So you've just come home to discover you scuffed up your custom-painted shoes. Or worse yet - you spilled something on them. We all know this gut-wrenching feeling. You tried wiping them clean with just a rag but to no avail. The last thing you want to do is try and wash them clean and end up scrubbing away the custom paint.
Is it possible that you can wash painted shoes without damaging the custom design?
Today, we'll cover everything you need to know on this topic. By the end of our guide, you'll know how to safely wash painted shoes quickly and easily. We'll even share some advice on how to protect your custom paint shoes in the first place before they get dirty. Let's get started by talking about the type of paint your shoes are constructed with.
What Type Of Paint Was Used In The Artwork On Your Shoes?
The type of paint used on your shoes matters more than you think when it comes to determining if you can safely wash them or not. There are so many different ways artists are creating custom shoes these days: from hand painting with acrylic paints to hydro-dipping sneakers.
If you've just purchased a pair of custom shoes painted by an artist, they very likely used acrylic paints. These are the paints of choice for designing custom sneakers. But, it's possible your shoes were painted with oil-based paint or some other type of paint. Do your research before trying to use any cleaning products on your shoes.
The most important thing you should take away from this article is that even water-resistant acrylic paints are not waterproof. That means you need to take great care to prevent your custom shoes from getting wet. So, how do you keep them clean? Let's start with some preventative measures.
Apply Sealant To Your New, Clean Painted Shoes Before Wearing Them Out!
What if you could take measures to protect your shoes from dirt, oil, grime, and all the other muck you encounter every time you step out of the house? It's true - you can apply a sealant to new, custom-painted shoes before you debut them in the streets. This will go a long way in keeping them looking brand new, wear after wear.
It's possible the artist themselves already sealed the artwork for you, so you may not have to worry about this. But if you have no contact with the artist or any way to determine if they've been sealed, best to proceed and be safe rather than sorry.
As soon as your new, clean painted shoes arrive at your door, unbox them and grab your sealant. You can choose from a wide range of finishers, with matte, glossy, shiny, and other types of sealants all easily accessible. Then, apply a few coats over your entire shoes. Don't just get the artwork - although that is the most important part. We recommend applying the sealant to the entirety of your shoes. Why? Here are a few benefits you'll unlock:
First and foremost, the artwork on your shoes will be protected from moisture over the course of your shoes' life. If moisture comes in direct contact with the paint, it could lead to smearing, fading, cracking, and other issues that compromise the appearance. But even without moisture, the paint could start to crack or peel over time due to age. With a good seal, this process will be delayed. The sealant also keeps dirt and dust from interfering with the look of your shoes.
To summarize, the importance of a good sealant cannot be overstated. You'll protect your shoes from a variety of conditions that could be detrimental to the amazing artwork you are proud to showcase. And, it'll be far easier to clean your shoes in the future if you start with a coat of sealant.
And when that time to finally clean the shoes does come, here is what we recommend:
How To Safely Clean Your Custom Shoes (Without Damaging The Paint)
Let's get one thing out of the way - you're never going to be able to put your painted shoes in the washing machine. Maybe you're used to easy, hassle-free cleaning of your stock vans or even air force ones. But with a painted canvas shoe, soaking the shoes in soap and water is off-limits. This will inevitably lead to the paint on your shoes cracking or chipping.
Instead, you'll have to be a bit more surgical here. The actual material of your shoe factors into the best approach to cleaning them, too. Recommendations for leather shoes may vary from canvas shoes, for example. There are a few different approaches you can take. Let's start with one of our favorites: using a foaming cleanser along with a gentle scrubbing brush.
Find A Safe, Compatible Foaming Cleanser Rated For Shoes
Foaming cleansers are incredibly effective at removing grime, dirt, and muck without harming the paint on your shoes. Start by finding the right cleanser for your shoe type.
Then, proceed to spray it on your shoe (or, mix it in a bowl and dip your brush in the bowl to apply). Using a soft-bristled scrubbing brush will help you loosen and remove caked-on dirt without loosening or removing the paint. Then, grab a clean towel and rub away the foam and pat the shoes dry. You should not put your shoes under running water to remove the foam.
Other Ways To Clean Painted Shoes Without A Foaming Cleanser
If you don't have a foaming cleanser on hand, and your shoes are in dire need of a rapid cleaning, you still have a few other options. We highly recommend getting some specialized cleaner ordered so that next time, you're prepared. In the meantime, here is another approach you can take using just detergent and water.
Grab a small plastic container and high-quality detergent. Then, add a few splashes of warm water and mix it up with a scrubbing brush. At that point, you can apply the soapy water to the dirty area to get rid of stains, marks, or any other grime. Then, take a clean cloth to wipe off the concoction and pat them dry. After that, you can allow the shoes to air dry.
The key to getting it right with the aforementioned tactic is using quality detergent. If you're not sure if your detergent is up to snuff, avoid using it.
Another approach you can try if you're hesitant to use your detergent involves baking soda. You'll follow the same techniques as above, but just substitute baking soda for detergent. This will create a paste of sorts. Then, apply this paste to the dirty areas of your shoes. After 10 minutes (or longer, depending on how dirty your shoes are) you can take a scrub brush to the shoes and wipe them clean using a clean cloth.
Final Thoughts On How To Clean Painted Shoes
Now you know everything you need to know in regards to how to clean painted shoes without damaging them. Always treat your shoes with care when cleaning them, and avoid aggressive chemicals. Don't let them get too wet, and always allow them to air dry in the sun. We want to provide you with a few more quick tips to take great care of your hand painted shoes and keep them looking their best.
Much emphasis gets put on how to clean painted shoes. But, not enough people consider how to keep your shoes clean in the first place. Avoid wearing your custom footwear anytime there are rainy, wet conditions outside. And, do a quick wipe-down every time you get home from wearing them. Staying ahead of the cleaning means you rarely have to do a robust cleaning.
In terms of maintaining the crisp, clean conditions your shoes have right now, it comes down to proper storage. Don't put them in moist, humid conditions - they need to breathe. You should also keep them out of direct sunlight. This can cause the paint to crack over time.
Follow the tips we've laid out today, and you'll keep your shoes looking pristine for years to come. And the next time you're looking for a pair of hand-painted customer sneakers, stop by.
Here at Custom My Sneaker, you'll find exclusive, custom-painted shoes that you can't find anywhere else. We've got custom air forces, custom vans, and much, much more. Looking to have something custom created, just for you? We can help with that, too. All our artists are hand vetted, and we offer unbeatable customer support. Come take a look!