Some of us prefer purchasing shoes from secondhand stores as a way to save money while still looking great. This is a good option if you’re strapped on cash but still want high-quality shoes. As long as you invest in shoes that can still function excellently and have strong construction, then you’re good to go!
However, one thing you do have to focus on doing properly is cleaning them. After all, you wouldn’t want to wear dirty shoes, they require disinfecting to ensure that it’s squeaky clean for sanitary purposes.
Cleaning used shoes is a bit different compared to cleaning new ones you own, as it requires further disinfection. Don’t worry, it isn’t difficult to do! Read on as I show you how to clean used shoes properly.
How to Clean Used Shoes
While buying new shoes is advantageous and NOT a health hazard, it’s still important to learn how to clean them properly. This prevents further growth and spread of germs and bacteria, especially since you don’t know who used them before and where the shoes have traveled to.
With that in mind, how do you clean used shoes? Here are the tips you can follow to clean your used shoes successfully:
1. Wash the Shoes First
Before anything else, wash the shoes first, especially before using it. Start off by removing the insoles to wash first.
Place the insoles in a small bowl with a mix of warm water and laundry detergent. Then use a sponge or rag, scrubbing away any smell, dirt, and stains. Afterward, rinse your insoles using warm water and place them near the window or on a towel for drying.
However, if the insoles look very grubby and worn, it’s best to replace the insoles instead for better comfort.
If still smelly, place it in a plastic bag with baking soda, leaving it overnight. If the smell still persists, soak it for 2-3 hours in a mix of water and vinegar, then wash again to remove the vinegar smell.
If your shoes can be machine washed, then place it in the washing machine. Make sure you use warm water and strong detergent, removing the shoelaces first. Once washed, allow the shoes to air dry rather than place them in the dryer.
For shoes that can’t be machine washed, such as suede, leather, plastic, or other delicate materials, do handwash them. Mix soap with warm water and liquid laundry detergent, then use a soft brush or rag to scrub the shoes gently, with the soap mixture.
Still see stubborn stains? Place a tiny bit of toothpaste, which has a lightening effect to remove stains without damaging your shoes’ materials.
After scrubbing the shoes with soap, get a fresh rag then wipe your shoes down with warm water, rinsing the soap away. When drying your shoes, I recommend that you place them under the sun, as the sun is a natural disinfectant, with its UV rays killing off bacteria.
2. Disinfect the Shoes
When your shoes are washed, it’s time to disinfect them to further remove smells and bacteria. Do this by soaking your shoes in a tub or bowl of rubbing alcohol. But with sensitive materials, scrub your shoes down with a rag and rubbing alcohol instead.
Another method is to use a bleach and water mixture when disinfecting your shoes’ insides. This is a great ingredient when disinfecting shoes, so using a spray bottle, spray the insides with it and let it air dry. Take note that bleach is a strong chemical, so take safety precautions when using it.
You can also use an antibacterial spray to sanitize any type of shoe. Spray the insides and let the shoes dry before wearing them. There are disinfectants made for shoes, so it saves you time creating your own cleaning mixtures.
All these methods will eliminate odors and bacteria efficiently. Just make sure that you allow the shoes to dry completely before using them.
3. Deodorize the Shoes
Do you still see stubborn stains or smell faint odors from the shoe? You can further deodorize them to have them smell clean and fresh!
Just like disinfecting your shoes, you can use vinegar to remove stubborn odors, either adding vinegar to your soap mixture when washing them or scrubbing the shoes with a rag soaked in vinegar.
Or, you can use baking soda, which is an efficient deodorizer. Place 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in each shoe, shaking them for the baking soda to spread out evenly. Allow it to sit in the shoes overnight, then dispose of the baking soda afterward.
Another helpful method is to place dryer sheets in your dress shoes (or shoes that can’t be soaked in vinegar), giving shoes a fresher scent. Put two dryer sheets in each shoe, leaving them for a few days. Remove the dryer sheets and you can now start wearing the shoes.
Wrapping It Up
Purchasing new shoes can save you money while you still look great, or you can even use certain footwear for exercise. But they are still susceptible to dirt, grime, and even scuff marks. Even when in pristine condition, it’s still best to disinfect and clean them well before using them, as you don’t know where they have been in the past.
Do you want to learn more about how to clean used shoes? This helpful video can show you more tips:
I hope you learned more about how to clean used shoes properly. So don’t wait any longer! If you have used shoes you just bought, do care for them starting NOW and clean them up to use them well.
Do you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences with cleaning used shoes? Share them in the comments section below, all of your thoughts are much appreciated!