How to Clean Black Shoe Leather


Dirty water, salt, and scuff marks damage shoe leather, making the leather vulnerable to dry rot and cracking. Proper cleaning and conditioning will make your shoes last longer and keep them looking good. You can make an effective cleaner for removing salt deposits using natural substances, like vinegar and water, but you must purchase the polishing cream, which fills in scuff marks and conditions the leather, at a store that sells shoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft brush
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 soft cloths
  • Black shoe polishing cream with conditioner

Brush the surface of the shoes gently with the soft brush. Remove large dirt particles.

Mix the vinegar and water together and dip the corner of a soft cloth in the mixture. Wring out the excess moisture. Wipe the surface of the leather with the vinegar water, paying extra attention to salt deposits on the leather. Do not saturate the leather. Let the vinegar water air-dry completely, avoiding excessive heat.

Dip a corner of the second soft cloth into the polishing cream. Rub it onto the surface of the leather, using a small, circular motion. Re-dip the corner of the cloth whenever it starts to feel dry. Do not let the cream dry completely until after you have buffed the excess cream off the shoes.

Buff the surface of the shoes with the third cloth. Use a small circular rubbing motion to remove the excess shoe leather cream.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fresh salt deposits that have not dried and crusted on the leather can be wiped away with a soft cloth and water. The vinegar solution is for dried-on salt deposits.

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