This Common Household Item Removes Shoe Scuffs With Ease

We guarantee you have some at home

man polishing brown leather wingtip boots
Reach for it the next time your footwear needs a refresh
Getty Images

We’ve talked about how to launder your white clothes like a pro and keep your hats in tip-top condition. But there’s perhaps no item in our closets that works harder than a pair of shoes. After all, footwear literally separates our feet from the cold, unyielding, dirty ground, and we rarely, if ever, stoop down to thank our sneakers, loafers and sandals. But it’s about time you gave some love back to your shoes by removing some of those scuffs, and a couple of simple household items will do the trick.

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If your leather shoes are looking a little tired, a common hygiene product can help make them look fresh and new. Walk into your bathroom and grab that tube of toothpaste, which is perfect for cleaning up scuffs. The kind of toothpaste matters, as actual paste will work better here than the gel-like stuff. Simply dab a little bit of toothpaste on a damp cloth, then gently buff out the stain or scuff on the upper or sole of the shoe.

Ingredients like baking soda, sodium lauryl calcium carbonate, silica, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide will get to work on the unsightly markings. For stubborn scuffs, letting the toothpaste sit on them for a while can help to break them up. Afterward, wipe off any excess toothpaste with a clean corner of the damp cloth. In addition to shoes, toothpaste can also help remove soap scum and polish kitchenware.

A simple solution of one part vinegar to two parts water can also help remove some scuffs on sneakers and other shoes, but toothpaste seems to be the absolute winner when it comes to its cleaning powers. As with anything, do a spot test and double-check with the manufacturer to make sure you shouldn’t be cleaning your shoes in an alternative way.

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