Shoe cleaning advice for a first timer?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Roen, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Roen

    Roen New in Town

    Messages:
    16
    Hello,



    Recently, I had to wear my AE Fifth Avenues in Dark Brown in a slightly muddy and salted environment. It has just snowed at a conference I was attending, and by the time I arrived, the parking lot had already been salted. I made a short walk from the car to the conference center, but did end up getting some mud and salt on the shoes. I immediately went into a restroom, took a wet paper towel and got rid of any surface stains.



    I had already followed the advice on how to prep your new shoes. I applied a coat of Renovateur, followed by a coat of Saphir Medaille d'Or Cream Polish, followed by a thin coat of Saphir Medaille d'Or Pate de Luxe Wax Polish and then applied a mirror shine on the toe cap using a combination of Pate de Luxe and Mirror Gloss.

    When I arrived home, I took the shoes off and took off any loose dirt with a horsehair brush. Now I'm a bit stumped as to how to clean the shoe. It doesn't have residual stains, to the naked eye.

    A couple of questions:

    1. Is Renovateur a good cleaner in this case, or should I look for a saddle soap? I also have Renomat available to me.

    2. What's the best way to clean on top of a mirror shine? As I understand, Renovateur and Cream Polishes won't penetrate the wax layer.
    Any responses and other tips that you guys might have would be very much appreciated!
     
    LuvMyMan likes this.
  2. HatNut-Jack

    HatNut-Jack New in Town

    Messages:
    17
    You might try using saddle soap, wipe clean, dry and repolish.
     
    LuvMyMan likes this.
  3. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I think that you dodged the worst bullet of 'salt stains'. I stay away from saddle soap on shoes that I want a military shine. I just use a separate cloth....100% cotton soft t shirt or underwear (clean) and spit or water to clean the leather of any grime. I use a tooth brush to clean the welt area of any build up of grime or salt and to clean any seamed or brogan area. Then let dry, perhaps even overnight, and start the process all over again.
     
    LuvMyMan and Short Balding Guy like this.
  4. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,674
    Location:
    Iowa
    I use Bick #1 for cleaning, then Bick #4 for treating the leather.

    I don't "baby" shoes or boots. Wear them and enjoy them. :)
     
    LuvMyMan likes this.
  5. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    If I drop $500+ on a pair of dress shoes I am going to baby them somewhat....or at least take real good care of them by doing the proper maintenance to keep them looking good. Just seems like the prudent thing to do.
     
    LuvMyMan likes this.
  6. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,022
    Location:
    Midwest
    I'm with the damp rag crowd. Keep rinsing, but just good old water. If you're getting stains from a single situation, I would consider the leather of poor quality. And at $500, they better be more hardy than that. Taking care of things is one matter, but having to be paranoid about actually using something is a whole other deal.
     
    LuvMyMan likes this.
  7. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots I'll Lock Up

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    9,398
    Location:
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    Stay away from saddle soaps. Many contain ingredients harmful to leather and stitching.
     
    LuvMyMan and belfastboy like this.
  8. jpto

    jpto New in Town

    Messages:
    11
    Don't use saddle soap - it's generally pretty harsh. If there aren't any residual stains than you're good to go. If you're really worried, try wiping your shoes down with a baby wipe until you don't see any dirt on the baby wipe.

    You're more likely to ruin leather by overcleaning/over conditioning than by letting it sit. You shouldn't condition leather unless it's feeling dry.

    The best thing you can do for your shoes is hit them with a quick brushing (horsehair) before and after each wear, dust/sand/grit work their way into leather creases and brushing them frequently helps with that.

    EDIT - if you do notice salt stains - use a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water to lift the salt out of the leather
     
    LuvMyMan and belfastboy like this.
  9. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan I’ll Lock Up.

    Messages:
    4,561
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have never had any issue with using saddle soap on any shoe or boot, but, I also use it on a very wet washclothe and wring it out to where it is just a light amount being retained in the washclothe itself. Shoes/boots can be cleaned just like you would wash your face. Be gentle and if you have to allow the shoes/boots to sit and dry a bit to clean them more than one time until they are totally clean, it may benefit the leather in the long run.

    Proper conditioning of all shoes or boots helps a ton. Bick has a product that is actually made by Cadillac Boot and Shoe conditioner, which is far better than any other conditioner out there. Saphir makes high quality products, but unless you have exotic skins on the shoes/boots that require their Reptan Milk conditioner, the other conditioners they make in my opinion, do not beat out Cadillac/Bick leather conditioners.

    If you have an area (toe box) that is already polished to a mirror shine, you can still wipe that area clean with a cold wet clean washclothe to help to try to preserve that shine, but I would just clean, condition them, let them sit over night, wipe them with a clean clothe and use a shoe cream polish, delicate cream polish, then color polish to start getting your mirror shine back, finishing with a few thin coats of neutral for that top mirror finish.

    I just purchased some Amiral Gloss Saphir and love how well it mirrors after a few coats using a damp cotton ball to swirl the shine.
     

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