How To Clean Charol Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Charol shoes are classic leather dress shoes that can pull together a sharp, elegant outfit. However, keeping charol shoes looking pristine does require some regular care and maintenance.

If the leather becomes scuffed or dull, it can ruin the sophisticated look of your shoes. Fortunately, with just a few supplies and following these 5 easy steps, you can keep your charol shoes looking shiny and new.

Supplies Needed

  • Leather cleaner or saddle soap
  • Soft cloth
  • Toothbrush
  • Polishing wax
  • A soft cloth or polishing brush

Now let’s go through the 5 easy steps to clean Charol Shoes:

Step 1: Remove Laces and Clean the Soles

Start by removing the shoelaces so you can fully clean the entire shoe. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or debris stuck on the soles and heels of the shoes. This will prevent any grime from scratching or damaging the leather upper as you clean it.

Step 2: Clean the Leather Upper

Apply a small amount of leather cleaner or saddle soap to a soft cloth. Gently wipe down the entire leather upper, using circular motions. Pay close attention to scuffs or marks, but take care not to scrub too aggressively. Rinse the cloth and wipe again to remove any soap residue.

Step 3: Polish Away Scuffs

For any remaining scuffs or marks, use a soft toothbrush dipped in leather cleaner. Gently brush in a circular motion to lift dirt out of the grain. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, which can damage the leather. Rinse the toothbrush often. Once scuffs have lightened, buff the areas by hand with a soft cloth.

Step 4: Apply Polish

To restore shine, apply a small amount of polishing wax to a soft cloth. Rub the wax into the leather using even, circular motions. Work it into every part of the leather upper, taking extra care on the toes which commonly show wear. Let the polish dry slightly, then buff to a shine with a fresh soft cloth.

Step 5: Polish and Buff

For an extra high-shine finish, repeat Step 4 and work the polish into the leather. Let dry, then rigorously buff the entire shoe upper with a polishing brush or cloth. Buff in all directions to achieve a glossy, mirrored shine.

Things to Avoid

  • Use harsh cleaners like bleach, detergent, or household cleaners that can strip the leather. Stick to specialized leather cleaners only.
  • Soaking the leather, can warp the shape and cause the leather to deteriorate over time.
  • Leaving salt stains or watermarks to set, making them harder to remove later. Rinse or wipe shoes after wear in rain or snow.
  • Using heat to dry shoes, causes cracking. Always allow shoes to air dry naturally after cleaning.
  • Over-polishing to try to cover scuffs. This can lead to a thick, gummy wax buildup that ruins the look and feel of the leather.


With the proper supplies and techniques, you can keep your school dress shoes looking impeccable for years to come. Be sure to clean and polish them regularly, especially after exposure to inclement weather.

Avoid over-scrubbing or soaking the leather. With some periodic care, those shiny school shoes will maintain their sophisticated, elegant look and enhance any outfit.

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