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There was a time when the routine of any well-groomed person included a shoeshine. Shoeshine stands have become scarce and shoe styles and materials have changed dramatically, but freshly cleaned shoes are still always a good look.
No matter the materials, finishes, or color, cleaning shoes regularly will help them last longer. Many shoe cleaners contain conditioners to keep the shoe uppers pliable and soil-resistant. When selecting a cleaner or cleaning kit, read the product labels carefully and select one that works well for most of your shoes. Today's shoe cleaners come in sprays, creams, and wipes that are easy to use so you can quickly get the look you desire.
Here are the best shoe cleaners on the market for all types of shoes.
Best Overall: Jason Markk Essential Kit
No matter the shoe and no matter the stain, Jason Markk has you covered. Their premium shoe cleaner works on all colors and materials, including leather, suede, nubuck, canvas, vinyl, nylon, cotton, mesh, and more.
Made of natural, biodegradable ingredients, this product is safe on your hands and shoes and environmentally friendly. Plus, it doesn’t have an overbearing chemical stench, which can accompany many shoe cleaners; all that your newly cleaned sneakers will smell like is Jason Markk’s subtle and clean aroma.
Customers laud this cleaner for its effectiveness, ease of application, and for how long one bottle lasts—just 4 ounces is enough to clean 100 pairs of shoes. Jason Markk even throws in a durable hog hair brush, which is gentle on your shoes but tough on the stains. Overall this is an excellent product at an excellent price.
Best Budget: ShoeAnew All-Natural Shoe Cleaner, 8 oz
After paying tons of money for a pair of shoes, no one wants to pay even more merely to keep them clean. To keep your shoes looking brand new without spending a fortune, we recommend the ShoeAnew Shoe Cleaner Kit. Their all-inclusive kit is one of the most popular products available because of its low price, as well as its thorough and dependable repair.
While ShoeAnew might not provide the same top-grade quality as more expensive shoe cleaners, it remains a great all-around choice. This product works on leather, canvas, vinyl, mesh, cotton, plastic, nylon, and rubber, so everyone from sneaker-clad runners to high heel-toting office workers will be happy. It has a water-based formula, and you can even spray it on your shoes to simply eliminate odor.
The ShoeAnew bundle includes a nylon brush and a microfiber cloth for a deep clean. And just in case your shoes don’t sparkle like you had hoped, ShoeAnew even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best for White Shoes: Alloda Shoe Cleaner + White Shoe Polish
Versatile and stylish, white sneakers are a year-round fashion staple, but many hesitate to pull the trigger on them because they get dirty and dingy so easily. That’s where a high-quality shoe cleaner like Alloda comes in. Their kit comes with a traditional cleaning serum, as well as a polish specifically designed to whiten shoes. Alloda says you’ll be able to clean 25 to 35 pairs of shoes with this product, and they even toss in a microfiber towel and wooden cleaning brush too.
The cleaner works on sneakers, leather, canvas, mesh, nylon, rubber, and suede; the shoe whitener is suitable for any white leather products or sneakers. Take note, however, that the shoe whitener should only be used to clean the edges of sneakers.
To use the shoe whitener, simply press the bottle’s sponge to your shoes, apply evenly and rub with a towel afterward to see the shine. And to use the standard shoe cleaner: press the sponge to your shoes, apply evenly, scrub with the wooden brush and remove the excess foam with the towel.
Best for Suede: Shacke Suede & Nubuck 4-Way Leather Brush Cleaner
Suede is a delicate material, easy to stain, easy to scratch. The Shacke Suede & Nubuck 4-Way Leather Brush Cleaner is the perfect product to clean your suede shoes for several reasons. It’s gentle on the material, offers multiple brush options and, perhaps the best part, it doesn’t require any additional cleaning products.
Here are the four brush options you get with this product: a welt surface for stronger cleaning on heavier scuff marks and stains; nylon bristles for a gentler clean on light scuff marks or for fine suede and nubuck; an arched half-circle brush to clean rounded corners; and, finally, a thin protruding brush to clean harder to reach crevices and grooves.
And this brush doesn’t just clean shoes, it works on suede jackets, coats, and even furniture. A versatile product at a bargain price, this is the only brush you’ll ever need for suede repair.
Best for Canvas: Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner
Like suede, canvas requires that perfect cleaner, something strong enough to remove dirt but gentle enough not to stain the fabric. The Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner checks these boxes and more. It’s an all-in-one shoe cleaner, concocted from saddle soap, gentle oils, and premium conditioners.
This product will polish all washable leathers, vinyl, nubuck, suede, canvas and cloth shoes, and stick around your household for a while. To use, dampen the complimentary brush included with the kit, apply a small amount of cleaner to the brush—a dime-size amount goes a long way—and start scrubbing. After your shoes have been fully lathered, use a cloth to wipe away excess soap or water.
Best Shoe Wipes: Crep Protect Wipes, 12-Pack
These Crep shoe wipes are the perfect product for a quick sneaker clean or cleaning on the go. Each wipe is individually wrapped, so you can keep one in your purse, wallet, gym bag, or suitcase. And the cleaning process itself is simple: unwrap the wipe and scrub.
Crep makes their shoe wipes double-sided, allowing you to choose between a smooth side, ideal for general cleaning, and a textured side, which works great on tougher stains. Customers love the wipes’ clean, cotton-fresh aroma, as well as their versatility. They work on all shoes, from leather boots to nylon sneakers.
One of the only drawbacks of the Crep wipes is the cost. Dollar for dollar, you don’t get as many cleans out of these wipes as you would a traditional liquid shoe cleaner, but the extra price will be worth it if you’re looking for an easy-to-use shoe cleaner that you can travel with.
Best Shoe Care Kit: KIWI Select Shoe Care Valet
With its vintage aesthetic, numerous products, and top-of-the-line quality, the Kiwi Select Shoe Care Valet has everything you could want in a shoe care kit. It comes with two sturdy horsehair brushes, two soft shine cloths, two sponge daubers, two tins of premium paste—one for black shoes, one for brown—and a shoe horn, all wrapped up in a rich wooden box with a built-in foot pedestal.
This kit provides something for the whole family to use, and it also makes a great gift item. While some customers had issues with the wooden box, saying it is lightweight and easy to break, the reviews are still overwhelmingly positive, especially regarding the cleaning products themselves.
What to Look for in a Shoe Cleaner
Spray and liquid shoe cleaners are easy to use when cleaning the entire shoe but can be messy if you are only spot-cleaning a small area. Cream or paste cleaners work best on leather shoes to prevent oversaturation. Wipes are the quickest shoe cleaner but may not remove tough stains.
If your shoes are made from a wide range of materials, choose a cleaner that is suitable for leather, man-made materials, and fabric. If you have suede shoes or expensive exotic leather shoes, invest in specific cleaners for these finicky finishes.
When purchasing a shoe cleaning kit, look for applicator cloths or brushes, shining cloths, and brushes for removing loose soil. If you are buying only a shoe cleaner, use old cloths to wipe away visible soil and a microfiber cloth to complete the final shine. When cleaning suede shoes, it is essential to have a specialty bristle suede brush to keep the shoes looking their best.
How do you use shoe cleaner?
Each shoe cleaning product will have specific directions for application and stain removal. Even if you've used the product before, it's a good idea to do a spot test on each pair of shoes on an unseen part of one shoe to make sure there is no discoloration. Most products will produce the best results if loose soil and mud are first removed with a damp cloth or shoe brush before using the cleaner.
When should you use shoe cleaner?
How do you remove shoe cleaner stains?
Since some shoe cleaners contain oils or dyes (shoe polish) as an ingredient, they can cause stains on fabrics. Pretreat the stain with an enzyme-based stain remover and then wash in the hottest water recommended for the fabric to remove the stain.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Additional research for this article comes from Mary Marlowe Leverette, a nationally recognized cleaning expert who has been a laundry and housekeeping expert at The Spruce since 2008.