Hello Laundry Revolu-shoe-naries!
That’s right, today we’re talking all about how to take care of your shoes. With a few crucial bits of equipment and our simple care tips, you can double the lifetime of a good pair of shoes. We might even be able to save your soles…
Firstly, invest in a good shoe tree. Don’t be tempted by the shiny varnished versions. They might look great, but only an unvarnished wood (ideally cedar) will draw out all the moisture from your shoes, helping them contract and dry out to their ideal shape.
Try to keep your shoes on the shoe tree for the first couple of hours after you take them off your feet – that’s really all the time your shoes need to return to their natural shape. The best shoe trees have a split toe and a fully shaped heel to ensure a really close fit between shoe and tree – highly recommended.
Using an unvarnished cedar shoe tree can also help prevent smelly shoes, as it absorbs the moisture from the shoe. But if you’re still having odour issues, try replacing the insoles.
If your shoes get really wet, stuff them with newspaper, and avoid the temptation to put them near a direct heat source. Heating too quickly can cause the leather to crack, which can permanently damage your shoes.
Polishing Leather Shoes
- Shoe polish – you’ll only really need the basic colours: black, brown, and maybe a lighter colour for tan or light-coloured shoes.
- Welt brush (or an old toothbrush – just as good!) – designed to get the grit out of the “welt”, the seam where the shoe’s upper joins the sole.
- Polishing cloth – lint-free cotton or linen. Just one cloth is enough, and the keep it as long as you can – the more you use it, the richer it becomes in oils and dyes.
- Polishing brush – horsehair is recommended.
- Sole dressing – applied with a small craft brush or a cotton swab to restore the edge of the sole after scuffing.
- Wipe your shoes down with a damp cloth to remove superficial dirt and stains.
- Scrub out the entire welt strip with a damp welt brush or toothbrush.
- Apply sole-edge dressing to any scuffing, if necessary. Be very careful not to get any on the rest of the show – it can stain shoe-leather permanently. Let it dry before going any further.
- Apply polish with a circular rubbing motion. You don’t need much polish, but don’t be shy with the elbow grease – the more you rub, the better. Let the polish dry for about five minutes.
- Buff the entire shoe with a polishing brush. For extra gleam, hold the shoe between your knees and buff the toe vigorously with a lint-free cloth.
That’s all there is to it!
When it comes to repairs, though, it’s best to have a professional deal with any problems as early as possible to prevent permanent damage. Either trudge down to the high street and take a chance on the nearest cobbler, or send your shoes to us, and our experienced shoe-repair specialist will take care of them!
Image credits: KandyPics; Boston Public Library; Brettanicus