How to clean patent leather

Looking for advice on how to clean patent leather shoes & accessories? This handy guide provides three solutions for cleaning patent leather.

Updated 16 May 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time2 minutes

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Patent leather shoes used to be reserved for formal occasions, but as fashion moves with the times, more and more everyday items are made of patent leather, including handbags and purses. So, it’s important to know how to care for patent leather shoes and accessories to keep your items looking stylish.

Cleaning patent leather is actually very easy; just follow our tips on how to clean patent leather purses and shoes to make sure your items look their best.

Do not use a hard bristle brush to clean your patent leather shoes, this can result in damage and affect the shininess of your shoes!

How to Clean Patent Shoes & Accessories

Cleaning patent leather is similar to cleaning standard leather, but it’s important to note that there are differences between the two leathers. Patent leather is a type of real leather that is treated in order to achieve a high sheen. It’s also stiffer than untreated leather. Therefore, it needs special care to keep it looking pristine.

You can buy specifically formulated patent leather cleaners in shoe shops that effectively help preserve the look of your shoes and accessories. However, why not save yourself some money and use one of the below solutions – you’re likely to already have most of these household items in your cupboards.

If in doubt about cleaning patent leather at home, consult a professional dry cleaner or shoe expert for advice before proceeding with the following methods.

3 Home Solutions for Cleaning Patent Leather

Be sure to test a small amount of your chosen solution on an inconspicuous area of the item first to check there is no adverse reaction.

Soap & Water

  • Use a soft bristle brush to wipe away any loose dirt.

  • Use an old, soft, clean toothbrush to brush away any dirt from within small crevices of the item.

  • Wipe the leather with a damp, soft cloth that has been dipped in a solution of water and a small amount of a mild laundry detergent.

How to clean patent leather
  • Buff the item with a soft polishing cloth.

How to clean patent leather
  • Leave the item to air dry.

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes or wet wipes are an efficient way to clean patent leather when you need a quick fix. Simply wipe the item all over with the baby wipe, and then buff with a clean, soft cloth.

Petroleum Jelly

A mineral oil like petroleum jelly can be great for cleaning patent leather – yes, the same product you use to combat dry lips! Apply a little petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, to a soft, clean cloth and rub the leather with the cloth. Then, use a dry, soft cloth to buff away any excess jelly. The petroleum jelly will work wonders to revitalise your items!

When you need to know how to clean patent leather shoes or accessories, look no further – these tips will help you care for patent leather, even when you’re short on time.

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