Homemade Shoe Cleaner [5 Easy to Make Formulas]

DYI shoe cleaners

I clean leather and canvas shoes both with a store-bought and DIY shoe cleaner. I even bought some expensive shoe cleaning kits just to make sure my shoes are well cleaned and well maintained. However, I find that I can make my own shoe-cleaning solution with just a handful of household ingredients.

The five easy-to-make formulas are mainly vinegar, baking soda, laundry detergent, lemon juice, and rubbing alcohol. These ingredients can be easily found in every household. Five of these simple solutions are:

Five Easy To Make DIY Shoe Cleaners:

  1. Water And Mild Dish Soap
  2. Water And Laundry Detergent
  3. Water And Vinegar
  4. Lemon Juice And Olive Oil
  5. Baking Soda And Detergent

Knowing how to make homemade shoe cleaners are easy and very effective. Plus, you don’t need to spend much when you can just create out of your household materials. This article talks about how to make a different shoe cleaner solution out of household ingredients and how to clean them.

Why Homemade Shoe Cleaners Are Good For Cleaning

For me, knowing how to make cleaning solutions for my shoes is the best alternative whenever I ran out of shoe cleaners. With just a handful of household ingredients, I can create an easy shoe cleaner solution with my different types of shoes.

As an outdoor enthusiast like myself, my shoes are constantly having stains, dirt, and grime, particularly for my hiking and canvas shoes. Sometimes, I feel the weight of heavy expense from my pocket when I buy shoe cleaners in which I resort to making homemade shoe cleaner solutions.

However, not all shoe cleaning formulas are applicable to all types of shoes due to their chemical content. For example, suede shoes should be cleaned with a gentle cleaning solution. Another is leather shoes. Acetone and alcohol can ruin the quality of your leather shoes.

Listed below are the five common easy-to-make solutions when making a homemade shoe cleaner.

Water And Mild Dish Soap, Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Water and mild dish soap are some of the most commonly used DIY shoe cleaner solutions. Besides shoes, this cleaning formula is also widely used as a general cleaning such as cleaning the floor, surfaces, carpet stains, and others.

This shoe cleaner solution is ideal for cleaning: white canvas shoes, sneakers, leather shoes, and even synthetic shoes.

To make water and mild dish soap solution you’ll need:

240 ml of warm water

About 1 tsp. (4.9 ml) of dish soap

Old Toothbrush (both for cleaning and for stirring the solution)

What you’ll do:

Mix the two cleaning ingredients into a bowl.

Stir the shoe cleaner solution with a toothbrush until it’s evenly mixed and foamy.

Then apply it to your shoes as a cleaner.

Water And Laundry Detergent, Shoe Homemade Cleaner

Water and laundry detergent solution is the same as water and mild dish soap solution. The only difference here is the additives. However, they can be used in most shoe materials and they can even use interchangeably.

This shoe cleaner solution is ideal for cleaning: white canvas shoes, sneakers, leather shoes, and even synthetic shoes.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon (14.7 ml) of liquid laundry detergent
  • About 300 ml of water
  • Old Toothbrush
  • What you’ll do:
  • Mix the two cleaning ingredients into a bowl.
  • Stir the cleaning ingredients until it’s foamy and mixed evenly.

Baking Soda And Vinegar Shoe Cleaner

Baking soda and vinegar solution works best on canvas and patent shoes. Because these two cleaning ingredients don’t have strong chemical content that could ruin the material especially for leather shoes.

This shoe cleaner solution is ideal for cleaning: white canvas shoes.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp. of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of water

What you’ll do:

Mix and stir the cleaning ingredients until it’s evenly mixed.

Lemon Juice And Olive Oil Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Most often, lemon juice and olive oil mixture are beneficial for both skin and body due to their detoxifying and healing properties. But this mixture is also a good solution for shoe polish specifically for patent leather material. For further reading, check out this article: Make Old Leather Shoes New Again.

This works best on patent leather shoes only.

You’ll only need the following:

  • One part lemon juice
  • Two parts of olive oil

What you’ll do:

Combine the ingredients to create a shoe polish.

Baking Soda And Detergent Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Baking soda and detergent are common in my household materials because I use them frequently for general cleaning which includes my shoes. Also, I use baking soda for deodorizing my shoes.

Work best for white sneakers, canvas, and running shoes.

You’ll only need the following:

  • 1.5 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp. of liquid laundry detergent

What you’ll do:

Mix the two ingredients until it turns into paste form.

Cleaning Most Type Of Shoes With A Homemade Shoe Cleaner

With the five easy solutions homemade shoe cleaner above, you can clean different types of shoes. However, each one has its own different cleaning techniques. Be gentle when cleaning and make sure your DIY shoe cleaner is appropriate to the material of your shoes.

Below are the techniques you can use when cleaning different types of shoes.

Cleaning Leather Shoes With Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Leather shoes may be durable than most shoe materials but they aren’t still exempted when it comes to stains, dirt, and grime. It’s also considered high-maintenance shoes because you have to polish and condition them regularly. After cleaning, make sure to apply a leather conditioner.

To Clean leather shoes, do the following guide:

  1. Brush off any debris or excess dirt with a soft bristle brush.
  2. Then damp a lint-free or microfiber cloth with your preferred cleaning solution.
  3. Gently wipe off the stains or other elements around your leather shoes.
  4. (Optional step) After wiping away the dirt or stains, damp a wet cloth with baking soda.
  5. Air dry them under a shade.

Cleaning Suede Shoes With Homemade Shoe Cleaner

If leather shoes are impervious to liquid and moisture, this is not the case for suede shoes. That’s why when cleaning a suede shoe, be sure to be careful and ensure that your homemade cleaning solution is free of harsh chemicals. Also, cleaning in one direction is the right way to clean this shoe.

To Clean suede shoes, do the following guide:

  1. Prepare your cleaning solution and soft bristled brush.
  2. In one direction, gently scrub the stain or dirt around the shoe.
  3. Once the excess dirt comes off, repeat the process in the same direction in order to brush of the deep stains (if necessary).
  4. (Optional step) For stubborn dirt or stains, use a clean cloth with white vinegar to work out the spot.

Cleaning Canvas Shoes With Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Canvas shoes can easily get dirt, grime, stains, and other elements particularly if it’s color white. However, I think it’s one of the easiest shoes to clean due to its low maintenance characteristic. Another thing is that canvas shoes can be washed through a washing machine.

To clean canvas shoes, do the following guide:

  1. Make a DIY shoe cleaner and prepare a clean toothbrush.
  2. Start by brushing your shoes with soft bristled brush to remove any excess dirt.
  3. Dip the toothbrush on the homemade shoe cleaner and scrub off the dirt around your shoes.
  4. After scrubbing off, I suggest that you run your shoes in a washing machine with gentle cycle or you can opt to hand wash it instead.
  5. Then, air dry them under a shade. I don’t recommend to run them in a dryer which causes the material to weaken and rip.

Cleaning Flip Flops With Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Flip flops are my least priority when it comes to maintenance. Although, even flip flops should be cleaned regularly with homemade shoe cleaner. A simple solution of vinegar and detergent should do the trick in cleaning flip flops.

To clean flip flop shoes, do the following guide:

  1. Put your flip flops on a bowl of warm water.
  2. While your flip flops are wet, put baking soda all over the area and let it soak for five minutes.
  3. Scrub the flip flops using a cleaning brush.
  4. (Optional Step) Scrub off your flip flops with a solution made of 1 part of detergent and 2 parts of vinegar.
  5. Air dry it under a shade.

Cleaning Running Shoes With Homemade Shoe Cleaner

Running shoes is another easy-to-clean material due to their mesh fabric. Given that running shoes often get dirt, mud, grimes, and other elements from running or jogging — they require less maintenance.

To clean running shoes, do the following guide:

  1. Prepare your homemade shoe cleaner as well as clean tooth brush.
  2. Before scrubbing with cleaning solution, brush off any excess dirt first.
  3. Dip the tooth brush on the cleaning solution and brush off the dirt around your shoes.
  4. If the there’s stubborn brush, deep clean your shoes by repeating the scrubbing in order to penetrate the solution deeply.
  5. Place the shoes (with laces removed) on a washing machine with a gentle cycle. You can also handwash it.
  6. Let your shoes dry under a shade before restringing your running shoes.

Why Cleaning Your Shoes With Shoe Cleaners Is Important?

Cleaning shoes with shoe cleaners be it store-bought or homemade can greatly affect your shoes’ condition by preserving their good condition as well as prolonging their lifespan. I admit that I’m among the people who didn’t make it a habit to clean my shoes on a regular basis.

I realized that regular shoe cleaning with shoe cleaners will not only make my shoes looks good but save money and last longer also.

If you aren’t cleaning your shoes regularly, you might want to consider cleaning them frequently and with shoe cleaners whether it’s store-bought or DIY.

Shoe Cleaners Saves You Money — Cleaning your shoes with a shoe cleaner not only makes your shoes preserve their good condition but will also save you money. This is because regular cleaning will prolong your shoes’ lifespan which buys you more time not to buy a new pair of shoes.

Shoe Cleaners Prevents Damage Of Shoes — Because your shoes pick up any kind of dirt, if you’re not cleaning your shoes often, over time these elements may damage the material of your shoes. A mud or a coffee stain that dried up causes issues in your shoes.

The more you use your shoes, the frequency you should clean your shoes. Much better if you have store-bought or homemade shoe cleaners which effectively clean your shoes.

Using Shoe Cleaner Will Make Your Shoes Look Presentable — One of the simplest hacks you can do to your shoes to make them look new or presentable is to make a shoe cleaner solution.

For example, baking soda and laundry detergent will make your white sneakers looks brand new. You can refer to bustle.com which became viral.

Using Shoe Cleaners Can Eliminate Bad Odor From Shoes — Sometimes I wonder why I have smelly feet even though I have good hygiene. Little did I know; the smell came from my shoes. Because our feet often sweat. When the sweat is transferred to the shoes it becomes smelly.

This is why I create my own shoe cleaner with baking soda solution every time I clean my shoes. Because baking soda acts as a deodorizer and eliminates bad odor from the shoes.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been using these DIY shoe cleaner solutions for a while now, and from my experience, they are quite effective and very simple to make. These cheap cleaning solution are my alternatives every time I ran out of cleaning supplies.

However, before you apply the shoe cleaner solution, make sure it’s compatible with the material of your shoes. Otherwise, it will just damage your shoes rather than clean them.

Thanks for visiting Helpshoe.com





Eyr Miscaux

Eyr is a content writer, outdoor enthusiast, and shoe collector, who loves to craft his own adventures be it by reading books or going on outdoor trips. At home, he enjoys reading, watching classic films, and sometimes playing with his adorable feline.

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