A high quality vegan shoe always needs proper cleaning. When one purchases a shoe, for example a vegan loafer, taking care of them is also an ethical choice. Extending a product lifespan, it’s a way to reduce emission and not contribute into a consumistic society. By doing so, you extend the life of the product, in our case, vegan shoes, ensuring their flexibility and resistance to weather conditions. However, just like with traditional leather shoes, without the right care, you risk damaging your shoes, especially when it comes to vegan materials. Whether it's synthetic vegan materials or "plant-based" ones derived from materials like corn, cactus, organic cotton, or microplastics, the common risk of incorrect cleaning is the formation of stains, bad odors or abrasions that can ruin your shoes. Therefore, we aim to provide some information and guidance on the correct ways to care for your shoes.
Useful Tools to clean vegan shoes
A soft brush and a clean cloth should never be missing when cleaning vegan shoes. These are sufficient for regular cleaning, which is usually recommended once a month. However, there may be situations that require extraordinary maintenance, such as stepping into a puddle you didn't notice. In addition, you can use products for odor control, water-repellent sprays (use them sparingly) or polishing creams (neutral or matching the shoe's color, but without beeswax). Optionally, but important for both cleaning and preventing deformations when the shoes are not in use, consider using shoe trees. Second, we recommend using a different brush for cleaning the sole.
Cleaning the Upper
The front of your vegan shoe is the first thing that catches the eye, but also the first to get dirty. Therefore, it is of primary importance that it remains impeccable. Once the laces are removed, the shoe should first be brushed without applying too much pressure to remove most of the dust or other marks. After that, following an initial wipe with a clean cloth, you can proceed to clean up your vegan shoe with a water-repellant spray in the most stubborn areas. For example, the vamp, where the laces are, and the sides of the shoe.
Washing the Laces
A simple and effective method: once removed from your vegan shoe, laces can be immersed in a basin with water and mild soap. After scrubbing and removing the dirt, rinse them and let them dry before using them again.
The inside of a vegan shoe also requires care, especially during the summer when temperatures rise. Once the inner sole (if removable) is removed, wipe the inside with a damp cloth to remove dust or other residues. The main issue with linings is potential bad odors. In this case, odor-neutralizing sprays can be helpful, but make sure to use "neutralizing" sprays; many only cover odors rather than neutralizing them. There are also specific products available to remove any bacteria, and fortunately, there are several natural options on the market.
Taking care of the Sole
The sole is the part that remains in contact with dirt and dust for the longest time and tends to wear out due to continuous walking. Therefore, it requires special cleaning and tools. First, a dedicated soft brush; you wouldn't want to use the same brush as for the lining. After that, wipe the sole and the edge with a damp cloth.
After completing the various steps and repeating them in case of persistent marks and dirt, the final step is to apply polishing cream sparingly to the entire outer part of the shoe. Remember that this step is akin to a massage, done with gentle and circular movements. Then, let it sit for at least 24 hours to ensure the best results. After a day, give the shoes a final brush and wipe.
Things to Avoid
Just like with traditional leather, excess water is not recommended when handling vegan fabrics. You can use it sparingly (DO NOT PUT THE SHOES IN THE WASHING MACHINE). A cloth should be slightly damp, just to remove excess dust or dirt. Do not saturate it, as that may leave marks. We also recommend avoiding chemical products, especially aggressive ones, and even more so, DIY solutions. Otherwise, the previously mentioned advice applies: avoid strong rubbing and brushes with very rigid bristles.
We can clean up our vegan shoes manually when needed. However, there are also other useful measures to exten the life of the product. We have already mentioned shoe trees, which are very useful when the shoes are not in use. But among the tips we want to share is to avoid exposing them to direct sunlight and keep them away from heat sources. Additionally, 'nourish' them with specific creams to maintain their shine and other characteristics. This will require less maintenance, and the shoes will last longer.