There's more to cleaning and maintaining leather shoes than putting on leather conditioner on them then finishing it off with a spray or wipe of shoe polish. For one thing, there are different types of leathers used on shoes. For another thing, each of these types has to be cleaned in different ways. Keep on reading to find out how to clean whatever leather shoe type you're dealing with.
The Different Leathers and How to Clean Them
Many people make that mistake then wonder why their leather shoes end up unraveling or with holes on the surface when all is said and done. Pay attention to the leather type and maintain that type accordingly.
- Full Grain Leathers: Wipe dirt from the shoes gently with a dry cloth. Dampen the cloth with warm water then wipe the shoes again. Let the shoes dry on their own without sun exposure. Use a good, high-quality product to condition the leather, then buff to shine. Avoid silicone sprays or liquid shoe polish on your pair of shoes, because that could damage full grain leathers.
- Oiled and Beeswaxed Leathers: Also wipe with a dry cloth on your oiled shoes to remove dried dirt and earth. Afterwards, use some sort of leather cleaner found in sporting goods stores. Let the shoes dry away from direct sunlight contact. From there, apply a leather restorer and protector that's non-water-soluble (composed of lanolin and oils). The idea here is to prevent water damage.
- Patent Leathers: Skip the dry cloth cleaning and go straight to cleaning the shoes with a soft damp cloth with a drop of mild soap on it. The idea here is to remove as much haze on your shoes as possible. From there, your pair of footwear should then be treated with leather cleaner and conditioner formulated for patent leather. It should specifically contain silicone to restore its high gloss look.
- Nubuck and Suede Leathers: Use a rubber eraser on your suede leather shoes to remove smudges and dirt. Brush the footwear pair with a soft brush. Only brush on the same direction instead of back-and-forth in light of suede's unique properties. Don't use a wire brush. Avoid using polish on nubuck or suede as well. Cleanup of your suede shoes should be limited to wipes and brushing without any water, followed by silicone sprays to help them resist stains and water.
Weatherproofing Leather Shoes
Aside from preventative maintenance methods for leather preservation like keeping your shoes away from direct sunlight or excessive water exposure, you should also weatherproof your footwear.
There are products available out there such as non-silicone weatherproofing sprays that make your shoes repel raindrops and stains if you look hard enough in shoe marts and sports goods stores.