How to Clean Leather Shoes

41 responses

  1. Kelly
    December 26, 2009

    I have a lot of sap on my leather boots and was wondering if you guys have any suggestions on how to remove this stuff without damaging or discoloring the leather. I read about the peanut butter helping; do you think this would damage the boots in anyway?

    Thanks guys, love the site.



  2. Paka
    March 24, 2012

    To remove tree sap, rubbing alcohol does the trick.


  3. Lataine
    June 11, 2012

    I really need to clean my suede shoes. The are Rockport sandals- the best, most comfortable shoes I have ever worn! Can you help? Thank you!


  4. Lina
    October 18, 2012

    I have nice leather boots in light brown (cognac color) and some shampoo spilled on them. How do I clean them and not damage them more?


  5. Alvin
    January 3, 2013

    I recently bought leather boots and wore them in snowy Switzerland. I realized that my boots had some discolor or frozen marks, so I tried to clean them with a wet cloth and applied leather wax on it, but the stain remains. Please help.


    • Melanie
      February 7, 2013

      You can try rubbing the marks with a 1:1 white vinegar and water solution or a little baking soda and water.

      Source: Good Housekeeping


  6. Christine
    February 17, 2013

    How do I remove excess shoe polish from leather shoes?


    • Melanie
      February 18, 2013

      If rubbing off the excess polish with a soft cloth or old sock is not enough, clean the shoes again with a shoe cleaner or mild soap and wet rag. Non-acetone nail polish remover has been cautioned against use for stains on leather because it can remove the polish, which in your case would be the desired result, so that is another option. However, if you use too much, it could dry out the leather, so you might want to apply a little olive oil afterwards to moisturize the leather. (Also note that acetone could remove the leather dye, so be sure to use non-acetone if you try nail polish remover.)
      Good luck!

      Source: eHow – How To Remove Show Polish From Leather
      Source: Ask Andy About Clothes – The Perfect Shoe Shine
      Source: Mahalo – How to Clean Leather


  7. Jefrin
    February 22, 2013

    I want to clean my shoes from the inside to remove the black stains. What should I do for that?


    • Melanie
      February 22, 2013

      Try to determine the cause of the stain; sweat stains, mold or mildew, dye transfer from socks, etc. Once you determine the cause of the stain, treat the stain accordingly. For example, use rubbing alcohol to remove mildew or use ammonia and detergent or vinegar for sweat stains.

      If your shoes are causing black stains on your socks or feet, that is a different problem. For that, you would need to use a mild dish soap and water to clean off the excess dye and apply a leather waterproofing sealant.

      Source: eHow – How to Remove Sweat Stains From the Inside of Leather Shoes
      Source: essortment – Clean And Polish Leather Shoes
      Source: eHow – How to Keep Shoes from Leaving Black Marks on My Feet


  8. Sheikh
    September 13, 2013

    I have leather shoes that are a beige color (pale creamy brown color). I took them to a man who does polishing in our place, and he seems to have polished them in the wrong color than it was before. What do I do?


  9. Bipul
    October 7, 2013

    Hi, I have spilled mustard oil on my brown leather shoe. How do I get it cleaned?


  10. Marie
    April 5, 2014

    My daughter has suede boots and went to a friend’s house, and their pup pooped on them. How do I clean that?


  11. Lloyd G
    April 8, 2014

    I had synthetic motor oil spill on my new boot. It removed the shine, some of the color and left the leather feeling rough. I have not been able to get the shine back having used saddle soap and having polished the boot numerous times. Any suggestions?


  12. Parker
    May 13, 2014

    I have the same issue as Lloyd G. Long story short, my right boot was covered in motor oil so now I can get my left boot to a nice polish but the right boot stays rough-feeling and will not take a shine. I’m in the Navy, so if I cannot figure out how to get the oil off my boot and get a shine back, I will be forced to buy a new pair of boots. Please help me.


    • Melanie
      May 16, 2014

      Parker and Lloyd,

      For an oil spill on leather, you need to use a leather degreaser. A regular leather cleaner won’t be enough to pull the oil out of the leather once it has absorbed. It may take several applications of the leather degreaser to remove all the oil. Follow the instructions in the guide, How to Clean an Oil Spill from Leather Upholstery.
      If needed, you can take the boots to a cobbler or professional leatherworker for repair. There are many products that they will have available to fix the leather, including sandpaper to smooth out the rough leather if needed. Good luck!
      Source: The Leather Repair Company – Basics Behind Repairing Leather
      Source: Furniture Clinic – How to Restore Leather


  13. Gabriel
    September 3, 2014

    I recently discovered my favorite pair of mustard coloured leather shoes had been stored next to something with laundry detergent all over it. I have tried using soap and water to no avail. What do you suggest?


  14. Maggie
    September 13, 2014

    I used the treatment on my Madden Girl boots and it made them turn white. Is there a way to fix this?


  15. Lee
    October 15, 2014

    Hi. My son has white salt stains on the outside of his black school shoes. How can I remove it and stop it from coming back?

    Yay! We’ve answered your question!


  16. Sonia
    October 23, 2014

    When I buy non-leather shoes, with wear, the black finish overlay wears off, revealing gray spots underneath. Does this happen to leather shoes with wear, or is there not an overlay of color? I’m thinking of investing in a pair of leather shoes because I keep going through shoes that look worn out and crappy when the finish wears off.


    • Melanie
      October 26, 2014

      Real leather shoes usually don’t have a painted layer on top. When real leather is dyed, the dye soaks into the leather itself. However, you will need to care for the leather, or it can loose it’s shine or texture over time and need repair. Cobblers can restore leather shoes, and often can also repair other types of shoes as well.


  17. Chanel
    November 2, 2014

    I recently scuffed brown leather boots with something black and am having a hard time removing the black gunk; any suggestions? I tried using some Vaseline and that didn’t work. =/



  18. Angela
    December 19, 2014

    Hi, I have a pair of silver genuine leather heels that have turned yellowish. I want to restore it back to silver. Is re-dying it silver my only option? Or is there a home remedy that I can use to bring out the silver colour again?


  19. Asad
    December 27, 2014

    On my Woodland camel brown shoes, I have marks from engine oil, so I have tried the talcum powder trick. It’s worked really well, but there is still a black patch. How can I remove it? Please help me.


  20. Piper
    January 19, 2015

    Hi-my luggage was searched on a trip and the crew moved some items around, causing a bottle of pickapeppa (condiment) sauce to break and stain the heel of a nude leather shoe. I have used a professional leather cleaner, but the stain remains. They are my FAVORITE shoes; any hope?

    Thanks, Piper


  21. Brooks
    January 20, 2015

    A sticky alcoholic drink splattered on my brown leather boots. Is it possible to get the splatter stains out?


  22. Saurav
    February 14, 2015

    I have a brown leather high ankle shoe that became discoloured after keeping it in the sun to dry. Can I get back its shine and colour? Is leather colouring possible or not?


  23. Samantha
    March 24, 2015

    My son has poured mango fizzy pop into my leather Catapilla shoes. How do I clean them? xx


  24. Jonathan
    May 23, 2015

    I mistakenly put leather polish on my suede shoes. Is there any way of repairing the damage?


  25. Charlie
    June 17, 2015

    I spilled wax on my shoes and when I picked it off, it left dark stains. They’re light brown leather dress shoes.


  26. Hemant
    July 12, 2015

    How should I clean my shoes; really, I don’t know about this. My shoe material is:

    Sole Material- Rubber
    Closure- Laced
    Inner Material- Leather
    Style- Metal Eyelet, Panel and Stitch Detail
    Outer Material- Leather
    Color- Tan, Beige

    I will be very thankful to you!!


    • Melanie
      July 13, 2015

      It sounds like your shoes can be cleaned the same way as described in the article. Just avoid getting the cleaner/polish on the rubber soles. The soles can just be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth.


  27. Sandra
    December 20, 2015

    Hi. I spilled some black suede spay on my brown leather shoes. How do I take the black off my leather shoes without discoloration?


  28. Deepti
    January 8, 2016

    My camel-colored woodland shoes have become darker rather black at the tips and the back as people step on your feet in public transports. I tried the polish that I have, but it’s not working. How do I bring back its original color?


    • Melanie
      January 11, 2016

      It sounds like the leather has been getting dirty, soaking up the oils and dirt that are likely on other people’s shoes. To fix that, you need to use a leather cleaner. Leather polish is for conditioning and shining the shoes, not for removing dirt/oils that have soaked into the leather.


  29. Rozafa
    January 30, 2016

    I think my yellow leather heels got some vine stains, can you please help me :(

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!


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