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DIY Cleaning & Caring for Slippers

We love slippers here at Staheekum! Nothing is better then stepping into comfortable slippers after a long day, or hanging out by a fire to wind down. Most of our slippers have thick outsoles designed for outdoor use, so there is a good chance they will get a little dirty eventually.

After some time of regular use, your slippers will need a touch up and may need to remove some dirt, stains, and maybe even smell. In this DIY we will go through the different methods of cleaning slippers with various materials including fabric, suede, and shearling.

When the time has come to spruce up your slippers, do not be tempted to throw them in the washing machine. Even though some dirt might be removed, over time the materials won't be as soft and the bonding between the outsole and upper will deteriorate. If they are suede slippers, the material will become stiff and might crack open!

If you want your footwear to remain in excellent condition for years, we advise you use a fabric protectant spray immediately before the first wear. This Suede and Fabric Protectant spray from Gear Aid will waterproof your slippers, prevent stains, and ensure the materials do not deteriorate.

General Cleaning

Start off with these general cleaning tips to determine how much attention your slippers need. 

  • Begin examining your slippers for areas that need cleaning.
  • Brush the slippers with a shoe brush or dry towel. This will remove loose dirt from the surface.
  • File large lumps of dirt with fingernail file. Gently rub the lumps of hardened dirt from the suede or fabric but avoid rubbing too hard as you do not want to deteriorate the material.
  • With a spray bottle, mist the areas that need more care but only use the least amount of water necessary to remove dirt.
  • Blot dry with a clean towel.
  • Let the slippers air dry indoors and away from sunlight or heat. Drying in sunlight or heat will run the risk of ruining your slippers.
  • If stains persist, follow the instructions below under “Stains”.

Outsole Cleaning

Most of our slippers and shoes have thick rubber outsoles for easy walking in outdoor environments. If you wear your shoes like we do, they are likely to get a little dirty over time. For shoes that have dark dies like our Black Cascade, the color may transfer onto the outsole and need wiping off. Cleaning the outsole is easy and can be done in a few methods. 

  • Simply dab a little dish soap onto a wet towel and rub off the dirt and stains.
  • Wipe the soap off with a wet towel and set out to dry.
  • You can also use a magic eraser and a little water to easily wipe off any discoloration or stains. Just make sure to avoid contact with the upper materials as it may reduce the quality.

Suede Upper

Most of our shoes feature suede uppers, which is a type of leather with a soft and smooth finish. With the softer finish, it is more susceptible to water and stain damage then full leather. Use these tips to keep your suede slippers in excellent condition.

  • Do not use soap on suede as it may ruin the material and make your slippers stiff.
  • Rub gently with a damp cloth to remove stains.
  • Use a clean towel to dry off excess water, then set out to dry avoiding direct sunlight.
  • For stains that will not remove, follow the instructions below under “Stains”.

Fabric Upper

For fabric shoes like our Serene Boucle, it’s OK to use a little dish soap to clean off stains. 

  • Use only cold water so dies in the fabric will not be removed in the cleaning process.
  • If water alone cannot clean your fabric slippers, add a drop of dish washing liquid to a damp cloth and gently rub in a circular motion. Dab off with a damp cloth to remove soap residue.
  • Blot dry with a clean towel, and set out to dry.
  • For stains that will not remove, follow the instructions below under “Stains”.

Shearling & Plush Lined

For thicker lined footwear, it's important not to reduce the quality of materials with soap or other detergents. With regular use, the lining on your slippers may be matted down. Use these tips to help thicken up the lining and make them look fresh.

  • Use the hose side of the vacuum to clean the inside of your slippers. This will remove most of the dirt and help fluff up the lining.
  • If the lining is a bit matted, use a shoe brush or dry towel to remove some of the matts and help become fluffier.
  • If they happen to smell a bit, have no fear! Follow the directions below under “Odor”.

    Stains

    If you wear your slippers frequently, stains unfortunately will come up over time. Especially if they are worn outside or even in the kitchen and develop oil stains (it's OK, we're guilty too). Follow these steps to remove any stubborn dirt or stains.

    Some stains will not remove at all, so preventing them from happening is ideal to keep your slippers in good condition. Try this suede spray from Gear Aid that works to waterproof your slippers and prevent stains.

    • Eraser Method
      • This method works best for lighter color suede or fabric slippers, otherwise the dark colors may be removed along with the stain.
      • Choose a plain eraser with no dies, additional dies may rub onto the suede or fabric.
      • On dry slippers, gently rub the eraser to remove stains.
    • Vinegar Method
      • Apply a small amount of vinegar to a clean cloth and rub the stains lightly. Do not soak the slippers in vinegar as it may ruin the materials.
      • Rub vigorously enough to remove the stain, but avoid destroying the direction of the suede or fabric.
      • This will naturally give your slippers a vinegar smell for a few days, but will wear off eventually.
    • If the stain is greasy or oily, set a layer of baking soda over it and leave for a few hours then brush away. If it’s a new stain, most of the oil should absorb into the baking soda. You can repeat this method until more of the stain has lifted but know that not all stains can be removed.
    • Brush the suede with a clean shoe brush to restore the appearance of the shoe, a dry towel will also work if you do not have a brush on hand. Brushing will bring up the materials of the suede and help make look new again.

    Odor

    Sometimes your shoes may acquire an odor from sweat or elements from the outdoors. We recommend wearing socks with your shoes most of the time to avoid building up excess odor and keeping them in good condition.

    • Vinegar Method
      • Spray lightly with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Allow the vinegar to dry so the smell is completely gone.
      • After dried, determine if the process needs to be repeated.
    • Baking Soda Method
      • If vinegar did not remove the odor, add a generous amount of baking soda inside the slipper. The baking soda will absorb the odor leaving them refreshed.
      • Coat the lining by tapping the sides of the shoe, causing the baking soda to move around. Leave for a few hours to absorb.
      • With the hose side, vacuum the baking soda. This will ensure all the baking soda is removed and help fluff up the lining.
      • It’s important to start with the vinegar method to ensure no lumps will be created with baking soda and vinegar.

     

    We hope these tips help you bring life back to your slippers! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact our customer service anytime!

    We would love to see how you cleaned you cleaned your slippers! Tag us on social media @staheekum!


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