Whether you’re a girl or boy, leather shoes are essential to every person’s closet. When you buy leather shoes, that leather needs to be taken care off. In this blog post, you will learn how to clean leather shoes.

Leather shoes need certain care from time to time. If you clean your leather shoes they will last longer. Leather is expensive depending upon the originality of it. 

Leather shoes can be expensive depending upon the pureness and quality of it. Higher quality eventually will lead to a higher price.

Clean and polished leather shoes communicate attention to details.

It signifies high self-esteem. Imagine wearing a tailored suit with dirty shoes. All the effort take to put the outfit together goes in vain.

This could lead to a potential loss of opportunities as people make judgements on first impressions.

Wearing dirty or unclean shoes communicates laziness and poor hygiene.

If you don’t take care of your shoes you’re wasting money as the shoes won’t last long.

Assuming that you don’t want to waste money it is appropriate to clean your leather shoes.


Leather shoes can take time to maintain them. The more pure the leather the more amount of care it needs.

To clean your leather shoes all you will need is a piece of cloth, brush, leather polish and wax polish.

It is recommended to polish your shoes once a week if you wear them regularly. Prepare your workspace by placing the shoes on a cloth so that you can begin cleaning the leather shoes.

How to clean leather shoes.

There are 5 steps to clean leather shoes.

  1. Wipe the shoe with a piece of cloth.
  2. Step Brush the shoe off.
  3. It’s time for the conditioner.
  4. Polish the shoes with a cream polish
  5. Time to Protect and shine the shoes with wax polish.

Let’s look at each step in detail.

Wipe the shoe with a piece of cloth.

how to clean leather shoes

Before we begin cleaning the shoes it is important that you take out the laces so that you clean the areas of the tongue of the shoe.

When you regularly wear shoes they attract dirt due to the usage. Here you want to make sure that you clean the dirt of the shoes. It is recommended to begin with wiping the shoes with a leather cleaner to remove the dirt. 

By doing so the leather cleaner will ensure that no colour will come off the shoe. In this way, the shoe will remain unharmed while cleaning it.

If the shoe is still dirty after wiping the shoes then make the cloth damp and slowly remove the dirt.

Before we begin applying the polish it is vital to get the dirt of the shoe. In case this step is missed the shoe will look worse than it was before since the polish and dirt will mix together.

You may have to do this step repeatedly to remove the dirt while being careful around the stitches to avoid any damage to the shoe. Doing this will remove the dirt which is more than the surface dirt.

Step 2 Brush the shoe off.

how to clean leather shoes

Now that you have the dirt off the shoes, take a clean brush and slowly brush the shoe.

By doing this it will ensure that there is no moisture in the shoes. Doing this may take some well.

Once you do this the shoes will look clean and a bit dull. The shoe is now rid of the dirt and ready to be moisture which will increase the durability of the shoe.

Now the leather is ready to absorb some conditioner and get it conditioned. 

Step 3 It’s time for the conditioner.

how to clean leather shoes

Leather is like skin and it gets dry. For this reason, it is key to keep them conditioned from time to time. If the leather is not adequately conditioned it will lead to cracks or creases in the shoes.

So make sure you apply the conditioner generously. While applying the conditioner you will notice that the shoes will get darker. This is fine.

What is happening here is, the shoes are absorbing the conditioner. Once you have done this, let the shoe dry properly.

The moment you notice the shoe is dry you can now proceed to now shine the shoe.

Polish the shoes.

Begin by applying the shoe polish equally around the shoe with a brush or cloth. While doing so make sure that the shoe polish is spread adequately around the shoe.

Once this is done, slowly begin moving the brush in a circular motion. As you keep doing this, you will notice that the shoe will slowly begin shining.

After doing this in case you notice certain areas of the shoe are not shining, you can repeat this process again.  While applying the conditioner or polish ensure that the tongue of the shoe is shining. This is since the tongue of the shoe gets noticed the most.

While you are cleaning your shoes it is advisable to place a shoe holder so that you can polish the shoes properly.

If you do not have one, simply place your hands inside the shoe firmly so that you get support while polishing the shoe. However, if you don’t do this, chances are the polish could come on your clothes while buffing the shoes.

To ensure you don’t need to clean yourself after the shoe, ensure a good grip or support.

Time to protect and shine the shoes with wax polish.

Wax polish ensures that the shoe remains protected. It adds a layer of protection. The cream polish is for the nourishment of the shoe whereas the wax polish provides a nice shine.

While using wax polish it is advisable to use it in moderation. Using enormous amounts of wax polish will lead to cracks or a white substance if the shoe bends.

While using wax polish you can use one to two layers. Wax polish should be used around areas where you want higher amounts of shine. It is recommended to use them around the toe of the shoe. Using wax polish will provide a glossy finish.

This can make the shoe extremely formal.

So make sure you polish the shoe according to the event. Wax polish is perfect if you are wearing the shoes over a suit or formal attire.

While purchasing wax polish, ensure that it contains lower amounts of silicon and petroleum as higher amounts of these chemicals can damage the quality of the shoe.

If you have different colours of shoe it is better to go with a neutral base wax polish.

Since you have used cream polish, the neutral wax polish will still get the job done. While buffing the shoes, avoid rubbing the shoes with too much pressure.

For this reason, do it as gently to avoid any damage.

Important tips to make your shoes last longer.

It is recommended to buy shoes that fit you properly. Buying shoes of a bigger size attracts creases. 

Use shoe trees especially cedar wood as these are made of wood which will protect the shoes. Apart from that, they absorb moisture which will reduce the wear and tear of the shoe. If you don’t have shoe trees, newspapers work just fine.

Keep the shoes in cloth bags. This will ensure the shoes doesn’t get scratches and will protect the shoes if you’re carrying them in a suitcase while travelling.

Premium shoes provide cloth bags with shoes. If you don’t have them use old pillowcases.

Put your shoes on properly. If the shoes are tight it is preferable to use a shoehorn so that you don’t damage or crease the shoe with your heels. Unite the laces or make the shoes lose so that you can wear them easily.

Similarly, remove the shoes by unlacing the shoes properly.

Clean and polish your shoes weekly.  This is if you wear your shoes regularly or else monthly works just as fine. 

Whenever your shoes are dirty, take 5 minutes off to clean them.

For tan shoes, it is better to use cream polish so that you don’t change the colour of the shoe by applying another colour. For example, do not use coffee brown polish on tan shoes. It will destroy the natural colour of the shoes.

Schedule a time every week for cleaning your leather shoes.

If you have multiple leather shoes you wear, polish them together. This will save you time and you won’t have to remove the tools needed every time.

Closing Thoughts.

These were some actionable tips on how to clean your leather shoes the right way. Cleaning your shoes can be time-consuming but the benefits it provides are numerous. Save yourself from first impression negative judgements.

Now you have the ability to control the outcome and assure that your shoes are clean and polished before you step out of the house.

You will receive compliments for the shine and elegance these shoes will provide. Apart from that, your shoes will last longer and will reduce the wear and tear of the shoe.

Schedule a time for this and walk confidently with shining shoes to every event you are invited too. 

In short, your shoe game will be on point from henceforth.

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