How to clean leather soles

Updated February 21, 2017

People often look at the condition of shoes and judge the wearer by their appearance. Dull-looking leather soles make shoes appear old and worn. Chewing gum or other sticky substances are annoying and can leave residue on carpets and floors. Treating shoes to a shine and cleaning will put a spring in your step.

Use an ice cube to remove gum or any sticky object from shoe soles. Rub the ice over the gum until the gum becomes hard. Pry the gum from the leather with a table knife or any dull, flat object. Wash the area with dishwashing detergent and warm water for the final cleansing. Wipe dry with a paper towel.

Spread peanut butter over gum with your fingers or table knife. Rub the peanut butter into the gum and remove with a paper towel or knife. Clean the spot with sudsy water and wipe dry with a paper towel.

Spray a small amount of tyre cleaner onto a soft cloth. Wipe the part of the sole that is visible with the cleaner. Allow the cleaner to dry and use a clean cloth to remove any excess cleaner. The cleaner will remove dirt and shine the leather.

Mix washing up liquid and warm water to make a mild and sudsy cleaning solution. Wipe the bottom of the shoes with the cleaner and a paper towel to remove everyday dirt and grime. Dry the soles with a paper towel. Do not allow water to remain on your leather soles.


Apply saddle soap to the upper portion and sole of the shoe to protect from water. Allow the soap to soak for 15 minutes and remove excess soap with a soft cloth.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice cube
  • Table knife
  • Washing up liquid
  • Warm water
  • Paper towel
  • Peanut butter
  • Tyre cleaner
  • Toothbrush
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About the Author

Emma Lee owns a photography website and also works as a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, animals and photography. Her work can be found on various websites. Lee attended Charles County Community College located in Maryland.