How to Clean Leather Soft Soled Baby Shoes

Learn how to take care of leather baby shoes to make them last

Baby Shoes on Blanket
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Look in any baby closet and you'll likely find at least one pair of soft soled leather baby shoes. They seem to be a staple item, particularly because of their benefits to growing baby feet. Flexible, warm, and easy for parents to get on and off (but snug enough that babies can't pull them off), they're basically the perfect shoe.

But what happens when they get dirty? Some designs have light-colored leather like creams and pinks, which show dirt immediately. So, how do you wash them? Can you just throw them in the washer?

The short answer is yes. But for the most basic of cleanings, you really need to focus on spot cleaning the dirt spots with a mild detergent (which you probably have anyway if you're doing baby laundry) and a damp cloth. If you let your leather baby shoes go long enough that they really do need to go through the washer, there are a few important things to remember.

Tips for Taking Care of Soft Soled Baby Shoes

  • They must be washed on a delicate cycle with mild detergent in a cycle completely separate from your regular laundry. If you wash them with your regular laundry, they will be exposed to all of the spit-up and blow-outs on your baby's clothes, which does not wash out of leather; they will become stiff and unusable (trust me on this as I had a pair that accidentally went through a regular cycle and had to be thrown away).
  • Do not use bleach or try to iron them.
  • Air dry them completely and only put them in the dryer if they are a bit stuff after air drying.
  • If you must use the dryer, use the no heat and delicate cycle.
  • Shoes can be reshaped by inserting rounded soup spoons or wadded up white tissue paper in the fronts of the shoes.

Storing Leather Baby Shoes

When storing leather baby shoes, always store them clean. Add a desiccate to the shoe's storage box to remove any moisture in the box. Never store them in plastic bags because it can attract unwanted moisture. Use a cloth bag to store them instead.

No matter what brand you buy, leather baby shoes are an investment. If you take good care of them, they can be used for multiple children (as long as they do not have a solid footbed that molds to your child's feet; I strongly recommend against having children wear used baby shoes after they become walkers).

Edited by Jennifer Nicole Sullivan, baby clothes expert

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