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Cleaning shoes (the insides!)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just wondering what's a good approach to cleaning shoes that are either well-worn, smelly or just could use a decent cleaning?

I have some various shoes that could use a bath on the inside. These aren't dress shoes but they're not sneakers either, and they're pretty padded. They're not so nice that I would want to spent hours meticulously cleaning every piece of fabric, but they are nice enough that I don't want to outright destroy them. Can I just toss 'em in the washer with some detergent? I was thinking of doing so (maybe gentle cycle, warm water for 1/2 hour to 1 hour) then stuff 'em with newspaper to remove the excess water, bag 'em and toss 'em in the dryer in a puffy bag on low heat for an hour to get rid of most of the remaining moisture, then air dry for a day or two.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 10
Leather, pleather or fabric?
post #3 of 10
First, welcome to the forum.

If they're not dress shoes and not sneakers, what are they? Post pics or find links to similar shoes so we know what you're talking about.

If they're leather, you can't throw them in the washer or the dryer.
post #4 of 10
My understanding is they are something like adidas sambas. If that is the case, throwing them into the washing machine is not a great idea. I've never done it, but have heard that it is very hard on the shoe and might even cause seems to rip. I'm not sure of what the best solution is, but a washing machine shouldn't be your first choice.
post #5 of 10
Well, I throw tennis shoes in the washer all the time, with no ill effects. I let them air dry though.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the welcome to the forum. I actually did have an account before (but only 5 posts?) but had to recreate it maybe due to that database crash. I found this place a long time ago after fleeing "andy's forum" where everyone suddenly started dressing like my grandparents.

The shoes... I should have provided a better description but was struggling to. One pair are Cole Haan, oxfords but not dress oxfords. They buff to a good shine and I can/do wear them with slacks but they're thick, heavy, well-padded with a superb rubber bottom and enough tread to make them servicable for a decent hike. I love this particular pair but they really took a beating on a trip to Hawaii when I went hiking with them in the forest and ended up getting them soaked as I crossed hip-deep creeks. They are leather and can be dressy, but they look "rougher and tougher" than my ferrogamo tramezza dress shoes for sure. So I was thinking of simply tossing them in the washer.

Then I realized I have some other shoes (sneakers, some well-worn leather/suede loafers, etc.) that also could use a good cleaning not on the outside but in the inside.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
post #8 of 10
Disclaimer: I have no idea if this is actually safe, but here's what I would try.

I would try washing them by hand in the sink with some Woolite. Woolite is used by auto detailers on cloth and leather upholstery, so it shouldn't harm your shoes. If the insoles are removable, take them out and replace or scrub them. Then give the shoes a good scrubbing inside and let them soak for a short while (or not, I don't know if that is a great idea or if it will help anything. Maybe 5-10 minutes max). Rinse, blot down the outsides and insides with towels and stuff them with newspaper or washcloths. Pull the paper/cloths out after a while and let them air dry the rest of the way. Don't put them near a heat source unless it is very gentle. As soon as the upper leather is dry, use some shoe conditioner, cream or whatever is appropriate for the type of leather.
post #9 of 10
I would not immerse the Cole Haans or the loafers. It dosn't sound like the outside is the problem. I would get a small bucket and an old sponge, make a fairly thick mixture of the Woolite with water and really soak the sponge in that mixture and totally sop it in the insides of the shoes. Scrub away. To rinse, you could quickly train the tap inside the shoe, swish a little with your cleaned sponge, drain, and stuff the shoes with old towels. Put them outside like j says and they also need some direct sun in there to finish the drying process. That will help kill any odor.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by stach
I would not immerse the Cole Haans or the loafers. It dosn't sound like the outside is the problem. I would get a small bucket and an old sponge, make a fairly thick mixture of the Woolite with water and really soak the sponge in that mixture and totally sop it in the insides of the shoes. Scrub away. To rinse, you could quickly train the tap inside the shoe, swish a little with your cleaned sponge, drain, and stuff the shoes with old towels. Put them outside like j says and they also need some direct sun in there to finish the drying process. That will help kill any odor.
That might be better. Although I wouldn't put them in direct sunlight personally.
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