How to Care for Moccasins

Taking care of moccasins
Taking care of moccasins (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Moccasins are a comfortable outdoor or indoor shoe normally made out of soft leather, suede or deerskin. They were the traditional Native American shoe and later were worn by European settlers. Most moccasins are made out of one piece of leather that is stitched together around the top with a sole added. Today, moccasins come in various styles and designs. Caring for your moccasin shoes and keeping them clean will help to prolong their life and keep them supple, soft and looking good.

Things You'll Need

  • Stain and water repellent
  • Leather conditioner
  • Suede brush
  • Cloth

Conditioning and Protecting Moccasins

Keep your moccasins in good condition by treating them with a leather conditioner. Use a clean cloth to apply the conditioner all over the outside of each shoe in circular motions, leave them dry and then wipe them with a soft, dry cloth. Read instructions on the bottle for specific directions and recommendations on using the product.

Protect your suede moccasins from water and dirt with a stain and water repellent made especially for suede. This is useful because suede loses its soft texture and flexibility once it gets wet. Follow instructions on the packaging for proper application. Suede moccasins that get wet and have not been waterproofed should be wiped with a dry cloth or towel and allowed to dry naturally.

Waterproof your leather moccasins with a stain and water repellent suitable only for leather. You will need to do this only if your moccasins are for outdoor use. Leather is easier to maintain in wet conditions than suede, but waterproofing still helps to prolong the life of the shoes and prevent them from losing their shape and getting dry and brittle.

Cleaning Your Moccasins

Clean your leather moccasins only with a leather shoe cleaning product. Apply the cleaning fluid with the applicator all over the shoes if needed, let them dry and then wipe the shoes with a clean, cotton cloth. Add leather conditioner afterward.

Clean suede moccasins with a clean, damp cloth or spot-clean stains with a damp cloth and a small amount of mild, liquid soap. Rub this in with gentle, circular motions. If you have scuff marks on your moccasins, use a suede eraser to clean them off. A soft brush made for cleaning suede can be useful just to get dust off and buff the nap of the suede.

Wash suede moccasins by hand in lukewarm water if they are really dirty, using a soap made especially for leathers. Let them air dry at room temperature. Buff with a suede brush or soft cloth once they are completely dry. Apply a suede stain and water repellent if needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can purchase suede cleaning and conditioning kits from shoe stores.
  • Look for a natural leather conditioner for better absorption, as opposed to a synthetic one.
  • Do not dry moccasins with a heater, in hot sun or with a blow dryer.

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