How to Clean Kids’ Shoes? (Quick Answer!)

By KidSpaceStuff •  Updated: 07/14/24 •  7 min read

Embarking on a quest to conquer the ever-mounting challenges of cleaning kids’ shoes is an art form. From mysterious stains to stubborn mud smears, these little foot troopers can put us to the test! 

This article will delve into a world of clever hacks, tried-and-true methods, and magical cleaning potions that will have those tiny sneakers and sandals looking brand new again. Get ready to banish the mess and discover the secrets to achieving squeaky-clean footwear like a pro!

Now, How to Clean Kids’ Shoes?

Cleaning of dirty sneakers

Generally, you can clean them by hand with soapy water and an old toothbrush. Use a sponge to soak up any extra water on the insoles. 

Cleaning kids’ shoes, regardless of type, involves removing loose dirt with a brush first. Use white soap and a stain remover for canvas shoes, and then air dry them. After brushing off the dirt on leather shoes, clean them with a damp cloth, apply colored bitumen if needed, polish, and moisturize regularly. 

Sneakers can be washed with detergent after removing laces and insoles, then dried thoroughly in the open air to prevent odors. Muddy sneakers can be soaked in water with dish detergent. 

Suede shoes can be cleaned with a soft brush, warm water with vinegar or ammonia like ones with paint stains found out of carpet, and a waterproofing spray after cleaning. Always dry the shoes thoroughly after washing and store them in a dry place to prevent mold growth. Use remedies like tea bags, scented dryer sheets, or baking soda for unpleasant odors.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Kids’ Shoes

Cleaning kids’ shoes requires some basic materials often readily available at home. These include:

  1. Soap or Detergent: This is needed to clean the shoes. A mild laundry detergent or dish soap usually works well.
  2. Brush: A soft brush or an old toothbrush can remove loose dirt from the shoes. For suede shoes, a special suede meeting may be needed.
  3. Cloth: A damp cloth helps clean leather shoes and wiping down other shoes.
  4. Water: This is necessary for washing and rinsing the shoes.
  5. Stain Remover: This can be useful for treating stubborn stains on canvas shoes.
  6. Bitumen: Colored bitumen may be needed to restore color on leather shoes.
  7. Polish: If you’re cleaning leather shoes, you may also need some polish.
  8. Vinegar or Ammonia: This can treat stains on suede shoes.
  9. Waterproofing Spray: After cleaning, suede shoes should be treated with a waterproofing spray.
  10. Odor Eliminators: For smelly shoes, use odor eliminators like baking soda, tea bags, or scented dryer sheets.

General Guide to Cleaning Kids’ Shoes

Cleaning kids’ shoes can be a straightforward process if you follow these steps:

Step #1: Remove Loose Dirt

Remove loose dirt and debris from the shoes. A soft brush or an old toothbrush works well for this.

Step #2: Prepare the Shoes

Remove the shoes with laces or insoles. This will make the cleaning process easier and more effective.

Step #3: Washing

Depending on the type of shoe, apply the appropriate cleaner. For canvas shoes, use white soap or a stain remover. Leather shoes can be cleaned with a damp cloth, while sneakers can be washed with a mild detergent. Suede shoes require a unique approach, such as using a suede brush and treating stains with vinegar or ammonia.

Step #4: Scrubbing

Use your brush to scrub the shoes gently, focusing on areas with stains or dirt. A stain remover like PineSol and a toothbrush can be effective for difficult stains on sneakers.

Step #5: Rinsing

Rinse the shoes thoroughly under running water to remove the soap or detergent. Remove all the soap as it can leave residue and affect the shoe’s comfort and appearance.

Step #6: Drying

Dry the shoes properly to prevent mold and odors. Avoid direct sunlight which can fade the color. You can use a towel or stuff the boots with newspaper to absorb the moisture for quick drying. Never use a heater or a hairdryer as high heat can warp the shoes.

Step #7: Odor Elimination

If the shoes smell unpleasant, sprinkle some baking soda inside them and let it sit overnight. Baking soda is a natural odor eliminator. Alternatively, you can use scented dryer sheets or tea bags.

Step #8: Extra Care for Leather and Suede

If you’re cleaning leather shoes, consider applying a bit of polish after drying them. On the other hand, Suede shoes can benefit from a coat of waterproofing spray to protect them from future stains.

Step #9: Reassemble

Once everything is clean and dry, put the insoles and laces back in.

Shoe Care Tips

Here are some simple and easy-to-understand shoe care tips based on the information provided:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Clean your shoes regularly to protect them from wear, tear, and damage. This will help maintain their appearance and longevity.
  2. Proper Storage: Store your shoes with shoe trees, avoiding plastic bags and using breathable ones if necessary. This ensures the boots keep their shape and stay fresh.
  3. Rotation: Rotate your shoes to distribute wear evenly and allow damp materials to dry between wears. This prevents excessive wear on one area of the shoe.
  4. Leather Protection: Protect leather shoes with conditioner to prevent cracking and fading. Alternatively, you can use petroleum jelly for the same purpose.
  5. Water Repellent Spray: Invest in water-repellent spray to safeguard your shoes against wet conditions, stains, and debris.
  6. Regular Polishing: Polish your shoes regularly with cream or wax to maintain their appearance and protect them from wear.
  7. Professional Cleaning: Consider professional sneaker cleaning services for a thorough clean and extended shoe life, especially for sneakers.

By following these habits, you can ensure that your favorite footwear, whether sneakers or dress shoes, lasts for years.

Having a hard time cleaning kids’ shoes? Check out the video down below!

Cleaning Different Types of Kids’ Shoes

Here’s a simple and easy-to-understand guide on how to clean different types of kids’ shoes based on the information provided:

Rubber Toe-Capped Sneakers

Leather, Suede, and Fabric Shoes

Other Shoe Materials

Final Thoughts

To conclude, The best way to clean them is by hand with soapy water and an old toothbrush. Use a sponge to soak up any extra water that is on the insoles. 

Keeping kids’ shoes clean is essential for maintaining their appearance and longevity. By following a few simple and easy-to-implement tips, such as regular cleaning, proper storage, and using the right cleaning products, parents can ensure that their little ones’ footwear remains fresh and ready for endless adventures. 

Whether leather, fabric, or rubber, each shoe type requires specific care, and a gentle touch goes a long way in preserving their charm. With a little effort and the right approach, parents can master the art of shoe cleaning and keep their kids stepping into a world of endless possibilities with confidence and style. Happy shoe-cleaning!