizer, hydrogen peroxide and so on. Furthermore, vinegar and baking soda have excellent deodorizing abilities that help to eliminate odors inside.

To begin, combine lukewarm water and detergent in a mixing bowl. After that, use a soft rag or sponge to rub the insole. To get rid of germs, soak the shoes in a solution of vinegar and water.

If you prefer chemicals to clean your used shoes, fill a large bowl halfway with rubbing alcohol. After that, place the shoes in the basin for a while. Shoes composed of leather, suede, or plastic, on the other hand, should not be drenched. After spraying some alcohol on the interior, gently rub it with a delicate piece of cloth.

You can also sterilize the interior of your used pair of shoes or boots with bleach. For spraying it inside, you’ll need a spray bottle. Please do not disinfect your shoes on the outside. You’ll end up with bleach stains otherwise.

Antibacterial sanitizers or deodorizing shoe spray are another fantastic technique to disinfect the shoes inside. This is applicable to all types of footwear. Allow the shoes to dry completely after spraying them inside. That’s it; your used shoes will be germ-free and odor-free.

Another great option for disinfecting old shoes is to use direct sunlight. Simply put your shoes outside on a sunny day and let the sun use it’s disinfecting powers.

How To Remove Scuffs

Are you concerned that scuffs or marks on your shoes will make them appear worn out? You can try a few spot-treatment approaches if the cleaning methods above didn’t eradicate the stains.

Scuffs on leather or imitation leather can be removed with a paste consisting of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the shoe using a moist cloth in circular motions. To avoid scuffing the shoe, be gentle.

Light-colored scuffs on dark shoes can be noticeable. If you don’t have any shoe polish, use a permanent marker in a color that matches the leather to conceal these areas. Scuffs can be removed by buffing patent leather shoes with petroleum jelly. Shiny, faux-leather shoes can also be cleaned using glass cleaner.

When you wear leather shoes outside in the winter, they can get salt stains. A moist towel dipped in white vinegar can be used to remove the white residue.

With Suade, you’ll have to be especially cautious. Dry stains can be rubbed out with a pencil eraser. To remove grease spots, sprinkle cornstarch on them. Allow the powder to sit on the shoe for at least one hour. Then, with a gentle toothbrush, brush it away.

Another form of shoe that is difficult to clean is an espadrille, which has a rope or cork-covered sole. If the soles’ edges are unclean, use a mixture of 4 cups warm water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to clean them.

How To Wash Delicate Shoes

You have another alternative if you’re concerned about putting nice shoes in the washing machine. Cleaning them by hand is an option.

Combine warm water and liquid detergent. Then, using a soft brush or towel, scrub the inside and outside of the shoes. To remove the soap, wipe the shoes down with a towel soaked in clean water.

You might be wondering if leather shoes can be hand washed. Yes, it is correct. Apply a little touch with a rag. Reduce the amount of water you consume.

Use extreme caution when cleaning suede shoes. This sort of footwear does not tolerate excessive dampness. Scuff marks and stains can still be removed with a moist rag. Downward strokes are used to clean the shoes.

How To Properly Clean The Inside Of Used Shoes

Cleaning the interior of your shoes is essential for maintaining their condition.

To clean the insides of your shoes, follow these simple procedures.

  • Remove your shoes and laces.
  • Fill a bucket with cold water and place it under the faucet.
  • Soak your shoe in water for a few minutes before shaking off the excess.
  • Place your shoe on a damp sponge or cloth. If you have one, you can use it.
  • Fill a second bucket with warm soapy water and place it in a different room, but make sure the first bucket’s running water can still be heard.
  • Scrub debris off the inside of your shoes with a sponge dipped in soapy water.


How Do You Get Rid of Bacteria in Shoes?

The best way to get rid of bacteria in shoes is to sprinkle baking soda on the inside of the shoe and place the shoes in a plastic bag overnight. You can also soak the insole with vinegar or alcohol if the baking soda method is not your thing.

Can I Machine Wash My Second-Hand Shoes?

As long as the material is not delicate such as Suede, you can machine wash your second-hand shoes.

How do you deodorize shoes?

To deodorize your shoes you can place clean shoes in the freezer overnight or stick a few dryer sheets inside the shoe and let them sit for a few days.

What can you spray in used shoes?

Before putting on your shoes, spritz them with an air freshener or disinfectant spray. It will get rid of any odors and leave your shoes smelling great. To make the shoe smell nicer, spritz it with Febreze or a similar form of air freshener.

Should I clean the bottom of my shoes?

You should clean the bottom of your new used shoes. The best way to do this is to use a scrub brush or an old toothbrush and hot soapy water.

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