We've all been there, you find the perfect leather shoe. You look for the occasion to dress up your little one with them and suddenly... disaster.
It's only natural. Children aren't particularly careful with their clothes or shoes, even if their mommy's new favorites. But don't fret, we've got some tips for you about cleaning, restoring and taking care of your new leather shoes.
First thing to consider, leather is a natural material. It's porous and absorbs elements that it's exposed to. That means it's susceptible to stains and scratches, but therein lies the beauty. Leather tells the story of our lives and wears it like a proud badge.
When you buy leather shoes you are buying them for the look the have today; clean, crisp, elegant. You are also getting another pair of shoes that will come later, a weathered, earthy, stressed look that is also very much in style.
Taking all of this into account, we all want to give our new shoes a long life. Here are some tips to achieve that.
- Protect your shoes. When you first buy leather shoes, before your little one gets a chance to run through the grass and mud, you may want to weatherproof them. This will help protect them from water, dirt and other natural elements that will wear and stain shoes. Protectants come in creams, oils, waxes and sprays. Be careful regarding when choosing your product and consider what is made of, as they can alter the look of your shoe. Suede shoes, for example, are particularly delicate to weatherproof. Silicone sprays work well to protect suede. In general, we like protectants that are made with all-natural elements.
- Treat, condition and polish. For all leather shoes it's always a good thing to give them a good cleaning every so often. First remove laces, if the shoes have them. Second, use a natural bristle brush to remove loose dirt. Now you can clean them with a microfiber cloth dipped a bit of soap and water. Saddle soap and smooth leather cleaners that contain all-natural ingredients work well. After the shoes dry it's best to condition or moisturize them using leather creams. This helps prevent cracking and drying out. You can also choose to polish your shoes. If you use traditional shoe polish, the color must match the shoe color EXACTLY or it will change the original color of your shoes. Another option for polishing patent leather is using mineral oil with cotton.
- Treat stains quickly. Not all stains are created equal. Water, grass and dirt stains can be removed with leather cleaners. There are some homemade recipes on the internet, but we recommend spot testing before trying them out. Oil and grease are on another playing field. Here is a good way to deal with these:
- Oil or grease stains require immediate action. The best way to treat these is to blot the excess grease. Do not rub, as it will make the stain bigger and harder to remove. Use baby powder or cornstarch to draw out the grease. Gently brush the excess powder off. Now you can clean the stain with a little bit of dish soap and distilled water. Apply it with a microfiber cloth and then dry with another dry cloth.
- ** Pro tips:
- Baby wipes are great to quickly spot clean. They're gentle enough that they will not hurt the leather and the moisturizing properties they have also help to condition.
- Hand sanitizer is also a great way to remove scuffs from patent leather.
Whichever method you use, we hope you enjoy the life of your Elephantine shoes. Is there any particular method you use to take care of your leather shoes? Share with us in the comments.