How to Clean or Disinfect Vintage Shoes

How to Clean or Disinfect Vintage Shoes

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Vintage shoes can be so adorable if you pick them up from an auction or the thrift store but the thought of how clean they are might mar your joy. Give them a nice clean.


  1. Clean the outside of the shoes as with normal shoes, only with greater care. Dust first using a duster or clean, soft cloth. Use polish of a suitable color or leather cleaning solution. Leather conditioner is probably a great idea for vintage shoes, as the leather will be a lot older and have been exposed to aging for longer than recent shoes.
  2. Clean the inside of the shoes with a mixture of 1 part tea tree oil to 4 parts water. Dip a soft cleaning cloth into this solution and wipe through the shoe inner area, over the sole. If the toe is hard to reach, poke the cloth in with a stick, pencil, utensil end, etc. and swish it around. For particularly stubborn stains, wipe tea tree oil neat on the sole.
  3. Leave to air dry out of the sun. The tea tree oil will both clean and disinfect the shoe.
  4. Find an unused shoe box to keep the vintage shoes stored. They will last better if kept out of light and regularly conditioned.


  • Fabric shoes are much harder to care for; refer to the relevant fabric stain removal advice if you have stains to remove. Remember though, that the age of the shoes might make stain removal impossible and it might be better to consider a gentle dye.

Things You’ll Need

  • Vintage shoes
  • Shoe polish or cleaner
  • Leather conditioner
  • Soft cleaning cloths (duster optional)
  • Tea tree oil

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual.

Published by

Jody Thompson

I'm going to blog about my many shopping escapades. Whether it is a used book store, a thrift shop or a consignment shop-- I'm here to tell all about my experiences. When I find great stuff-- I'll let you know. I'm sending good karma to all the thrifty shoppers out there!

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