Spring Cleaning Tips for Shoe Lovers: Organising Your Footwear Collection

by Charlie Cooke,

First Published: 27 Mar, 2024

Today at Fairfax & Favor we’re bringing you our best tips on how to clean leather and suede shoes, plus the best ways to store your footwear to keep them protected and looking their very best - just in time for the new season!

Dedicated shoe lovers will know the importance of maintenance when it comes to conserving the beauty and functionality of their much loved footwear.

To elongate the life of your favourite pair of designer shoes and keep them in top condition, it is crucial that you take good care of them. Giving your shoes some TLC as part of your wardrobe spring cleaning routine this season will not only maintain their appearance, but also help to prolong their lifespan, preserving your investment for years to come.

Today at Fairfax & Favor we’re bringing you our best tips on how to clean leather and suede shoes, plus the best ways to store your footwear to keep them protected and looking their very best - just in time for the new season!

Time for footwear TLC

There’s nothing quite like a pair of dirty shoes to detract from a great outfit. If you don’t regularly take care to remove accumulated dirt and debris, this will not only detract from the appearance of the shoes, but it can also damage the material itself and even risks causing unsightly scratches.

Good maintenance of your footwear can also enhance hygiene by preventing a build-up of odors and improve comfort. Taking the time to give your footwear some love will result in being able to enjoy your shoes for longer, protecting your initial investment and reflecting the attention to detail in your overall attire.

How to clean leather shoes

After the inclement weather of the autumn and winter seasons, your leather shoes will no doubt be overdue for some special attention. You may be seeing water stains, grit and general dirt that has built-up on your most treasured leather ankle boots, and it’s now time for a freshen up before you start pairing them with your spring wardrobe. Start by gently brushing off any debris in a circular motion using a soft brush, before applying a small amount of leather cleaner on a damp cloth. If there are any stubborn stains or marks, you can spot clean using a leather stain remover.

Next, it’s beneficial to condition the leather to keep it soft, so apply a specialised leather conditioner which will absorb into the upper parts of the shoes to keep the leather supple. Finally, there’s nothing like a good shine on a pair of leather shoes, so buff and polish them using a shoe polish in a matching colour to restore them to their original impressive shine. You can also finish by using a protective spray on your leather shoes which works to repel water and stains.

How to clean suede shoes

Similar to leather shoes, suede shoes can also attract the same water stains and dirt issues over the winter months. Cleaning suede footwear requires special care to avoid damaging the delicate material and keep them looking their very best. Again, start by brushing off any surface debris before utilising a suede cleaner in gentle circular motions to spot clean any light marks. If you’re dealing with any oily stains, sprinkle a small amount of talcum powder onto the stain and leave overnight for the powder to absorb the oil. In the morning, simply brush off the powder with a soft brush and the mark should be gone!

We would recommend that for the maintenance and cleaning of suede shoes that you use a protective spray to prevent future water damage and potential stains from occurring. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions before using and try to remember to apply this product regularly every few months for continued protection all year round.

It’s important to note that when cleaning leather shoes or suede shoes that neither type of footwear is to be submerged in water as this can damage the material and ruin the appearance of your shoes. We want gentle and light cleaning only!

Shoe storage suggestions

The way that you store your footwear can have a big impact on their overall appearance and even functionality over time. It goes without saying that leaving shoes lying around in high traffic areas of the home instead of putting them away may result in them being spoiled!

If you regularly leave your favourite shoes in pride of place in direct sunlight, you may actually be contributing to fading and deterioration of the material, especially with leather shoes. When not in use, we would suggest investing in storing your footwear in a dedicated shoe storage cabinet or keeping pairs of shoes in individual boxes in a cool, dark space to prevent light and heat from damaging the material. Storing footwear this way also ensures you can select your shoes with ease every time.

To keep the shape and structure of your shoes, and avoid creasing of knee high boot styles, you can use specially designed shoe trees or tuck soft tissue paper or newspaper into the toes after wearing. Aim to avoid overstuffing the toes though, as this can inadvertently stretch the material overtime and even affect the fit.

Organise your footwear collection with confidence thanks to our storage tips and engage in some light shoe cleaning maintenance as part of your wardrobe update. We recommend cleaning your leather and suede shoes using the appropriate material protecting methods to ensure they are ready to go whenever you need them.

If you’re interested in getting to know the latest premium shoe trends, browse the Fairfax & Favor collections of women’s driving shoes and men’s ankle boots to get some sophisticated footwear design inspiration.