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Ways to Clean Muddy Shoes

Shoes are your dress accessories that are directly in contact with the earth.  They are bound to get dirty, dusty, muddy, stained and disfigured with use depending on the terrain and the weather.   In the dry summer heat they tend to get dusty, and can be cleaned with a brush or a damp cloth most often, and then sprayed or polished as and when necessary.  However, when it rains or the terrain is wet from snow, shoes can get muddy and then pose a challenge when it comes to having them cleaned.


Here’s how you can effectively clean muddy shoes.

1. The Door Mat

Never underestimate the power of the door mat. Always have a fibrous door mat just at the entrance of the house, especially for when it rains or in places that are snow and rain prone.  Wipe the boots / shoes / sandals / slippers well on the coir door mat so that most of the mud is removed even before you enter the house.  The mat may be placed by the first step that is shaded from the rain.   You may also place a regular door mat by the front door too if required.

2. Shoe Scrub

Use a shoe scrub to scrub out mud from under the soles of the shoes.  If it has dried, you might need to scrape out with a shoe scraper, a tooth pick or an old tooth brush.

3.  Work with your hands

With the hand, remove the thick dry dirt that is easily removable.  Use a soft brush like an old used tooth brush to remove stubborn dirt.  As far as possible, if you are sure the mud won’t stain the shoe; wait for it to dry before removing the dirt.   Brush lightly when using the brush.  You do not want to cause any tears or scratches while cleaning muddy shoes.

4.  Wash, if possible

Identify the type of shoe.  If it is plastic, the shoe is easily washable under the tap.  If it is leather, you might not be able to wash it with a lot of water and hence care has to be taken while using a damp cloth.  Wet a wipe cloth lightly so as to dampen it, and gently wipe over the shoe to remove mud stains.  You might have to do this several times, making sure to rinse the cloth over and over; as the dirty cloth will leave brown patches on the shoe once the shoe dries.  Polish the shoes with regular shoe polish once the shoes are dry.  For leather shoes, clean as soon as possible.

5.  Suede Shoe Brush

In case of suede shoes, use the brush meant for the suede shoes after wiping off the mud.  Wipe with a wet cloth if required; allow drying, and then spraying a coat of suede polish over it.   Rexene and vegan shoes should not be placed directly under the tap.

6.  Sports Shoes

Sports shoes may be washed under the tap in a stream of flowing water.  Make sure to drip drain and dry the shoes properly, away from direct sunlight so as to avoid fading of colors.  If shoes are not dried well, the inside of the shoes could smell and at times even begin to rot.  Place by a heater or the fire side for easy drying.  Do not place on or directly near heat.

7.  Wet Shoes

In case shoes are already soaking wet, avoid using more water so as to protect that areas of the shoe that has not been water-attacked.  Wipe dry with damp cloth as much as possible and set to dry.  Shoes may also be placed in the spin tub of the washing machine for quick round of spinning to get out most of the water.  Sports shoes, moccasins and cloth shoes are ideal for the spin.

8.  Deodorize

After shoes are dried, sprinkle some talc inside the shoe so as to counteract any damp or musty smell that might be in the shoe, especially if the shoe has not dried properly in an airy place.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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