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Home hacks: Tips on cleaning and maintaining your shoes before putting them into the cabinet

Extend the life of your footwear by taking care of them.

Also, you won't want wet, greasy or smelly shoes going into your shoe cabinet!


(Design: Formwerkz)

1. LEATHER CARE

If you can, cream and polish your leather shoes fortnightly or monthly, depending on how often the shoes are worn.

Mr Shaun Tan, a retail manager of a handcrafted men’s shoe boutique said: “Cream nourishes the leather in addition to maintaining its colour while polish shines the shoe and waterproofs it slightly.”

He advised restricting the application of shoe polish to the toe box and heel counter areas. Polish tends to crack if applied to areas of the shoe that flex.

Mr Steven Rogers, the founding director of a multi-label shoe boutique has a pro tip for those who want to keep that shine on your leather footwear when travelling.

“Applying body or face lotion found in hotel rooms on your shoes will make you shoes shine without dust sticking to them.”

2. KEEP BAD ODOURS AWAY

Refrain from wearing the same pair daily and alternate between at least two pairs of shoes. To minimise bacteria growth in Singapore’s humid climate, give your shoes ample time to dry thoroughly after moisture absorption from each wear.

For non-leather insoles, Mr Rogers recommends occasionally washing them and drying them in sunlight.

3. DRY WET SHOES PROPERLY

Should you walk in the rain or get your shoes soaked, stuff them with newspapers as soon as possible.

Mr Tan advises: “Change the stuffing frequently until all moisture is removed. Let the shoes dry at room temperature, but never near heat, for one to two days.”

If the shoes are soaked, allow them to dry naturally. Hairdryers, heaters or tumble dryers will ruin them.

Mr Rogers’s tip to remove water stains is to mix two parts white vinegar to one part water and spray this on the shoes. Wipe or rub away the stains gently.

4. SOAK UP THE GREASE

Spilt grease or oil on your shoes? Rub talcum powder on the grease spots and use a damp cloth to remove the excess powder. Repeat the application until the grease is removed.

“Be careful with brogues — leather shoes with decorative perforations, or patterned shoes as the powder may settle into the holes”, said Mr Rogers.

5. KEEP SHOES IN SHAPE

After each wear, insert shoe trees into dress shoes to maintain the shoe’s original shape.

Mr Tan said while you can stuff the shoes with newspapers if you do not have shoe trees, this is only a temporary solution. Unlike sturdy and lasting shoe trees, newspapers have to be changed frequently as they crumple and become torn after repeated usage.

Wooden shoe trees are preferable over plastic ones as wood absorbs moisture.

(First published in The Straits Times Classified)

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