How to Clean Cork Wedge Shoes


The cork wedge debuted in footwear around the mid to late 1400s in Europe. However, this cork wedge occurred inside of the shoe, between the sole and the upper portion, and it functioned to give the shoe more height, reports Charlotte Yue in "Shoes: Their History in Words and Pictures." Nowadays an entire shoe sole can consist of cork, and the shoes are known as cork wedges. The cork gives your feet a soft, yet stable platform and an all-around organic look. However, if not cleaned regularly such shoes can quickly look scruffy.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild detergent
  • Bucket
  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • Soft cloth
  • Scrub brush
  • 100-grit sanding block
  • Combine a few drops of a mild cleansing detergent in a bucket filled with warm water. Pour one-half cup white distilled vinegar in the bucket and swish it around with a soft cloth.

  • Dip the cloth completely in the mixture and wring it out. Wipe down the shoes thoroughly to remove a surface layer of dust.

  • Dip a scrub brush in the mixture and shake it out. Scrub down the cork shoes with the scrub brush, removing ingrained dirt. Be sure to re-dip the brush in the liquid, so you're not just smearing old dirt on the shoes.

  • Wipe down the shoes with your soft cloth again and assess. If they're still very soiled, scrub them down with the scrub brush again.

  • Allow the shoes a full day to dry. Run a 100-grit sanding block around the cork shoes, sanding them until you've buffed off the surface, slightly dingy layer of cork.

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