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How To Clean Velvet Shoes: The Complete Guide

February 17, 2022

Velvet shoes are stunning. And if you wear velvet shoes, you no doubt want to preserve them in their original state for as long as possible. But let's face it - with all the wear (and dancing) you put them through, they might get a bit dirty. It's important to learn how to clean velvet shoes if you're the proud owner of a pair so that you can keep them looking amazing for years to come.

And today, that's exactly what we're going to do. We'll teach you how to clean your velvet shoes routinely, along with how to undertake more intense deep cleaning projects. You'll even learn how to protect velvet shoes from getting dirty in the first place. 

Why Learn How To Clean Velvet Shoes?

If you spent your hard-earned money on a pair of luxury velvet slippers or other types of velvet shoes, you know how incredible they look fresh out of the box. That first wear is unlike anything else. You want to preserve it for as long as possible - but here comes the tricky part: you also want to wear them everywhere to show them off.

All this wearing around town may lead to some dirt and grime accumulating. If you don't routinely protect and clean your shoes, this dirt and grime will become tougher and tougher to get out. But it doesn't have to be this way.

How To Clean Velvet Shoes Correctly: Step By Step

Because velvet is such a unique material, cleaning it isn't as straightforward as cleaning canvas or suede shoes. You need to be more careful about the type of cleaning solution you use, how aggressively you brush, and more. Let's start with the materials and supplies you'll need:

What You'll Need To Clean Velvet Shoes:

  • A soft-bristled, preferably horse hair, brush (a toothbrush works great if you don't have a shoe cleaning brush suited for velvet)
  • Velvet-safe shoe cleaner (or, you can use baby shampoo if you're in a bind)
  • Baking soda

Step 1) Freshen Up The Interior

We're going to start by freshening up the interior of your shoes. Many of us wear our velvet slippers the Italian way (without socks), so it’s important to keep the interior leather clean. This is where the baking soda comes in.

You can sprinkle the interior of your shoes with baking soda. It will absorb and eliminate any odor entirely. Then, dump out the excess baking soda. If there is some still stuck inside the interior, you can loosen it with a brush and then dump it out as well. If some baking soda is left inside the interior still, don't worry - it won't hurt, and it will continue to absorb odors over time.

Step 2) Brush Away Dirt From The Outer Velvet Fabric

Once you've freshened up the inner fabric, it's time to give the exterior of your shoes some love. After all, this is the portion that everyone sees and what most people think of when they discuss cleaning their shoes. You can start by gently brushing your fabric to loosen any dirt trapped in the fabric. Start by brushing a small area of the shoe before moving to the rest of the shoe.

Step 3) Remove Stains On Velvet Shoes With A Cleaning Solution

If you spilled a drink or splashed some mud onto your velvet shoes, you'll probably feel your heart drop when you first notice the stain left behind. It sucks. We've all been there. But, the good news is there are products to help you lift these stains from velvet safely.

First things first - let's talk about what not to do. Do not use water to clean velvet shoes. This can result in damage to the fabric as velvet is not naturally waterproof. Sure, a little rain here and there is inevitable - and this level of moisture won't cause much harm. But, avoid soaking your shoes in water to clean them. And definitely avoid scrubbing them with water.

Instead, find a velvet-safe shoe cleaner. There are plenty of options out there to choose from. As you did with your brush in step 2, start with a small, inconspicuous area on your shoes. This will help you determine just how safe the cleaner is for your particular velvet. Once it passes the spot test, you can scrub the rest of your shoes with the cleaning agent. Make sure to do both shoes, even if just one is dirty. This will keep them looking identical.

If you don't have access to a shoe cleaner and don't want to go find one, you can try using a small dollop of baby shampoos - such as Johnson and Johnson. These shampoos have minimal ingredients and are generally regarded as safe for velvet. 

After scrubbing your velvet material, let the suds sit for a few minutes to interact with deep-rooted stains. Then, take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe away any remaining soap. Allow the shoes to air dry. If for whatever reason your shoes are excessively wet, it is worth it to dry them quicker with a blow-dry. This will prevent moisture stains from accumulating. It will also prevent mold and mildew from developing.

At the end of this process, you should be left with beautiful, like-new velvet shoes! They'll be restored to their original shine and you'll be eager to debut them in all their glory.

Protecting Your Velvet Shoes: Tips & Tricks:

Now you know how to clean your velvet shoes. But, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That's why we want to finish up by teaching you how to protect velvet shoes from getting dirty in the first place. Of course, common sense is your best asset here. Avoid wearing your shoes if conditions outside are dreary. Splashing through puddles and walking through a storm in your velvet slippers will lead to stains and potentially, mold. Save them for a nice dry, sunny day instead.

After each and every wear, give them a soft brushing. It sounds like a hassle, but trust us. Getting home and taking a soft-bristled brush to the delicate fabric will prevent you from needing to undertake more intensive cleaning projects later on. Dirt and stains lift easily when they're fresh. The longer you let them cake on, the harder it will be to remove them.

Finally, consider adding a sealant or protectant to the velvet fabric as soon as you buy them. This will do wonders to help you protect velvet shoes from the elements. If you have already worn them after buying them, that's ok. You can still apply a sealant or protectant after a good cleaning. Just be sure to clean before applying. Start by finding a velvet-safe protectant (look for ones that are safe for all fabrics). Just like velvet cleaners, you'll have plenty of options online. We also recommend trying the protectant on a small, inconspicuous area prior to applying to the entire shoe.

You can also take the shoes to a trusted local cobbler, who can expertly protect your shoes. 

Final Thoughts On How To Clean Velvet Shoes

Well, there you have it. We've taught you how to clean velvet shoes and prevent them from getting dirty in the first place. By following the advice above, you'll keep your shoes looking (and smelling) fresh for years to come. If you're not quite sure about a certain cleaning agent or approach for your Italian men's shoes, don't hesitate to reach out - we'll offer some personalized advice. All of our velvet slippers use a particularly durable velvet. 

And the next time you're shopping for a pair of handcrafted Italian shoes online, stop by Del Toro for the best of the best. We have a wide range of velvet shoes, but we also craft stunning leather and suede footwear for men and women alike. Take a look at what we have in store for you - and don’t hesitate to reach out for anything.