Your shoes take a beating -- but no part of the shoe catches more dirt, mud and mystery gunk than the soles. The soles can greatly affect the overall life of your shoes. For example, leather soles can crack and pull away from shoe stitching. Keeping the soles of your shoes clean and in good repair will help you to avoid permanent stains, unsightly grime or serious damage to your favorite footwear.

Heart and Rubber Soles

Step 1

Cover your workspace with newspapers to avoid dirtying your floor and wear rubber gloves to avoid skin contact with the cleaning materials.

Step 2

Wipe the soles of the shoes with a clean, dry cloth to remove loose dirt.

Step 3

Mix 1 tablespoon of an abrasive powder cleaner with 2 tablespoons of fresh water to create a paste.

Step 4

Dip a small cleaning brush or an old toothbrush into the paste, then scrub the solution into the shoe soles. Wear protective eyewear or hold the shoes far away from you to avoid splashing the chemicals into your eyes.

Step 5

Work the paste into the crevices, ridges and sides of the shoe soles until all of the dirt and stains are removed.

Step 6

Rinse the soles thoroughly with fresh water to remove the paste and dry them with a clean towel or use paper towels.

Save Your Leather Soles

Step 1

Wipe the soles of the shoes with a clean, dry cloth to remove loose dirt and grime.

Step 2

Mix a solution of one-part white vinegar with one-part water in a small bowl.

Step 3

Dip a soft cloth into the cleaning solution and squeeze out the excess water.

Step 4

Vigorously rub the soles with the cloth to remove dirt and grime. Take care to clean the crevices and top edges.

Step 5

Dampen a fresh cloth with warm water and wipe the soles thoroughly to moisten the leather.

Step 6

Apply a small amount of leather conditioner to the soles with a clean, soft cloth. Work the conditioner into the leather with rapid, circular motions.

Step 7

Allow the leather to dry for 30 to 40 minutes, then buff the soles with a soft cloth.