15 Home Remedies for Shoe Issues

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Footwear plays an important part in our wardrobe – no outfit is complete without something on your feet. However, as time passes, many issues can take place. Shoes get dirty, show scuff marks and start to fall apart. To address common problems, you may find help with home remedies for shoe issues.

Home Remedies for Shoe Problems

Shoe Home Remedies

From a pair of smelly gym sneakers to slippery shoes, you’re bound to encounter common shoe problems at some point in time. Your favorite footwear is often the prime target and the last thing you want to do is toss them away. The following home remedies for shoe issues can help save money, as well as salvage your collection:

a) Baking Soda:

Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in the inside of your shoes to absorb the odors that plague most running and athletic shoes. Leave the powder in the shoes overnight, and then vacuum out.

b) Stiff Brush:

Allow muddy leather shoes to dry before removing excess with a stiff brush. Next, rub a damp rag over the shoe to remove any remaining mud. Dry with a clean rag, and then follow up with shoe polish, which helps penetrate the leather and protect the shoe from future stains.

c) Vinegar [1]:

Remove white salt marks by dapping on a solution of two tablespoons of white vinegar and ½ cup of water. Use a sponge or rag to apply the vinegar mix. The vinegar contains acids that help dissolve the salt. To treat suede shoes, brush the stain with a suede brush and then apply a milder solution to of one tablespoon of white vinegar and ½ cup of water.

d) Nail:

When the heel of your shoe comes off, use a short nail or thumbtack as a quick fix. Use a hammer to peel back the lining on the inside of the shoe. Hammer the nail through the sole and into the heel. This should help you get through the day.

e) Clear Nail Polish:

When you cannot lace a frayed shoestring, cut off the damaged end, and then dip in clear nail polish to harden the material. Wait until the polish is dry before trying to tie your shoes again.

f) Newspaper:

When you need to dry wet shoes after walking in the rain, ball up newspaper to prevent any long-term damage from setting in. Place the shoes on their sides in an environment set to room temperature. This will promote the absorption of the moisture. If your shoes are really soggy, replace the newspaper several times.

g) Plastic Bags:

When packing a suitcase for travel, wrap your footwear in plastic bags to separate the soiled bottoms from your clothing.

h) Rubbing Alcohol:

You can stretch tight, new shoes by treating leather footwear to an application of rubbing alcohol that is swabbed into the tight spot with a cotton ball. Walk around in the shoes for a couple of minutes and they may actually stretch. This method does not work all of the time, but it is worth a try.

i) WD-40:

Before you start wearing your new leather shoes on a regular basis, try spraying with WD-40 to prevent blister from forming. The WD-40 helps soften the leather and make the shoes more comfortable. WD-40 also helps minimize the sound of squeaky shoes – just spray where the sole and heel meet.

j) Duct Tape [2]:

You can transform an old pair of shoes into temporary waterproof footwear by wrapping with duct tape – making sure to overlap the edges of each row. Cut little ‘V’s’ into the edges of the tape as you round corners so that the tape overlaps more smoothly around the corner.

k) Foam Food Trays:

You can put extra padding into your shoes by cutting clean meat trays (or other foam food materials) into the shape of your soles. Fit the material inside your shoe or boots to enjoy a little extra cushioning.

l) Hair Spray:

To preserve the shininess of your shoes, lengthen your polish by lightly spraying with hair spray. The shoe polish will not rub off as easily.

m) Hair Conditioner:

During the winter season, use hair conditioner to protect your shoes from the damage that salt and other chemicals can cause. Apply to shoes and boots before heading outside.

n) Weather Stripping:

If you need to add a bit of traction to your rubber boots, gluing a few strips of flat weather stripping onto the toe, middle and heel sections can lessen your slips on icy, snowy and slushy surfaces.

o) Toothpaste:

Enhance the appearance of the white rubber part of your sneakers by scrubbing the material down with an old toothbrush. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the residue.


[1] Five Minute Fixes by Reader’s Digest; pg. 277.
[2] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 158.