Shoes are important. They are not merely a fashion statement but offer physical support to our bodies and therefore, impact our quality of life as well. Although proponents of a barefoot lifestyle would wholeheartedly disagree, there are many health benefits to wearing shoes. For this reason, their upkeep is equally important.
After all, even if your shoes are made for walking and that is exactly what they do, they are not indestructible. In fact, if you are frequently out and about, they will become susceptible to premature disposal — and for a very good reason too.
That being the case, you may be interested in learning more about shoe care. If so, you are in luck! In this article, we will discuss the importance of shoe maintenance and how to clean them manually. So take off your shoes, kick back, and relax because we are about to dive right in!
Why Is Shoe Maintenance Important?
Perhaps you haven’t given your shoes much thought as of late, or at all, for that matter. Since we live in a world plagued with fast fashion, we tend to fashion our preferences by following the latest trends. Unfortunately, this often means that we end up taking things for granted — and shoes are hardly the tip of the iceberg.
To emphasize the importance of shoe maintenance in your day-to-day life, here is a list of highlighted benefits. Hopefully, it will help you gain a better understanding of how intricate your nifty feet companions are.
1. Reducing Pathogens in Your Household
The soles of your shoes likely feature a lot of creases. And what better place for all that dirt, dust, and grime to conveniently nest in! After all, the surfaces that your shoes come into contact with on a daily basis are anything but disinfected and clean.
For this reason, it is wise to minimize the health risks that come with unclean shoes. While water alone or a doormat will not cut it, cleaning your shoes thoroughly will help remove the accumulated pathogens.
2. Limiting the Exposure to Toxins in Your Household
As if pathogens are not problematic in and of themselves, shoes are prone to picking up toxins as well. Seeing as their chemical attributes can be harmful, it is important to prevent any health issues that may arise.
To that end, cleaning your shoes will limit the exposure of your household members to toxins. Moreover, having it done as soon as possible is particularly important if you have children or pets.
3. Making the Most of Your Time
Not having to take your shoes off after you get back home is convenient, is it not? Aside from the pathogens and toxins we have previously mentioned, the state of your shoes affects your floor as well. After all, dirty shoes equal dirty floors.
This being so, it is far easier and faster to clean your shoes than every single floor in your household. Besides, you would do well to invest that extra time into more engaging activities anyway.
4. Preventing Foot Infections
Generally speaking, you probably spend a good portion of the day wearing your shoes. The longer they stay on your feet, the more likely your feet are to sweat. Combined with the increased temperature on the inside of your shoes, this can spell trouble.
In other words, by deep-cleaning your shoes, you ensure that you do not develop a foot infection over time. Ultimately, sanitizing your shoes is easier than combating fungal infections.
5. Adding to a Clean Look and Shoes’ Longevity
Admit it — you like to look sharp, and we are not talking just about formal occasions! A clean pair of shoes will go a long way, regardless of the place or the time.
Similarly, routine shoe maintenance will extend their lifespan by and large. This way, you will save yourself the trouble of having to purchase new shoes frequently. Besides, your wallet will thank you as well.
With all that in mind, you may be wondering if you should just have your washing machine do all the dirty shoe-cleaning work in your stead. And to that we say — no.
Think about it for a second. Regardless of the materials used in the manufacturing process, your shoes cannot handle frequent machine washing. And even if they could, you would still not get the best results. Better yet, how many pairs of shoes do you think you would have to own for the perceived benefit of a routine machine wash?
Instead, you should focus your efforts on the manual approach. When it comes to cleaning your shoes by hand, you have a lot of different options to choose from. That is to say, there are dozens upon dozens of different shoe care products on the market. While we cannot tell you which ones to go for because it is an individual matter, we can offer a general take on how to clean your shoes manually.
If you are looking to get your shoes a much-needed deep clean and freshen them up at the same time, the following steps ought to help.
1. Get Ready for Multiple Rounds
Keep in mind that you should not wash your shoes in one sitting. If you are aiming for the best possible results, certain shoe parts need to be cleaned separately.
2. Choose Your Shoe Cleaner
Before you get down to business, make sure you have your cleaning solution at the ready. You can make your own shoe cleaner by mixing different store-bought cleaners or opting for an environmentally friendly, DIY zero-waste approach instead.
Either way, the type of products that you need will depend on the state of your shoes. Therefore, do not be afraid to go the extra mile if needed.
3. Prepare the Sink
Next, fill the sink with warm water. Pour the shoe cleaner of your choice into the water and stir well. By doing so, you will create a soapy mixture. It will help the soapsuds penetrate both the interior and exterior of the shoes.
4. Tend to the Shoelaces
First, go for the shoelaces. If you did not know, they are one of the dirtiest shoe parts. For this reason, you must prevent the accumulation of grime, dirt, and bacteria on them.
Start by removing the shoelaces and grab a brush. Soak the brush in the soapy mixture and scrub the laces. Afterward, rinse them with water and let them air dry. Do not forget that you have to wait until they are completely dried before putting them back in place.
5. Tend to the Insoles
You should tackle the insoles next. Remove them and take either a rag or a soft brush. Whatever you choose to go for, soak it in the soapy mixture and scrub the insoles gently.
Once you are satisfied with their cleanliness, rinse them with water and have them air dry. In line with the rest of the process, you need to wait until they are completely dried before you use them next.
6. Move onto the Shoes
With the laces and insoles removed, you should have full access to the toebox of the shoes. Grab a shoe brush or a toothbrush and get ready to remove any dry dirt.
You can start by addressing the interior first. Tend to the sidewall and tongue while making sure that no debris remains inside. Then, scrub the exterior of the shoes to remove any residual dirt and grime. If needed, opt for a small object such as a toothpick to clean hard-to-reach areas.
7. Soak the Shoes
Once you have brushed away all the dry dirt, soak the shoes in the soapy mixture. Leave them in the sink for anywhere between fifteen minutes and half an hour. By doing so, you will allow the soapsuds to work their magic and loosen the remaining filth.
Also, remember that not every fabric can be soaked. For example, velvet, suede, and leather should be approached with caution. To that end, handling such delicate fabrics with a damp rag or a brush is a better choice.
8. Brush the Shoes
Take a soft brush or a rag and gently scrub the shoes’ interior and exterior. Try not to leave any areas untouched and do not get discouraged by stubborn stains. Instead, brush repeatedly until you have them removed.
9. Rinse and Air-Dry the Shoes
For the final step, you will need warm water, a soft brush, or a rag. Rinse out the soapy mixture thoroughly and air-dry the shoes. If you prefer quick results, place the shoes upside down in a drafty area to drain the moisture from the shoes’ interior faster.
You might also want to read: How to Dry Your Shoes Fast: 4 Shoe-Drying Hacks.
All things considered, you should now be ready to combat any dirt-infested challenges your shoes throw at you. After all, with the sink as your newfound ally, nothing can stand between you and a pair of sparkly clean shoes!
Also, keep in mind that you should treat your sink with care. To that end, try taking some preventive measures to keep it unclogged at all times, and remember to clean it after washing your shoes.
Ultimately, treat your shoes the way that you would like to be treated yourself. In other words — love your shoes and they will love you back a long time!