Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How I Cleaned My Satin Shoes


Remember that wedding I attended recently? The one I was insanely excited about? Well, in addition to all of the important reasons why I was excited there was also a little, fashion-related cherry on top: I got to re-wear my wedding shoes. 

You can't tell in black and white, but they had been dyed ivory to match my dress. Brian Powell Photography.

That is, if I could get them clean.

When I pulled the shoes out of their box a couple weeks ago, I was so disappointed to see how dirty they had become from just one day's use! The grass from our outside photos combined with all the walking and dancing they endured on our wedding day left them looking like this:

Not pictured: a huge grass stain on one of the shoe's sides

I quickly searched online for all the supposed methods of cleaning satin shoes. I was hesitant to try anything because I read all about the water leaving marks, but I didn't have much to lose. There was no way I would wear these shoes in public again without attempting to clean them first.

What I Used
  • A bowl for water (somewhat unnecessary if you clean them near a sink)
  • An old hand towel (pretty sure any kind of soft-ish towel would do...)
  • Oxi-Clean Baby (because I have a baby - not because I think the baby version works better or anything like that)
  • A hair dryer

I simply filled the bowl with some lukewarm water, dipped the hand towel in so it got a little wet, then dabbed the shoes. Scratch that - dabbing was highly ineffective. I had to actually scrub the shoes. After I got over my fear of ruining them, it worked brilliantly. Important note: when rubbing on the satin you should always go with the grain of the material so it doesn't fray!

As soon as I got the shoes wet, I began to see a big change in their color. I was paranoid about leaving noticeable water stains, so I decided to get the entire shoe wet to even out the color (not by submerging them in water, mind you - but wiping them with the wet cloth). That way, if the water permanently altered the color, at least it wouldn't be splotchy.

On tough stains: I got the hand towel wet, dabbed it in some of the Oxi-Clean powder, then proceeded to scrub.

After finishing the first shoe, I blow-dried it to minimize the risk of leaving behind any water marks. Then I repeated the process on the other shoe and they came out looking like this:

Practically brand new! And zero water marks. Here's another snapshot in better lighting that reveals the side that initially had a huge grass stain (it's truly unfortunate I didn't have a "before" picture of how very large and green it was):

Do you see a tiny little spot? That is what remained of a massive grass stain.

Perhaps they wound up looking a tiny bit more white than ivory, so it's possible that cleaning them faded the color a bit...but you won't hear me complaining. At least they are now clean and wearable! Thank you, water and Oxi-Clean.

"Cleaning is my favorite way to relax. I clear things out and get rid of the stuff I don't need. When the food pantry and the refrigerator are organized, I feel less stressed."
-Jennifer Morrison


  1. Highly impressive! A couple weeks ago when arranging my shoes in my closet, I opened a box and found my wedding shoes and totally was like, "I'll never be able to wear these again!" I'll have to try your cleaning tips and see what happens! They'd be cute to dye black or something, but not sure if it's too late for that now or not!

    1. I bet you could find somewhere to dye them a different color if cleaning them/restoring their color doesn't fully pan out. What a neat idea!!!

  2. My fiancé and I are taking dance lessons before the big day and I thought it would be a good idea to wear my wedding shoes to practice in. It was a terrible idea because neither of us have ever taken ballroom dancing before and his wedding shoes scuffed up my beautiful ivory satin and lace shoes. Water alone didn't work...scrubbing with a soft bristled toothbrush only took off the top layer of dirt. I followed these oxyclean instructions and it worked so well I wanted to cry. Thanks for writing this!!

    1. Oh, I am SO happy that I could help! I remember feeling so disheartened by the stains on my wedding shoes - I am so glad you could get them cleaned up again for your big day. And congrats on your upcoming wedding! :)