How to Clean Felt Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Felt is made from matted wool fibers that are heated and compressed together. This gives felt its dense, non-woven texture that is soft yet durable. The fibers bond together so tightly that felt repel moisture and stains.

However, with regular wear, dirt, and grime can build up on felt shoes. Using the proper cleaning methods helps lift stains and prevent felt from hardening or shrinking.

With some mild soap, lukewarm water, a toothbrush, a towel, and shoe trees, you can clean your felt shoes safely. Avoid putting them in the washer or using excess water that can warp the felt. A gentle, hand-cleaned approach works best.

5 steps to Wash Felt Shoes

Step 1: Remove Laces and Inserts

Before cleaning, remove any laces, inserts, or embellishments from the shoes. This prevents delicate materials like leather or suede from getting damaged in the cleaning process. Set any removable pieces aside until the shoes are completely dry.

Step 2: Apply a Mild Soap and Water Mix

In a small bowl, make a cleaning solution of lukewarm water and a small amount of mild soap. Liquid dish soap or gentle laundry detergent works well. Dip a toothbrush into the solution and gently scrub the surface of the felt, concentrating on visibly dirty areas. Lightly scrubbing with soap and water lifts dirt from the fibers.

Step 3: Wipe Away Excess Soap

Once you’ve cleaned the entire surface, take a clean towel and wipe away any excess soap and water. Try to avoid over-saturating the felt since too much moisture can cause it to shrink. Wipe gently so you don’t rub the fibers too aggressively.

Step 4: Stuff Shoes with Paper Towels

Stuff the shoes with paper towels or shoe trees so they hold their shape as they dry. The towels absorb excess moisture so the shoes can dry fully. Leave the paper towels in the shoes overnight or until the felt is completely dry.

Step 5: Let Air Dry

Allow the shoes to air dry completely, away from direct heat or sunlight. Drying them naturally helps preserve the shape and texture of the felt material. Avoid putting them near heat vents or outside which can cause uneven drying.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Felt Shoes

  • Soaking: Don’t submerge felt shoes in water or wash them in a machine. Too much water can warp, shrink, or harden felt.
  • Heat: Skip the hairdryer or heat to speed up drying. Direct heat damages felt fibers.
  • Harsh chemicals: Avoid bleach, alcohol-based cleaners, or harsh detergents that discolor and weaken felt.
  • Rough scrubbing: Don’t use anything abrasive like a wire brush or scouring pad. Scrub gently with a soft brush.
  • Direct sunlight: Don’t dry shoes in direct sun which fades colors over time.


With the proper supplies and techniques, you can keep your felt shoes looking dapper. Avoid over-wetting, heat, harsh chemicals, and rough scrubbing. Let them air dry out of sunlight. A gentle clean preserves the texture and shape so your felt shoes last for seasons to come. Proper care keeps felt shoes stylish, comfy, and long-lasting.

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