Chuck Taylor Converse shoes were a classic fashion statement of the 90s and have been making a steady comeback. Although these shoes are available in cotton canvas traditionally, this guide will show you how to clean leather converse shoes.
Leather needs more care than canvas since it is more sensitive and porous. The best way to clean leather converse shoes is to prepare them for cleaning, apply a quality cleaning solution, add a waterproofing coat and lastly, let them dry naturally. Let’s get started!
1. Prepare Your Leather Converse Shoes
Before you start the actual cleaning process, you’ll need to do a few things first. Removing the laces of your shoes is the first step to preparing your shoes for cleaning. This will give you better access when cleaning.
After taking the laces out, you should set them in a cleaning solution mixed with water and leave them to soak as you work on the shoes. It is best to work in a cool and dry environment since direct sunlight can damage leather.
2. Clean Leather Converse Shoes
Leather is a porous material that should never be cleaned with standard shoe cleaners since harsh chemicals from these cleaners can damage its color and texture. Therefore, always use cleaning products that are suitable for leather and also its type of texture.
Important Tip: For Suede Converse shoes, please do not apply any general leather solution or clean it with water. Instead, use a Suede Shoe Cleaner Kit or something similar.
Brush Off Dirt and Dust
The first step to cleaning your shoes is to remove the apparent dirt and dust on them. Use a fine horsehair brush to brush away the settled dust particles on your leather Converse shoes. Use medium pressure and stroke evenly.
Apply a Cleaning Solution
Leather Converse shoes can easily be cleaned by any specialized natural leather cleaner. We recommend using a leather cleaning solution that is designed for leather shoes to ensure that you don’t damage them. Both of the following products that we use and recommend work great on leather Converse Shoes.
The Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit contains our favorite leather-safe shoe cleaner since it works spectacularly and contains saddle soap, gentle oils, and conditioners to keep your leather shoes in top shape.
The MGK Shoe Cleaner Kit is a great choice since it effectively cleans leather shoes and includes a protective water-repellant that can come in handy for the next step. Both of these kits come with a good quality multi-purpose cleaning brush.
To begin cleaning your shoes, you need to thoroughly wet the cleaning brush and put a small amount of cleaning product on it. Begin scrubbing the surface of the shoes gently with a circular motion to agitate the stubborn strains, marks and dirt off of them.
Wash off the dirt on your cleaning brush in clean water whenever needed and don’t forget to clean the soles as well. After you are satisfied with the results, clean off the excess product on the shoes for a beautiful finish.
3. Apply a Waterproofing Coat (Optional)
Although this is an optional step, we highly recommend waterproofing your leather Converse shoes for added protection and durability. Waterproofing builds a breathable layer of protection over the leather, keeping it safe from staining and absorbing excess moisture.
It is best to select a quality leather proofing solution such as the one included in the MGK Shoe Cleaner Kit or our highly recommended Nikwax Waterproofing Wax.
To apply the waterproofing solution or wax, use a sponge applicator or a soft dry cloth to rub the product into the leather. Use circular and back and forth motions to coat the entire exterior of the shoes.
Allow the product to dry naturally, and take out your soaked shoelaces (from the first step) to dry. Lastly, insert the shoelaces back in your leather Converse shoes after buffing them for a glossy finish.
4. Let Your Leather Converse Shoes Dry
After having cleaned your leather Converse shoes and having them look sparkling new again, you’ll need to let them dry before using them. It’s best to let them dry naturally. Avoid drying your leather converse shoes under direct sunlight or in a damp environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since there are various types of leather converse shoes and different types of cleaning methods, we’ve created a dedicated section that features some of the most frequently asked questions. Feel free to reach out to us if you would like to have your questions answered.
How to Clean White Leather Converse Shoes?
White leather converse shoes can be cleaned using the same procedure as listed above. Since the light color allows dirt and scuff marks to show more prominently, you should take care to only use quality products to clean your white leather shoes.
Should I Clean Fabric and Leather Converse Shoes the Same Way?
No, you should never clean leather products the same way you clean fabric products and this also applies to leather converse shoes. Leather is more porous, which tends to absorb foreign substances and agents more easily and is also more sensitive.
Therefore, you should only use cleaning solutions that don’t contain harsh chemicals. You should also brush your leather converse shoes lightly with a leather-friendly brush.
Why Do Suede Converse Shoes Require Different Cleaning Methods?
Suede is an extremely fine and sensitive type of leather that can change its texture when cleaned with general leather cleaners. Therefore, it’s best to use a shoe cleaner kit that is made to remove dirt and scuff marks from suede or nubuck leather shoes.
Can I Machine Wash My Leather Converse Shoes?
No, you shouldn’t wash your leather converse shoes in a washing machine, as this would damage them permanently. Even organic and natural detergents will damage the leather fabric of your shoes. Therefore, you should always hand wash your leather products.
Co-Founder, Researcher & Writer At Leatherskill
I’m a leather enthusiast who spends most of his free time crafting, researching, and writing about the many facets of this versatile material. Thanks for reading!