You probably invest a good deal of money in a comfortable, stylish pair of shoes, or two. One of the best ways to get the most out of them is to keep them clean with the proper, quality shoe cleaner. The best cleaners include everything you need to get the job done, are easy to apply, and use ingredients formulated for the fabric type and wear. To really get the most out of your cleaner, though, you also want to make sure you use it properly and prep your shoes accordingly.
Krissia Garcia, CEO and founder of KrissKlean, recommends taking time to prep your surface before cleaning: “If there is a lot of hair, it has to be removed first before you apply any products.” The same goes for dirt and other debris.
Here are the best shoe cleaners for making your footwear look brand new.
Jason Markk Shoe Cleaning Essentials Kit
Formula works on all fabrics and colors
Includes cleaning brush
Additional specialty formulas available
Brush too rough for delicate fabrics
Jason Markk’s Shoe Cleaner Essentials is our top pick for a shoe cleaner. Not only is this formula very effective, the essentials kit comes with everything you need to apply the cleaner and touch up your shoes. It is safe to use on any fabric and any color, so you never need to worry about keeping multiple products around and remembering which ones you can use on which shoes. The essentials kit comes with a small bottle of cleaner and a stiff bristle brush. The brush is a bit small, so you may want to upgrade to the more expensive starter kit once you know that this is the right answer for you.
Don’t be fooled by the small bottle of cleaner that comes with the essentials kit, however. While it is only 4 ounces, a little bit goes a long way. For most cleaning needs, this tiny bottle lasts for over 100 uses. Using too much can actually make it harder to get your shoes clean, since you will need to wipe off the excess cleaner and use the brush to get it into the fabric.
The brush is a bit stiff for delicate fabrics, such as suede. But, you can purchase a separate premium brush with softer bristles or a specific suede kit. Travel kits, foam cleaner, water repellent, and other cleaning towels are also available. Because these cleaners are a bit expensive, we recommend starting with this versatile, effective, and expansive essentials kit to decide if purchasing the specialty products meets your needs.
Price at time of publish: $18
What’s Included: Cleaner, bristle brush | Ingredients: Not listed | For Use On: All fabrics and colors
Grandma’s Secret Sneaker Cleaner
Small or large size options
Works on a variety of fabrics
Separate application tools needed
May be too damp for suede
Rinsing may cause colors to run
This little 3-ounce bottle of Grandma’s Secret Sneaker Cleaner really packs a punch. For a fraction of the cost of similar products, it delivers mighty cleaning power that works on plastic, leather, canvas, rubber, and a variety of other fabrics. It is small enough to be portable, but also comes in a larger size for at-home use or refills.
You will need to get an application cloth or brush separately, but the cleaner comes in a spray that is easy to direct onto your shoe. After spraying it on your shoe, use a brush to work it into stubborn stains or dirty areas. Then, wipe away any excess, and rinse your shoe with regular water from the sink. You can use it on everything from boots to outdoor shoes and children’s sneakers.
Just keep in mind that you will need to rinse the surface of the shoe, so you should be careful using it on suede or other dyed leathers. Always test a small area first to make sure the colors in your shoes won’t run, as well.
Price at time of publish: $7
What’s Included: Spray cleaner | Ingredients: Not listed | For Use On: Plastic, leather, canvas, and rubber
Best Cleaning Kit
Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner
Includes large bristle brush
Works on a variety of fabrics
Single bottle can last a year
Cloth not included
There’s a reason that this shoe cleaner has been called a miracle since it hit the market in the mid-1980s. For over 30 years, sneaker aficionados have sworn by the Pink Miracle formula, which is safe for leather, canvas, suede, vinyl, cloth, and other fabrics. As long as your shoes can get wet, Pink Miracle cleaner will work on them. When using, remember that this is a concentrated cleaner and you only need a small amount—about the size of a dime for most shoes.
The kit comes with a bristle brush, the ideal tool to work the formula into your shoes. It is a full-size brush and large enough to work on sneakers and boots, too. You can add a microfiber cloth, sold separately, to your kit which is made of saddle soap, gentle oils, and conditioners so your shoes can actually improve with routine application. This is especially important to keep fabrics like leather supple and conditioned.
Notably, the team behind the product also has a lot of experience and is very responsive to questions. All in all, there isn’t much to be desired after adding this pick to your cart.
Price at time of publish: $25
What’s Included: Cleaner, bristle brush | Ingredients: Saddle soap, oils, conditioners | For Use On: Leather, canvas, suede, vinyl, cloth, and other fabrics
Mygezi Shoe Cleaner Wipes 2-Pack
Work on surface dirt and stains
Convenient and easy to carry
No application tools required
Not for suede or leather
Not for deep cleaning
One of the best ways to keep your shoes in tip-top shape is to wipe away dirt and debris before they can form stains. While they don’t take the place of deep cleaning, having Quick Wipes on hand is super convenient. These wipes come in a 2-pack with 30 wipes in each pack. You can keep one in the car and one in your bag, so you are always ready to wipe away mud or grass.
The wipes work on sneakers and outdoor shoes, but are not safe for leather or suede. They do not require any water or application materials. Just be sure to close the lid to keep them moist, since they will not work if they dry out. They are a bit pricey considering the quantity, and will not last for as many uses as traditional cleaners. Still, they are a great option for convenience and upkeep.
Price at time of publish: $15
What’s Included: 60 wipes | Ingredients: Water, spunlace fabric, cleaning agent, wetting penetrating agent | For Use On: Canvas, rubber, plastic, and mesh
Best for White Shoes
Alloda Shoe Cleaner + White Shoe Polish
Includes multiple application tools
Has a whitener and cleaner
Works on a variety of fabrics
Has a storage case
Whitener only for edges
Sponge applicator can take some time to learn
When cleaning white shoes, you have to be extra careful to choose products that will not leave stains or residue. The Alloda Shoe Cleaner and Whitener Kit is specifically formulated for white shoes. The cleaner is applied directly from the bottle’s sponge top to get rid of dirt and stains, which can be hard to learn at first but will become second nature after a few uses. You can also use the included brush to work the cleaner into your shoe. It is safe to use for leather, nubuck, suede, canvas, vinyl, mesh, and nylon.
The whitener can be used on the edges of shoes, as well as any leather sections. It should only be used on the white parts because it does brighten them. Using it on dyed leather or rubber edges may impact the color. The kit comes with tape, so you can tape off the sections you don’t want to use the whitener on. Notably, you can keep everything stored in the carrying case and even take the cleaning kit with you on-the-go, too.
Price at time of publish: $15
What’s Included: Cleaner, whitener, brush, microfiber cloth, tape | Ingredients: Not listed | For Use On: Leather, canvas, vinyl, mesh, and nylon
Alloda Shoe Cleaning Brush
Works for delicate and tough fabrics
Easy to store
Can be hard to hold
Cleaning solution may get on your hands
Our top choice for shoe whitening kit also makes a dual-sided cleaning brush that works great on all shoes. One side is 100 percent boar hair, which is soft and great to use on delicate fabrics, such as suede, leather, and mesh. The other side is nylon, providing a stiffer bristle option to deep clean tougher fabrics and parts of the shoe, such as the rubber soles. Each side is color coded so you can remember which one is which. They are also different textures.
Because this brush has two sides, it can be hard to use without getting cleaning solution on your hands. If this might bother you, get two separate brushes from Alloda. They also make one with a longer handle that can be more comfortable for some to use. This option comes with a storage case so you never have to worry about the excess cleaner or polish getting on other items in your cleaning kit or your hands.
Price at time of publish: $7
What’s Included: One brush, storage case | Ingredients: Boar hair, nylon, wood | For Use On: Leather, mesh, canvas, suede, rubber, and other fabrics
Best for Canvas
Angelus Easy Cleaner Sneaker Cleaner
Works on canvas and rubber without separating
Can use on furniture and car interiors
Safe for almost all fabrics
Label is easy to read
Brush and cloths sold separately or in kit
This powerful cleaner can work on a variety of fabrics, including canvas and rubber that is common in sneakers. You don’t need to worry about taping off or separating different sections. Instead, you can apply the cleaner using a brush or cloth and never worry about it staining your fabric. You will need to purchase a brush separately for the best results. Angelus has a cleaning kit that comes with a brush and microfiber cloth.
This formula is also safe to use on leather goods and carpet—in addition to your canvas sneakers—such as your car interior and furniture. It is also very affordable, making it a popular, all-purpose choice. It does have a linen scent, which can be enjoyable. If you are ever unsure of the uses for this cleaner, they have the compatible fabrics printed right on the front of the bottle to make application foolproof.
Price at time of publish: $8
What’s Included: Cleaning solution | Ingredients: Not listed | For Use On: Suede, nubuck, vinyl, straw, canvas, carpet, goretex, and other fabrics
Best for Leather
Stone & Clark 12-Piece Leather Shoe Cleaning Kit
Comes with a variety of application methods and tools
Storage case included
Polish for black, neutral, and brown leather
Safe for dyed leather
Conditions and polishes
Requires some preparation
Not great for deep cleaning
The best leather cleaners also polish and condition to keep leather in the best shape possible. Stone & Clark’s set includes black, neutral, and brown polish, a microfiber cloth for each polish, application sponges, two horse hair brushes, a shoe horn, and a stylish case to carry everything in. You can even polish and buff out scuffs and minor scratches with it in your cleaning closet. It’s best to test it out on a small area first, though, especially if you are using the cleaner on dyed leather.
This kit is specifically for leather and won’t work on other fabrics. It does require a bit more prep when you first use it. You should brush away any dirt and debris beforehand. With routine use, it gets easier to polish your leather shoes to a shine. You can even use it on other leather goods, such as purses and bags. It’s not ideal for deep cleaning, however. For that, consider adding a separate cleaning solution to your closet.
Price at time of publish: $35
What’s Included: Black, neutral, and brown polish, 3 cleaning cloths, 2 application sponges, 2 horse hair brushes, 1 shoe horn, and 1 case | Ingredients: Not listed | For Use On: Leather only
Our top pick is Jason Markk’s Shoe Cleaner Essentials. It is very effective on a variety of fabrics and the kit comes with everything you need to get started. For a more budget-friendly option, consider Grandma’s Secret Sneaker Cleaner. You will need to purchase application tools separately, but this tiny bottle of spray cleaner is even more effective than it is affordable.
What to Look for in a Shoe Cleaner
The best shoe cleaners have some application tools included—such as our best overall pick, Jason Markk’s Shoe Cleaner Essentials—or are budget-friendly enough to allow for the purchase of extra materials. Look for something that has a cleaner, brush, and cloth. Helpful extras include a carrying or storage case, as well as conditioners and polish for leather shoes.
Brushes are the best way to get the cleaner into the fabric and lift out dirt and stains. Sponges and cloths are also helpful when applying cleaner, but be ready to polish for a while to buff out any extra. If you use a cloth, make sure that it doesn’t leave lint behind on your shoes. Microfiber cloths are a popular and effective choice because they're smooth and easy to clean with.
Shoe cleaners usually use some sort of soap or surfactant to get your shoes clean. Some also have fragrances, which can be a pro or a con depending on your sensitivity to smells and personal preferences. If you are cleaning leather shoes, you may want a cleaner that includes a conditioner and polish to keep them in the best shape possible, such as Stone & Clark’s 12-Piece Leather Shoe Cleaning Kit.
How do you clean white shoes?
White shoes often need special care and products to keep them from getting stained in the process. First, try to remove any dirt as quickly as possible. This is especially important for debris that stains, such as mud and grass. Use a brush to work the cleaner into the fabric. You may need to scrub for a while or clean the area multiple times. Depending on the product, you can usually rinse or wipe off any excess. Repeat the steps to clean as necessary.
How do you remove scuff marks from shoes?
Scuff marks can marr an otherwise clean pair of shoes. To remove or minimize scuff marks, first clean out any dirt and debris with your shoe cleaner. Then, polish the scuff out with a conditioner and clean cloth. The idea is to buff the material until the scuff mark is no longer visible or noticeable. For leather shoes, use a shoe polish that matches the color, or is neutral, for the best results.
How do you remove shoe cleaner stains?
If your shoe cleaner has stained other fabrics, try to deal with the stain as quickly as possible. Use a heavy-duty laundry detergent formulated for stains or a pre-treatment. Let it soak for 15 minutes to penetrate the stain. Keep in mind the recommendations for colors and avoid bleach-based products.
Does baking soda and vinegar clean shoes?
All natural cleaning solutions, such as baking soda and vinegar can work wonders, especially on white shoes. Mix baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water until it becomes a paste. You can work the paste onto the dirty parts of your shoe like you would any other cleaner, using a brush to get the best clean.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. As a military veteran, Katie has personal experience keeping shoes spotless and shined, including leather dress uniform shoes and boots. She also talked to Krissia Garcia, CEO and founder of KrissKlean, about the best tips and tricks to get tough fabrics clean.