Storing shoes that have dirt, dust and other residues on them could cause the material the shoes are made from to degrade over time. This is especially true for shoes made of leather or suede, but all shoes benefit from being cleaned up before you store them. Even if you’re just storing your shoes for the night, and you’re planning on wearing them again tomorrow, it’s a good idea to clean them before you put them away. Let them dry before storing.
- Clean leather and suede shoes by brushing off dirt and dust with a soft, non-scratchy brush. Use a special leather or suede cleaner to remove stains.
- Clean canvas shoes by brushing them off, then using soapy water to clean stains.
- Wash plastic shoes with soap and water.
If you’ve previously been throwing all your boots, heels, and running shoes in one big pile, picking out pairs as you need them, it’s time to sort your shoes. Sorting them by season and purpose will help your closet stay organized and keep your shoes in better condition than if you just toss them all together.
- Group your heels and other dress shoes together.
- Plan to store your winter boots and other winter shoes in the same place.
- Group flip flops, sandals and other summer shoes together.
- Group your exercise shoes and casual shoes together.
Don’t put shoes in their storage containers, even just a cubbyhole, until they’re completely dry. Wet shoes can get moldy in storage, plus storing them wet will make them more likely to smell bad. Place shoes in a dry, ventilated area to let them dry out completely before you store them.
Leather and suede shoes need to be able to breathe while they’re in storage. Wrapping them in plastic could cause them to end up moldy or discolored. Always wrap leather shoes in acid-free tissue instead of plastic.
Clean your shoes with leather cleaner or leather shampoo, and use a good quality brush to remobe loose surface dirt. If your shoes are wet after cleaning let them air-dry before you proceed with next step. Dry shoes in room temperature only and never expose them to the sun, heat from the sun will cause the leather to shrink, wrinkle, harden, dry and crack.