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How to Clean White Patent Leather or Vinyl Shoes

How to Clean White Patent Leather or Vinyl Shoes

Patent leather is real leather that has been treated to achieve its glossy finish. The same cleaning techniques that work with patent leather also work with vinyl or man-made shoe finishes.


  • Water
  • Acetone-based nail polish remover
  • Cotton ball or swab
  • Baking soda
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Petroleum jelly


  • Soft cleaning cloths
  • Old toothbrush
  1. Wipe Down With Water

    Dip a soft cleaning cloth in plain water and wipe down the shoes well to remove surface soil.

  2. Remove Scuffs and Stains

    Place a bit of acetone-based nail polish remover on a cotton ball and gently rub any scuffed or discolored areas. You can make a paste of one tablespoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon water to gently rub away scuffs and stains. Use a clean cloth damped with plain water as a final rinse.

  3. Clean Fabric Edges

    Many patent leather shoes have edges finished with grosgrain ribbon which can become soiled. Mix a solution of one teaspoon dishwashing liquid and one cup of warm water. Dip an old toothbrush into the solution and scrub the fabric edges. Finish by wiping down with a clean damp cloth to remove any soapy residue.

  4. Restore the Shine

    If the finish is looking a bit dull, wipe the shoes with a tiny dab of petroleum jelly on a soft cloth. Finish by buffing to a high shine with a soft, dry cloth.