To maximize the lifespan of your shoes and make them look good throughout their life, it's important to clean your shoes regularly. A bit depending on how dirty they are, there are various methods and products to use for specific purposes. On this page you will find some tips and advice on cleaning shoes.
Everyday cleaning (after each use)
After using the shoes one day, it is good to brush off dust and dirt with a shoe brush to avoid the formation of layers of dirt over time. It's also possible to use a slightly damp cloth if you prefer, good if it's been wet outside.
Recommended products: Shoe brush or Saphir large shoe brush.
Regular cleaning (when the shoes have become a bit dirty)
If you have worn the shoes in bad weather and so they have become a bit dirty, we recommend a quick wash with Saphir Leather Cleanser. It's a gentle but effective cleaning that you apply to a cloth and easily go over the shoe with, which dissolves the dirt.
Recommended products: Saphir Leather Cleanser.
Thorough cleaning (1-2 times per year)
1-2 times a year you should thoroughly clean your shoes by washing away old shoe cream and wax polish. Over time, the layers of shoe cream and polish become thicker and the leather in the shoe becomes more difficult to absorb the nourishing properties of the shoe care products. Depending on how dirty the shoes are, there are various products that can be used for cleaning. We recommend three different products that have different properties and strengths, which we will describe below.
Recommended products: Saphir Leather Soap, Saphir Renomat (also called Saphir Leather Cleaner) and Saphir Decapant.
Of the three products, Saphir's leather soap is the mildest product. It functions very similar to a regular soap. The soap removes both shoe cream and wax polish in a good way and with this soap you get very deep cleaning of dirt. The soap is used by taking a bit of soap on a sponge and adding water, then just start scrubbing the shoe. The soap should lather when you wash your shoe, if it does not, you have taken too little soap or water. Take more soap and water if needed until you have washed the entire shoe. If you have a lot of polish (wax) applied, you may also need to use one of the stronger products.
Something stronger than the leather soap is Saphir Renomat. Although stronger than the soap, it's still rather gentle on the leather. It's possible to skip the step with the soap and only run Renomat also to clean the shoes, especially if it's mainly residues of cream and waz you want to get rid off while they aren't too dirty. What we recommend is that you first use the leather soap to wash the entire shoe, then you can use Saphir Renomat in individual places where you have not managed to remove all old shoe polish or polish. Saphir Renomat is a liquid where you take a small amount on a cloth and rub on the area you want to wash. Go over the shoes a few times until shoe cream and waxes are removed. Remember not to throw the cloth in the garbage afterwards as Saphir Renomat is classified as flammable.
If you have shoes with a lot of really old cream and polish that you find difficult to remove with the soap or Renomat, or shoes that you want to completely remove the color from, there is also a stronger product called Saphir Decapant. This product is much stronger and should be used to remove shoe cream / polish completely, while you should be careful and rather take a few more times than accidentally go on too strong as otherwise you risk going too hard on the leather. It's no danger if a bit of the original color of the leather is worn off as it's easily covered with pigmented shoe cream, but it is no use to wash away too much of the color unnecessarily. If you want to remove all old dye on a pair of shoes to recolour them, it's Saphir Decapant that is best for this purpose.
Again, don't forget to apply Saphir Medaille d'Or Creme Pommadier shoe cream after a cleaning, and if you want also Saphir Pate de Lux wax.
Cleaning of suede
For suede shoes, we also recommend a thorough cleaning 1-2 times a year where you wash and recolour and waterproof the shoes. For cleaning, we recommend a Saphir shampoo called Saphir Omninettoyant, which is specially developed for suede, nubuck and textile. Furthermore, a suede brush is used which is used to lift the fibers in the suede and thus to remove the dirt that has lodged in the suede.
Products used here: Saphir Medaille d'Or Omninettoyant and a suede brush
To clean the shoes, brush them first with the suede brush. Then you take Saphir Omninettoyant and wash your shoes using the small brush provided and some water, but if it's not too much lather you may just let it dry. If needed you rinse off the shoe to remove any foam and any dirt residues.
After cleaning, the shoes should dry thoroughly and then be recoloured with Saphir Renovateur spray if necessary and then waterproofed with Saphir Super Invulner. More about this in our guide to suede shoe care.
For more information on the various cleaning products we offer and what to use for what, we have this guide to shoe and leather care products.