How to Have Fresh Footwear Forever

Ladies – let’s face it. As Generation Y continues to avoid homeownership and investing in the market, your shoes may realistically be your most important investments. You must maintain your investments by cleaning your footwear regularly. Louboutins (“Loubs”) are for looking, not smelling. Further, you need different strategies for different shoes. After all, we learn at a young age that one pair of shoes (heels or otherwise) cannot suffice for all occasions.

Maid Sailors understands that many women have a diversified portfolio of footwear. We’d like to educate our female (and male) readers on different methods for different materials. Cleaning your footwear can be daunting, especially since most shoes don’t come with washing instructions and one mistake can essentially send 500 dollars down the drain. Here’s a helpful overview of maintaining your footwear portfolio. Feel free to reach out to a Maid Sailors representative for detailed advice.

1. Trainers and Sneakers

Sneakers that are made out of soft materials can be thrown in a washing machine with a mild cleaning detergent (handwashing also works). If you employ the washing machine strategy, you’ll want to avoid two possible pitfalls: shrinkage and damage. Set the machine to “cool wash” to avoid discovering a smaller, baby-sized pair post-wash and add softer items (towels, sheets) to reduce potential damage from continuous bouncing; lastly, spin them to shun excess water. After washing, allow your prized Pumas to dry naturally, versus using a tumble dryer – you’ll avoid melting certain components of the shoes.

Don’t have access to a washer? Hand washing is super simple. Mix up a solution of washing detergent and baking soda. Apply this magic juice within the shoe and let it soak. Use a small brush (e.g. spare toothbrush) to scrub the outside of the shoe and then rinse it clean. Let the shoes dry naturally and they’ll be ready for Barry’s Bootcamp the next morning.

2. Leather Boots

Leather footwear should never be put in the washing machine. Water is like Ebola to leather. Instead, apply a special polish to your leather boots and shoes that can be purchased cheaply at most department stores. Before applying, brush off any excess dirt remaining on your shoe. Afterward, place a healthy amount of polish on a cloth and apply the product in a circular fashion (you can choose whether you want to go clockwise or counter-clockwise). After thoroughly buffing your shoes, use a clean cloth to remove any excess polish. If there’s an odor, you can apply a disinfectant, deodorizing spray (commonly found in Foot Locker, or any department store).

If you’re nervous about handling leather, feel free to take the shoes to a local cobbler or shoe repair shop (for those in NYC, Eddie’s Shoe Repair is super cheap) and ask for a shoeshine. They’ll revitalize your shoes; the only drawback is you might have to wait a little while (ugh).

3. High Heels

High heels are the high-maintenance Disney princesses of the footwear universe. Not only are they difficult to walk in, but they’re difficult to clean. A washing machine may remove dirt and mud, but will often create holes in the fabric or cause breakages in brittle heels. Long story short – swerve when you see the washing machine.

Hand-cleaning is your best strategy for these assets. First, use a dry cloth to brush off any visible dirt or mud. Next, use a dampened, cool cloth to rub embedded stains. For stubborn blemishes, make a mild detergent cleaning solution (like we discussed for leather footwear) and start blotting. Rinse any soap from the cloth and lift any detergent from the shoe’s material. Lastly, use a clean dry cloth to absorb any excess water in the fabric to avoid watermarks. Now you’re ready for ladies’ night.

4. Suede

Suede shoes are unique and require a one-of-a-kind cleaning approach. If you really care about your shoes, buy a suede cleaning kit for $20 (or less) on Amazon.  You’ll have a special brush (looks like an oversized toothbrush a Sumo Wrestler may use), which you can use to remove dry dirt that has accumulated over time. This process should also eliminate any scuff marks or imperfections in the suede. For particularly stubborn marks, you can use a pencil eraser to get rid of them (yes, pencils are still useful in 2015). To finish, apply the material-protector spray and de-odorize the inside. Your friends in the Hamptons will be #VeryJelly.


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