How To Remove Common Shoe Stains

We know it’s hard to admit.. but we’re not perfect – we spill, drop and smudge all sorts on our clothes and shoes all day long. And you want to make sure your whites stay white and your shoes stay polished all year long right?

So, whether you’re one of those people who carries around a stain remover pen – just incase, or you have more of a chilled attitude towards your footwear, there are lots of super handy tips you can learn from us pros. So here we have some quick and easy tips on how to remove the most common shoe stains.

Before the solutions begin, to avoid these stain issues to begin with, make sure you use suede / leather protector products on your shoes regularly. This will help greatly on the condition of your shoes, when the inevitable happens.


One of the worst culprits for stained shoes isn’t actually the snow, or rain or mud – it’s all the salt & grit we spread everywhere on the roads leaving residue on your shoes. So.. salt is the main reason we’re strolling around with odd white rings on our footwear.For men’s leather shoes, a damp cloth should remove majority of salt stains. However, if the shoe leather is more delicate, or are suede / textured – you may want to swap 1/4 of your cup of water with white vinegar before dipping in your shoe cloth. The vinegar will definitely help lift any tough stains. Following this (if your shoes are leather) treat your shoes to a quality shoe cream and polish of the same colour as the shoe, to get the colour and condition of your shoes back to normal.


Although we always recommend to try and not wear your leather shoes out in the wet or rain – this can’t always be helped in Britain. For suede or leather shoes, things get tricky once they get wet. If the stains on the shoe are very light, then dry your shoes naturally – stay away from any source of direct heat, such as a radiator/fire –  as this will dry out and damage the leather. If the rain marks are rather heavy or the marks are still obvious after drying them, definitely try treating them with a good quality shoe cream & polish of the same shoe colour (only if the shoes are leather). After 1-2 treatments and left over night, your shoes should start to be restored to their original condition.


Mud is usually the easiest element to get rid of on your shoes. If you’ve found your shoes covered in mud or even just a splatter – wait for the mud to fully dry and then brush off any surface mud using a shoe brush. Once all the surface mud is brushed off & there is a remaining stain underneath, simply apply some mild laundry detergent carefully to the affected area and rub in gently to allow it to absorb. Leave for a few minutes before wiping with a damp cloth and leave to dry naturally. If If the shoes are leather, treat with shoe cream & polish of the same colour after the shoe is completely dry, to get them looking good as new.

Coffee/ Dark Drinks

First of all when this type of stain happens – Blot, do not rub. Blot as much of the dark stain as possible using an absorbent paper towel. (this goes for any dark drink – coffee, tea, beer, coca cola etc..) Then use a damp cloth to clean the affected area, after leaving to dry naturally, treat your shoes with shoe cream & polish of the same colour (if the shoes are leather). After 1-2 treatments your shoes should be looking as good as they were before the ‘incident’ – if not better.


If your shoes are leather material, clean them lightly using a damp cloth, then just allow them to dry and then treat with quality shoe cream & polish of the same shoe colour. If your shoes are suede, then let them dry before cleaning them with a suede shoe brush. If the stains still persist, a suede brush can be used in combination with a quality suede shampoo.


Hopefully this has helped with all the obvious shoe spillage solutions. Of course we would highly recommend to be careful and not spill anything in the first place..but it’s not a perfect world.  Try to invest in a good shoe cleaning kit before the inevitable happens, to save panic time.