Stain Removal on Shoes

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Shoes can easily becomes stained from spills, or just daily wear and tear. There is a variety of cleaning products designed to clean and maintain shoes, but these items can be expensive and not always effective in removing a stain. Instead, use a few inexpensive household items that will take care of the stain without damaging your budget.

Dish Detergent

Dish detergent works well for removing stains from canvas shoes (sneakers, sports shoes, etc.). When a stain occurs, grab a bowl and mix one cup of water with two squirts of liquid dish detergent. Agitate until suds form, then use the tip of a cloth or paper towel to absorb some of the cleaning solution. Rub over the stained area of the shoe, and repeat as necessary until the stain has been removed. Let air dry, and shoes should be as good as new. Dish detergent works well as a de-greasing agent that will not stain shoes, and using an old toothbrush can assist in scrubbing stains out of seams and cracks of shoes.

Laundry detergent is also effective in removing shoe stains. Many times the shoes can be thrown in the washing machine (read care instructions on the shoes). In this instance, simply throw the shoes in the wash on a cold water cycle with your normal detergent, and let air dry in sunlight when possible, which will dry and brighten shoes. If shoes are dry-clean only, take to your cleaners immediately for professional assistance.

Baking Soda

Baking soda also works effectively to remove stains on shoes. In a dish, add one cup of water and stir in two spoonfuls of baking soda. Stir until dissolved, then use this cleaning solution to clean the shoes. For tough stains, add a few spoonfuls of baking soda to a dish, and stir in water slowly until a thick paste forms. Apply a thick coating of the paste to the stain, let sit for a few hours, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Leather and Suede Shoes

For leather and suede shoes, the same mild ingredients will work. For salt stains that easily wipe off of canvas shoes but tend to stick to suede and leather, mix a solution of one cup water and two spoonfuls white vinegar. Dab a cotton ball or cloth in this solution and rub over the salt stain until is it removed. Let air dry, and shoes will be as good as new.


Mel Frank

Mel Frank is a professional freelance writer with over 15 years of writing experience. She has completed a wide variety of writing assignments for a number of publications that include CNN and various websites. Frank received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a prestigious university in Pennsylvania.