How to Restore Baby Shoes

By Rosenya Faith
Keep her first shoes in good shape to help remember her toddling along.
Keep her first shoes in good shape to help remember her toddling along.

The methods used to restore baby shoes depend on whether or not your munchkin will still be wearing them when you're done. If you're cleaning them to bronze them, you don't have to be as careful with the solutions used on the shoes. However, if your child will be wearing the shoes again, make some modifications to the shoe restoration process to ensure no harsh chemicals get anywhere near her feet -- or in her mouth if she's still testing out the taste of her toes.

Remove the laces from the shoes and wash them separately. Most shoelaces can be thrown in the washing machine. Alternatively, wash the shoelaces by hand, using a gentle laundry detergent and water.

Remove dirt from leather baby shoes by applying leather cleaner made for smooth leather material, using the applicator tip on the cleaner. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to remove excess cleaner. Dry the shoes. Shine the shoes with a soft cloth if the shoes look restored. Alternatively, if you're concerned about harsh chemicals, make leather cleaner from 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of food-grade linseed oil. Dab a clean, white cloth into the mixture and scrub the shoes gently, using small, circular motions. Allow the shoes to dry overnight. Shine the shoes, using a soft cloth.

Spritz ground-in stains with aerosol hairspray. Clean the area gently in circular motions, using a soft cloth. Alternatively, if the hairspray is ineffective, moisten a melamine foam eraser and rub the stains gently with the foam.

Combat mold and mildew on your baby's leather shoes if they've been packed away in storage. Combine 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with 1/4 cup water. Apply a little of the mixture to a damp, white cloth. Apply the mixture to the shoes, using a circular motion. Allow the shoes to dry completely.

Things You Will Need

  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • Leather cleaner
  • Soft, white cloths
  • Vinegar
  • Linseed oil, food-grade
  • Aerosol hairspray
  • Melamine foam eraser
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Gentle dishwashing liquid (optional)
  • Toothbrush (optional)


If you're restoring a pair of cloth or canvas baby shoes, the process is a little simpler. Make a solution of gentle dishwashing liquid and warm water. Scrub the fabric surface, using a cloth or toothbrush.


Always wear gloves when applying commercial shoe cleaner or polish and apply it in a well-ventilated area. Keep both of these out of the reach of children at all times.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.