Caring for your Full-grain Leather Footwear
If your shoes have layers of polish build-up, use a pre-cleaner before starting your leather shoe treatment.
Remove dirt or debris with a soft bristle brush. Gently rub the brush against the surface of the shoes to remove stuck-on debris. Do not rub too hard as it might damage the leather. To be thorough, run the brush along the seam and soles of your shoes paying special attention to any cracks and crevices.
Wipe the shoes with a damp cloth and a bit of leather cleaner made specifically for Full-grain leather (we recommend saddle soap). Alternatively, you could use mineral oil, as it is the main ingredient in most commercial leather shoe cleaners and can be used on its own for the same effect. Pour 4-5 drops of it on a clean cloth and rub it over the surface of your shoes.
Remove excess soap from your leather shoes with a damp cloth.
Dry your shoes slowly in a well-ventilated area. Avoid placing your shoes near a heater or in direct sunlight as the heat could cause discoloration or cracking.
Remove salt stains with a mixture of water and vinegar. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Dip a clean cloth in the liquid and gently rub the surface of your shoes. Wipe them again with another clean, damp cloth.
Tackle oil and grease stains with talcum powder. If you have a tough oil or grease stain on your leather shoes, cover it with an absorbent powder like talcum powder. Let it sit for 2-3 hours to absorb the oil. You can also use corn starch to absorb oil stains, but you should leave it on for 7-8 hours to fully absorb the oil. Carefully remove the powder with a soft brush after the initial cleaning, let your shoes dry before shining them with your chamois or cloth (old t-shirts work great, too).
Tip: Spot clean your shoes with baby wipes. If you are on the road and your leather shoes get scuffed or dirty, use a baby wipe to clean them. Baby wipes are gentle enough that they will not harm the leather.
If you plan to use shoe polish, then you must choose a polish colour that is identical to your shoe colour, otherwise you risk getting them stained – for good! Shoe polish is an essential part of the leather shoe care process, and it is highly recommended to use a cream-based polish when you want to clean them. Do not overdo it, though, as this might affect the quality and texture of the leather, as well as the aspect.
Certain shoe polishes contain toxic chemicals that can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. If you opt to use shoe polish, wear gloves while doing so, work in a well-ventilated area, do not drink alcohol while polishing, as it can increase the effects of chemical irritants, and keep all shoe polish out of the reach of both children and animals.
Shoe polish needs to be handled as a hazardous household substance and discarded properly.
Rags or cloths used to polish should be contained, with any residual waste, in a sealed plastic bag and disposed of as you would toxic paints or household chemicals.
And while some polishes claim to be non-toxic, most do not list their ingredients, making it impossible to know what’s safe. So, if you want to avoid shoe polish at all costs, take your leather shoes to a repair shop to have them polished for you or use natural alternatives like olive oil or walnut oil. To do so, work a small amount of oil into the shoe and then buff and shine it with a soft cloth or chamois. But again, try a test patch before using oil on the entire shoe.
In conclusion, these are 5 simple hints and tips that can help you protect your leather shoes over the years. All you must do is to avoid wearing them during bad weather, clean and moisturize them constantly, and to choose the right protective product for your shoes. This way, they will look brand new even after several years!
Caring for your Suede Leather Footwear
If your boots or shoes are wet and muddy, air-dry in a spot with good airflow.
Once the shoes are dry, shake off the dry mud by hitting the soles against each other. Using a suede brush, the rest of the dirt could be brushed off.
Use a rubber eraser or a piece of natural crepe rubber for any stains that remain.
Tackle oil and grease stains with talcum powder. If you have a tough oil or grease stain on your suede shoes, cover it with an absorbent powder like talcum powder. Let it sit for 2-3 hours to absorb the oil. You can also use corn starch to absorb oil stains, but you should leave it on for 7-8 hours to fully absorb the oil. Carefully remove the powder with a soft brush and/or hitting the soles against each other.
For any remaining stains, use a suede cleaner and carefully follow the instructions.
Caring for your Hair-on Leather Footwear
Carefully treat them with a protective suede spray, according to the instructions to protect and waterproof your shoes, before you even consider taking them out for a spin. This will have the added benefit of preventing dirt and oil from penetrating the hair and make the first cleaning much easier.
Once the shoes are dry, shake off the dry mud by hitting the soles against each other. Using a brush with hard bristles to carefully remove the small pieces of dust, sand, dirt, and other debris that might get caught between the hairs. Be sure to brush in the direction of the hair. If you spill something on your hair-on shoes, dry up the excess liquid as quickly as possible. The longer the liquid is on the shoe, the more likely it is to leave a stain. Be sure to dab the liquid with a towel to soak it up, rather than rubbing it around which could make the spill deeper and more difficult to remove.
Removing stains caused by dirt or mud, mix a little bit of shampoo (it is hair, after all) with warm water. Dampen a sponge or towel just a little bit, and gently rub it over the stain to help remove the stain. Once the stain is gone, go over the spot again with a damp, not soapy sponge or towel to remove any shampoo residue.
For grease and food stains, regular shampoo might not do the trick. One natural way that some people use to get rid of grease stains on hair-on hide is eucalyptus oil, which is generally assumed to be safe to use on clothing to break down grease and food stains. Using just a small amount, apply eucalyptus oil to the stain. You can use a cotton swab or a cotton ball for better precision. Gently rub the oil in and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
You can even use a small quantity of hair conditioner to release stubborn matting. Another trick to avoid the build-up of dirt and oil is to place the item in a plastic bag with a cupful of cornmeal. If you then shake the bag vigorously the cornmeal will absorb the dirt and oil and clean the hair-on leather.