3 Ways to Make Your Shoes Look Like New Again

After a summer of adventures around the city, I finally decided to tackle the pile of dirty and scuffed shoes in our household and am happy to have breathed new life into several pairs! Here are a few tips and tricks for making well-loved shoes look like new again. I’d love to hear your tips as well for shoe cleaning and rejuvenation! You can see my reel video here for the cleaning in action.

how to clean wash rothys sneakers
Rothy’s men’s sneakers (one of Nick’s faves!), The Laundress Stain Solution
1. Fabric Shoes
  1. Dampen the dirty areas with warm water
  2. Apply some Laundress Stain Remover directly onto stains
  3. Scrub dirty areas with an old toothbrush until a lather forms
  4. Rinse with warm water while scrubbing, or finish with a machine wash if the shoes are machine washable like these Rothy’s are.
  5. Air dry. Avoid machine drying your shoes to minimize damage to them!

If you don’t have the Laundress on hand, several of you in my DMs also swear by mixing a little Tide laundry detergent with hot water and then using it to scrub, or using Oxiclean or Branch Basics.

best laundry stain remover the laundress
2. Rubber Shoes

Such as Natives, Crocs or the cap toe or rubber soles on sneakers

  1. Cut off a piece of a Magic Eraser and slightly dampen it. I cut off a piece just to get more surface area and stretch one eraser into more #s of uses!
  2. Wipe off any stubborn scuffs. For sneakers, use the Magic Eraser only on the rubber toe caps and midsoles.
how to clean black scuffs off soles shoes
Native shoes (the kids both love these!)
3. Leather Shoes

I previously did a tutorial on recoloring tears and scuffs on leather shoes, but this has been so helpful on my beloved shoes that I wanted to mention this tip again. For deep scuffs, I would suggest using a leather shoe paint instead of cream for more opaque color that will last longer.

before and after leather sandal repair
Before & after from this post.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Raina wrote:

    Hi Jean! Great post. Do you have a specific leather cream/paint for deep scuffs on the Paily sandals in the cafe (nude) color? I accidentally slammed the door on the back of the heel and it caused a scuff. Thanks!

    Posted 9.9.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Raina, I’m afraid I don’t as somehow I miraculously haven’t scuffed those yet! But it should be a pretty easy fix for you if you can find a close match!

      Posted 9.12.22 Reply
  2. Jane wrote:

    Love everything you do, Jean!
    What would you recommend for suede shoes? I have a pair of suede sneakers I have no idea what to do with.

    Posted 9.9.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you, Jane! At the moment I just use a suede brush to get dirt off but am looking for something that will help with stains. I’ll be sure to share if I find a solution!

      Posted 9.12.22 Reply
  3. Kelcy wrote:

    This was super helpful! I have so many leather sandals that I love but that are in such bad condition. I will look for the paint.

    Posted 9.8.22 Reply
  4. Kathleen wrote:

    Great tips!!!

    Posted 9.8.22 Reply
  5. Kim W wrote:

    Hey Beautiful!!
    I have been following you for several years now and always learn something new to incorporate into my life. I am so excited to try out the leather paint… brilliant!! Thank you Jean!! XO

    Posted 9.8.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Kim!

      Posted 9.12.22 Reply
  6. Danish wrote:

    Damn is it true about Laundress Stain Remover I think I should try Laundress Stain Remover on my shoes I really appreciate that thanks by the way.

    Posted 9.8.22 Reply
  7. larissa wrote:

    Love your Tan woven slids! Would you mind sharing where you got them from? thanks!

    Posted 9.8.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you! Do you mean the pointed toe woven mules? If so, those are unfortunately several years old but were from Schutz

      Posted 9.8.22 Reply
      • larissa wrote:

        yes, thank you!

        Posted 9.8.22 Reply
  8. KC wrote:

    Just so you know, heat (including warm water) can cause Rothys to shrink! That’s why they recommend washing in cold water.

    Posted 9.7.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      We didn’t have any shrinking issues this time but that’s good for others to know!

      Posted 9.8.22 Reply
  9. Minoo wrote:

    These are great!! Any tips on cleaning white leather sneakers?

    Posted 9.7.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I usually just wipe them clean with a slightly damp cloth. For tougher stains I’ve heard people mix baking soda with a little warm water into a paste and toothbrush it onto the stain, then wipe clean.

      Posted 9.8.22 Reply

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