How to Sterilize Leather Shoes

Always disinfect used shoes before taking them out for a spin.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

You've just spotted the cutest, barely-worn pair of vintage Louboutins in the window of a thrift store. You're first thought is, "score!" and your second thought is, "ewwww, used shoes." Relax, ladies. Second-hand, used, vintage or hand-me-down items are nothing to fear. With a little cleaning, they can be safe and clean in no time. Leather shoes, in particular, are easy to sterilize. All you need are some household items to disinfect your shoes and make them new again.


Soak a sponge in soapy water. Wring out the excess.


Wipe down the outside and inside of the shoes with the soapy sponge. Use gentle, circular motions to scrub away any surface grime. Rinse out the sponge with clear water. Wipe the shoes to remove soapy residue.


Fill the spray bottle with rubbing alcohol.


Spritz the entire inside of the shoe with alcohol. Pay special attention to the front toe area.


Lay the shoes out to air-dry.


Sprinkle the insides of the dry shoe with antifungal powder. Let the powder sit in the shoes for 48 hours then shake it out.

Things You'll Need



3.Gentle soap

5.Rubbing alcohol


4.Spray bottle

6.Antifungal powder


Tips & Tricks


For sanitizing in a snap, use bathroom disinfectant wipes instead of rubbing alcohol. Just wipe the inside of the shoe and toss.

Spray rubbing alcohol on a small, unnoticeable area of the shoe first to see if the leather will react. Typically, alcohol is very safe to use on leather but if you are unsure, test an area prior to doing the whole shoe.


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