How to Clean Shoes Using Common Household Items

If you have a shoe collection of any size, then you are probably aware that keeping them all clean can be something of a chore. This is all the truer because the precise method of cleaning different shoes can vary depending on the type of shoes. For example, if you take your leather polishing kit to a set of suede shoes, then you could be in for disaster! The take-away here then is that specialized shoe-cleaning processes do require certain special equipment. However, you can keep things a good deal simpler.

And one of the best ways to keep the task as simple and as inexpensive as possible is to investigate the range of very common household products which can be used to clean shoes. This will prevent you purchasing expensive products when they are not needed while still being able to tame the cleaning chaos of a large shoe collection.

To be clear though, we are not talking here about shoe deodorizing. For optimal shoe odor elimination, you will want to invest in a reliable shoe spray that can achieve results with as sparing use as possible. Shoefresh is an excellent option here, allowing shoes to smell fresh for up to three months from only a single treatment; and there are many more besides. Keeping your shoes more generally clean will, of course, also help with keeping the bad smells at bay.

Cleaning in a Pinch

Sometimes, however, shoe cleaning needs to happen fast. While it’s all very well having a regular shoe cleaning routine, sometimes you get caught out with a social engagement that just demands a certain pair of shoes which could, in that moment, be looking a little shabby. Turning to common household objects in such situations can really save the day, and you might be happier with the result than you had initially imagined.

Shoe Cleaning with Common Household Items – Top Tips

Here follows a list of the top improvised shoe cleaning solutions. These household objects could save the day in a pinch:


If you have a specialized shoe brush, that’s great. But you might also require getting into tight places and grooves on the shoe. In such cases a toothbrush works remarkably well. And for stubborn stains in a pair of canvas shoes, a nail fille can work well with a bit of soap and water. And, if you have a microfiber cloth lying around the kitchen, these are great for a more general wipe down of the shoe.

Improvised Cleaning Products

There are many household products that can double up as shoe cleaning agents. Nevertheless, you’re going to have to pick the right one for the right material. For cleaning leather, white vinegar and/or baking soda can work very well. For those patent leather shoes, however, you should go more with window cleaner or petroleum jelly. Rubbing alcohol is the way to go if you have some dirty suede or sheepskin shoes to clean and, for canvas shoes, toothpaste can work really well. These products are all easy to come by, but you need to use the right one.

Buff and Shine

For shoes that require a bit of a finishing touch after the actual cleaning has been done, a little vegetable or olive oil applied with a dry cloth is a wonderful way to bring out the shine. Strange as it may sound, you can also use the inside of a banana peel for the same purpose – just be sure to wipe clean afterwards.

By forearming yourself with this useful shoe cleaning knowledge, there is no reason to ever get caught out with dirty shoes again.

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