How to Clean Leather Shoe Insoles?

The insoles are crucial components of our trendy leather shoes, as they provide comfort and support and keep footwear classy. However, the sweat and oils from our feet often escape into these insoles, which can build up, cause unpleasant smells, and even damage the leather.

Nevertheless, regular cleaning eliminates these problems and improves how comfortable and fresh your shoes feel. So, learning how to clean leather shoe insoles without damaging your special footwear is essential.

I recently had the chance to help a coworker clean the leather insoles of her shoes, and that experience made me realize the importance of this issue. After observing the fantastic transformation that followed the cleaning procedure, I was inspired to learn more and research the best ways to care for these essential parts of our shoes.

How to Clean Leather Insoles

How to Clean Leather Shoe Insoles 

By now, you should know that cleaning leather shoes and their insoles are essential maintenance routine that ensures your footwear lasts for an extended period. Such action is essential for odor management, reducing bacteria buildup, and extending the lifespan of the footwear.

Leather shoe insoles should be cleaned often to keep feet dry, stop the growth of germs, get rid of dirt and dust, and extend the life of the footwear.

You can clean removable insoles using household supplies like saddle soap or mild dishwashing soap. And a solution made from warm water and baking soda should work the trick for non-removable insoles. Here’s how to get your shoe insoles cleaned without any hassles.

Method 1: Cleaning Removable Insoles

Supplies Needed:

  • Saddle soap or mild dishwashing soap
  • Warm water
  • Clean towels
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Leather conditioner

Here is a step-by-step instruction for cleaning leather shoe insoles:

  • Begin by taking off the leather insoles from your shoes. Then, gently brush away any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the insoles’ surface using a soft-bristled brush or a cloth. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as this might harm the leather.
  • Now, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing mild dishwashing or saddle soap with a bowl of warm water. Then, get a clean, soft towel dampened by dipping it into the cleaning solution and wrung dry to remove extra moisture.
  • Gently use the damp towel to clean the leather insoles – keep an eye out for any stains or spots that need extra cleaning. To remove stains on the leather insoles, gently clean the afflicted area with a soft-bristled brush; don’t scrub too hard to prevent likely damage.
  • After washing, rinse the insole using a towel damped with water to remove any soap residue. Then, place the leather insoles in a well-ventilated place away from direct sunshine to dry them. Let them naturally air dry, as drying leather with a hairdryer or other artificial heat source can cause severe damage.
  • Once the insoles are all dry, condition the leather using a conditioner made especially for shoes. Such action will keep the leather hydrated and protected, keeping it flexible and preventing cracks.
  • Finally, insert the leather insoles back into your shoes once cleaned, dried, and conditioned. Before putting the shoes back on, make sure they are precisely aligned and fit.

Method 2: Cleaning Non-removable Insoles

Non-detachable leather shoe insoles must be cleaned carefully to prevent damaging your classy leather shoes.

Supplies Needed

  • A clean towel
  • A soft cloth
  • Mild soap
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • A soft-bristle brush
  • Leather conditioner

So, here is how to clean non-removable leather insoles.

  • To more readily get to the insoles of your shoes, unlace or unbuckle the footwear. Then, use your brush or cloth to clean the insoles and remove any loose dirt or debris – avoid scratching the leather by being gentle.
  • Now, drop some mild soap or leather cleaner in warm water. Using the soapy water mixture, damp a soft cloth or toothbrush. Kindly note that you can use a solution of baking soda and warm water instead.
  • Scrub the insoles’ surface gently in a circular motion, giving close attention to any stains or grime accumulations. Be careful not to rub too hard, which might harm the leather. Remove the residue of dirt and the cleaning solution with a fresh, moist towel.
  • After cleaning, blot the insoles dry with a fresh towel to remove any remaining moisture. Afterward, allow the inside of your shoe to air dry, away from heat sources and sunshine.
  • Although optional, you should consider using a leather conditioner once the insoles have thoroughly dried, especially for shoes. Use a clean cloth and a tiny quantity of conditioner to massage the leather surface lightly.

how to clean leather boot insoles

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Leather Insoles?

There are various techniques you may use to properly get rid of the scent if your leather insoles are giving off unwanted odors. Here are some suggestions you should try to help deodorize your leather shoe insoles.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is among the popular household supplies for cleaning leather items, and this solution also comes in handy to eliminate the smell from your leather insoles. Apply some amount of baking soda on the surface of the insoles.

Then, let it sit overnight to allow the baking soda to absorb the insole’s odor. Afterward, shake off any extra baking soda, scrub any leftovers with a gentle brush, or clean the insole’s surface using a damp cloth.

A Solution of White Vinegar and Water

Prepare the deodorizing solution by mixing water and vinegar in a bowl (ratio of 2:1). Use a soft, clean towel dampened with the vinegar mixture to clean the leather insoles gently. Then, let the insoles completely dry out in an airy area. This technique can come in handy if you are wondering how to clean white vinyl shoes and deodorize their insoles.

An Antibacterial Spray

Find an antibacterial spray intended exclusively for use on leather. Check if the antibacterial spray suits the type of leather insoles you own. So, test the antibacterial spray on a tiny, inconspicuous area before using it over the entire surface of the insoles to be sure the leather won’t get damaged or discolored.

Now, apply a thin, uniform layer of the antibacterial spray to the insoles while holding the spray container about 6 to 8 inches away. And be sure to cover the insoles completely.

how to clean non removable leather insoles

Tips for Preventing a Dirty and Smelly Insole

Here are some recommendations you may use in the future to keep your leather insoles odor-free:

  • Give your shoes time to air out after wearing them to ensure optimal ventilation. The shoes should be taken off and placed in a well-ventilated room to promote moisture evaporation and inhibit the development of microorganisms that produce odors.
  • Maintaining good foot hygiene is essential for reducing odor in your shoes, so keep your feet clean. Before putting on your shoes, carefully wash and dry your feet. By doing this, less sweat and bacteria may build up inside the insoles.
  • When not wearing your shoes, stuff moisture-absorbing items like silica gel packets, activated charcoal inlays, or cedar shoe trees inside them. These products aid in odor and moisture absorption, keeping the insoles fresh.
  • You should regularly wipe the surface of your leather insoles using a soft brush or cloth to eliminate dirt and prevent buildups.
  • Use odor-neutralizing items made expressly for shoes, such as sprays or inserts, to treat the problem. These items aid in removing current smells and maintaining the fresh scent of your insoles.
  • Maintain appropriate shoe storage by keeping your footwear ventilated and dry when not in use. Be sure to keep them away from humid environments and plastic storage containers, which can encourage moisture retention and foster the growth of germs.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Should you put rubber soles on leather shoes?

The decision to add rubber soles to leather shoes is personal and based on your requirements and preferences. You should be aware. Nevertheless, rubber soles offer an extra layer of defense to the leather outsole, assisting in avoiding scuffs and deterioration due to water damage.

Compared to leather soles, these soles often provide more traction and grip. Rubber soles can increase stability and lower the danger of accidents if you frequently find yourself stumbling on smooth or slick surfaces.

Rubber soles can improve the general comfort of your shoes if you value comfort, mainly if you spend a lot of time standing or have foot issues that call for extra support.

Should you condition leather insoles?

Leather insoles can benefit from conditioning to keep them flexible, avoid drying out and cracking, and increase longevity. There are a few essential things to bear in mind, though. First off, unlike the top part of the shoe, leather insoles usually do not need to be conditioned as regularly.

It is usually adequate to condition the insoles every few months or if they begin to feel dry. Use a product created especially for shoes or insoles when you condition your leather insoles. Select conditioning oils or creams designed to hydrate leather without leaving a greasy or heavy residue.

How to Clean Leather Sandals Insoles?

When cleaning the insoles of a leather sandal, you have to be very careful. Start by detaching the insoles if they are removable. Remove dust, dirt, or debris from the insoles using a soft brush or cloth.

Now, use warm water and mild dishwashing soap to clean this piece. Get a clean, soft cloth damped with this solution, ensuring that you wring out the excess moisture, and start wiping the surface of the insole – kindly look out for any stains or filthy areas. Once done, wipe off any residue using a damp towel and dry the insole away from excess heat.

Can I wash my shoe insole?

Washing the insole of shoes is relative to the material employed for constructing this piece. While you would find the soles of some footwear tagged as “washable,” there are others which do not tolerate such vigorous cleaning, especially leather insoles.

It is not advisable to wash your leather insoles and saturate them in excess water. Instead, it would help if you wiped them using a damp clean cloth or soft-bristled brush and air dry them afterward.

Final Words

Cleaning and maintaining leather shoe insoles is one topic that is rarely talked about. You should know that the insoles of our footwear can develop dirt, sweat, and foul odors with time, compromising their beauty and general hygiene.

Thus, learning how to clean leather shoe insoles and keep them odor-free is crucial. In this guide, I have shared some helpful tips and tricks to clean the insoles of your treasured leather footwear and keep them durable.

Evina Naomi

Ewofere, Evina Naomi is a biotechnologist and passionate content writer. As a great lover of leather and various leather crafts, she broadly addresses leather-related issues. She is a writer of many excellent articles on leather. With great knowledge and enthusiasm, readers can access researched pieces on various leather types and the best techniques that work on them. Naomi is here to lead you through the journey of choosing excellent leather products and ensure you handle them rightly. So you can embark on your leather sewing and crafting journey with her and have an incredible experience.

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