You've done the right thing. Your sore feet begged for help, and you answered. You've enjoyed your new sneakers for a few weeks, and things are looking up. Then.... disaster! One small mishap, and your brand new kicks now have splatter on them from some unfortunate household accident. It's just like buying a new car, isn't it? That first ding in the paint job usually finds you quickly. Check out some tips below to erase any unfortunate accidents to your new sneakers, or revitalize an old pair.
Materials and Tools:
-A scrub brush
-Magic Eraser (optional)
-Some paper towels
-Strong dish soap
-Leather/vinyl cleaners, foaming shoe spray, or body lotion
-Shoe or fabric refreshing spray
-Sewing kit (optional)
-Hot glue gun (optional)
-Nail file with hook end (optional)
Step 1 - Caked on Dirt Getting this initial dirt off takes the biggest chunk of damage off of your shoes. To do this, get a scrub brush and apply it with a strong dish soap (like Palmolive or Dawn). Then, swat off the initial dried up caking of mud into the sink. Briskly scrub off what’s left of the mud off of every surface, nook and cranny of the shoe. After you do that, take a wet rag and wipe away the excess soap and refreshed dirt.
Step 2 - Dirt Stains After you get that off, there’s going to be an under layer of dirt that has soaked into the actual material of the shoe; this is just as reversible. Take a Magic Eraser, thick cloth pad, or rag, then apply it with bleach. If your shoes are cloth or suede shoes, or shoes that aren’t mostly white, do not use bleach; use some more dish detergent, which will take some more effort, but will save you a pair of shoes. If your shoes are mostly white but have a colored logo or some small colored areas, cover those areas up with painter’s tape before proceeding. With a good dose of elbow grease, buff away the stains for at least 3 minutes depending on the severity of the stain. Then, scrub at it with the scrub brush and dish soap again; wipe away the excess. Repeat this process one more time.
Step 3 - Physical Damage and Insoles Your shoes may have legitimate wear and tear on them: rips scuffs, logo patches or Velcro falling off, the insole falling out, etc. This will take some effort, but again, nothing that can’t be fixed. For your Velcro/patches falling off, you’ll need to use a hot glue gun. Remember: be very careful when using a hot glue gun. People get injured all the time, and fires have even been started as a result of improper use of a glue gun. Don’t ever leave it on the floor or near anything potentially flammable when it’s plugged in, and when you unplug it, let it cool for 15 minutes in a safe area before putting it away. To use the glue effectively, put thick, aligned streaks of hot glue on both the location of the patch and the under/back side of the patch itself. Then carefully press the patch back in place. ( Note: this process applies if the insole of your shoe has fallen out as well). For tears and rips, you’ll need your thread and needle. With one finger, hold the hanging fabric (or a replacement piece of fabric) on one hand, and carefully sew along the lines of the tear with the other hand until it’s properly patched. Be careful not to prick your finger, and consider using a thumbtack. If you’re not very knowledgeable in basic sewing, there is a vast amount of tutorials on both YouTube and how to websites (such as Wikihow and Ehow) where you can learn basic sewing skills. If the tears are in the deep inner shoe or insole, you can be efficient and skip this, as no one will notice when you're actually wearing them anyway For scuffs, take a black sharpie or white out (or whatever color permanent marker closest resembles the color of the area on your shoe where the scuff is), and apply it onto the scuff lightly, but so that it covers the entire scuff. Then take a wet rag or paper towel and ball it up; buff the marker/white out into the scuff, and it will blend into the rest of the shoe, thus covering the scuff. Replacing the old insoles in your shoes with an over the counter arch support insole is always an option. A wide variety of over the counter insoles can accomplish this. Make sure you do your research first, and check with your podiatrist if you have foot or heel pain.
Step 4 - Final Go Over Simply go over the shoes with a damp paper towel, to get off excess soap, dirt, marker/white-out, etc. Then, follow this up by buffing the shoes with a dry rag. You can also use a nail file with a hook end to remove gum and small rocks from the bottom of your shoes if you’d like.
Step 5 - Old Laces The laces are a major part of a shoe, and having old laces can make even the tidiest shoes look dingy. If your shoelaces aren’t exactly in a condition you’d call clean, it’s probably time to replace them. You can pick up a pair of shoelaces at any Dollar Tree, or you can go on the internet (for instance, Amazon or EBay) and splurge on some really neat patterned or uniquely colored shoe laces, whatever you fancy. When you replace the laces, take note of the pattern of how the strings are laced. Then (if you want them to look exactly how they did before), follow that pattern. Make sure you get the right sized laces; this will save you a lot of trouble and discomfort in the long run.
Step 6 - Conditioning and Preservation You’re going to want to preserve your newly cleaned shoes; not only so you won’t have to clean them again too soon, but also so that when the time comes to clean them again, it will be much easier. It would be a good idea, especially if you have a big shoe collection, to invest a few dollars in a leather cleaning kit (like Lexol and Vinylx), or foam cleaner and a can of water proofer from the shoe store, but this isn’t necessary. If you have body lotion, this will make an excellent substitute. Apply fair blobs of cleaner or body lotion onto each surface of the shoe, and buff it in well with a thick cloth pad or a folded dry rag. Do so until the distributed lotion or cleaner is gone. If you use water proofer, go over lightly so that you don’t do any damage.
Step 7 - Odor Now that you’ve brought your shoes back from the dead, you don’t want them to smell like they’re dead. Use a fabric refreshing spray (such as Febreeze) or a shoe refreshing spray (such as Kiwi Fresh Force) to freshen your shoes up (you can also use a spray bottle of water mixed with a couple tablespoons of fabric softener or a few drops of essential oils).
Step 8 - Later Cleaning Down the road, you’re going to want to clean your shoes regularly so that they don’t get as dirty as they were again. Try to commit one day a month to maintaining your shoes, cleaning off mud and adding conditioner as needed. When you're not wearing them, stuff balled up newspaper, wax paper, or socks into the toe of the shoe to keep the toes from caving in, and dryer sheets to keep them smelling clean.
Step 9 - Enjoy! Now that you’ve put in all that hard labor refurbishing your kicks, show them off. Wear them at school with outfits that compliment them, wear them at your favorite hang outs, when outing with friends, etc. And remember, be sure the insole is supportive and cushioned enough before resuming any physical activity with your rehab'd sneakers in order to avoid those pesky sore feet.
Have Fun, and keep fresh!