Tips for Clean and Remove Stains From Pointe Shoes

Common household ingredients used for cleaning pointe shoes

High angle view of a pair of ballet slipper, Montevideo, Uruguay
Hans Neleman/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Have your shiny new pointe shoes lost their shine? Pointe shoes are so beautiful when they are new, but they do not look that way for long. If your pointe shoes are looking a little dirty, here are a few tips for removing or minimizing stains and to properly clean your pointe shoes.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has a great reputation for cleaning all sorts of items including pointe shoes. Begin by mixing a small amount of baking soda and water until a paste is formed. Using a soft cloth or a toothbrush, gently apply a small amount of paste directly onto stubborn stains. Gently rub the stain with a circular motion. Allow the baking soda paste to dry overnight. The next day, gently wipe away the remaining powdery residue. Most stains will be visibly lighter, if not gone.

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent may be used in place of baking soda. Simply dab a small amount of liquid detergent onto stubborn stains with a soft cloth or toothbrush. Wipe away with a clean cloth slightly dampened with clean water.

Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion works great as an overall pointe shoe cleaner, as its color closely resembles that of pink satin pointe shoes. Dab a cotton ball into a small amount of calamine lotion. Gently pat the cotton ball all over the pointe shoes, paying special attention to dirty areas. The calamine lotion will absorb some of the larger stains and give your pointe shoes a clean, even tone.

Do's and Don'ts

Never use water to clean your pointe shoes, as doing so will soften them and cause them to wear out much more quickly.

Do allow your pointe shoes to dry completely before wearing. Consider placing the shoes by a fan or an open window overnight.

Never rub your pointe shoes with abrasive brushes or cloths, as this may remove the satin finish of your shoes.

Other Dance Shoes

Leather ballet slippers should not be cleaned in the washing machine. Leather ballet slippers can easily be spot cleaned. Sometimes just a soft, damp cloth will do. For a deeper cleaning, use a mild detergent or dish soap. Leather cleaner can also be used but be sure to apply a conditioner to keep the leather supple. Other commonly-used methods include using melamine foam, which is more popularly known as a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, or Windex, sprayed onto a paper towel or cloth, not directly on the shoes, to clean your leather slippers. If your shoes are beyond spot cleaning, you can hand-wash them with a bit of mild detergent. It is a good idea to wear the slippers while damp to allow them to mold to your foot.

Canvas ballet slippers can be cleaned in the washing machine. It is best to wash them as you might other delicates, put them in a small lingerie bag and wash on cold, delicate cycle with a mild detergent. Do not use fabric softener or bleach products. Do not tumble your canvas ballet shoes in the dryer. Reshape them and lay them out on a towel to dry.