How to Clean Ballet Flats

Because of their purpose, ballet slippers (or flats) become dirty quickly. A pair of dirty flats will detract from the beauty of any ballet routine. Still, mishandling the cleaning of your ballet slippers will cause them to become discolored or lose their shape. Therefore, it is important to know how to keep them looking their best without compromising their shape, size and durability. Proper cleaning methods are determined by the material your flats are made from. Most ballet slippers are either made from canvas, leather or satin (or a combination of both—i.e., canvas flat with a satin covering). If you’re not sure, check the tag.

Most ballet flats will come with care information (either on a tag attached to the slipper, or a separate sheet). It is recommended that you follow the washing/cleaning directions that came with the flats. Otherwise, the following tips may be helpful:

Cleaning Canvas Slippers

What You Will Need:

  • Lingerie bag
  • Washing Machine
  • Mild detergent (non-bleaching)
  • Soft towel

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Place your ballet slippers in a lingerie bag. This will provide additional protection and will prevent them from getting “hung up” inside the washer.
  2. Set the washer for delicate cycle, cold water, add desired amount of detergent and fill.
  3. Place the lingerie bag with the slippers into the washer and run through the delicate cycle. It is NOT recommended that you use fabric softener or any type of bleach product.
  4. When the wash is done, remove the slippers from the bag and lay them flat on a towel in a warm, dry spot out of direct sunlight. Reshape them, and allow them to dry completely before wearing.
  5. NEVER place your ballet slippers in the dryer.

Cleaning Leather Slippers

What You Will Need:

  • Mild liquid dish soap
  • Cup or bowl
  • Soft Sponge
  • Warm water
  • Soft towel

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Mix a couple of drops of dish soap in the bowl with about a cup of warm water and mix until sudsy.
  2. Wet the sponge with the sudsy mixture and wash the surface of the ballet flat thoroughly.
  3. Rinse your sponge with clean water and rinse off any remaining sudsy residue
  4. Dry thoroughly with a soft towel.
  5. NEVER place your ballet slippers in the dryer.

Cleaning Satin Slippers

What You Will Need:

  • Gentle laundry soap for delicate fabrics (such as Woolite)
  • Tub or basin
  • Cold Water
  • Soft Towel

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Fill your tub or basin with cold water.
  2. Add desired amount of gentle laundry soap (follow product directions for amount of water you are using).
  3. Submerge slippers and wash being careful not to wring or twist the slippers.
  4. Drain water and refill with clean, cold water.
  5. Rinse slippers until no suds come out when you squeeze them (again, do not twist or wring).
  6. When thoroughly rinsed, remove slippers, gently squeeze out excess water (do not twist or wring), and lay them flat on a towel in a warm, dry spot, out of direct sunlight, reshape them and allow to dry.
  7. NEVER place your ballet slippers in the dryer.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • To keep your ballet slippers smelling fresh in between washings, sprinkle about ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in each slipper after wearing.
  • For a more comfortable fitting slipper, when your ballet flat is still a little damp after washing, try wearing them on your feet so that they conform more easily to the shape of your foot as they dry. (Be careful where you walk though, because wet slippers will pick up dirt more easily than dry ones)
  • Try cleaning spots and stains with a paste made of water and baking soda and rub into the spot with a soft toothbrush and rinse with cool water. Use caution, because this method may dull or discolor the fabric, especially on satin slippers. Always test a very small inconspicuous area first to make sure the fabric of your flat can withstand the paste.
  • NEVER place your ballet slippers in the dryer—it is the quickest way to ruin them.

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