One spring time ritual I really look forward to is boxing up my winter boots and bringing out my summer shoes. If you are anything like me, this ritual takes place while you are in the midst of an overwhelming compulsion to make your interior as bright and fresh as the new spring time exterior, making the dinginess of your favourite summer shoes the first thing you notice as you revive them from storage. The good news is, your shoes are easier to clean than your windows, walls, ceilings and all the other places you’ve suddenly noticed are in dire need of a good bubbly scrubbing.
Remove laces where applicable.
Using a stiff brush, remove all dried dirt and mud.
For regular, non-animal fabric shoes, place shoes in washing machine for a regular cold water wash, using regular laundry detergent.* Shoes shouldn’t shrink, but the cold water will prevent their colours from fading or bleeding. If you are concerned for your machine, you can put your shoes in an old pillow case with the end tied shut. I wash my shoes with my clothes with no detriment to either the shoes or the clothes.
For leather (or plastic) shoes, a damp cloth is all that is needed to remove the dust and dirt.
For suede shoes, you should take them to a professional dry cleaner. However, I just give my $10 suede flats a good scrub with a stiff brush and a bit of water.
* As always, washing something expensive at home is risky. The more money you spend on your shoes, the more care and money you will need to put into maintaining them.
Place shoes outside to dry (this excluded leather, they won’t be that wet). Be sure to keep shoes in the shade to prevent fading. It may take several hours to a few days for the shoes to dry completely.