Best Shoe Cleaners for all Materials Reviewed & Rated

Keeping your shoes clean can be an arduous task in today’s dirty world, and finding a great shoe cleaner can be just as hard; especially, when looking for the best leather cleaners in particular. From children to adults keeping clean, dry footwear is important in so many ways. But not all shoes are as easy to wipe off like Crocs. We have all been in situations where a mysterious mud puddle jumps up and covers our favorite shoe in a watery-brown mess, and of course, there is a big meeting that you will need them for! Accidents and children go hand in hand. If it isn’t the big meeting, it is sure to be the Jordan basketball footwear that he must have for the game tonight but, also, happens to be covered in mud; due to some mystery that no one can explain. This guide will show you the best shoe cleaner for all of life’s little mishaps, no matter what the material.

Last Updated: July 28, 2018
By Tony Skye:

The recent update reflects the best of 2018’s shoe cleaners of all types, shapes, sizes, colors, with new information as to how to choose the best shoe cleaners and our criteria for evaluation. Also, included are some of the most frequently asked questions about shoe cleaners.

Whether we like it or not, footwear is a part of daily life. From athletic shoes in the gym or on the commute to work with the Italian suede loafers, you just spent a small fortune on a shoe that needs to be clean and keep you looking good. After all, keeping footwear clean helps increase the longevity of wear. Well-maintained footwear, also, promotes a great long-lasting look that will keep you comfortable for miles to come.

Featured Recommendations

Shacke Suede & Nubuck
  • Shacke Suede & Nubuck
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • No Cleaning Agent Required
  • Perfect Tool for Suede
  • Price: See Here
Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam
  • Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • No Buffing Required
  • No Harsh Chemicals
  • Price: See Here
Kiwi Saddle Soap
  • Kiwi Saddle Soap
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Black/Brown Premium Paste
  • Made in the USA
  • Price: See Here

Finding the right cleaner can be tricky, and we have to stop and ask ourselves some questions when deciding what is best. What type of shoe can it clean and how often do I need to use it? What type of stain is it able to treat? While these are only a few of the questions that we looked into, there are many other aspects to consider, as well. We offer a closer look at the best shoe cleaners and give an inside view at what earns them a ranking in the top 10. If you are a shoe enthusiast or just someone who is always looking to keep their footwear in top condition, take some time to look at this guide. Making an informed decision will guarantee the footwear you love the most will continue to impress you, your friends, and your feet.

 

10 Best Shoe Cleaners

 

1. Shacke Suede & Nubuck

There are four cleaning options in one easy-to-use brush. Now, this is what we find to be an exciting cleaner! We are used to seeing sprays, creams, polishes, and a variety of other cleaning agents. What is needed more often than not, even with a cleaning agent, is a superior brush. This versatile brush will help you remove debris and pairs well with all types of cleaning kits.
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Four Cleaning Options
A variety of cleaning options saves not only time but, also, space and money. The Shacke Suede and Nubuck 4-way Leather Brush Cleaner is easy to use and can handle several different situations.

Versatility Across Items
I know we are here to talk about footwear cleaners, but who doesn’t want a little extra bang for their buck? The Shacke Suede & Nubuck 4-Way Leather Shoe Cleaner is not only great for keeping your favorite shoes clean and looking great, but it can, also, take care of your other leather goods, as well.

Cost and Value
With a very minimal investment, this four-option shoe cleaner can be yours. A great brush is needed in all shoe cleaning ventures. Using a rag to spot clean on occasion is acceptable, but if you want a deep down clean, you need a brush and this one does not disappoint.
Pros
  • No Cleaning Agent Required
  • One Brush for Many Jobs
  • Excellent Price
  • Rejuvenates Difficult-to-Clean Nubuck
  • Perfect Tool for All Things Suede
Cons
  • Very small

2. Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam

A unique, individual style is what Dr. Martens brand is known for. Starting out in the world of top-quality work boots, they have now expanded to create and innovate in all things shoe related. Their Wonder Balsam Shoe Polish will clean and condition your leather with ease. It is made of all-natural ingredients and this cleaner will help protect your footwear from water and salt marks.
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All Natural Ingredients
Made with Coconut Oil, Lanolin, and Beeswax, this cleaner will clean and condition your leather without synthetic materials that may harm rather than help. Not only will it keep the outside of your footwear protected from water and other liquids, but it can, also, be rubbed on the inside of your all-leather shoes to help soften, as well.

No Polishing Necessary
Whether you just don’t have the time, don’t know how, or simply just don’t want to, polishing can be a real hassle. Giving your footwear a protective layer; plus, a soft shine, your shoes will not only look great, but you will have to do very little work to make it happen.

Cost and Value
Priced to please and available in different quantities, Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam Shoe Cleaner is bound to please. All-natural ingredients, paired with ease of use, comes a brand that knows the right way to take care of boots for a low price.
Pros
  • No Buffing/Polishing Required
  • Applicator Sponge/Storage Tray
  • No Harsh Chemicals
  • Good for All Leather Products
  • Protects and Restores
Cons
  • Not for suede leather

3. Jason Markk Premium

Made in the U.S.A., Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner is a non-abrasive, completely biodegradable, cleaner that will make your sneakers look new again. This excellent cleaner helps remove yellowing from previous stains and can be used on many different materials when using the correct brush. One of the world's most-trusted footwear care companies, Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner, is one of the most-popular cleaners in our guide.
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No Harsh Chemicals
Shoe care is always aimed at making your old footwear look new. Some cleaners use chemicals that change the color of your shoes. The natural biodegradable footwear cleaner, however, is safe for all colors and materials.

Reduces Yellowing
Active people that love white footwear know how quickly those brilliant shoes become dingy yellow. You have probably tried everything but still find a yellow ring here or there. Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner reduces yellowing that has already set in.

Cost and Value
The versatility of this product, paired with an excellent price, is sure to meet your expectations and help ensure your footwear continues to look new. Jason Markk offers a premium product at a reasonable price to ensure everyone can enjoy great looking shoes in all the adventures of the day.
Pros
  • Great Restoration Capability
  • Affordability
  • Exceptional Whitening 
  • Smells Nice
  • Many Repeat Customers
Cons
  • Not great on mesh

4. Pink Miracle Original

4. Pink Miracle Original
Pink Miracle has been around for more than 30 years and offers us a very easy to use, versatile cleaner that is sure to meet your needs. The all-in-one cleaner and conditioner is concentrated, and a little goes a long way. It is safe for all washable shoe materials and offers a superior clean. A multi-purpose cleaner for all of your cleaning needs is what you will find with Pink Miracle.
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All-in-One Cleaner
Using Saddle Soap, gentle oils, and conditioners, this cleaner will keep those old shoes looking new. The all-in-one cleaner will save time without sacrificing quality and is sure to keep your dirty shoe worries away.

Very Concentrated
One bottle can last for years, depending on how many pairs of shoes you have. The concentration of Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner makes a very small amount go a very long way.

Cost and Value
This affordable, multi-purpose cleaner won't break the bank and will help keep your footwear clean for many wears to come. Wanting to save money and enjoy a great product over and over is not to much to ask when talking about Pink Miracle. A top choice for athletes, this cleaner aims to please in price and quality, and it exceeds its goal.
Pros
  • Great for Seriously Dirty Shoes
  • Complete Restoration
  • Brings Brightness Back
  • Cleans Quickly
  • Concentrated
Cons
  • Trouble cleaning canvas

5. JobSite Boot Scrubber

5. JobSite Boot Scrubber
Working outside can create an immense amount of dirt and grime on your favorite work boots. Spending the time to brush them for cleaning is unrealistic, considering you are going to wear them again tomorrow and the exact same thing is going to happen. Thankfully, the JobSite Boot Scrubber Brush Mat fits wonderfully by any door and doesn’t need to be bolted down.
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High-density Construction
Severely dirty footwear requires a durable cleaner that will stand up to the job. The JobSite Boot Scrubber Brush Mat will hold up to the toughest jobs while offering a great clean; as the high-density, molded plastic is super tough and will hold up through years of use.

Sole and Edge Brushes
Farmers probably know better than anyone how difficult it can be to remove dried mud, manure, and who knows what off of work boots. The brushes on this cleaner will get all the grime off of your shoes, no matter how deeply packed into the tread it is.

Cost and Value
Deep cleaning and durable, this footwear cleaner is easily afforded on any budget. Most things in life are not simple and shoe cleaning, usually, falls into that category. With the JobSite Boot Scrubber, however, you will get the ease of use paired with superior cleaning ability and durability for those tough jobs.
Pros
  • Good for Salt, Snow, Mud, and More
  • Great at Home or Jobsites
  • Sturdy Design
  • Easy to Use
  • Fast and Convenient Cleaning
Cons
  • Difficult to clean

6. Kiwi Select

6. Kiwi Select
Perfect for cleaning and bringing the shine back to those old leather boots, Kiwi does it again. This kit comes with both black and brown polish, a 100% horsehair brush for cleaning, and a buffer cloth. There is even a carry bag for all of the items, so you can keep everything in one spot; great for travel.
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100% Horsehair Brush
The brush is wonderful and removing dirt and debris from crevices without causing damage. In other words, the 100% horsehair does wonders at cleaning and protecting your leather footwear.

Brown and Black
With two colors in the kit, your leather will look great. The polish works well at covering scuffs and abrasions. Moreover, you get both colors in the same kit.

Cost and Value
This kit it budget-friendly, to say the least; especially, considering you get so many items in one package deal. This is a must-have purchase for those who need to clean up their leather and bring it back to life, as it were.
Pros

Black/Brown Premium Paste

Shine Cloth

100% Horsehair Brush

Made in the USA

Budget-friendly

Cons

Items are small

7. Scrusher Original Scrusher

7. Scrusher Original Scrusher
Compiling the top ten of any product is always a difficult task, and during the research for the best shoe cleaners, we came across this gem of a cleaning tool. The Scrusher was originally made for golf shoes and then transitioned into everyday footwear. A Wisconsin wife was fed up with always reminding her husband to take his boots off at the door and decided to take action against the dirt and grime that always worked its way in. Long story short, when needing a high-quality, original option for cleaning your footwear, the Scrusher will exceed your expectations.
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Year Round Use
The Scrusher is built tough. If you are someone who works hard and plays even harder, the Scrusher will save clean-up time and get you to bed, so you can wake up early and head out for life's next big adventure.

Eliminates Dirt
The efficient bristles are strategically placed to help ensure there is no dirt, mud, slush, or grime coming into your house. You can use the Scrusher on any type of footwear and will end with a clean, shiny shoe.

Cost and Value
This very unique footwear cleaner is at the higher end of our price range. It offers a completely different type of shoe cleaning. Those who come in and out of the house, dragging dirt with them, but not having the time to take your shoes off before running back out the door, this cleaner may be perfect for you.
Pros
  • Cleans Sides and Bottom Simultaneously
  • Well Built and Sturdy
  • Can be Used Anywhere
  • Stands up to the Toughest Jobs
Cons
  • Should be mounted

8. Kiwi Saddle Soap

8. Kiwi Saddle Soap
Kiwi Saddle Soap has been trusted for generations in cleaning leather. Great for all types of leather, excluding suede, this shoe cleaner gets rid of dirt and grime; as well as, unsightly salt stains. The excellent lathering ability does an excellent job of cleaning and you only need to wipe it away. In addition to being easy to use, it is available in different quantities, ensuring you have what you need when you need it.
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Superior Lather
Leather needs a good lather once in a while to make sure the oil, conditioner, and wax penetrate and deeply cleans your shoes. With a damp rag and a bit of Kiwi Saddle Soap, you will be able to produce a rich lather that will clean.

1, 3, or 10 Pack Availability
The ability to choose one, three, or ten, ensures you will have the appropriate amount of cleaner for the task at hand. Options are always good, and we feel this is a great feature not often seen in footwear cleaners.

Cost and Value
The cost of this trusted cleaner depends on how many you order. All of the options are affordable and will keep your feet looking great. Easy to use and proven by generations of use, Kiwi Saddle Soap does a superior job of cleaning. If in a situation where your bank account is happy with you for the week, stock up and make sure you have it for when the time comes.
Pros
  • Good for Multiple Leather Goods
  • Brings New Life to Old Shoes
  • Great Shine
  • Minimal Effort Needed
  • Helps in Water Resistance
Cons
  • May lighten dyed leather

9. ShoeAnew Shoe Cleaner

9. ShoeAnew Shoe Cleaner
Today's moms swear by ShoeAnew Shoe Cleaner. This non-toxic, natural, and biodegradable cleaner works hard without harming you, your children, or the environment. This is the perfect cleaner, with a 30-day money back guarantee. All of your footwear will continue to look their best. From sneakers to dress shoes to those greatly worn leather boots, ShoeAnew can handle the job.
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Truly Clean Footwear
This cleaner gives you a deep clean that kills 99% of germs and is not harmful to our environment inside and outside of our homes. The amazing cleaner, also, helps reduce the foul odors that tend to linger in your most worn shoes.

Money Back Guarantee
An easy, 30-day satisfaction guarantee ensures that you are using a product that you love or it is no cost to you. This shoe cleaner works hard, so you don't have to.

Cost and Value
ShoeAnew won't cost you an arm and a leg, as this affordable cleaner offers a lot and can help get your footwear really clean. Priced to save the busy mom time and money, this is a shoe cleaner that will not let you down. A clean-looking, clean-smelling shoe is what you will get when you try this product.
Pros
  • Great Price
  • Good for Grass Stains
  • Completely Cleans
  • Minimum Effort
Cons
  • May stain suede

10. Saphir Renovator

10. Saphir Renovator
Saphir is a brand trusted by the most esteemed leather workers in the world. Their extensive history in how-to-care-for-leather-shoes is only part of the reason Saphir earns one of the spots on our list. The usage of natural products help the range of this cleaner. It offers complete rejuvenation of your favorite boot or shoe.
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Focused on Footwear
Many cleaners that you look at (when needing to keep the patina of your leather boots as they were when you bought them) are made for clothing or other leather products. Saphir Renovator focuses on your feet and keeps your shoes looking great. The use of beeswax gives you that velvety, soft feel that all fine leather shoes should have.

Easy Application and Removal
The use of natural oils in this product makes the consistency perfect for quick-cleaning before polishing. Use a thin coat to remove surface dirt and stains, then simply wipe away. Taking great care of your footwear can be very time-consuming. Quick and easy cleaning will have you on your way to any event and ensure your shoes will do their part in helping you look your best.

Cost and Value
Saphir offers a product of the highest quality at a midrange price. You will not have to juggle your budget to give your footwear what they need to keep looking and feeling their best. Choosing this long-standing company with a rich history of excellence in leather care is sure to exceed your expectations in price and quality.
Pros
  • Hydrates Leather
  • Consistency
  • Best Possible Shine
  • Even Patina
  • Small Application Amount
Cons
  • Strong scent

No matter if you are looking to clean fine leathers or your must-have athletic shoes, you need the right cleaner for the job. Sometimes, you need to clean and condition; whereas, other times, you may need to clean and prep for a painting session. Choosing the right product can make a difficult and tedious task a little bit lighter. Keeping your footwear clean and smelling great is important, not only in your appearance but to the longevity and durability of your shoes, as well.  If you are a runner needing clean, waterproof shoes, or a mom trying to please a family full of sneaker-heads, our guide has something to offer, in order to suit your needs. We are all looking for our next favorite product that makes life a little easier and doesn’t take a chunk out of the budget. While finding the best cleaner can be difficult because of the overload in choices, what we show are the best of the best and, hopefully, can take some of the guesswork out of the problem.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Shoe Cleaner

Criteria for Best Shoe Cleaner

Life-Prolonging Ability

Different materials need different cleaners to ensure a long life. When looking into what is the best shoe cleaner, we took the time to look at the cleaner’s ability to give an old shoe the premium treatment; making it look new again. This didn’t only go for what you see but, also, how it affects the material of your shoes. There is such a variety of footwear in our closets that we wanted to make sure we were able to find the cleaner that was suitable for the most important jobs. While not every cleaner that we have listed is made for every material, we picked the top of their perspective classes and made sure to offer something for everyone and every shoe.

Leather Cleaners –

  • There are many types of leather. The leather is a typical upper that requires proper cleaning and conditioning to avoid those pesky creases and unsightly scuffs. For instance, the Saphir Renovator is made for all types of leather, and it promotes hydration and shine. ShoeAnew is, also, great for all of your leather products; restoring your old leather to make it appear brand new again!
  • Suede and Nubuck require a different type of leather cleaner. This material is more susceptible to staining and needs to be cared for gently. Making sure to buy a cleaner specially made for these types of leather will ensure you don’t ruin your footwear and that it continues to look great.

Vinyl and Fabric Uppers –

These need a more multi-purpose cleaner designed to lift dirt and grime without staining or changing the color of your shoes. SofSol gives excellent looking kicks to all shoe types, and Pink Miracle can, also, help handle the dirtiest of messes on a variety of materials, as well.

 

Safe Chemicals

Toxic chemicals are, unfortunately, a part of our everyday lives. Keeping yourself and your family healthy is always a number one priority and this is one of the reasons we took the time to make sure the chemicals that are being used in these products are safe for you and the environment. The use of all-natural products gives peace of mind when purchasing a product.

Eco Friendly

The use of natural oils for leather is essential. It not only keeps it hydrated but it, also, helps protect against water. Natural waxes promote shine and more extended wear. If we can use products that are free from harmful chemicals, like Simple Shine that is a family-owned business and cares about keeping you happy and healthy, then we can feel better about our choice; especially, when we end up with a clean pair of shoes.

 

Ease of Use

Easy To Use Best Shoe Cleaner

Shoe cleaning can be a tedious, time-consuming task. The more accessible something is to use, the more time we save, and the more time we save, the more time we have to enjoy some of life’s more pleasurable tasks. This is why we decided ease of use is crucial. Whether a seasoned, shoe-cleaning expert is using these products; or a first time, teenage sneaker-head is, we want everyone to be satisfied with the ability to use a cleaner that saves them time and doesn’t involve 15 steps to be completed correctly.

All-in-one and cleaner/conditioner combos are a great way to save time and money when you are purchasing a footwear cleaner. These one or two-step cleaners are efficient and leave your shoes looking great. They can add the right amount of shine and moisture and can, also, clean and prep your footwear for a much-needed painting, as well.

Vigilance

Vigilance is one of the most important aspects of footwear care. If you wait until you have two inches of caked-on mud and after 3 months of wear, then your potential minutes of cleaning can be easily turned into a nightmarish torment consisting of hours of work. Remaining vigilant in your footwear’s upkeep can make life so much simpler in the long-run and, furthermore, increase the longevity and durability of your favorite boots/shoes.

The best solution is to utilize multiple cleaning methods. A daily brushing works wonders, and there are cleaning brushes available on this list. I, myself, prefer the easiest way; something automatic with little hand action involved. But for others, they like to sit there and manually brush. As previously mentioned, horsehair brushes or a soft-bristled toothbrush works excellent in this situation.

Next, depending on the type of material and situation, thereof; you will want a cleaner solution that is made specific to the task at hand. But always remember, you don’t need to lather your shoes every single day. There are a few situations which could even be considered for this type of scenario. More times than not, a simple brush-away technique is just fine. If there is a lot of active wear-and-tear, per se; then, once per week should suffice under normal conditions. The best rule of thumb, however, is to remain vigilant and utilize your best judgment on when a cleaning solution needs to be deployed.

FAQ Shoe CleanerFrequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How is shoe cleaner different from other types of cleaners?
A: Most multi-purpose cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can dry out or even crack your leather shoes. Shoe cleaners are specially made with your footwear in mind. These products include natural oils that nourish, even the oldest, driest shoes in your closet. They, also, help lift dirt, so it can easily be wiped away. The cleaner found under your sink may just move the dirt around, making your shoe look worse than it did, to begin with.

Ensuring you buy a cleaner that is made for your footwear will help them to stay with you for miles to come. Some materials only need a mild detergent and water to get a good clean, while others may need much more extensive care. Finding out what your shoe is made of, and cleaning with the proper cleaner, not only keeps your shoes looking great but ensures you are using something safe for you and your footwear, also.

Q: How do you use shoe cleaner?
A: Shoe cleaners differ, and there are a variety of ways to use them based on the product. The material plays a factor; as well as, the shine and waterproofing that you may want. You, also, need to decide how much time you want to invest in cleaning your favorite kicks.

When cleaning leather, you want to use a microfiber cloth to wipe away any loose dirt, followed by cleaning with a product that contains saddle soap or another mild cleaning agent made for leather. You will then want to buff your shoes to your desired shine. And you do not want to rinse your shoes, either.

If cleaning vinyl or cloth shoes, you need to worry about staining. Using too much or an undiluted product can ruin your most reliable shoe. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure from the sole to the upper you shoes are looking their absolute best.

Q: How much does shoe cleaner typically cost?
A: There is a wide range in the prices of shoe cleaners. Some of the cheapest start at around $6.99; whereas, on the other side, some of the most expensive kits cost $135 a piece. We have found some of the top-rated, most affordable products on the market; guaranteeing a superior clean that won’t break the budget.

Sometimes, you will just need to brush your shoes to get them looking great. This is probably the most inexpensive option. When dealing with high-quality leather products, if you don’t know what you are doing, you may want to have your footwear professionally cleaned, as not to cause more damage. Cleaning your shoes improperly can leave the color faded or cause damage to the shoe itself, costing you more money. Make sure if you are buying a cleaner, you buy the one made for the type of shoe you are cleaning; that is, match the cleaner to the material.

Q: How do I clean the soles of my shoes?
A: Cleaning the sole of your footwear is not much different than cleaning the upper. Using a toothbrush or other soft brush, remove surface dirt and dust; then, clean with your chosen shoe cleaner. This is where the difference is: rather than shining your shoe, you will use a damp cloth to remove the cleaning agent. This should give you cleaner, more beautiful-looking soles.

There are, also, options that allow you to slide your foot back and forth through bristles. This makes life much simpler and gently removes dirt and grime from your shoes with minimal effort. These are great for the bottoms and the sides of your shoes. I don’t know if using this type of system would be recommended for your Italian suede loafers; however, the boots you wore out in the field today, most definitely benefits from this is the type of cleaner.

Q: Is there a difference in how I clean my leather loafers and my favorite leather sneakers?
A: Yes, with your leather loafers you will want to remove excess dust with a microfiber rag, followed by cleaning, drying, and buffing for shine. With your favorite leather sneakers, you will want to remove excess dirt and dust with a soft-bristled brush, followed by cleaning with your cleaner. Once clean, you will want to use a damp cloth to remove the residue.

All materials need different types of cleaning to ensure they look their best and remain durable for extended wear. Knowing your footwear will help you understand what to do. Leather can be tricky to clean; and as always, knowledge is power. Not all leather is the same. For example, you don’t want to use the same cleaner for your Nubuck leather as you would for your riding boots. When in doubt, avoid liquids that can leave stains or cause damage, and merely brush as much of the dirt away as possible; or at least, until you have more information about the exact type of leather you are working with.


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