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How to Clean Leather Sandals

by Anna Scanlon

Leather sandals

Things You Need:

  • Moisturizing soap
  • Leather conditioner
  • Leather preservative
  • Clean cloths and towels
  • Saddle soap
  • Vinegar

Leather sandals are fun and fashionable footwear during the summer months or all year, if you live in a climate that allows you to wear them year-round. Unfortunately, however, leather sandals can become stained or develop an unpleasant odor. Luckily, these sandals can be cleaned easily. Follow these tips to restore your leather sandals to their original color and condition.

Treated Leather Sandals:

  1. Dampen a cloth. Place a nickel-sized amount of moisturizing body soap or hand soap on the cloth.

  2. Rub the cloth together until it forms a slight lather. Wipe the lather lightly on your sandals.

  3. Dampen another clean cloth and wipe away the soap gently. Use a towel to dry the sandal.

  4. Place the sandals outside and let them dry in the sun. Use a leather conditioner to get the sandals back to their original polish. Follow instructions on the label carefully to make sure you purchased a leather cleaner that is appropriate for your shoes.

Untreated Leather Sandals

  1. Dampen a cloth and place a dime-sized amount of saddle soap on it. Work it into a lather by rubbing the cloth together.

  2. Gently rub the lather onto the sandals. Wipe away the soap with a clean damp cloth and dry with a towel.

  3. Place the sandals in the sun to dry. Rub leather preservative on the leather in order to bring it to its original shine. Follow directions on the particular product you choose for your sandals.

  4. Wipe away odor. Mix one teaspoon of vinegar with one cup of warm water. Dampen a cloth with the mixture and wipe the sandals with it. Vinegar will eat the bacteria and help to kill the odor in your sandals. Let them dry out in the sun.


  1. Before cleaning your sandals, make sure you test on a small portion of the shoe. Leather can easily be discolored, depending on the type and make, so test the mixtures on a tiny area of the sandal before using on the entire sandal.

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