The Playbook


How to Clean Leather Sneakers At Home



Even though you take great care of your Greats, every now and again, they need more than just a quick spot clean. Here’s a step-by-step guide to giving your Italian leather sneakers a thorough cleaning using just household items:

 

1. Gather your materials.

 

 

For cleaning Italian leather sneakers with household soap and water, you’ll need: paper towels, ivory soap, cotton rags (an old t-shirt works great), and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

 

2. Gently wipe away surface dirt.

 

 

Wet a paper towel, squeeze out excess water, then gently wipe down the exterior of the entire shoe. Your goal here is not to deep clean, but rather remove any big particulates that might get ground in when you scrub later.

 

3. Let shoes dry.

 

 

Ah, the waiting game. Thrill-a-minute. 10 minutes of light and air should work fine. 

 

4. Wet the Magic Eraser, squeeze it out, then wipe down your soles.

 

 

Now comes the fun part. Run the Magic Eraser bumps-down along the side of the outsole in long, smooth strokes. As long as the Eraser is somewhat damp, stains should lift right off.

 

5. Use a wet paper towel to clean all shredded eraser foam from sole.

 

 

Now comes the not-so-fun part. Magic Erasers shred by design, so there are likely small foam pieces around your newly-Magic’d outsole. Just use a damp paper towel to collect them up and enjoy the pristine clean. Next step!

 

6. Build up a soap lather on the soft cotton rag.

 

 

It’s scrubbin’ time. Massage that lather in small gentle circles all over the surface-rinsed leather upper. Unless dirt is really stuck on (it likely isn’t), more small and gentle circles beats fewer large and aggressive swipes every time. The lather will foam up a bit at this step, too. Treat this like a back-check: if you see an area without foam, give it a quick touch-up until the entire shoe is covered.

 

 

By the way: we recommend only working one shoe at a time from here on out. Whereas light rinsing is pretty indiscriminate, truly getting the best from a cleaning requires specialized attention to each shoe. It doesn’t take any extra time, we promise.

 

7. Let shoes dry.

 

Ah, the waiting game… again. Maybe make some coffee? You've got 10 minutes, give or take, until you can truly evaluate how well you've cleaned. 

 

 

8. Repeat Steps 7 and 8 until satisfied.

 

Did wash #1 not get that one problem spot? Jump back in the bath. Just repeat Steps 4 through 7 with special attention paid towards dirty areas – no need to dry out the leather by over-washing the whole shoe. For all but the biggest messes, two washes is golden.

 

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Voila! Clean shoes, as simple as that. Just lace ‘em back up and get back out there – your next Greats adventure awaits.

 

Photos by Drew Dizon