Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 22 June 2012

Keeping it clean!

Adrian at Open Studios in white patent half-cuts
- a picture of sartorial summer perfection!
With summer upon us - yes of course I jest, but yesterday was officially Midsummer's Day - I've spent many a weekend exploring the wonderful National Trust properties near London. On a visit to The Vyne in Hampshire last weekend I bought a book - "How to clean absolutely everything" - at a second hand book sale. 

Why you may wonder? Well, amongst the very many home-related things it covers is shoe how could a practical girl like me resist? 

Between us, James and I have heard many, many different theories and pieces of advice on cleaning leathers over the years. But there were still some surprises in this book and of course, some great common sense too!

This being a typical English summer i.e. WET, this week's blog is all about caring for suedes and nubucks....just in case you get caught in a deluge.

  • As soon as you get your suede shoes, use a waterproofing spray to protect them - we spray the uppers on all of the suede and nubuck shoes we make - even before we start making them or have put the shoe covers on them.
  • Keep suede looking good by wiping it over with a piece of velvet - excellent at picking up dust and fluff. 
  • Be gentle with suede - too much brushing can do more harm than good and you will end up with a bald spot!
  • Wipe stubborn marks carefully with a barely damp cloth wrung out in soapy water. Allow to dry and then gently brush with a rubber brush in a circular motion. 
  • To remove persistent marks, put a few drops of lemon juice on a cloth and gently wipe the suede; steam in front of a boiling kettle for a few minutes; allow to dry and then gently brush up with a rubber brush in a circular motion.
  • Worn suede shoes can be revived with a burst of steam from the kettle; allow to dry and then gently brush up with a rubber brush in a circular motion.

A few useful nuggets I hope? Using velvet was certainly a new one to me. 

Canvas and fabric shoe care next week - in the hope that we can get our Winkers on for the summer - until then happy shoemaking (and I'm off to make a velvet cushion for cleaning suede)!

With thanks to authors Yvonne Worth, Amanda Blinkorn and The Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI)! (A British treasure, the GHRI was founded in 1900 to improve the lives of consumers. Its scientists in the test laboratories have evaluated all things household related ever since!)